Trump and media clash over border

This is a rush transcript from "Media Buzz," June 24, 2018. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

HOWARD KURTZ, HOST: On buzz meter this Sunday, it's been the biggest battle of his presidency against the media which ultimately prompted Donald Trump to do what he said he could not do and stop the policy of separating families at the border. There were moral condemnations from liberal portion of the media while conservatives were divided between chastising the president and defending him.


FRANK BRUNI, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Donald Trump is lying. The people around him are lying. They just -- they realized how bad this makes them look. They realized how bad this makes America look.

LAURA INGRAHAM, FOX NEWS: Liberals have seized on the separated children and turned the entire image into a political weapon, attempting to emotionally manipulate the public perception of immigration enforcement.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is child abuse to separate children from their parents unless it's necessary to say to human life and that is not the case here.

TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS: It is now an event, a kind of competition in which elites vie to see who can reach greater heights of rhetorical excess and self-righteous posturing.

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS: They can fix this tomorrow - -

GERALDO RIVERA, FOX NEWS: This is cruelty as policy. This is an obscenity. This is the government of the United States and the president that we both love, advocating a system by which young children are torn from their mothers.

HANNITY: Geraldo --


KURTZ: We'll look at every angle including the growing opposition from Republicans give (ph) the media coverage (INAUDIBLE) president. Is there a media double standard on immigration in which the Obama administration promised to a little scrutiny? Is the Time Magazine cover blatantly misleading?

The wardrobe choice that launched a national debate. Why is the press going nuts over Melania's mysterious jacket? And my sit-down with Trump loyalist Anthony Scaramucci on why he challenged his former boss.


ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Tell the truth. Tell the truth to the president. Tell the truth to the American people. This is very bad policy and let's knock it off.


KURTZ: Hollywood hot shots who have worked or are working for 21st Century Fox stated they don't want to be associated with Fox News. It's not just liberal grandstanding. Plus, the passing of Charles Krauthammer. We will look at his legacy as a journalistic force of nature. I'm Howard Kurtz and this is "Media Buzz."

As the media uproar over separating families at the border grew ever louder, President Trump and his top aides denied this was an administration policy. But Jeff Sessions warned of the consequences when announcing it in May.


ATTORNEY GENERAL JEFF SESSIONS: If you are smuggling a child, then we will prosecute you and the child may be separated from you as required by law.


KURTZ: The White House offered sometimes contradictory messages that the media were quick to brand as false.


PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: You can't do it through an executive order.

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Once again, it's Congress' job to change the law.

TRUMP: The Democrats have to change their law. That's their law. The Democrats forced that law upon our nation. I hate it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The policy is not, by your definition, in any way, cruel?

KIRSTJEN NIELSEN, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY: It's not a policy. Our policy at DHS is to do what we are sworn to do, which is to enforce the law.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How is this not child abuse?

NIELSEN: Be more specific, please.


KURTZ: And even after the president reversed himself with an executive order, many in the media remain critical.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN: Why didn't he do this 2,000 kids ago?

A rare retreat by a president who prides himself on never apologizing.


KURTZ: Joining us now to analyze the coverage: Mollie Hemingway, senior editor at The Federalist and a Fox News contributor; Gillian Turner, a Fox News correspondent here in Washington; and Richard Fowler, radio talk show host and also a Fox News contributor.

Mollie, mainstream media are constantly accusing the president of lying for insisting he couldn't change the practice of family separation. Congress had to do it, it is the Democrats' fault. And then he did reverse it, at least temporarily. So, was the criticism of his veracity on target?

MOLLIE HEMINGWAY, THE FEDERALIST: Well, I actually think that there -- that when -- you saw this with both Obama and President Trump, that they claimed that Congress needed to do something. And then when Congress doesn't act, then they do executive orders.

I personally have a problem with executive orders to handle immigration policy. Another error was that Trump said it was Democrats who brought us to this point. It's actually a bipartisan failure. It is a failure of both Republicans and Democrats to actually do what needs to be done to have a sensible immigration policy.

But that doesn't change the fact that what is actually happening here, there has been a failure of media coverage too, beginning with -- at the very start of this, they were saying that the children are being separated from parents willy-nilly.

This was not about people immigrating to the country, this is about people crossing the border illegally. And when they are caught, then they are separated for law breaking. That is actually a pretty common thing that happens for domestic or this other situation. Just a failure to accurately report this. And also a failure on (INAUDIBLE), I think.

One of the things you get from what you just showed in the intro was everybody treats it as if treating illegal crossing of a border as a criminal offense is outrageous, when point of fact, majority of Americans think that illegal border crossing should be treated as a criminal offense, and only 19 percent of Americans think that we should have a catch and release program that treats this as just a civil offense.

KURTZ: There's a lot of emotions surrounding the coverage of this. We will talk about that in a second. Gillian, did the coverage reflect as we saw in some of those earlier clips that there seemed to be mixed messages emanating from everybody from the president on down, was it a policy, was it a law, was it actually designed as a deterrent, and was all on video, so people kept replaying the clip?

GILLIAN TURNER, FOX NEWS: Yes. It was a case of chaotic pulse (ph) and making breathing chaotic media coverage. I don't think that the administration or the public can really hold the media at fault for divergent coverage on an issue when the administration makes no clear that they hadn't sort of rallied around their bases before they put this out there.

Same thing happened with the first and second iteration of the Trump travel ban. We all thought the administration has sort of learned that at the very minimum before you roll out a policy or you start discussing a policy, in this case, you got to have your internal house of cards in order.

They disagreed over whether this was a law or presidential policy, whether the president can unilaterally address it, and whether it was morally acceptable. Remember, at the same time the president was saying he hated the policy, Jeff Sessions was using justifications based in scripture.

KURTZ: Right. The media I think loved the story because the media narrative is the president often says things that aren't true. And I think there was this sense that this was one of the rare times, Richard, when the president actually had to change his mind at least in large measure because of the relentless media coverage.

RICHARD FOWLER, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: I think the president changed his mind for a couple of reasons. One, media coverage. Two, it was the fact that the voters, the American people, were so disgusted by what they saw taking place all across this country and at the border.

And I think here is the story that the media missed, Howard. They missed the story that the reason why these women and children were leaving their countries is because Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Honduras are the three most dangerous countries on earth.

And I think if we don't -- as the media start talking about what is happening in these three countries, they were doing a disservice about immigration debate here in the United States.

KURTZ: There is a little bit of report on that, but I take your point. Let's go to the Time magazine covering, let's put that up, showing this shot of the crying 2-year-old Honduran girl taken by Pulitzer Prize-winning Getty photographer John Moore.

But what happened is Time had the story online and then had to correct it online. This was last Tuesday night, saying, well, this girl actually was not separated from her mother even though her picture became so widely used, but then published that cover and when called on it, the editor said, well, she was the symbol of the uproar and our cover and our reporting captured the stakes of this moment, except actually it's wrong.

TURNER: Well, it captures not so much the stakes of the moment but it certainly captured the sentiment and the emotion of the moment. The problem here is that they took --

KURTZ: That's not good enough.

TURNER: Exactly. They took creative license that I don't know they had the right to take here. I mean, they represent themselves as a hard news -- as a hard news publication. Their job is not to sort of convey the sentiment of the moment. Their job is to be factually accurate. And I think in this case, there was a clear shortcoming.

KURTZ: Highly misleading cover by any standard in my view. Look the media painted this as a heartless policy. As you were saying, there was so much emotion in the coverage. And it is an emotional issue. I get that.

I think what fuels some of the attacks were that you had many on the right, for example, the conservative editorial pages of The New York Post and Wall Street Journal and scathing editorials against this policy by (ph) Rupert Murdoch.

Laura Bush speaking out. Some GOP lawmakers speaking out. Conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, saying this could be Trump's Katrina. Do you think that provided fuel or even cover for the rest of the mainstream media?

HEMINGWAY: It's kind of what we have been experiencing for the last several decades. You have an American electorate that very strongly wants border enforcement and wants to treat borders as a real thing that need to be enforced.

And then you have an elite consensus on left and right that are heavily influenced by corporate interests which like to keep wages low and illegal immigration helps keep wages low. And you also have political interests on certain parties where they appreciate illegal immigration as well.

And what gets left out are the American people who actually want strong border enforcement. I just want to say really quickly, on that Time magazine cover, it was a perfect encapsulation of the media narrative on the story and it was completely built on a lie.

And the way that it was lying is really influential as well because what we had when they actually learned the story, reported by a British tabloid, not an American media outlet, that this was a mother who had previously come to this country and been deported, that she abandoned other children and a husband without telling them to take her child on a very dangerous journey that she allegedly paid a lot of money to go on this dangerous journey.

And only then after being caught, then requested asylum. This is actually a narrative that supports what opponents of our old immigration enforcement policy are saying. And because we are not telling the truth about the situation, I totally agree with what Richard is saying, we are not telling the truth about the situation in Central America. We are not talking about how the previous policy incentivized child trafficking.

KURTZ: It was a mistake that a lot in the media made but once the mistake was revealed, I don't see how you put that girl on the cover. Richard, this was story that had been around for months. In April 20, The New York Times reported that hundreds of kids had been separated from their families.

What (INAUDIBLE) I think were the very few pictures that emerged including of that girl but others and the audio of crying kids at these facilities that was leaked to ProPublica. We didn't -- journalists didn't have many access to these facilities. Would you agree that it was the pictures and the sound that really made this a wall to wall story?

FOWLER: I think part of it. The other reason why it was a wall to wall story, as Gillian mentioned just a couple of minutes, is the fact that you saw some heartlessness from folks in the Trump administration. You heard Jeff Sessions used scripture and the Bible to back up a very heartless policy that was created by the Trump administration.

KURTZ: Heartless is your interpretation.

FOWLER: Yeah, heartless --

KURTZ: And a lot of people agree with you.

FOWLER: I think a majority of Americans agree with me.

KURTZ: Yeah.

FOWLER: And I think majority of the world agrees with me including the Pope. And I think you had that. And I think beyond that, the pictures and how the administration acted, that created a wall-to-wall story because they were tone deaf to where the country was and where I think modern day society think it is not OK.

Yes, we need border security. Yes, we need to make sure that criminals don't get into our border. You cannot tell me that a 3-year-old child is a criminal.

KURTZ: All right. Once the president issued that executive order, Gillian, so the focus has shifted to reuniting the remaining estimates of about 1,800 families with children who have been separated. Also, 200 of these kids were shipped to New York City facilities without the mayor's knowledge.

Question of what's going to be done now. Where will they go? Will this policy even be upheld because there is a court decree involved? So, it could even be overturned by the courts. So, my sense is, there are a lot of legitimate questions still to be answered. The media also almost made a decision to keep this furor going.

TURNER: Well, I think the media coverage of this phase of this issue has been mostly fairly sceptical. I combed some of the headlines earlier. The things I picked up, the phrases were it's not going to be easy, it may take a long time, the process is chaotic.

So the media is definitely coalescing around the idea that this is not a quick fix. So even though the president has now delivered his own version of a quick fix in the form of an executive order, the media is saying, you know what, we don't entirely believe this is going to solve the problem.

I think it goes back again to the sort of the rollout of the issue. Meaning, the administration was not tightly synced on their messaging from the outset and there is rolling consequences.

KURTZ: Hold on. I want to get you on this, Mollie, but I also want to throw one thing out, which is that Geraldo Rivera said on the air that he had dropped the ball. He actually apologized. He said to some Fox colleague as well, too slow to recognize when he called the hideous nature of the child separation policy.

HEMINGWAY: Well, I think it's important, you know, in the media when everybody says the same thing, people get upset that they are saying the same thing. And then when you see any diversity, they get upset at the diversity. Not following a mob that was ill-informed is not a bad idea.

And Fox is actually much better on the story several years ago when nobody else was covering it, a very few other people were covering it, when 70,000 unaccompanied minors came over in 2014, and they have covered immigration in general with a greater degree of interest.

KURTZ: Right. And there was less scrutiny overall when the Obama administration had some of these problems.

HEMINGWAY: Yeah, a lot of problems here. But it's also true that we talk about it as if it's heartless to enforce the border. But we don't talk about the heartlessness of not enforcing the border. We incentivize child trafficking.

We made it where if you brought a child over the border illegally, it was a get out of jail free card. That encourages child trafficking and that is not something that compassionate people do.

KURTZ: That is --

HEMINGWAY: -- and rule of law is also something --

KURTZ: I'm up against the heartbreak (ph), but that is an important point for the context of this discussion. When we come back, Melania Trump goes to the border to support the reuniting of families, but the media is obsessed on her cryptic jacket. And later, Anthony Scaramucci on why he broke with the president on this hot-button issue.


KURTZ: Melania Trump was just starting to get some journalistic praise for her unannounced trip to the Texas border when the media world went haywire over her jacket and its cryptic inscription.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN: She is wearing a jacket with sign that says, I don't care, do you, going on a mission that is supposed to show how she cares.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a sort of a jacket that you would wear as a teenager, right? During your angst phase --

LAWRENCE O'DONNELL, MSNBC: Wearing a $39 jacket. The least expensive garment she has ever been seen wearing.


KURTZ: Imagine, Gillian, $39 jacket. Amidst the endless media speculation, I will say this. She is a professional model. She is conscious of her appearance. And despite her spokeswoman saying the media shouldn't obsess on the jacket, I think any first lady would be asked this question. And it seems to me she probably was sending some kind of message.

TURNER: I think she was. But I'm also going to be the first person to admit that I didn't really get it. To me --

KURTZ: I think you have some company.

TURNER: I think -- to me, the jacket was a total head scratcher. And it was a bit of what my office colleague would call an unforced error. Meaning, it is extracted from the fact that she is the only member of the Trump inner circle to travel to McAllen, Texas to visit this particular facilities and shelters.

And it is an amazing important gesture. I don't know. I sort of wish she would have just let that stand on its own. I don't think she needed to --

KURTZ: Wearing something else. I think, Mollie, the Marie Antoinette interpretation by some pundits is horribly unfair, because this trip was her idea. She did go to show compassion for the families. Apparently nobody on her staff warned her that this might at the very least distract from her message?

HEMINGWAY: Right. The only thing we do know is that she cares about these children because she wants to go visit the children. So who is the message -- was it that jacket message, who is the intended target? I am also load (ph) to speculate about it. But it seems --

KURTZ: Oh, come on.

HEMINGWAY: -- the most reasonable thing to be thinking about. This is a month she has had, a week she has had where her family has been viciously attacked. She had a Hollywood celebrity call for the kidnapping and rape of her child. She has had media outlets questioning her schedule shortly after she had surgery. This has been a really tough time for her and her family.

And you saw some of the negative treatment of the Obama family during the Obama administration usually coming from the fringes or people outside the media mainstream. In this case, it's actually been from people in the media mainstream, top level celebrities, that type of thing. She might be sending a message to those type of people instead of --

KURTZ: Well, the reason I feel -- what is the message, right. We will get Richard Fowler on this in a second. One of the reasons I feel comfortable in saying she is sending some kind of message is because when she came back from the trip and got off the plane and walked into the White House, she was still wearing the jacket and it was 81 degrees.

And so at that point, everybody knew it would become a controversy. I don't buy the president's tweet, and my personal interpretation is he was sticking it to the fake news media and how dishonest they are. Maybe Melania Trump is rebelling against the White House's handling of this issue because she did tweet earlier, days earlier, that the administration had to govern with heart. You have quizzical look, so --

FOWLER: No, actually that analysis is very enlightening because I tend to agree with that more than the president's tweet. I think the president was probably sitting there in the morning and wanted to make a news story so he tweeted, oh, she is attacking the fake news media.

And I think more so, if you listened to what Melania said on the border, those words spoke very loudly. She said we need to do --I'm trying to do everything in my power, I am paraphrasing here, to make sure that we reunite these families as fast as possible, is what she said when she went down there.

Gillian is right. She is the only member of this family that went down to the border. She is one of the highest ranking people in this administration that went down because she cares about this issue. She is somebody who immigrated to this country herself. And I think the fact that we are making a story about this jacket speaks more about us and less about her.

KURTZ: I think I feel very comfortable in saying we have not resolved it.


KURTZ: But I think all points of view --

FOWLER: But it did match her shoes. The jacket did match the shoes.

KURTZ: You have a good standing for saying that.


KURTZ: I know you are very sartorially correct. Richard Fowler, Gillian Turner. Mollie, we'll see you in a bit. Thanks very much for joining us. Ahead, Peter Fonda's toxic tweets, as what Mollie was talking about, about the Trump family. How low have we sunk?

Up next, A Virginia restaurant kicks out Sarah Huckabee Sanders and the vile attacks on her are just unbelievable.


KURTZ: The vitriol being unleashed against Sarah Huckabee Sanders is stunning and sad. The White House press secretary and her family were kicked out of a Virginia restaurant called The Red Hen yesterday for moral reasons, because she works for President Trump, and she politely left, tweeting that the owner's action say far more about her than about me. I always do my best to treat people with respect including those I disagree with.

And the reaction by some Trump-bashing pundits, yeah, right, she deserved it. Here is CNN's Ana Navarro.


ANA NAVARRO, CNN: You make choices in life. And there is a cost to being an accomplish to this cruel, deceitful administration.


KURTZ: Wow! MSNBC contributed Jennifer Rubin in The Washington Post. It is both natural and appropriate for decent human beings to shame and shun the practitioners of the administration's family separation policy.

Salon's Amanda Marcotte went further, saying, Sarah's kids should be taken away. Taken away. Nice. Now, you just know that if Barack Obama's spokesman had been booted for restaurant, many of these same people would go crazy, saying the owners are bunch of racist yahoos. They are blinded by what I call Trump trauma. These are tragic history in America. Some people being refused service at lunch counters.

So what's next? Is it OK to pick at people's houses that happened on Friday with Kirstjen Nielsen's townhouse in Virginia? Shun their kids at school? Should Amazon refuse to deliver them packages. This is sheer tribalism. It is fueled by hatred and it is painful to see at least some pundits defend it.

Rachel Maddow has apologized for what happened at the end of her MSNBC show when she had difficulty with some breaking news about infants and toddlers at the border being moved to new shelters.


RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC: To at least three -- put up the graphic of this. Thank you. Do we have it? No. Three "tender age" shelters in South Texas. Lawyers and medical providers. I think I'm going to have to hand this off. Sorry.


KURTZ: Now, whether or not you like Rachel Maddow, I don't think she has anything to apologize for. She was overcome by emotion. Yes, we all strive as professional broadcasters to maintain composure at all times. But we are also human beings. And sometimes, we choke up.

By the way, ABC News was carrying President Trump's remarks when a banner flashed on the screen. Take a look at this. Manafort pleads guilty to five charges of manslaughter. What? Manslaughter? Poor Manafort, first of all, hasn't pleaded guilty to anything and sure hasn't accused of killing anyone. It just inexplicable, how this happened. ABC has apologized saying there is no excuse for the mistake, and I agree.

Ahead, some Hollywood hot shots who have made money from Fox's entertainment shows now taking aim at Fox News. But first, Anthony Scaramucci on the immigration uproar and the president calling media outlets the country's biggest enemy.


KURTZ: Anthony Scaramucci very publicly broke with his former boss over this family's separation issue. I sat down with the short-lived White House Communications Director in New York to talk about that and much more shortly before the President reversed his policy.


KURTZ: Anthony Scaramucci, welcome.


KURTZ: You say this administration policy of separating children from families at the border is inhumane. Why did you decide to speak out?

SCARAMUCCI: Well, I am trying to be helpful to the President. I think at the end of the day he's doing an amazing job in so many different fronts, and the optics of this situation and the feeling it gives that it gives the average American is just not the feeling that I think the President wants people want to feel.


KURTZ: You say you try to be helpful to the President.


KURTZ: But you're taking on the President. He completely disagrees. You are criticizing his policy.


KURTZ: And that must've been a difficult decision for you.

SCARAMUCCI: No, I don't think it's a difficult decision for me because I like being my own person. I am really not taking on the President. I am saying to the President, I wish other advisors of his would say this. And don't sit in the circle and just yes everybody. Let's look at the optics of the situation. Let's look at the spirit of the situation.

Let's stop arguing about it being legal and its part of the law, because we have had many laws in our society that have not been right. You know Brown versus Board of Education, you know we were segregating children 50 short, 60 short years ago. We had Jim Crow laws, OK. This law is inhumane.

KURTZ: You say the President is being poorly served by his advisors on this issue. But isn't that a copout? He is making the decisions. He's heard the arguments. And you are trying to steer him toward what you think is not only a more humane approach or one that will not be as politically damaging.

SCARAMUCCI: A hundred percent. And look, at the end of the day the President has to own his decision. I'm not trying to copout on the President. But I am basically saying hey, this is a moment where you have a food fight going on among your advisors, a food fight going on among the parties. But you are a CEO. You are a business person. You have got great common sense. And I know him personally, he's a great guy. He's a grandfather.


KURTZ: This is an emotional issue. People -- they heard the audio. And I do know there has been criticism from both parties. I am told the White House is not pleased with your position. Have you had a chance to explain your thoughts to the President personally?

SCARAMUCCI: Well, let me put this way. You know I've explained it. I am explaining it here. And I have no problem with them being not pleased with me. But I have got to tell you something. They should not be pleased with themselves, because at the end of the day, you have got so many great things going on. The President has done such a great job. Why do you need to have this in the news when we could be talking about the inspector general's report, where it comes out great for the President?

When you're talking about the denuclearization of North Korea, great for the President, the economy, the unemployment numbers, everything is going well for the President. Why make this the lead news story. I don't agree with it.

KURTZ: When the President says.


SCARAMUCCI: Let me finish. I don't care if they are pleased with me or not.


SCARAMUCCI: I have supported the guy for three years. I put hard money into his campaign. And when they threw me out of the White House, I stayed very loyal to the President.

KURTZ: There is no question about, which is why.


SCARAMUCCI: So I am here saying hey, wake up, OK. If you don't wake up on this issue, why would you have an issue like this blind side so many of the good things going on in your administration?

KURTZ: Well, when the President said I can't do anything unilaterally, it's the -- you tweeted you can't simultaneously argue that family separation isn't happening, that it's being used as a deterrent, that the bible justifies it, and that it's the Democrats fault. So the conflicting messages coming out of the White House.


SCARAMUCCI: You're a pretty objective guy. You read the tweet again. Am I wrong about that? You can't have five or six different arguments going at the same time.


SCARAMUCCI: It's a black and white issue, OK. There is a lot of gray in our society. But this is a black and white issue for moms, for dads. It's a universally black and white issue. You want to look back on this thing in 10 years and say, my god, what were we doing? Do you think the Americans look back on the Japanese interment camps and say yeah, that was a great idea? Give me a break. Cut the nonsense. I know you love Washington. You lived there for like 400 years.


SCARAMUCCI: (Inaudible) what I don't like about Washington. Tell the truth. Tell the truth to the President. Tell the truth to the American people. This is very bad policy. And let's knock it off. It's just that simple.

KURTZ: Let's go a little broader. So the President's detractors are obviously piling on, including many Republicans as I say that this is a bad policy and its inhumane policy of separating families. But they are also saying he's launched a trade war, he picked a fight with Canada. Are there elements of truth to this or is this the media piling on and not giving President Trump the benefit of the doubt.

SCARAMUCCI: I don't they're giving the benefit of the doubt. I think there is really no trade war yet. There is a bellicosity of rhetoric related to the fact that the trading system has been uneven for seven years. And the President is trying to figure out a way to create a more fair or a trade parody system or a free fair trade system, and it hasn't been that way. And so I think the bellicosity of rhetoric is used as a (Inaudible) or a device to negotiate that.

So I think they're being unfair to him on that. On the North Korea situation, he has done a great job. You have to give him credit where credit is due.

KURTZ: After President Trump met with Kim Jong-Un, he tweeted so-called fake news, which is his term for many major news organizations. He's our country's biggest enemy. Now I know that you're actually a former White House official who likes the press. Would you advise him not to use that kind of language? He has every right to push back against unfair coverage.

SCARAMUCCI: I understand the frustration, because if you look at the Harvard study of the research.


SCARAMUCCI: I understand the frustration. I understand he's a natural counter puncher. That's how he's had great success in his life. But we have to deescalate the war with the press, because you are sitting in a seat now where you are serving the American people. You are a temporary office holder and you're a temporary resident in the White House. And the system was set up and designed so that the free press could be in there to rigorously review what you are doing. OK, that's what the founders wanted.


KURTZ: You want de-escalation?

SCARAMUCCI: I do. I think it's very important for the press. But I want it on both sides. You know I don't want unilateral de-escalation by the President. I want a bilateral de-escalation. Why don't we knock off the nonsense on both sides, take it down a notch. And I really think the President should get out of the corner that he's in and go on your show. Go on other shows. I was delighted to see him on George Stephanopoulos a week ago.

He's a television star, OK. This guy has (Inaudible) in so many genres of his life. There is no need for him to be sticking to one network or a few anchors. Let's go the full spectrum of people. There are a lot of moderates and independents that really love what the President is doing in the country and are going to vote him.

And he needs those people if he wants to win an electoral landslide, because I predict that if he gets an electoral landslide in 2020, he'll have a much bigger, broader legislative mandate over the next four years of the Presidency. And so let's do that for him. He's totally capable of doing it.

KURTZ: I interviewed Donald Trump a half dozen times during the campaign. He has a standing invitation to come on this program now that you've endorsed it. I appreciate it. Anthony Scaramucci, thanks very much for sitting down with us.

SCARAMUCCI: Thank you.


KURTZ: Coming up, a look at our angry media culture from Peter Fonda's reprehensible attack on the first family, the Fox entertainment show runners and producers now taking at FNC.


KURTZ: Peter Fonda may be a legendary actor, but his tweets on the immigration outpour were totally unhinged. We should rip Barron Trump from his mother's arms and put him in a cage with pedophiles and see if mother will stand up against the giant A-hole she is married to. Fonda also saying Sarah Sanders should have her children taken away and be deported to Arkansas.

Kirstjen Nielsen should be put in a cage naked and be whipped by passersby. I hate reading this stuff, all this renewing a debate about crude and inflammatory rhetoric in the Trump era. Joining us now Sara Fischer, a media reporter for Axios. So these Peter Fonda tweets are so sick in my view, taking aim at a 12 year old boy and others, that even though he apologized for what he called highly inappropriate vulgar comments. Does this permanently mar his reputation?

SARA FISCHER, MEDIA REPORTER, AXIOS: I mean it absolutely could. People are going to be associated with him, with the person that took aim at a child, let alone the President's child. So yes, it could absolutely mar his reputation. And I think further from that, it gives ammunition to people on the right to say look, you people like Roseanne Barr whose shows are being canceled, and yet this guy's movie is still going to go through two days ago. I think it just came out despite the fact that he's tweeted some of these really insidious things.

KURTZ: Right. You anticipated my next question about Roseanne. Now Fonda is not the star of this new, but nevertheless Sony Pictures called the remarks abhorrent and dangerous, and they are still putting the movie out.

FISCHER: That's right. And they did that by the way two days before they're putting the movie out. I mean it's very close contrary for them. And then you can imagine could this affect box office results? I mean it absolutely could. Half the country knows looking at the political landscape in a certain way and you are isolating them with these types of tweets.

KURTZ: All right. The immigration fallout -- (Inaudible) 21st Century Fox is planning to sell its entertainment assets to Disney, which is (Inaudible) Comcast bid, upping its offer to $70 billion. Let me put up some of these entertainment folks. Steven Levitan, he's the guy who created Modern Family, produced by Fox's studio, says he's disgusted to work at a company that has (Inaudible) whatsoever to do with Fox News.

Seth MacFarlane, creator of Family Guy says he's embarrassed to work for 21st Century Fox. He was rebutting something that Tucker Carlson said about the rest of the media. Judd Apatow, who worked for Fox 16 years ago, tweeted, let's put it up, if every Fox star and show runner said this policy was evil and protested to the Murdoch family, it would make a huge difference in the national debate.

So beside the fact that it was Murdoch's New York Post and Wall Street Journal-led editorial, he's harshly against the family separation policy. What do you make of this harsh criticism from Hollywood types?

FISCHER: I mean there are a couple of things to say. Here, one is that as you mention with that merger, I mean it does give potentially some of the entertainment folks, people who are within 21st Century Fox's entertainment assets that would be separated from Fox News a little bit of maybe potentially freedom to think that they can criticize the news arm that they will be separated from.

But again, any time the Hollywood elite come out and they take some issue against you know Trump policies or etcetera, it further creates the divide between the Hollywood elitism versus the standard every day people that's been sort of the hallmark of the Trump presidency.

KURTZ: And by the way, one of these guys (Inaudible) they are not quitting. They don't seem to be giving up any money. I mean they're using their platform. They have every right to speak out, but they are blaming the company because some people -- and it's almost always opinion people. Let's not talk about the news division. Opinion people said things about the immigration controversy on Fox News that they don't agree with.

FISCHER: That's right. Though, I will say that brings up a point, which is that sometimes it can be hard to distinguish if you are just an average everyday viewer or through somebody within the company in every division like the difference between news and opinion. But still, coming out with these statements saying that you don't condone something that (Inaudible) separate unit is doing, I don't know what the actual impact of that will be.

KURTZ: You look at Judd Apatow and I like his movies. But he's so emotional in his criticism of the Trump administration. He's called Jeff Sessions an f'ing kidnapper. And he wrote also the Murdoch family and others see Hitler type rallies as entertainment to make money off of, the people who covered the Trump rallies. Now you're invoking Hitler.

And so I just wonder whether or not they are playing to their own crowd. But as you were saying, I mean lots of these people who would watch these Netflix shows or watch the movies, half the country would not agree with a lot of this.

FISCHER: That's right. It can be absolutely polarizing. But I think going back to the point when we were saying before about Peter Fonda. What you were just saying about some of the things that Judd Apatow is saying is you have to make sure that no matter what criticism or what point of view you have, you say it in a way that's going to be not completely over the line. And you can get to that point pretty easily when you are tweeting out things just off the cuff.

KURTZ: Right. You know let's take the way Melania Trump's boy.

FISCHER: That's right.

KURTZ: About pedophiles and then Hitler type rallies. I think even people who would be willing to give a respectful hearing to it get completely turned off by this kind of.

FISCHER: Over the top rhetoric.

KURTZ: Over the top is probably polite. I mean I think Peter Fonda's stuff was unhinged. And I don't think he disagrees. And I didn't come here to beat up on him, but this is crazy. I mean he apologized but you know -- first you do the damage and then you apologize.

FISCHER: And it doesn't matter how long you apologize and how many times you delete that tweet. You just put it up there.


KURTZ: Forever. That's the nature of the internet, which you covered. Sara Fischer, thanks very much for stopping by.

FISCHER: Thank you.

KURTZ: After the break, isn't there enough overheated rhetoric about the whole migrant family's controversy without dragging in Nazi references? That's next.


KURTZ: Through emotional criticism of the administration's approach to separating families at the border, some couldn't resist resorting to Nazi analogies.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The images suggest though that concentration camps, families being cut apart, children ripped from their parents. What country would do this? What good country would allow it? This is Donald Trump's doing.


KURTZ: Michael Hayden, a former head of the NSA made the comparison by posting a picture of a Nazi death camp. CNN Wolf Blitzer offered a highly personal rebuttal.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I speak with some authority. My grandparents were murdered at Auschwitz. And my dad survived. But two of his brothers and two of his sisters were killed at Auschwitz. They were separated. So when you make the comparison to Auschwitz, that's such a powerful image, and you understand the criticism you are getting for that as bad as this policy is.



KURTZ: And Hayden apologized to anyone who was offended. We're back with Mollie Hemingway. So there are plenty of heart felt criticisms of the family separation but what about those who feel compelled to make these Nazi analogies.

HEMINGWAY: Well, it is a very emotional situation. There is a moral cost to separating children from adults. But this is another thing where I think the media could show more light than heat by just getting the basic facts right. It is actually common when people break the law that they might be separated from their children, and the children who were separated were not jailed but put in you know facilities run by the Health and Human Services agency.

To compare HHS to Auschwitz is so deeply problematic and so insensitive to the actual situation at hand. And it also causes distrust with the media when the media are making these kinds of arguments or when they're highlighting really inflammatory rhetoric. It makes it hard to take them seriously about the nature of the situation.

KURTZ: MSNBC's (Inaudible) after Trump supporters, she said if you vote for Trump, you are standing at the border like a Nazi. But interesting, the New York Times has a pretty good piece on the politics of rage. And it says that President Trump calls detractors idiots and morons and weak and dishonest and they escalate, and you have Robert De Niro dropping the F Bomb against Trump, Samantha Bee using the C word, calling him a fascist and all that. And any sense of civility just vanishes.

HEMINGWAY: Yeah. And it's a great argument against Donald Trump that his rhetoric is inflammatory. But it's really difficult argument to make when you are upping the ante even than he is.

KURTZ: Yeah. And that's what this piece suggests, is that they are overreacting to the President (Inaudible). He insults people and that's part of what he does. But then if you go even further, aren't you undermining your own credibility?

HEMINGWAY: We are remembering Charles Krauthammer this week, and one of the really brilliant insights that he had was that conservatives think liberals are conservatives, and liberals think conservatives are evil. And you see that in some of the coverage in the commentary surrounding this. For a lot of people, it's not that there is a policy difference about how to enforce the border and how to have border security.

Certain people are evil and other people are just. And point the fact there are moral costs to not enforcing the bored and there are moral costs to separating children. This is a really complicated topic. It would be so nice if we had a media environment that actually encouraged conversation and thinking about the differences that people have and how to come to a healthy solution that Americans can unite behind, and than have a rule of law to enforce that.

KURTZ: It would be so nice but that is not the media.


KURTZ: -- that we live in. And you know any discussion of this, and I get hammered from both sides if I say (Inaudible) it gets hijacked by what aboutism. So because Trump supporters point to the toxic coverage he gets thrown at him and his family and his press secretary this week, they come back and say well, you know he called Chuck Todd an SOB, and it's just what about this one and what about this one, and the whole culture just seems to go onto the gutter.

HEMINGWAY: I think that's true, but it's also true that most of Americans aren't like this. And most Americans actually do have similar conversation and several debates. And the way to achieve better outcomes is by being better yourself and by reaching out to people who have different policy views and not treating like they're.


KURTZ: So if commentators doing it because it's television. They want to break through to the statics. The worst think you say you know it's going to get picked up on the website.


HEMINGWAY: I think there is something inherently problematic about social media that incentivizes people to act crazy. But also I think it's a problem of (Inaudible). There is not a lot of intellectual diversity in news rooms and so you don't have a lot of pushback within news rooms when you are saying something really outrageous to half of the country.

KURTZ: A good and civil discussion, Mollie Hemingway. Have a great week. Still to come, as Mollie mentioned, tributes are still pouring in after the death of Charles Krauthammer. My thoughts on his impact on journalism, in a moment, let's take a look at his memorial service currently underway right now in a synagogue in Chevy Chase, Maryland.


KURTZ: A towering example for those of us in the news business. And not just by the obvious fact that he overcame his physical disabilities. In fact, he rarely spoke about it. Half of the people he met didn't know he was in a wheelchair because he wanted to be judged by the same standard as everyone else. Being called courageous, he said, drives me to distraction.

He was a powerful journalistic force, not just on this network but as a writer for the Republic and then the Washington Post and Time Magazine and was a newspaper columnist. I would read a Krauthammer piece and say, man, I wish I had written that. Once (Inaudible) he didn't like about his stances on major boost on the Iraq war and he called that we have a forceful exchange of views.

Now whether he was coining the term the Reagan Doctrine or Bush Derangement Syndrome, it was his intellectual firepower that helped shape modern conservatism. He was a strong critic of candidate Donald Trump but occasionally praised him as President. It's no surprise that Krauthammer's liberal antagonists have joined in praising him.

But he skewered his targets with aggressive arguments and a sharp wit, never falling into that nasty, shouting, corrosive finger in the eye style debate that is so popular among many of today's pundits. He spoke with a soft voice. But that voice was always heard.


CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: You are betraying your whole life if you don't say what you think and you don't say it honestly and bluntly.


KURTZ: Charles was blunt indeed. And a tribute to this baseball fanatic would have, it was a moment of silence at the Washington Nationals Park. As we close this edition of "Media Buzz," let me just say to honor Charles' legacy, not that most of us could ever match his standard, I will try even harder to report and analyze the news with the rigor and with passion, but without the anger and the name calling that he always rose above.

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