Trump talk dominates campaign; paper changes Hillary story

This is a rush transcript from "MediaBuzz," July 26, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

HOWARD KURTZ, HOST: On the Buzz Meter this Sunday, Donald Trump at the border, Donald Trump leading in new polls today, Donald Trump dominating the coverage, Donald Trump ripping Iowa's top newspaper. Even as some pundits attack him, dismiss him or struggle to figure out his appeal.


DONALD TRUMP, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Some of the political media is great and really honest. Even if they don't want to be, they are really honest. I find that 60, 70 percent of the political media is really, really dishonest.

JOHN MCCORMACK, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: And I think what this really shows is that Donald Trump is a political fraud, because Donald Trump isn't playing by the normal rules of political combat. He's not backing down here. He's not giving an inch.

STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC: People don't trust you and the people don't trust the media, and I understand why.


KURTZ: Why is the Donald still driving the news coverage, and is the press boosting his bombastic campaign. Our guests include Frank Luntz, who pressed Trump on whether John McCain is a war hero, and the Senator's daughter, Meghan McCain.

The New York Times reports that two federal investigators seeking a Justice Department probe of whether Hillary Clinton's private e-mails revealed classified information, and the paper changes the story after her campaign pushes back. We'll take a look. Those disturbing Planned Parenthood videos, why have some of the mainstream avoided or minimized the story? We'll have a report card. Plus, the last love fest between Jon Stewart and President Obama.


JON STEWART, COMEDY CENTRAL: The media, you love them. They love you. Are we focused on the wrong things, are we demanding too much of you, are we demanding too much of government? Are we too inflammatory?

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: First of all, the media is a bunch of different medias. There are some that get on my nerves more than others. I think it gets distracted by shiny objects.


KURTZ: How much will the President and the left miss Stewart's "Daily Show." I'm Howard Kurtz and this is "MediaBuzz."

We can now measure the campaign news cycle by which Donald Trump controversy the media are fixated on. First, Trump accused the media of distorting his remarks about John McCain's war record, although he did retreat a couple of inches with Bill O'Reilly.


BILL O'REILLY, FOX NEWS: You do think John McCain is a hero. I know you do.

TRUMP: I do and by the way I said it. Certainly there was a misunderstanding I would totally take that back.


KURTZ: And Trump went to the border at Laredo, Texas. Fox, CNN, MSNBC, all up with live coverage and he swatted away a question from Jose Diaz- Balart of MSNBC and Telemundo.


JOSE DIAZ-BALART, MSNBC/TELEMUNDO: Many feel that what you said, when you said that the people across the border are rapists and murderers.

TRUMP: We are talking about illegal immigration and everybody understands it. And you know what? That's a typical case of the press with misinterpretation. They take a half a sentence -- by the way, they take a half a sentence and they take a quarter of a sentence and they put it all together. It's a typical thing.


KURTZ: The other 15 Republican candidates, when they got attention at all, found themselves watching coverage of Trump or fielding questions about Trump.


Mika Brzezinski, MSNBC: I can't help it. We have to start with Donald Trump.

BILL HEMMER, FOX NEWS: What is it specifically about Donald Trump that is tapping into many Americans at the moment, Senator?

SEN. RAND PAUL, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It could be the free billion of dollars of publicity he's gotten by being on every channel all the time.


KURTZ: Is that true? Joining us now to examine the campaign coverage, Amy Holmes, who Anchors the Hotlist at the Blaze, Susan Ferrechio, Chief Congressional Correspondent for the Washington Examiner, and Simon Rosenberg, President of NDN, the New Democratic Network. Amy, Trump visits the Texas border. Fox, CNN, MSNBC, cover it like when he gets off the plane like a presidential visit. Why?

AMY HOLMES, THE HOTLIST ANCHOR: Why, because Trump is good for business. He's great copy. He's this larger than life guy, he's willing to say anything and take that criticism. I actually think that Trump and media are frenemies. That's how everyone explains their relationship. He loves them just as much as they love him.

KURTZ: We shouldn't feel bad when he bashes us.

HOLMES: No, absolutely not. But when you look at the Laredo visit, a quote that I don't think got as much play as if it would have been another Republican is when he said that when it comes to Latinos, that thousands of them work for him, and they all love him. Can you imagine another Republican saying that? The media would have been all over him.

HOLMES: On that point Susan, would a typical candidate, the press might say is such a visit, well, he didn't offer any solutions, it was basically a photo-up, he talked about how he'll win the Hispanic vote, not with Donald Trump.

SUSAN FERRECHIO, WASHINGTON EXAMINER: They are feeding off each other actually. I think with the clip you played was very telling. He's talking about something the public is feeling increasingly about the media. They don't have trust in the media. We rank lower than members of Congress in poll numbers. He's talking about that. That's fueling his candidacy because people are fed up with coverage, and so that's working in his favor. And then the press of course is giving him, as you showed, so much attention. He starts every newscast all the time. That's a phenomenon, it really is, and it's huge. I think they are fueling each other, the press and Donald Trump.

KURTZ: It's a phenomenon. Simon, what did you make of the way that Trump slapped down MSNBC's Jose Diaz-Balart on his immigration question? (Inaudible)

SIMON ROSENBERG, THE NEW DEMOCRATIC NETWORK: Well, I actually saw Jose talk about that that morning. I was watching MSNBC, another network and he was upset. The whole segment that then he was very tough on Trump in the segment to try to get into the data on what had really gone on with immigration.

KURTZ: Although he wasn't very precise in his question. He made it sound like Trump was saying that all people crossing the border are criminals.

ROSENBERG: Well, to be fair, when Trump said it the first time, it was clear that he was not talking about undocumented immigrants the first time. He actually changed that over time and that's part of what's going on with Trump now is he's calibrating. And I think that he has a big choice to make. Is he going to become a more conventional serious candidate, hire staff, try to run in these campaigns, or he is going to be this sort of media phenomenon, and can he keep it up? And I think that's going to be one of the biggest questions as we go forward.

FERRECHIO: And is the press going to start covering him as a serious candidate? I don't get the sense right now that he's being treated as incredibly serious candidate in terms of questions that are being asked of him, and the way he's being written about as a novelty.

KURTZ: I have to point out as media phenomenon as you put it, he's continuing to lead in polls. There is a new CNN poll out this morning, which has Donald Trump in a lead nationally, he's ahead in the NBC poll in New Hampshire, and he's two points behind Scott Walker in an NBC poll in Iowa.

Amy, you got to ask Trump a question on MSNBC. And he began -- he was phoning by complaining that Morning Joe had the temerity to spend maybe two minutes talking about some other candidates and not him. Talk about the exchange you had with Trump.

HOLMES: Trump's regard for himself I think is bottomless. But in terms of questioning him to your point, I did get to ask him, I thought, an important political question, which he's been quoted as saying that he identifies -- has identified more as a Democrat that he believes the economy has done better under Democrats. I think what you're seeing -- the really critical, at least analysis of Donald Trump in terms of substance is actually in right-wing media bloggers and so forth who were absolutely all over Donald Trump's answer to me, and have been saying over and over that Donald Trump is not a conservative, he's an opportunist and pointing out where his positions have flip-flopped as we put him forward as America's great leader.

KURTZ: Some mainstream news organizations have pointed out the way in which he's moved on issues like health care and so forth. But it doesn't seem to matter. Susan, I want to play for you a little bite of Donald Trump in Iowa yesterday. The backdrop here is that the Des Moines Register in an editorial had called him as a blowhard, some of the names and he should get out of the race. Let's see how Trump handled that.


TRUMP: I just want to thank you, and actually the Des Moines Register is standing outside, too. That's sort of funny. You know, it's a super liberal rag.


KURTZ: So Trump pulled the credentials, wouldn't grant credentials to the reporter who has nothing to do with the editorial page if you know how newspapers work.

FERRECHIO: That's a great move for him, for publicity and for -- like I said people that don't like the media, they're fed up with the media. But as a reporter, I will tell you that the editorial side and people who are out covering the news, there's a wall between us. So when someone writes an editorial that's unfavorable to a political candidate, it's not supposed to affect the way a reporter covers that candidate. But the public doesn't care about that anymore it seems. That was a point on Trump's side.

HOLMES: At least he didn't round him up with a rope.

KURTZ: Trump picks fights with the press as you know. When I interviewed him at Trump Tower, he told me as soon as we were done, you kept bringing up negative things, which puzzle me because it would've been a pretty fair interview. And then I saw he said the same thing to Anderson Cooper, same thing to NBC's Katy Tur. He tells the Hill he's considering a third-party run because Republicans don't treat him fairly, and then he kind of backtracks on that. All of which generates more stories and more news cycles.

ROSENBERG: Listen, I think he's in this for the long haul. When he emerged, I said right away that he's a serious candidate. He's going to be in this thing for the long haul. I think he's having a lot of fun. I think the other thing is that he's interesting. It's fun. Politics is boring most of the time. I think if you're the other Republicans, what's happening is that the Republican field is now in two tiers, Walker, Bush and Trump in the upper tier. The other 13 are sucking wind and are not able to break through this media storm for Trump. It's a big problem for the Republicans in terms of this other very talented candidates trying to get air time, and so it's becoming a self-reinforce thing for Trump.

KURTZ: So you look at some of the spectacles, Lindsay Graham, setting a cell phone on fire, Trump gave out his phone number, Rick Perry calling Trump a cancer on conservatism. It seems like the only way other that many of these other Republicans can get any air time, any ink is by tangling with Trump.

HOLMES: Yeah and it's been successful for them. I would say that there are three tiers. There is the Trump tier, serious candidates and others in single digits. Look, it is news that Trump is gaining traction among Republicans and Republican leaning voters, but I think you can attribute that to his celebrity, et cetera. But the media is so focused on the horse race so there is nothing they love more than Republicans fighting and warfare on the right. But again, the media isn't really putting its feet to the fire when it comes to what is his agenda beyond apparently trying to get Mexico to pay for a wall, which is completely ridiculous.


KURTZ: He kind of brushes it off with I'll find a way, you'll find out. So you're saying the media aren't doing it. I'm saying he defies convention by not really answering many questions. It does not seem to matter.

HOLMES: You're not seeing so many stories about the flip-flopping and who he really is, you're seeing a lot of stories about, wow -- Trump is leading the other Republican contenders.

KURTZ: After the John McCain furor, the comments about he's not a war hero which he says he took back, all of these pundits came on and said this is the beginning of the end. He's going to implode now. And they were all wrong. They've been consistently wrong about Trump.

HOLMES: The scant coverage has been given to why he continues to do so well. At the heart of that is really talking to people who support Trump. I have been very surprised at the endurance and level of support for Donald Trump. That in itself deserves a lot more coverage than its getting. It has to do with problems within the Republican Party itself. But I think really examining what's going on here amongst the voters is really the responsibility of the media right now and its being largely ignored.

KURTZ: I think we're starting to see signs of it now. Simon, this gets to the million dollar question. This was a colossal failure of journalism. You had all of these people, who are very smart political reporters and analysts, and commentators and blowhards, who consistently dismissed Trump at the beginning, who mocked him, who said -- kept saying he's going to blow up. He's now leading most Republican polls. How did the media blow it so badly?

ROSENBERG: It's amazing. They blew it not only in the beginning but on the McCain thing. Everyone in Washington immediately said it's over. He's done.

KURTZ: He's gone up in the polls.

ROSENBERG: He's gone up in the polls and part of this as my colleagues said here, there's tremendous frustration and anger in the country about what's going on in America and a sense things aren't going the right direction and they're angry at the media, and there's this big frustration that he's tapping into that's durable and powerful. And I think it's also a sign of how weak some of the other Republican candidates are that he's been able to surge this far. But listen, he's in it for the long haul here. He's now got to not just show, but he's got to show well the rest of the way.

KURTZ: Right. I think that anger, I think you hit on something really important here and that we need to do a better job of exploring that. I know you have opinions about this because I see this all the time on Twitter and Facebook. Send me a tweet @HowardKurtz, we'll read some later.

When we come back, the New York Times scoop on a possible criminal probe on Hillary Clinton's e-mails is softened after complaints from her campaign. Was that proper?

And later, Meghan McCain offers her take on dealing with personal attacks, and yes the media and Donald Trump.


KURTZ: The New York Times broke the story Thursday night, reporting that two inspector's generals asking for a Justice Department probe of "Whether Hillary Rodham Clinton mishandled sensitive government information on a private email account she used as Secretary of State." But the paper later changed this to whether sensitive government information was mishandled in connection with the personal email account Hillary Rodham Clinton used, a far more passive choice of words. And Susan, Times Reporter Michael Schmidt has been out there saying that the Clinton Campaign is pushed back, the newspaper thought they had a point -- the campaign had point, anything questionable about softening that story?

FERRECHIO: Well, I also question how the Justice Department handled it. They first came out and did call it a criminal referral, and then they came out later and said no, it's not a criminal referral.

KURTZ: But speak to the question of...

FERRECHIO: The New York Times had a responsibility to come out and change their headline based on the changes in how the Justice Department responded to this.

KURTZ: But didn't tell readers about this until almost a full day and it became a correction. So on this point about the inspectors generals say it wasn't criminal. By the way I should mention Hillary took questions in Iowa yesterday. She said I did not send or receive anything that was classified at the time, contradicted by the I.G.s. Is that whole thing just semantics?

HOLMES: Yes, particularly in changing to this passive voice. Who was writing these emails? If it was an assistant or housekeeper or dog walker, we should know this. I think the New York Times was playing semantics here. I don't remember them issuing a clarification on Marco Rubio's luxury yacht that turned out to be a modest fishing boat. You can't blame the Clintons for asking the New York Times to make these changes, of course they can't be -- but you can blame the New York Times for acquiescing.

KURTZ: Well, unless the Times think its story was wrong, my problem was not leveling with readers we made this change and here's why. There's a second correction about this criminal referral thing. I used to cover the Justice Department. Any time a civil agency sends something to Justice, it's potentially criminal no matter what it's called, no matter what it's labeled, no matter what the phraseology is. The Hillary campaign is going against the Times pretty hard, calling the story false, saying this incident shows the danger of relying on reckless, inaccurate leaks from partisan sources. We don't know who the sources are. But the Times didn't mention that the Hillary campaign had gone against the paper. That seems to be part of the story.

ROSENBERG: I think the Times is going to have to better explain what happened here. The fact that we're still talking about this on Sunday, that there's lack of clarity and this is a big issue and I think it's particularly important because the way that the e-mail situation is set up, is that there are going to be releases of email now every month for the next few months. This is not going to go away. All other news organizations are going to have to be writing about this, this is going to be constantly in the media.

KURTZ: Not to drag Trump into this segment, but he called into CNN this morning and said what Hillary did was criminal. That remains to be proven.

ROSENBERG: And so I think that this is -- the Times needs to -- since they're going to be writing about this a lot over the next six months, they need to get their act together here quickly in order to make sure that they have credibility to stay with the story over the next six months.

KURTZ: Just briefly, Hillary's practice of generally not taking too many questions from too many news organizations, does that hurt her on this story as it continues to unfold?

HOLMES: It has and it hasn't. Yes it's hurt her because it just screams credulity to believe that the Secretary of State exclusively using private emails to not also traffic in classified information. That's just ridiculous. But on the other side, yeah because it's kicking up dust, it's making it confusing. And the public is saying I don't understand this story anymore.

FERRECHIO: She scored one against the media on Friday when the New York Times came out with the correction, she could get out there and talk about the inaccuracies and the media again making mistakes, and that was definitely a point in her...

KURTZ: Right. The Times did not get the better of that exchange. Susan Ferrechio, Simon Rosenberg, Amy Holmes as always, thanks very much for joining us.

Ahead, Jon Stewart tells Barack Obama the media loves him, but the President still complaining about his coverage. But up next, Frank Luntz, the man who challenged Donald Trump on John McCain's war hero status will be here.


KURTZ: It was at a forum in Iowa last week, that moderator Frank Luntz pressed Donald Trump about his criticism of John McCain, and Luntz who called him a war hero.


FRANK LUNTZ, POLLSTER: Referring to people as rapists -- John McCain a war hero five and a half years as a POW, and you call him a dummy. Is that appropriate in running for President?

TRUMP: You have got to let me speak though, Frank, because you interrupt all the time, ok. He hit me. He's a war hero. He's a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren't captured.


KURTZ: Joining us now is Frank Luntz, Republican Pollster and Fox News Contributor. So you interrupted Trump. You pushed back with the phrase war hero. This whole controversy is your fault.

LUNTZ: I had to do my job. I didn't know about which questions I was going to ask. I had not settled on it until about 2:30 in the morning. Because I wanted to be fair to the candidates, I wanted to be informative to the audience, who is responsive by the family leader. And I wanted the press who was sitting in the front three rows to get something out of it. I had no idea that was going to happen.

KURTZ: Did you sense at the time it would become a defining moment?

LUNTZ: You can tell by the audience. There's a gasp. This is what I don't understand with Donald Trump. He absolutely is credible with the voters. He absolutely has a message, but he doesn't see and hear what's going on. Frank, I got a standing ovation. Every one of the ten candidates got a standing ovation. You see Frank, they applauded me. The fact is they interrupted Ted Cruz and Mike Huckabee and Bobby Jindal with multiple standing ovations, not Donald Trump.

KURTZ: And by the way, you've talked to nine other Presidential Candidates, I didn't read or hear a syllable about of those other interviews. It was about Trump. You also did a focus group recently in which you asked people about Donald Trump. Let's play a little bit about that.


LUNTZ: What are phrases to describe Donald Trump?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He speaks his mind.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's a womanizer. He has more wives than any other president.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's a sensationalist and he's a media whore.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Best thing that ever happened to Jeb Bush.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He never had a chance. Clown.


KURTZ: Is all of the nonstop coverage that we've talked about and that you see on every news channel and every newspaper, is that boosting Trump?

LUNTZ: Absolutely. He absolutely is the front runner. He's walking into that August 6th Fox News Debate number one. And I never dreamed that could happen. But that's partially the media's fault. There is so much outrage among people who sit at desks like this about what he says when there should be accountability.

KURTZ: You say fault as if we're responsible for Donald Trump?

LUNTZ: Partially, yes. If you will put it on me because I asked him a question...

KURTZ: I'm not putting it on you -- that was half in jest. But I would say in terms of underestimating Donald Trump, never have so many gotten it so wrong about one billionaire.

LUNTZ: And it's been print media, it's been on television, because they don't understand the voters. Republican primary voter wants some sort of consistency, and they want to know where these candidates stand. So instead of being outraged or predicting that he's going to drop out, which he's not, this guy is in it to stay, then you should be showing what he's said on TV, what he's written in his books about abortion because that's changed, about health care because that has changed. Stop yelling I say to the media, and instead start reporting.

KURTZ: Ok. You also in that focus group asked people their opinion of credibility of the American media and you heard something surprising.

LUNTZ: To my shock, they had more faith in the BBC than they did in American media outlets. I said wait a minute. This is a foreign outlet. Their response was but that's because they're not bias and because they're not ideological. And I actually believe that they are. But to the average American, the BBC tells the truth, and they don't trust media because they think they've got some sort of bias either left or right. That's a real problem.

KURTZ: It's not just the British accent.

LUNTZ: You speak British, whether you have a college degree, people think you're smart.

KURTZ: So in our final half minute, does that reflect a deep-seated unease and distrust with those of us in the news business?

LUNTZ: It's deep. There's a cynicism, there's distrust, and there is an anger that I hear in my focus groups all across the country. The American people are asking for a simple concept, the truth.

KURTZ: People might define the truth differently if they're on the left or right.

LUNTZ: Absolutely, but the truth is still the truth. And they want it from you, Howard. They want it from the candidates and they feel like they're not getting it. And the reason why Donald Trump does so well is because they think that he's telling them the truth at least as he sees it. That's why he's in first place.

KURTZ: All right, Frank Luntz, great to see you in Washington in person.

Ahead, why are those disturbing Planned Parenthood videos big news for some media outlets and non news for others.

But first, as Jon Stewart gets ready to bow out after a presidential interview, was he an equal opportunity harasser, or a Democratic defender?


KURTZ: Barack Obama made his seventh and final appearance on The Daily Show this week as Jon Stewart winds up his long run. And it's no secret, the comedian likes the President and doesn't particularly like Republicans for that matter. Maybe that's why Obama got to deliver long answers about the Iran nuclear deal, but they did have an interesting discussion about the media.


STEWART: Have people in government, have people in administration, and has your office, have you yourself, have you become too guarded in the way that you speak to the American people and to practice in the art of spin?

OBAMA: The problem with our interaction with the media is probably overstated. I think what's understated is the balkanization, the splintering of the media generally, so it's hard for us to get one conversation. You got folks who are constantly looking for facts that reinforce their existing point of view.


KURTZ: Joining us now for the ZBlock, to look at Jon Stewart's 16-year career, is David Zurawik, Television and Media Critic for the Baltimore Sun. So Jon Stewart's never exactly hard on Barack Obama, but was that a good interview?

DAVID ZURAWIK, BALTIMORE SUN MEDIA CRITIC: No. Oh my god, Howie. It was 22 minutes and 13 seconds of let Obama spin his spin. Jon Stewart really is an important cultural force, did something great. He engaged young people in political process. But what comes with it is an ideology. He has an ideology that is left wing ideology and it's there. So he gave him a clear run. You know, he asked a good question actually about should we have three years of college and then one year of service of some kind, which is a big policy question. Obama said that would be interesting, meaning I'm never going to take that, and then he said you know what I really like young people to do and he looked in the camera, and said I like them to really think about this Iran deal. It's such a good thing. And I would like you to contact your elected official in Congress. It's in there.

KURTZ: Political commercial. I like that he asked the President are you too guarded, are you too full of spin. But at the beginning we showed at the top of the show not all of the media love Obama. He said media love you and you love them. Obama clearly resents some of his coverage, and Jon Stewart talked to journalists in the beltway, they complain about not having enough access and doing interviews with regular reporters opposed to Youtube stars and Buzz Feed.

ZURAWIK: Listen Howie, this was astonishing to me when he asked about the media. Obama by the way loves to talk about media. Most of his analysis is wrong or its 10 years old or it's a politician who hates the media. But Stewart should have asked him, this is the administration that has changed the rules of White House imagery. You can't take pictures. You only get to control pictures. What about Rosen and Risen, the reporters, won here and one at the New York Times that he went after. This is one of the most hostile press administrations in the world, and for him to let him get away with things, the press is interested and gets distracted like we're a bunch of fools.

We're not the fools. We have an administration that is as hostile as Richard Nixon's, and we've tried to push back, and its guys like Jon Stewart who let him get away with it. I was so angry when I saw Stewart not even -- he could have gently and respectfully followed up.

KURTZ: Is this you being angry? It's your normal voice to me.

ZURAWIK: Because from February after Obama took office, I have been screaming this guy hates the press and he's done nothing but try to take power away from the press.

KURTZ: You have some company in that now some 6 1/2, 7 years later. How much of an impact the whole Stewart, mocking of pundits and politics, using video to expose contradictions, did that have an impact on TV news itself?

ZURAWIK: I don't know if it had an impact on TV news, Howie, but I think it had a profound impact on culture. I have to tell you, the college students that I encounter now, really think Jon Stewart is what it means to be politically smart. He has taught -- this is profound. He has not just taught him to care about politics, but he taught him a way to look at the world. Republicans are fools. Remember his last comment, about Trump -- him and Obama sharing the laugh about Trump is typical of those two together and everybody else is a fool on the right.

KURTZ: Of course, remember that Jon Stewart -- this was a decade ago, went on CNN and personally got the network to cancel Crossfire, by saying the host was hurting America. Look, I've been on the show, I've tangled with him. He's funny.

ZURAWIK: He's brilliant.

KURTZ: He can also be kind of mean, and he can also use clips to distort and says it's just comedy. Interesting in an interview, Stewart says now that he's leaving, he won't watch Fox News anymore, unless there's a nuclear winter. He's not exactly hiding his world view, though he did seem to have a bromance thing with Bill O'Reilly.

ZURAWIK: I question O'Reilly. I think O'Reilly should've held his ground against Stewart and not take any embrace. But I'm serious, you look at things that Jon Stewart did with Anthony Weiner, when he defended him and attacked the press. He protects his friends. He's not an honest broker like a newsman would be, and yet he's...

KURTZ: So why as we finish this up, why does Jon Stewart get such glowing press most of the time even though you say he's tilted, and he's basically in bed with the left, and that he's giving college students an unrealistic view of the world.

ZURAWIK: Howie, I think one of the reasons is a lot of the field of media criticism today is not filled with first rate intellects. They see Jon Stewart make...

KURTZ: We're too dumb?

ZURAWIK: We're going to do what Stewart and Obama did. We're going to say we're smart, and everyone else is dumb. But seriously, they see him and he's a smart guy and they go that's brilliant what he said, but they didn't think of it. It's their job to think of it. They're supposed to think of it and not watch a comedian who has a totally different agenda.

KURTZ: He has done something that journalists should have figured out. David Zurawik, good to see you as always.

Coming up, Meghan McCain's take on the media and Donald Trump, as the Senator's daughter and now a Radio Host.

And later, Bill Cosby sends a lawyer out to make TV rounds that's too little, and way too late.


KURTZ: When Donald Trump touched off a furor by initially dissing John McCain's status as a war hero, one of the most interesting observers was the Senator's daughter. And joining us now from Los Angeles to talk about that and much more, is Meghan McCain, who just launched radio show on the premier networks, and is the newest Fox News Contributor. Meghan, you're accustomed to people taking shots at your dad...


KURTZ: Was there something different -- good morning -- about what Donald Trump said?

MCCAIN: It was more personal. I think any time you attack veterans or POW's, it's something that's beyond the pale. But at this point, I think everyone in the media is sick of talking about it. I'm sick of talking about it. People are coming up to me in the streets saying nice things, but I think Donald Trump thinking about things he says that comes out of his mouth are not thinking about things that he says that come out of his mouth. At the end of the day, I think he's going to be his worst enemy.

KURTZ: Given that you've been through two presidential campaigns with your father and obviously he's been the subject of sniping from various directions, have you developed a thicker skin about it?

MCCAIN: People can say anything to me, or about me and I won't care. And people can say almost anything they want about my father and I won't care. When you say something about veterans, or veterans service, that's when I care and when I get really angry. I will say that last week was the most emotional I've been over any personal attacks against my father in a really long time. Again, I think it was just because it was so beyond the pale. Again, this has been discussed at nauseam at this point about what Donald Trump said about my father, and it doesn't seem to be affecting him at the moment, but I do think in the long run when we start -- we're 469 days away from the election. And I think in the long-term as we get closer, voters are going to start to realize this is a man who doesn't think about what he says before the words come out of his mouth.

KURTZ: You say people can say anything about you. I remember a time when you were getting pilloried on Twitter because you posted a picture of yourself with a low-cut dress. That doesn't bother you?

MCCAIN: No, it doesn't bother me anymore. Howard, you've known me a long time. I haven't had the luxury of making mistakes in private. I've been the daughter of a senator since I was a young girl. I've made dumb mistakes that I have learned and grown from. I'm almost 31. I have also learned to be very careful about what you put on Twitter, which is something I did not do when I was 24 and I have to live with that forever. But honestly, it makes young people and young girls relate to me more. It's not interesting to have a perfect veneer on the outside. It's more interesting when people have scars and make mistakes and will openly talk about it. We're not living in a Norman Rockwell time, we're living in 2015, and if anything, the mistakes I've made in my youth have actually helped me talk to young people about politics in an entirely different way. So I don't really regret it.

KURTZ: We've made mistakes both in our youth and maybe last week. You spent a year as a Contributor at MSNBC. What was that like?

MCCAIN: Oh, man. Well, I'm extremely happy to be part of the Fox News family. I've only been working here a week. Working at MSNBC was personally a very negative time in my life. I didn't enjoy it for a lot of different reasons. You know, I'm a hardcore Republican. I don't think it was necessarily the right fit. I think a lot of people liked their time at MSNBC but I've grown a lot since. I've worked on other TV shows and I'm just happy to be here working at Fox News. And I'll let people that study media harder figure out exactly what's going on over there.

KURTZ: Right. You mentioned young people. You're not the spokeswoman for all millennials but how much interest would you say that they have in news stories and political coverage, or is it more sharing clips from Facebook and tweets as opposed to more traditional news business type stuff?

MCCAIN: Well, you can't underestimate the power of social media, and Republicans especially are really going to have to utilize social media in a way that we haven't in the last two election cycles. But I find young people to be incredibly politically active and incredibly well read and politically savvy. The only thing that's different is 50 percent of millennials consider themselves independents, which is a huge rise even since 2004 when I was in college. And trying to reach out to young people is going to take more than just staying across party lines and using strict messaging. We're going to have to broaden ourselves and talk and communicate in a different way, which President Obama did quite effectively in the past two election cycles. But I really believe that we have the opportunity to talk to young people in a different way than Hillary Clinton can. I don't think she's very good at communicating with young people and I don't think -- I think it's really an opportunity right now for whoever becomes the nominee to grab a whole new voting demographic that is voting independent right now.

KURTZ: Right. Well, I think the rise of social media is a great and healthy thing, it's also a challenge for those of us in the dinosaur media to adapt and be relevant online. Welcome to Fox. Thank you for joining us. Hope we'll see you again.

MCCAIN: Thank you so much. Appreciate it.

KURTZ: Meghan McCain thanks again.

After the break, a pro-life group goes undercover at Planned Parenthood, and ideology seems to drive some of the coverage.

And later, a big shake-up over the sex scandal story killed by Gawker.


KURTZ: I don't care if you're pro-choice or pro-life, the undercover videos of Planned Parenthood officials talking about cavalierly about crushing babies to preserve their organs, for tissue procurement are downright disturbing to watch.


DEB NUCATOLA, PLANNED PARENTHOOD: I'm not going to crush that part. I'm going to crush below, I'm going to crush above, and I'm gonna see if I can it all intact.


KURTZ: But there's been a great variation in the media's approach. It's been a prominent story on Fox since July 14th, the day the Pro Life Center for Medical Progress released the first video.


BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS: Startling revelations tonight that could put some in the abortion industry in a most uncomfortable position.


KURTZ: The next day, CNN did a couple of stories. MSNBC talked a little bit about the video, sometimes dismissively. The Washington Post carried a front page story. But look at the lead of New York Times' inside the paper piece. Abortion opponents on Tuesday renewed their campaign against Planned Parenthood with immediate impact among Republicans in Congress and the presidential race. And as Republicans called for investigation, CBS' morning and evening news, those shows were alone among the big three networks in airing full reports.


SCOTT PELLEY, CBS NEWS: Today, House Speaker John Boehner called for an investigation into Planned Parenthood and its handling of organs from aborted fetuses.


KURTZ: With the president of Planned Parenthood apologizing, NBC Nightly News got to the story four days after the video was released.


LESTER HOLT, NBC NEWS: It's put Planned Parenthood damage in control mode, apologizing for the tone of one its officials caught on that tape.


KURTZ: Last Sunday, the controversy was covered by Fox News Sunday and ignored by Meet the Press, Face the Nation, This Week and State of the Union. When a second video was released this week, again, lots of coverage on Fox and a full report on the CBS Evening News.


CHARLIE ROSE, CBS NEWS: Today the group released a second video to back up its claims.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Haggles over the price and jokes about buying an expensive sports car.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want a Lamborghini.


KURTZ: But nothing on NBC's Nightly News, ABC's World News, or all three network morning shows, and very little on CNN and MSNBC. To its credit, New York Times ran a page one profile of David Deline and the anti-abortion activist behind the sting operation. Now for Liberal outlets and Planned Parenthood itself have accused the center of deceptive editing, but the group also released the raw video for everyone to look at. There's no proof that Planned Parenthood broke the law but what was caught on video is by any definition news.

Still to come, your top tweets, high-level resignations at Gawker over a spiked sex story, and why I'm buzzed off about the latest twist in the Bill Cosby melodrama.


KURTZ: I am buzzed off about the whole Cosby story. Now that Bill Cosby's only damning words in a deposition have convinced most Americans that he's a sexual predator. Now his camp sends out a lawyer to argue that Cosby did nothing wrong and is being defamed through the media.


ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN: We have heard from the accusers that he did give them a powerful sedative, so powerful that they could not consent to sex with him. What is your response to that revelation?

MONIQUE PRESSLEY, ATTORNEY FOR BILL COSBY: And it's -- it's not really a revelation that quaaludes were used in the '70s. They were commonly used as a partying drug and they were also known to be used to increase sexual arousal.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS: Some claim they were drugged. Is it your position that Mr. Cosby never gave a woman drugs without her knowledge?

PRESSLEY: In fact, what we're looking at now is a situation where we started with a man who had not been charged with a crime, who has not been convicted of a crime, but instead has been accused of criminal activity.


KURTZ: You know what? I'm done with this story. I've heard the more than 30 accusers and interviewed one of them. I'm not interested in narrow legalistic language from attorneys. When Bill Cosby himself will sit for detailed interviews about whether he used drugs to rape or assault all these women, I will pay rapt attention. Until then stop blaming the media for reporting the evidence.

Time for your top tweets, did Donald Trump's trip to the border deserve such heavy media coverage? Writer, Monica Medina, let me think. No, when does he ever deserve such media attention? Trump, media overkill, that's the hashtag. SLC Runner, all outlets know Donald Trump moves the dial when it comes to eyeballs that drive when it's covered in my opinion. Charlie Packard, he's the Republican front-runner for now. Who else is doing anything media worthy? Espinosa's Rose, Trump and media are symbiotically related. He performs and they recklessly enable his narcissism by making it look as if it matters. No narcissism in television, right?

All right, there's been a huge blow up at Gawker, the gossip site's two top editors resigning in protest. We told you last week that Founder, Nick Denton took down a story about a media executive who planned a paid encounter with a gay porn star before backing out in the face of extortion. Editor-in-Chief Max Reid wrote, that non-editorial business executives were given a vote in the decision to remove it is an unacceptable and unprecedented breach of the editorial fire wall, and turns Gawker's claim to be the world's largest independent media company into essentially a joke.

Nick Denton, who is openly gay, responded that he made the decision as publisher with support from his business colleagues, and that the piece could have cost him $1 million in lost advertising, but he says, this is the company I built. I was ashamed to have my name and Gawker's associated with a story on the private life of a closeted gay man who some felt had nothing to warrant the attention. That post wasn't what Gawker should stand for, and it is symptomatic of a site that has been out of control of editorial management. This feels like a turning point for the sometime salacious site or so we can hope.

That's it for this edition of "MediaBuzz." I'm Howard Kurtz, check out our Facebook page. We hope you'll like it. We post a lot of original content there, including our Digital Download series, and check out our home page as well. We'll be back here next Sunday at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. Eastern with the latest Buzz.

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