Uproar over grand jury leak; Defending Donald Trump's honesty
This is a rush transcript from "MediaBuzz," August 6, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
HOWARD KURTZ, HOST: On the Buzz Meter this Sunday, with President Trump calling the Russia story a total fabrication, the media on red alert over a leaked development in the special counsel's probe.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
LESTER HOLT, NBC NEWS: The slow drum beat of the Russia investigation that is hot in the Trump administration, all summer long is picking up tempo tonight with reports special counsel Robert Mueller has now impaneled a grand jury.
CHRIS WALLACE, HOST, "FOX NEWS SUDNAY": There are new signs tonight of just how serious the investigation under Russian interference and last falls election is becoming. The Wall Street Journal reports, special counsel Robert Mueller has impaneled a grand jury.
LAWRENCE O'DONNELL, MSNBC: This grand jury is the single biggest threat ever faced by Donald Trump or anyone else named Trump or married to a Trump.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
KURTZ: But this is dramatic as some of the breathless coverage would suggest. Another media erruption over a Washington Post report that the president was behind Don Jr.'s first barebones statement on that meeting with the Russians and many pundits questioning his credibility.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC: He's clearly focused on covering for his son. But the motive is, into covering whether it's legal or not to lie to reporters or say misstatements to reporters, it certainly tells Bob Mueller, this guy is into a cover-up.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST, "HANNITY": Washington Post siting an anonymous source -- shocking anonymous --reporting the president was personally involved in his statement about his son, Don Jr.'s meeting with a Russian lawyer. I guess we live in a day and age where a father can't even help his son when false phony allegations are being made.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN: If the president so casually says things that aren't true about minor phone, that he makes some stuff so easily, especially stuff involving the president from another country, why should anyone believe him on the big stuff, the things that really do matter.
GREG GUTFELD, CO-HOST, "THE FIVE": If I have a have a president who lies about the Boy Scouts to destroy ISIS, I'll take the liar.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
KURTZ: Are the media buying the White House lying and the president was just acting like a father. We hear part of Anthony Scaramucci's profanely-laced call to a reporter that led in part to his ouster as communication's chief. Does the audio cast the story in a rather different life? Plus, CNN's Jim Acosta lectures a top White House official over a new policy on legal immigration.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: It looks like you are trying to engineer the racial and ethnic flow of people into this country.
STEPHEN MILLER, TRUMP SENIOR POLICY ADVISER: That's one of the most of outrageous, insulting, foolish, and ignorant things you have ever said.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: Is that out of bounce for a White House correspondent? I'm Howard Kurtz and this is "MediaBuzz."
It was four weeks ago, the New York Times disclosed that Donald Trump Jr. held that meeting with a Russians who offered negative research on Hillary Clinton, which the president's son confirmed but not before issuing initial statement, an initial statement that said the meeting was primarily a about adoption. Now Washington post revived that controversy this week with the story saying that first statement had been dictated -- that's the word the paper used -- by the president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The statement that Don Jr. issued is true. There's no inaccuracy in the statement. The president weighed in as any father would based on the limited information that he had.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: And the media decibel level on the president's credibility soared even higher when the Wall Street Journal disclose the Special counsel Robert Mueller has convened the grand jury.
Joining us now to analyze the coverage, Ellison Barber, a Washington correspondent for Fox News, Mollie Hemingway, senior editor at the Federalist and a Fox News contributor and Joe Trippi, Democratic strategist and also a Fox News contributor.
Ellison, massive coverage of this Wall Street Journal story on a grand jury, which is a leak, is it as dramatic a story, is it seem to play out in real time on CNN and MSNBC, and on Fox?
ELLISON BARBER, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, FOX NEWS: I'm sure this is someone and I'm sure it's not to someone that sort of seems to always be the issue with these Russia stories, right?
If someone is always going to say, they think it's overplayed, I think when I look at it, I sort of look at it in the bright view of how I look at most stories. I see most of stories as sitting in one of two categories.
Stories they need to know and stories could be into one of two categories stories the public needs to know, and stories they want to know.
When it comes to most of the Russia related stories, I think they fall in to the category of need to know, because at this point, a lot of them are legal questions simply because a Special counsel exists.
But when it comes to the issue of whether or not, it's too much, I think sometimes, people forget how powerful their voice is. If you don't like it, click something else, change the channel, or send an email.
I think the people kind of forget how often we actually do pay attention to those complaints in the media. And if it's overplayed viewers' readers have a lot of power in dictating and letting us know that maybe we are going too far.
KURTZ: Well, in this story, you can keep changing the channel until you got to the Cartoon Network, you're not going to escape.
But, Mollie, you know, I have the take as a former Justice Department reporter that prosecutors routinely bring in grand juries to issue subpoenas, do your evidence, to listen to witnesses. But the major media cover suggests that that was not the view in the press.
MOLLIE HEMINGWAY, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I think it actually -- it is absolutely a big story but you mentioned anything related to Russia.
And one of the more interesting leaks that came out about this was that Mueller is investigating things that have nothing to do with Russia, that have nothing to do with the 2016 elections. So I think part of the questions is, how you are covering it.
Now, you're covering it with enough skepticism toward what we know about special prosecutors and how they run far a field of their original directions, and whether that's a good thing.
I mean, there's been a lot of coverage of Mueller, where they treat him like he is just beyond reproach. And it's like we have to forget how he botched that anthrax investigation that the -- just one of the worst mishandled cases with the FBI...
KURTZ: Maybe he's the FBI director guy.
HEMINGWAY: ... for his close relationship with Comey. We should -- I understand everybody dislikes Trump and that they think that they decided he's guilty and they are just waiting to find out the details, but a good journalist should be more skeptical about the entire process.
KURTZ: Some shows and some journalist, and (Inaudible), that that having a grand jury doesn't necessarily to endowment as a toll for prosecutors but, did it have -- has it have a big psychological impact on the coverage, Joe?
JOE TRIPPI, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, yes, of course it has. But the other thing is obvious. I mean, Mueller is going to impanel a grand jury. That was going to happen.
TRIPPI: Right, exactly. I mean, can we manage if he after a year of counter-intelligence investigation came back and him just recently be appointed came back and said, there is not going to be a grand jury, we are moving on to other things and we're shutting down the office? That would have been.
HEMINGWAY: Well, exactly. If you don't find something out, looks like you are charged to be investigating, that's actually what you should be doing, shutting down.
And instead what we're hearing, if we believe these anonymous sources is that, they're just going far field of the original directions.
You know, investigating things that have -- there's no geographic limit, no time limit, no associate limit to what can be investigated.
KURTZ: That is true with the special prosecutor but you know, he hasn't been on the job that long so I think it would take him a little long even to shut things down. Let's pour this out a little bit.
You spent time in that White House briefing room. Are many reporters increasingly questioning whether the president on various things could be lying or might be lying, or is lying?
BARBER: Probably. I mean, I think we heard -- there have been a ton of different I guess, if you want to call them hot things, think pieces, whatever on this issue, of some people saying more journalists need to use the word lie and focusing a lot on how we cover things in getting down to the very specific words that we use.
I think when it comes to specifically, to lie and whether or not things are lies or if we should use that term. I just think for me as a reporter now particularly with the political climate we are in, I find myself going back to dictionaries a lot more than I would have expected, triple checking myself to make sure is this the word that I want to use.
Because our words are very important and I think sometimes, it's important to say, if a lie is a lie -- say, it's a lie and ask a question about it.
TRIPPI: There have been real lies, I mean, with Flynn, he was fired because he lied to the vice president. Then the president says, fires Comey and asks Comey allegedly to go soft on -- you know, let Flynn, let go. So we don't know...
KURTZ: that part is in dispute. Now, the reason though what I think comes up with the Don Jr. statement about that Russia meeting is that the president's lawyer, Jay Sekulow, who initially said the president had nothing to do with that statement. Now the White House can sees that he weighed in to some degree.
TRIPPI: Right. So what we don't know is, did the white -- did the lawyer know the different story that the president had weighed in or dictated, or did Donald Trump not tell him? We don't know that. That's why they have the investigation.
HEMINGWAY: in general, on of the things that's frustrating about media coverage of this, is that there's so much over promising and under achieving.
We are told that the president lied about something, then you get the details, or there was this false statement that was sent out by Don Jr. I turns our, there's -- nobody is alleging that there was anything false about it.
They're saying it was misleading. Well, that's kind of an interpretation and I think journalists would have more success in their campaign against the president. If they tempered the expectations by not being so dramatic about what they're saying...
KURTZ: They're campaigning against the president, is that how you view the State of Affairs right now...
HEMINGWAY: I think.
KURTZ: ... like most of the media are campaigning to undermine and discredit this president?
HEMINGWAY: I mean, I think there is no -- there is no confusion about that. Both sides are at war with each other and there's niceness about how honest everyone is being about them.
KURTZ: Now, there was this extraordinary leak this week to the Washington Post, some of these had leaked out before but the Post getting all of the transcript of President Trump's calls with leaders of Mexico and Australia.
And even there, you had some anchors and pundits saying, well, Trump lied when he denied that his call with the Australian prime minister was testy.
But that could be described, couldn't that be described as normal diplomacy where you have a tough conversation pin private, and you kind of pay for it over in public.
BARBER: I will let the pundits describe it. I think to your point, that's something where is out there. And the only thing that I look at and worry about as a journalist is who is blamed or who is criticized for that leak being out there.
KURTZ: What about the fact of the leak. I mean, we were used to leaks at high levels of the administration.
But strictly, this administration but if the president can't talk to foreign leaders without having somebody, who alleged -- who extensively works for him leak it, that seems concerning.
BARBER: Well, a number of national security experts said it is. I mean, you can look at Tommy Vietor, who was the National Security Council sportsperson under Barack Obama said that he would -- I think he said lost my mind if this had happen, with transcripts of President Obama's calls.
However, that begin said is that an issue, is that a National Security concern?
Could be, as a journalist that's not my problem or not my concern, if they want to worry about the leakers, that's one thing but the Supreme Court has said you go back to 1971 with the Pentagon papers that a leak is not necessarily problematic on the journalist's side.
TRIPPI: Other members on the Obama administration said that this -- that this was a bad thing to have and the president should have that ability to talk to foreign leaders without having...
KURTZ: Whether you support President Obama...
TRIPPI: Question is, are you going after the journalists or you're going after the leakers. And I think that's a -- that's a different...
KURTZ: On this question of journalists challenging actions by the president, there is also a statement the president had said in various places.
And even gotten positive calls from the leader of Mexico and form the head of the Boy Scouts, look at ABC Cecilia Vega, phrasing that questioning the briefing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CECILIA VEGA, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Why did the president say that he received a phone call from the leader of the Boy Scouts and president of Mexico when he did not. Did he lie?
SANDERS: No, I wouldn't say it was a lie. That's pretty bold accusation. It's -- the conversations took place.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: So now we're in to the level of, was it a phone call or was it a personal conversation, and these are getting a level of lie, although, clearly sometimes there are missteps and misrepresentations.
HEMINGWAY: So again, the problem here is that Trump said he had a phone call when instead he had an in-person conversation, where he said that the leader of the Boy Scouts called him when it was various leaders of the Boy Scouts.
And I understand that Trump has some petty narcissism in the way he massages his ego, in order to -- in order to make himself feel better, can cause problems that he is imprecise with these things.
At the same time, the whole problem with media credibility is how they don't treat misstatements evenly. So Donald Trump saying that he talked on the phone instead of in person with the Mexican president didn't cause eight million people to lose their insurance.
But when Barack Obama said, if you like your health care plan, you can keep it, immediately that that is just sort of general politicking.
When the White House admitted that they did a campaign to get the Iran deal passed, everyone says, well, that's just business as usual and if the media could handle other people as if they could apply as much scrutiny to other people, as they do Obama -- they do Trump, they would have more jobs.
KURTZ: But, Joe, the president often speaks imprecisely. His supporters like that about him, he's not a focus group politician and they view a lot of this as journalistic nitpicking, true or false?
TRIPPI: They may view it that, but the fact is, it was the president of Mexico, who said I did not have a phone call with the president reacting to the president's words, it was the leaders of the Boy Scouts who said, we did not have a phone call that the president said he had.
That's what the press didn't report, that's what leads them to ask those kinds of...
KURTZ: All right, let me get a break here. Let's us know what you think Mediabuzz@foxnews.com.
When we come back, the audio from that infamous call by Anthony Scaramucci is out -- some of it anyway, does it change the narrative over what happened with the New Yorker, and later, CNN's Jim Acosta lectures a top White House official on immigration.
KURTZ: It's been six days since Anthony Scaramucci was fired as White House communications chief an extremely brief tenure. In part over the propounding late call he had with the New Yorker's Ryan Lizza, that he never explicitly put off the record.
But a partial audio of that conversation shows wasn't some fiery rant, with Lizza laughing at times as the Mooch prods him for his source on another leak and the reporter asks to profile it.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS CHIEF: So I'm just going to -- what I'm going to do is I will eliminate everybody in the comms team and we'll start over.
SCARAMUCCI: So it's no problem.
OK, but you are an American citizen. This is a major catastrophe for the American country. So -- so I'm asking for you as an American patriot to give it a sense of the leaker.
RYAN LIZZA, CORRESPONDENT, THE NEW YORKER: (LAUGHING) The only thing can tell you is -- is two people in the White House who I know wouldn't lie to me. I wanted to ask you if you wanted to be profiled.
SCARAMUCCI: I don't. I don't want to be profiled. I'm not Steve Bannon.
LIZZA: Well, what you're trying to do? What you're trying to do?
SCARAMUCCI: I'm not -- I'm not Steve Bannon. I'm not trying to suck my own (BLEEP). I'm not trying to build my own brand.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
KURTZ: And here's what Scaramucci told me in a brief interview. "I'm accountable for what I said. I own what I said but the reporter wrote it as if I said it in a menacing way, and the actual tapes tell a very different story."
So Mollie, you heard the laughter there, did this sound more like a friendly componential conversation between reporter and source as opposed to something that would be deemed annulling the record.
HEMINGWAY: Oh, yes, when we first heard the story, it sounded like Scaramucci was on some kind of cocaine-filled rant. And when you listen to that, it's actually pretty calm.
But it doesn't change the underlying issue of what was Scaramucci doing talking to this reporter. Ryan Lizza is someone who routinely takes people out of context.
I remember during the primary, he said that Jeb Bush mocked the notion of mass shootings, when in fact, Jeb Bush was saying something about human nature and how government can't solve all of the problems of the human condition.
And he totally mischaracterized that. If you have a reporter who you know does that as a matter of course with Republicans or conservatives, you should be a little more careful talking to him.
KURTZ: Well, Ryan Lizza did accurate report on this conversation but then I want to get to the question of some of the black and white word versus at least the audio that the New Yorker released. So look, Scaramucci made a mistake.
He didn't say this is all through record. He admits he made a mistake, so that's not in dispute, but when you listen to this it sound less like an unhinged rant than just -- doesn't sound less like an unhinged rant then the words suggest in the transcript.
TRIPPI: Certainly it does, but it also -- it's terrifying to people like me because that's the most dangerous thing you can do with a reporter as get into that kind of a banter with them, where it's on the record but where -- that friendly banter is going back and forth, that's when you like kind of relax.
KURTZ: You said I probably have done this and maybe reporters could have sabotage me, and they did not.
TRIPPI: That's how dangerous it is. I mean, every time you talk to reporters to not realized you are on the record if you haven't said, you know, you are not.
That Ryan Lizza is great at getting you into that kind of banter with them and he then gets you know, reports that -- and it does look different on paper.
KURTZ: Yes, have you had conversations like this with sources, maybe not as X-rated. But where they -- where they criticize people in such a blunt way that they are kind of expecting you not to report it?
BARBER: Well, for starters, if I'm never having a conversation and there is a question of it whether it's on the record. I tell me people this all the time, it's not just that you say this is off the record.
And then say, your spill, you need to make sure that I have agreed and both parties have agreed to this being off the record. And then it -- so there sort of that person is I think most of people in his position or as you knew at the time know that it's kind of that, you have to make that deal to start.
In terms of have I gotten phone calls like this, I have had many -- I covered crimes for the most part in my last job.
I have had many senior law enforcement officials call me before frustrated with a story or to discuss back and forth with me beforehand why they didn't like the direction of the story was going or something of that nature.
Never have I had them ask me who my source was and I've never had them even jokingly say, well, don't worry, if you don't tell me, I'm going to fire everyone.
BARBER: That's a bridge that has...
KURTZ: And speaking of that, so Scaramucci comes into the White House and says he's going to fire all the leakers. And I think Trump supports him in that.
Now he's become that service of awful leaks both unnamed white House officials dumping on him and how crazy he was. And even stories about a divorce he's going through. So he's certainly become big fat target.
HEMINGWAY: Well, and there are -- there have major differences between the type of national security leaks we have seen form intelligence officials and the type of petty White House drama leaks that are routine for many administration.
Although this administration seems to be full of nothing but leakers and people who want to make their case. But yes, he didn't succeed in his goal.
KURTZ: Quick one.
TRIPPI: If you go after people, they're going to come after you and that's what -- I mean that's -- and recorders are going to use the information.
KURTZ: In other words, welcome to the NFL. Joe Trippi, Ellison Barber, thanks very much. Mollie, we'll see you a little later ahead.
With Mollie Hemingway, our new media group thing segment, on accusations -- accusations that HBO is post slavery, but up next, a suspension in Fox News and a lawsuit involving the murder of a young DNC staffer.
KURTZ: Fox News Channel Eric Bolling, co-host of "The Specialists" and host of "Cashin' In" has been temporarily sidelined after allegations published by the Huffington Post.
A Fox News spokesperson said yesterday, "Eric Bolling has been suspended pending the results of an investigation which is currently under way."
The Huffington Post story late Friday based on a dozen unnamed sources, said that Bolling several years ago, allegedly texted an unsolicited photo of male genitalia to three current and former colleagues at Fox News and Fox Business.
None of the women who this story described as having been upset has come forward and Huff Post did not identify them to Bolling's lawyer Michael Bowe.
Bowe gave me this statement yesterday, "The anonymous uncorroborated claims are untrue and terribly unfair. We intend to fully cooperate with the investigation so that it can be concluded as Eric can return to work as quickly as possible."
The murder of a 27-year-old DNC staffer named Seth Rich has come roaring back into the news. The reason, a lawsuit against Fox News by a network contributor former DC homicide detective Rod Wheeler, the police here says Rich was killed last year during a botched robbery.
Fox News retracted an online story about the case in May, saying it didn't meet network's editorial standards, in part because senior editorial management hadn't approved it.
Well, that story was posted, Wheeler went on several Fox programs and said he had reason to believe there was a connection between Seth Rich and WikiLeaks, which release a Democratic emails that U.S. officials says were obtain by Russian hackers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROD WHEELER, FORMER DC HOMICIDE DETECTIVE: When you look at that with the totality of everything else that I found in this case, it's very consistent for a person with my experience to begin to think, well, perhaps there were some email communications between Seth and WikiLeaks.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: Wheeler now says he was misquoted in the story by the Fox Reporter, Malia Zimmerman. His lawsuit also names Ed Butowsky, a wealthy supporter of President Trump, alleging that Fox work with Butowsky to steer attention away from the Russian hacking of the DNC e-mails.
But less in a week later, as (Inaudible), reported, Wheeler wore told a website, I am of the personal opinion that the information/article reported by Fox News channel last Tuesday was essentially correct and worthy of further investigation.
Jay Wallace, Fox News president of news said in a statement, the accusation that foxnews.com published Malia Zimmerman story to help detract from the coverage of the Russia collusion issue is completely erroneous.
The retraction of this story is still being investigated internally and we have no evidence that Rob Wheeler was misquoted by Zimmerman.
Additionally, Fox News vehemently denies the race discrimination claims in the law suit, the dispute between Zimmerman and Rod Wheeler has nothing to do with race. Story was fort reported by MPR.
Butowsky, a Republican donor and occasional Fox guest, hired Wheeler to investigate Seth Rich's death. Butowsky told CNN, he message Wheller that quote, "The president just read the article. He wants the article out immediately but he now said he's only joking and he challenges Wheeler's allegations.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ED BUTOWSKY, FOX BUSINESS NETWORK COMMENTATOR: It wasn't serious because Rod Wheeler was always looking for a job because he has no money and by the way, this lawsuit is all about Rod Wheeler trying to get money because he messed up.
By the way, I never talked to President Trump in my life. And President Trump nor the White House has anything to do with any of this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: Ed Butowsky didn't be willing to meet with Sean Spicer a month before this Fox story ran. The White House spokesman told me yesterday that Butowsky, a Trump supporter has asked for 10 minutes to catch up.
But the two men described the story in progress, didn't ask him to do anything and Spicer took no action.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SANDERS: It doesn't bother me that the press secretary would take a meeting with somebody involved in the media about a story. None of that was disclosed.
They had a conversation and that was the end of it. The president didn't have knowledge of this story. The White House didn't have any involvement in the story.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: Wheeler says he asked Fox to remove the quotes that he says were invented, such as him saying he had found some e-mail exchanger between Rich and WikiLeaks but that this was not done.
It didn't stop Wheeler from promoting the story on Fox News. Now, nobody looks good here. The courts will decide whether Wheeler has a case. But one thing is clear.
This simply compounds the tragedy for Seth Rich's family. Coming up, Katrina Pierson on the White House pushback during a very tough week of media coverage and later, is the press taking a fair approach to the president's new policy on legal immigration?
KURTZ: Joining us now with the White House few point on a very harsh week of media coverage is Katrina Pierson, a former Trump campaign spokeswoman, with the pro-Trump group, America First Policy.
So the media we talked earlier in the show, going haywire over this leak news that Robert Mueller has convened a grand jury. In your view is that a legitimate story, is it overplayed?
KATRINA PIERSON, SPOKESWOMAN, AMERICA FIRST POLICY: Well, I think it's definitely overplayed but anything revolving President Trump or head administration is definitely overplayed.
The Special counsel was appointed, so of course, this was a next logical step particularly as we know now, that this has nothing to do with Russia, which is what I can think for a very long time. They are just now looking for something.
KURTZ: Well, how do you know that? What you mean this has nothing to do with Russia?
PIERSON: There has been no evidence found. Even Democrats are saying we have no evidence. Collusion is not a crime. So what exactly are we looking for here?
KURTZ: Well, why is the president call Russia a fabricated story? He's had formulations of that many times when his own Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein decided to name the Special counsel to investigate this matter?
PIERSON: It's a fabricated story because look at where its origins came from. We are talking about the losing team. The DNC, Debbie Wasserman Schultz and the left, they lost the election.
They claim their server was hacked and it was leaked to WikiLeaks. To this date, we have not seen the server. There has been no evidence put forth that this actually happened.
And yet, this is a story in a narrative and an investigation based upon an allegation from the losing team.
KURTZ: OK. Well, I want to - some border questions we've been talking about, and that is a number of anchors and correspondence, not just pundits now have raise questions, particularly in the last week or so, about whether the president tells the truth.
So we had the flap over of the leaks story Washington Post about that first rumor -- statements, excuse me, from Donald Trump Jr. about the meeting with the Russians.
They have invited several times and president that we now know, weighed in on that statement. And even these things about president said he got calls from the head of the Boys Scouts and from the president of -- leader Mexico.
And return that they weren't phone calls, he says they were personal conversations. What do you make of these increasing drumbeat about the president's credibility.
PIERSON: Well, I think this drumbeat is coming because the media is trying to navigate away from their own credibility issue.
When we look at Pew research in 2016, only 18 percent of voters, said that the media was credible and it is very unfortunate that we even have to have this discussion because most of the reports that are coming out by media are from the unnamed sources, which in time, turned out to be fake news, which is exactly what that hashtag exists.
And even in Emerson College, put out of a poll that shows voters believe that Mister Trump, president and his administration is more credible than the media.
KURTZ: Well, you are right about the media's own low -- record low credibility. I got to push back a little bit on the notion that any story based on unnamed sources turns out to be fake news. I mean the story about Mike Flynn lying to vice president unnamed sources was not fake news. It was a story about the meeting with Donald Trump Jr. we can argue about the importance of it. Nothing happened as a result, wasn't fake news.
PIERSON: I'm thinking specifically with president, Howard, and this is why this is important.
PIERSON: Mike Flynn is a separate issue. Don Jr. is a separate issue. Also, because he is not even in the White House. He is not part of the administration.
He is a private citizen at this point in time. I am thinking about the president himself, any accusations being made against him.
KURTZ: CNN's Jim Acosta's, we're going to talk about this in the next segment, at a White House briefing on the president's proposal to cut and changer parties for legal immigration delivered a pretty big lecture to Stephen Miller, A White House official.
And said that this plan is not in keeping with American tradition, he courted the Statue of Liberty inscription. What do you make of that?
PIERSON: Well, full disclosure, I did send a fist bump text message to Stephen Miller after that exchange.
KURTZ: Right now.
PIERSON: Absolutely. Stephen Miller are definitely reeducated Jim Acosta on CNN on the differences between green cardholders and a legal immigration.
It is truly unfortunate that someone like Jim Acosta would want people to come to this country who couldn't speak the language, even read the poem on the Statue of Liberty.
This president made a promise to the American people and that was to get back to common sense and governance, and to put them first and this policy does just that.
KURTZ: This is the first disclosure I've ever had of a fist bump on this program, but did you think that Acosta is asking his questions is out of line?
PIERSON: He was completely out of line. He was more editorializing. He was putting forth his own views and positions without any regard to what this policy would actually do for Americans, their workers and their wages, for that matter...
PIERSON: ... which is probably why most Americans get out there and actually voted for President Trump.
KURTZ: Well you of course were supposed to run for the president during the campaign. You know what it is like. Anthony Scaramucci came in briefly as communications director.
He was going to cracked out on leaks. And what happen, since then, after he got fired this week is that, he's either targeted leaks for Jeff sessions, the Attorney General holding a news conference saying cracking down on leaks of the classified, a national security variety may involve media subpoenas.
That is making some people, news businesses nervous. The new chief of staff John Kelly, also trying to do the same but it was a gusher of weeks - - these leaks -- this week so, can they ever really be stopped?
PIERSON: I think they can, if they do appropriately crackdown on what is happening. You know, this goes back to the campaign and it is a reminder of what the president is to always talk about the poem of the snake. There are some snakes.
There are zips in the wire as they say. And I think if you do read them out and punish them accordingly, it would deter others.
KURTZ: So he's using some people in the administration also needs to be rutted out and fired?
PIERSON: Well, I think if they're leaking, absolutely. This is undermining the president of the United States. This is putting national security at risk and in its eroding confidence of world leaders to have a discussion with the president, so absolutely.
KURTZ: Katrina Pierson, thanks very much for coming in, great to see you this Sunday. Next the Media Buzz, Jim Acosta as we were just discussing vs. White House advisors, even though in a briefing room showdown.
You got to see this over immigration. And later, media group think (ph), our new segment on why HBO is getting hammered for a show that hasn't even started filming yet.
KURTZ: Presidential advisor Stephen Miller was taking questions from reporters after rolling out Donald Trump's new plan for legal immigration on the would slash admissions by favoring people with job skills and English proficiency rather than family ties to those already here.
But when Miller called on CNN correspondent Jim Acosta, he got a lecture.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: What you're proposing or the president is proposing here does not sound like it is in keeping with American traditional when it comes to immigration. The Statue of Liberty says, even if your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.
MILLER: If you're really a CNN, not know the difference between green card policy and a legal immigration? I mean, you really don't know that?
ACOSTA: To the immigrant, you came to this country, 1962, right before the Cuban missile crisis and obtained a green card, what you're trying to engineer and immigration, and ethnic flow of people into this country...
MILLER: That is New Jersey of the most outrageous, insulting, ignorant and foolish things you have never said and for you, that still a really -- the notion that you think that this is a racist bill is so wrong and so insulting.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: Joining us now from New York, Amy Holmes, political analyst at Rasmussen Reports, and Cathy Areu, publisher of Catalina magazine, and a former editor of the Washington Post magazine. So, Amy, was Jim Acosta in challenging Stephen Miller acting like a journalist?
AMY HOLMES, POLITICAL ANALYST, RASMUSSEN REPORTS: I think he was acting pretty obnoxious, if I may say. When did White House press briefings become into debate club.
It's is my understanding that journals are there to collect information. If he wants to challenge the White House on their new immigration policy, I think he supposed to be going to other sources to do that.
Advocates for, I guess his point of view and for me was very painful to watch. I know a lot conservatives enjoyed watching Stephen Miller sort of through school.
Mister Acosta from my point of view, I would have liked to seen and not get quite so personal, and frankly, to move on.
KURTZ: Cathy, you've been a reporter in that briefing room, you know the dynamic.
CATHY AREU, PUBLISHER, CATALINA MAGAZINE: I have,
KURTZ: What did you make of Jim Acosta's performance?
AREU: He didn't follow the rules of that room. We all know when were in that room, we have to behave a certain way.
It is not like the hand of the brochure and say these are the guidelines, but its journalism 101. You are never the story. And Jim Acosta made himself the story.
So much so that it was the battle between Jim Acosta and Stephen Miller and it was over -- all over the Washington Post. It was all over Los Angeles Times, it was in the New York Post, the New York Times, the Huffington Post, it's everywhere.
It's pages and pages on the internet. It's all over social media. He became the story and I think that was his intention by bringing the poem that he did not know by heart and he ran off a sheet of paper.
So it seems like he was prepared to make that statement and I don't know why Stephen Miller called on him.
HOLMES: That's a really good point, in fact the...
KURTZ: I thought that all -- I thought that all students have to memorize the Emma Lazarus poem. Let me just play a sound bite for you, Amy, of Acosta talking about the encounter afterwards on CNN.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: I was just you know essentially trying to test Stephen Miller on a couple of those points and -- and I think what you saw unfold the briefing room is that he really just couldn't take that kind of heat and exploded before our eyes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: He says that Stephen Miller exploded, now there is a history here which some of our viewers may know of Jim Acosta getting into when President Trump demanding a question in a news conference, repeatedly criticizing Sean Spicer.
I have to conclude that this is what CNN wants him to do because you know, he's still a frontline in White House correspondent.
HOLMES: Absolutely, it must be that they want to get him to go in there and showboat, and create these -- you know, these viral moments that go everywhere as, Cathy, was saying.
But I think it did actually serve a little bit of a function for the viewing public to find out how little this reporter actually does know about American immigration history.
That he thinks that it does boil down to I think a rather beautiful poem on the Statue of Liberty but that really has nothing to do with the truth about U.S. immigration policy, U.S. immigration history, nor does it really I think helped eliminate the debate that the American people are going to have about this.
KURTZ: But in fairness, Cathy, you know, a custom maybe reflecting in party actually referenced it -- you know, his own family's immigration history.
KURTZ: When you look at it through the prism of your family's immigration history, you may have problems with the spill, but again the question is how you would question administration officials were you in that situation originally.
AREU: Right, and I have been in the briefing room and I do have this exact history. My parents are Cuban -- Cuban immigrants. So I do have a history bureaucrats I wouldn't reveal it.
It's up to the press to be in that room and we ask questions, and then the White House representative answer the questions, then we give the audience, the readers, the listeners the facts -- the viewers, the facts and it's up to the viewers then to interpret what they will.
We're not supposed to dissect it for them, and it is almost as if Acosta thought that that his viewers weren't able to understand what this bill was and he had to dissected it for the viewer, the reader, the listener and that is not what his job is.
HOLMES: Well, I would argue that he didn't understand what the bill was. I mean he had to be -- you know, have to be point out to him that green card policy is very different from comprehensive immigration reform that deals with illegal immigration and illegal immigrants who are here, what are we going to do, are we going to put them on a track to citizenship.
AREU: That's the big discussion but that is not what was -- you know, what was at the debate.
HOLMES: At the White House press briefing.
AREU: I think they both -- they both were at fault and neither one of them follow the rules of that room. That room is you answer the question at hand and neither one of them...
KURTZ: Let me move on and run this -- maybe beyond Acosta, you know, and I believe -- you know for sure question people aggressively any administration.
What did you make of the overall coverage? I mean this is a controversial change.
If it goes, it's not clear the Hill is going to pass it to emphasize skills and speak English, not necessary bringing in people who are sort of parents or children of those already here. What did you think the coverage of that? Was that fair?
HOLMES: Look, this is a very sensitive issue, especially when you are talking about families and we will be changing our policy when it comes to chain migration.
I was sort of surprised and maybe a little disheartened that I saw, at least when it came conservative press how quickly it went from a discussion debate and analysis of the policy to the politics.
And that's where it seems like so much of the coverage immediately goes to the politics. Did this have a chance of actually succeeding? Is this what Americans want? What does the polling say about it?
KURTZ: All right.
HOLMES: Instead of illuminating the public...
KURTZ: That is shocking politics. Creepy into media coverage. You're out of town, Cathy Areu, Amy Holmes, great to see you this Sunday. Thanks very much.
HOLMES: Thank you.
AREU: Thank you.
KURTZ: After the break, media group think on the New York Times saying the Justice Department is investigating colleges discriminate against whites. Was the journalist occurred long to keep repeating that story?
KURTZ: Time for our new segment, media group think, HBO is planning a new service called Confederate based on the premise that slavery still exists in America is on the brink of a third civil war.
This has sparked a huge backlash and a pressure campaign on Twitter. April Reign led the Oscars so white campaign.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
APRIL REIGN, ORGANIZER, #NOCONFEDERATE PROTEST: There are times when things are so egregious that you don't need to wait for them to come to fruition before you object to them. Our goal is to have the show Confederate not see the light of day. That is the bottom line.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: And we're back with Molly Hemingway, so HBO is now being slammed this pro-slavery, pro-confederacy over show that hasn't even gone into production. Group think?
HEMINGWAY: Well, HBO put out news that they were having a show.
HEMINGWAY: Precisely is they would get some media buzz about it and get some people talking about it. But it was -- so the critiques are totally fine.
But so many of these critiques are kind of one-note and this idea that HBO, of all entertainment companies will be becoming out with -- as the New York Times put it, slavery fan fiction is just ludicrous.
And so it be nice to see a little bit more thoughtful commentary. As well as some push back maybe against some of these attempts to shut down a shell before it is on or just greater...
KURTZ: That's the thing that gets me. This is a new dynamic to pressure networks into killing shows that haven't even started filming, everybody rushes to judgment. Well, as the press released it, sounds really bad like may it will be good, maybe not, criticize them.
HEMINGWAY: Right, and -- and also if you know a little bit more about the show about who's writing it, who's behind it, you would probably have a little bit more idea of it. Not to say that there are -- that having concerns about a show.
KURTZ: In short, I mean everybody pop off. All right, next up, the New York Times reporting big front page story, Justice Department is planning investigate and possibly sue universities over admissions policies that discriminate against white applicants. Did this lead to some group think?
HEMINGWAY: Well, first of, this story turned to be basically false. The actual thing that was happening was that the DOJ was investigating a complaint from 2015, but had not been dealt with by the previous administration.
It was filed by 64 Asian-American groups about problems that affirmative action programs have made for Asian-American applicants at public at a particular public university. So they get that story wrong is a problem at the front end.
But then so many people just took that story and ran with it without checking the underlying details and this is not a problem we see in the stories that get out of control.
We should remember that even if a publication like New York Times or someone that you might respect little bit more is running with something you need to check the underlying facts.
KURTZ: Just to clarify, the Times had an actual document but then the interpretation of that doctrine was this is a brand-new policy under Jeff Sessions.
The next day DOJ spokeswoman said, no, it's just about this one case and when we haven't changed the policy.
And the Times did a follow up story on the case involving the Asian- Americans and Harvard but didn't say anything about the previous day story of maybe being a little off.
HEMINGWAY: Right, an interpretation -- it is a good thing to point out that the original story was a product of interpretation.
And it's why people have so many problems with anonymous sources because we understand that you are interpreting what an anonymous source tells you without having underlying documents or without having something that you can go and find out greater details from you are left on kind of line.
KURTZ: Right, and this was through this sort of herd mentality where other organizations that jump in and just kind of repeat one another news organizations said without necessarily, doing their own reporting.
HEMINGWAY: Yes, and the underlying problem there, too, is that outside of newsrooms, you actually have a lot more intellectual diversity.
There is a lot of -- there are a lot of people who do not like how affirmative-action programs are implemented or they see problems with how it's been done, and so you need to get that greater viewpoint diversity, too.
KURTZ: Mollie Hemingway helping us take on Group Think. Thanks very much. Still to come, a sports story on President Trump, the golfer, creates a major recent flat. Did he really call the White House a dump?
KURTZ: Sports Illustrated put it in the 24th paragraph of a piece about President Trump in golfing quoting unnamed members of his New Jersey Golf Club, quoting him as saying the White House is a real dump.
Now the president flatly denied this, calling it fake news. Reporter Alan (Inaudible), says he comfortable with the unnamed first hand source, that we says, told him about it.
Not trying to dump on any but so many news outlets whacked away the story just repeating it as fact. The very release is in dispute.
Now golf also plays a strong role in this Newsweek cover branding the president who's spending 17 days in his New Jersey golf resort, a lazy boy.
Now, it is true that Trump criticized Barack Obama for too much golfing, but this is such a BS issue because every president is entitled to relaxation and every president works on vacation.
Have you ever seen a more snide, condescending, cheap shot cover, and by the way, president how to get out of the West Wing. Everybody has been kicked out because they are spending two weeks renovating the place.
So I got to go somewhere, so we happen to play some golf. In addition, I think that is OK, I thought it was unfair that when that wrap was leveled by the media against previous presidents.
That is it for this edition of "MediaBuzz." I'm Howard Kurtz. We hope you'll give our Facebook page a like. Check it out. We post a lot of original content there.
Let us know what you think, mediabuzz@FOXNews.com -- mediabuzz@FOXNews.com. DVR the show if you're going to miss it during the summer, maybe you're out doing something, and let me know what you think on Twitter @HowardKurtz.
We're back here next Sunday. We hope to see you then, talk to you then with the latest buzz from the media world.
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