tv Media Buzz FOX News December 16, 2013 1:00am-2:01am PST
>> media buzz with howard kurtz starts right now. the ten-day media celebration of nelson mandela's life, we'll have a live report with south africa. next, the american media distracted by this historic event by what can only be called the side show. >> shaking hands, shaking hands, shaking hands, president obama and the british and danish prime ministers with an impromptu selfie. >> how did this turn into a selfie? and what about the pundits on the left and the right exploiting mandela's memory. one year of the anniversary of
the horrible school shooting, was that the right call? john boehner unloads on the conservative grums that blasted his budget deal and the media can't get enough. are they promoting a republican civil war? plus, the reporter who barely escaped jail for refusing to reveal her confidential sources. i'm howard kurtz and this is media buzz. we begin our coverage in south africa. fox news correspondent greg palcon is there. take us on the ground. what has it been like? has it been challenging to capture the emotion surrounding mandela's passing? >> howard, this is one of those stories that is quite unbelievable. just about everybody you talk to can speak to you and speak
intelligently and articulately. we've been here about eight days and talked to dozens of south africans. there is mourning for the man, but celebration for the life. we talked to one young lady and she told us we could not speak to you right now if apartheid was still there. personal, but intelligence analysis. yes, we talked to politicians and they slather on the spin just like any other country, but here, we found it interesting, very readily parent when the cameraman and i say, this is incredible. we went out and talked too five people. they gave us good analysis. gotten some background on several other trips. but, between, the people are here and they're speaking clearly, intelligently, and a lot of emotion. >> it's quite an amazing story. let's take a look at some of the people you have talked to, the interviews you've done while you've been there in south africa. >> we are getting very excited because we are celebrating the life of our icon, the father who
led us out of oppression. >> the rain is horrible. >> i beg your pardon? no. it's beautiful. it shows that he was blessed and south africa is blessed. >> i am very glad for what he has done for me. i pay his life respect. >> may god bless him and his soul, maybe he rest in peace. >> greg, public interest here in the ten days of celebrating mandela's life may be waning a bit. any sense there that this has been, perhaps, overdone? >> i don't think so, howard. i mean, the country here, south africa, is facing real problems, real challenges in a post mandela era. and as the people fade through their various phases of mourning and celebration of the man, nelson mandela, they also are coming to grips with some serious big issues that we've been dealing with in the past couple days.
that is if the president -- the administration up to the task. are other parties necessary to come into the fore. and the folks that we have talked to have been pretty savvy. they can see president zuma trying to get a political bounce from the funeral, the tuesday memorial. there was a booing at the tuesday memorial. some didn't like that, others thought it was right on. again, there's a shift in attitude and attention and focus towards the future. that has kept the story alive with us. >> the future is certainly the focus in recent days. greg for us in south africa. thanks very much. now, we've seen an awful lot of mandela coverage over the last ten days. whether there's a big public appetite for it or not. nbz's brian williams was one of the broadcast anchors to go to south africa. but giving mandela's undeniable place in history as the man who spent 27 years behind bars to
lead his country away from apartheid, how did so much of the coverage wiped up being about sdrangzs such as this chance encounter. >> right as he went up before his speech, he shook the hand of the cuban president raoul castro, the first time in forever that an american president has done that. >> president obama finding himself face-to-face with the president of cuba, reaching out and shaking hands with none other than raul castro. >> the handshake to castro we believe was president obama showing respect to nelson mandela and the spirit of reconciliation. >> these cheap shots of his alleged behavior at a funeral ain't one of them. >> joining us here in washington, lauren ashburn. chris starwald, digital politics editor for fox news .host of the online show power play. and juan williams, a fox news analyst who has interviewed
nelson mandela. what does it say about our media culture? >> the focus is on a nonstory. this is low hanging fruit for the media, something that's easy for them to shoot. they don't have to cover the speech itself, they don't have to talk to people. all they have to do is focus their lens on an event and then talk about it. we minimize real news because number one, sometimes it can be entertaining in the case of the selfies and number two, it is easier. >> chris, nonstory, but let's stipulate raul castro is a dictator. >> the castro brothers are monsters and they have repressed their people for decades. the president shaking his hand, the first one since bill clinton to do so in 2000 is significant. and the other thing that happens in a story like this is nelson mandela was near death for some many months.
his passing from this either was an expected event. he was 95. he had been very sick. we had done all of that and thought about that. so by the time you get to the memorial ceremony -- >> you want something new, something novel. >> and the president did something that was definitely new and definitely novel. >> juan williams, fox news was driving that handshake narrative. it was on program after program. overplayed in your view or not? >> way overplayed. .let me just say i'm someone who thinks that what the castro brothers have done in odious in terms of cuba. i have no tolerance for that kind of behavior. but let me just say, way overplayed and i think here in the sense that here at home, we have now a media universe with twitter and facebook and kind of the things that are quickly understood in short burst terms. and it plays to somebody else's agenda. conservatives that wanted to take a stand against cuba, this is an opportunity for them to raise that issue. but raise that issue i think in
an inappropriate way because this was about mandela. second, i think there are lots of people who are uncomfortable with mandela. you spoke about the questions of the appetite for this story. is it driving ratings, numbers, for the networks? >> the answer is not much. >> correct. i think this is a simple story. a handshake, a selfie, whatever that people can grab and that can become numbers. >> and that was my point. i'm not saying that it was a nonstory. i'm saying that there are stories that are lighter than exactly what happens. >> well, speaking of liked stories and something that's quickly understood, this selfie was taken, president obama, david cameron, and the danish prime minister. that picture went around the world in about 3.5 seconds. let me read to you what the new york post columnist andrea pizer had to say about this moment. obama, she writes, used the occasion to act like a hormone ravaged frat boy on the road to a strip bar. he made a fool of themselves
flirting with the danish hellcat who hiked up her skirt to expose legs covered by nothing but -- >> come on, who does andrea pizer work for, for crying out loud? that's her audience. she plays for the tabloids. but you have to admit that it went viral for a reason. if you looked at those ten photos in sequence, it was funny to watch michelle obama's face. >> but the photographer who took the picture said it was a celebratory crowd, they were all having a good time, so why did it go viral? >> once a week, the white house does this phony baloney white house thing. they highlighted the celebratory tone of the funeral. they also highlighted joe biden standing for his selfie as if to say, well, you know, hey, it's cool. i think the point here is it illustrates that the careful construction of this president's public image and how slavishly
the white house press corps expects the image to be constrained publicly and how -- no ap access for pictures and nothing else. when we get a candid moment for the president when he is certainly acting in a way that does not please mrs. obama. when he starts acting like this, we see why they control access to him because it doesn't look good. >> so you're saying the unscripted nature of it was more than what the white house press core put out, but you're saying the white house core -- >> no, no, the white house press shop expects the press corps to president the president from these moments. they're starting to rebel. >> but there was a subnarrative one about michelle obama, she was angry, she was ticked off, how dare the president flirt with this danish prime minister. except another photo in that sequence showed her smiling and chatting.
>> how do we know? it's impossible to know. i remember there was a controversy a little while back about the two of them in a basketball game. and when the kiss cam up, she didn't move to kiss him. >> shocking. >> yeah. but again, in the context of serious news, conversations about what was u.s. policy towards nelson mandela, was he communist? what about this freedom struggle, how does it relate to americans? that's too painful to your head. it was easier to talk about this guy, the president, possibly flirting with a blond. oh, my gosh, everybody gets gossip. >> i was looking at that new york post column, flirting with dane-ger. the many larger story here, not much ratings here. did others tune out about mandela and not the interpreter? >> well, and "saturday night
live" had this amazing skit on. but it was funny. here is the problem with international news. in local news, you rarely see international news. on cable and on the networks, international news taip takes up very few minutes of the pie. and the reason for that is that americans are much more myopic in their views and it doesn't rate. >> let me just say in terms of the larger picture today in the media universe, does it fit the niche that your newspaper, magazine or network occupies? mandela doesn't -- >> no, no, let me jump in because i want to get to a couple of sound bites. there also was a lot of partisanship that developed after the first couple of days of mandela's passing. let's take a listen. >> they were willing, the mcconnell people on the far right, were willing to destroy the country in order to destroy obama. whereas to succeed in a country he loved, the f.w. clark was
willing to see it transformed to black rule. >> mandela had much more in common with clarence thomas and a lot of conservatives than he does mandela. but the left doesn't care. >> you also had rick santorum on o'reiley comparing obama to apartheid, you had al sharpton comparing today's republican party to apartheid. is that analogy getting stretched and overused? >> way overused. and, again, they're trying to super impose this on their own agenda, their own politics. and i think in the media buzz, that's exactly what's going on. but let me just say, i remember being in south africa at the time of mandela's release. and you know what's interesting? the newspapers couldn't print the name until he was released. you couldn't have a picture. >> none of us knew what he looked like. but i want to get chris in on this question of partisanship and using the mandela legacy to
score points for your side. >> we should remember that nelson mandela was a politician and it's okay to talk about him in political terms. the beatification of nelson mandela would not by appropriate. so it's cool to talk about him and politics and american politics, whether you draw the conclusion rightly or wrongly, it's okay. >> all right. that's a good time for me to get a break. when we come back, yesterday was the one-year anniversary of the newtown shooting tragedy. and most of the media stayed away. was that the right decision?
yesterday was the one-year anniversary of the horrifying shooting in newtown. most media stations weren't there. the broadcast networks decided to stay away along with the likes of "usa today," "the washington post," fox news and cnn. >> the people of newtown have asked to have some space, to have some time today in their own way without reporters, without the national media. we're respecting that. >> and sadly, there was another scoot shooting incident on friday, the 20th one since newtown one year ago. it's extraordinarily rare for the international media to stay away because community leaders asked them to do so. what explains this? >> the advent season, an early winter blossoming of human decency and compassion. >> which is notably absent most of the time? >> no, no, no. this is not breaking news. you can go and flog your agenda. you can go and say why won't america pass a law that wouldn't
prevent this in honor of this? or go and say the president's second term agenda is dead or whatever they want to say. but this is the one-year anniversary. that's ghoulish to go and hang out if the people don't want you there. >> in fact, president used his radio address over the weekend to renew his call for gun control, but one on this point about what chris starwall calls ghoulish. how much does it help our understanding of school safety and the gun issue? >> it's one of the painful things and i think all of us on this panel have had that experience as rookie reporters. your editor says, go over there to that grafg family and ask them how they feel. you think, how they feel? we know how they feel. but is the mother going to say something bitter within angry, whatever? there are some sear justice questions that could have been answered. but i happen to err on the side of respect for people here. especially in the time of
christmas. they lost little kids. but i will say i think american media didn't abandon the story. >> i'm sort of guessing that. >> when we look at the number of people that have been killed, looking at the number of children killed by gun necessary homes, looking at the school shooting, that's gone up. >> but if you remember back to the actual time, there were anchors and reports who went out there and who cried on the air because it was so emotional for them. they knew that they -- it could have been their daughter because it's senseless. and unlike when i was a rookie reporter or you were and i knocked on doors umpteen times asking -- you know, that's the way you got people to talk, say wouldn't you like a memory to be existent for your child? wouldn't you like to show us his picture and talk about him so that people really know that person? and this -- >> some people found that therapeutic. other people find it intrusive. >> but take 50 of those in one
small town converging on one family and it becomes horrific, terrible invasion of privacy. >> and, you know, the whole thing of these anniversaries, some of them, the 50th anniversary of jfk, the 10th anniversary of 9/11, it's basically so we can relive the tragedy. >> and we say well, on the 10th anniversary of ne9/11, are we safer? a year after newtown, the president is going to come out and exploit that and say it's time for gun control in america. >> is that exploiting or -- >> yes. here is the thing. as juan said about mandela, the problems of cultural brokenness and a defeated moral core of this country, would gun control help other ones? in this one, the court revealed
it wouldn't have done anything to alter this. these are larger, moore difficult questions that i think have to be answered. >> we have to come to terms with the fact that beyond the niche, there's a real issue and talk about why is it that we have such a gun culture. is the nra the great bull work? why is the congress in gridlock on this issue? >> the fact that most people think of us in the media are insensitive and we only care about sticking microphones into people's faces, that's not going to change because of this one act of restraint. >> i was actually surprised that people said no, that networks made that decision that we are not going. no, it is not going to change. those personal stories are what drag people in. >> coming up, she's been spared the prospect of a jail term for
jenna winter faced the real prospect of going to jail for doing her job after refusing to testify about her confidential sources. in a landmark decision, it was ruled that she was protected. what was it like, what has it been like facing the real prospect of going to jail? >> it has not been fun and i wouldn't wish this on any reporter or anyone, ever. but i was never going to give up my sources.
so jail was a likely threat. >> you never thought to yourself that no, i may have to do this because -- >> no, never. >> explain to people why that has been so important to you? >> confidential sources are crucial to news gathering in this country. that's why we know things that are not just press releases put out by the government. and the fact that albany agreed with this is so important. if i make a promise to say i would not publish this information unless i keep your name out of it, i'm not going to change my mind and there are no takebacks. i said that i would keep my sources secret and that is it, end of story. or else how would we know anything? >> and how did this whole ordeal affect you but affect your job where other sources were reluctant to dole with you during this period? >> a really good way to have everyone stop talking to you is to be under subpoena. it's just poof, they're gone.
even peep who say i trust you, i've trusted you for years, but you're toxic right now. it completely dried up most of my sources which is beyond frustrating because i love my job and i just want to go back to doing it. it's been horrible. i'm so important i've had support from journalists throughout the world, really, who have reached out. especially any lawyer, a special shout out to dorrie. i wouldn't have had able to get through it if i didn't have so much support. but it was horrible. >> let's mistake clear, this was not the government trying to force you to testify. this was james holmes, and it was basically a maneuver or a legal side show by his attorneys that didn't bear on his guilt or innocence. so how did that make you feel about being dragged through this by the guy accused of killing a number of people. >> it's not just that he's
accused. he pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. so to be dragged along in this particular process, particularly when there were victims in the courtroom, it was bizarre and i hope i -- i mean, i guess i will never have to look at him in the face across the table from me any more, but it definitely seemed unfair. i certainly want the biggest victim of james holmes, to be clear, but it was completely surreal looking into that courtroom four times. it's something you have nothing to do with. >> right. as i said at the top, you are doing your job. were you surprised that the new york court of appeals used the state's shield law to protect you from the colorado proceeding and what's the larger significance of this ruling? >> yeah, i was surprised. i was hopeful, but i think it's just setting in now when my lawyers woke me up to tell me the news.
i just did not understand what was going on. the significance is that new york says if you're a reporter and you work here, you live here, you're from new york, you can go around the country and make a promise of confidentiality to your sources and you can mean it. you will not be held in contempt. and this is really important. and i wish more states would do this because there's a reporter in illinois right now named joe hosy who had to -- he's basically under contempt already and is fighting a is mean na that's similar to reveal his confident sources. >> there are a lot of cases like this. and we are so glad that you are out of legal jeopardy, that you have upheld the principal, confidential source is at the heart of investigative journalism. thank you so much for joining us today. thank you. after sitting on the story for three years of the administration's request, the associated press revealed this week that robert levinson was actually working for the cia.
"the washington post," having hired a former ap staffer soon reported its own story on levinson. turns out the abc and "new york times" had been sitting on the story for years. >> a story we believe it was highly irresponsible to publish and which we strongly urged the outlet not to publish out of concerns for mr. levinson's safety. >> now, the ap said it decided to go ahead because the government hadn't received any sign in three years that levinson was still alive and his canters almost certainly know about his cia ties. i think the ap made the wrong call. there's no larger revelation in this story beyond one man's works spying on america and it may well have endangered his life. send me a tweet about this show as we do every week. we'll read the best messages at the end of the program. up next, al sharpton, bill
country and free millions. >> there are few things more insidious in television than misleading editing. some parties are both sides are guilty of that. i've seen few cases as egregious as al sharpton and bill o'reiley. >> nelson mandela -- i've spent some time in south africa. he was a communist, this man. he was a communist, all right? >> this is not -- >> but don't you wonder where it was in south africa? it wasn't like he was hanging out in soweto, bill o'reiley. >> it turns out mandela was briefly a communist. but that's not the point. to see what sharpton did on his
msnbc program, let's take a longer look at what bill o'reiley actually said. >> 95 years old. nelson mandela -- i've spent some time in south africa. he was a communist, this man. he was a communist, all right? but he was a great man. what he did for his people was stunning. the sacrifices that he made. >> a great man, wow. now, nbc fired three people for that distorted editing. did sharpton at least apologize? nope. he doubled down. >> i don't think playing his great man content changes the contents or the fact that on the night of nelson mandela's death bill o'reiley called him a communist. >> come on, reverend al. you stop the tape at resizely
enough. coming out swinging against members of his own party. >> it's war. the republican civil war is back and the media are laughing it up after the house passed a bipartisan budget this week. john boehner lashed out and they fired back. the press is now relishing this latest beltway brawl. joining us now, julie mason and bob kusacz. julie, does this war of words between john boehner and conservative groups deserve all this media attention? yes, it does. we love conflict. we savor it. we seize upon it. i'm sorry to shock you with that, howie. it's a great story. i think the democrats are heading for a feud, too, but this republican party brawl gives and gives to the media. i'm not sure it's good for the parties. >> now you have glenn beck calling boehner a worthless
republican. it is a story, but is it the biggest story as the war metaphor would have us believe? >> i think it's a big thing because boehner has never done this before. >> he looked mad. >> he did look mad. and he doesn't -- you know, when we interviewed him, he said, listen, i don't do angry. he doesn't scream at people and he doesn't. now, i think some of it was planned. he was prepared to do this. but is he angry at them because they won? they beat him before. now he got a win over them. >> it seems to me we haven't had as much of the republican infighting story since the government shutdown. and it seems to me that we have two very different views here of how conservatives should conduct themselves. but going back to your first answer, you were relishing this, you were laughing. it seems to me that you were having maybe a little bit too much of a good time with this. >> are you judging me? >> yes. >> here is my counter intuitive
take on this. i think this will benefit the tea party, bringing them back to their core mission, their core operative. talk to me about whether or not the media are promoting this fight by constantly playing the sound bites and relishing it. >> right, exactly, because everyone getting along and compromising is good news for america, but it's not good news for the news media. >> i see. so people doing their job is a snooze, fighting is good. democrats are not exactly unified, particularly with the botched obama carolout. you had a number of democrats criticizing the president, distancing themselves from the administration. so some people are saying, well, why isn't that as big a story? but they haven't used the harsh rhetoric that we have from john boehner and others on the right. >> yeah. and i think the media is getting tired of the obama care story. there's not the conflict there that there needs to be. >> exactly.
and there's a little bit of health care fatigue going on. i think that's going to change come january 1 when obama care kicks in. but the media focussing on the right. >> this barely does anything. slight reduction in deficits. why has it gotten such media appraisal? >> because it's a shift in dynamic. also, it seems like boehner had to go through all those troubles to get a good deal out. and i feel reporters are rooting for a deal because -- >> you set up my next question which is doesn't the press love any compromise that can be called bipartisan, even though both parties would admit they ducked all the tough issues to get this deal and avoid the shutdown. >> there is a small deal, no doubt about it. but at the same time, it's new because both the republicans and president vice president gotten anything done. finally, there is some deal. will people remember this deal in a year or two years? absolutely not. >> maybe the turning point, though. >> people could remember this
deal in two weeks. >> i've already forgotten it. >> thank you for on stopping by. we appreciate it. after the break, twitter changes its policy on blocking other people and the internet in protest. fighting constipation by eating healthier, drinking plenty of water, but still not getting relief? try dulcolax laxative tablets. dulcolax is comfort-coated for gentle, over-night relief. dulcolax. predictable over-night relief you can count on. i dbefore i dosearch any projects on my home. i love my contractor, and i am so thankful to angie's list for bringing us together. find out why more than two million members count on angie's list. angie's list -- reviews you can trust. became big business overnight? ♪ like, really big... then expanded? ♪ or their new product tanked? ♪
. twitter has always let you block people from following you. >> but when the social network radically changed that blocking ability, the twitter-verse erupted in protest. and within hours, the company backed down and restored the blocking function. >> that was remarkable. usually it takes two days, it took about two hours. you know, instead of blocking
someone from seeing your tweets because you don't want them to see your private information, the new policy that lasted, you know, 12 minutes was that you wouldn't see them and you wouldn't see what they said about you if you're having problems with a stalker, you don't need a restraining order, just wear a blindfold. >> right. and it protected the harasser, not the person who was being harassed. and i think that's why people exploded. you can't change the rules in the middle. .they didn't let people know that this was going to happen. they had 200 million users and they had to find out about it by trial and error. have to. they are not kelloggs x right? they can't say i will buy a different racen -- raisen bran, whatever. itthis is a crowd sourcing company. they understand at its core why the users are so important. >> i couldn't help notice those who were most ocipherous
and liked them too much were women. >> i have a tweet here, every person i have seen that is okay with twitter's new blocking policy is a white male. please fix this. it could be harsh, but there are a lot of haters and people infatuated with women and use this as an opportunity to harass. and some wish death threats on women who say something on tv they may not like. >> are you saying like you speak from experience? >> i do, of course. >> all people on twitter, particularly those in the public eye can attract the haters and free speech and all that -- i never blocked anybody, but i should be able to. twitter when it was defending this said people who are being blocked, they were getting mad and engaging in an an tag an tag an tag -- antagonistic
behavior. on facebook you have to accept people. people can see what you write unless you shut them out. >> it left users feeling less safe. in an interview with matt lauer he said he wants twitter to be a, quote, clean, well lit place. that doesn't allow for that if you have to see all of this hate . >> so does twitter at least deserve credit for reaccount aing quickly to this on-line revolt i would call it? >> sure, if you look at netflix do you remember when it said it would change to quickster? everybody went craze tee and it took three weeks to reverse. facebook it took days when there was a beheading video that they allowed to show to reverse policy and take it down. >> that's what has changed in the world. you can't wait a week and have meetings. the on-line world moves quickly. you can block who you want.
and shakes at the mandela services. beth says way too much coverage on obama when the focus is supposed to be on somebody who actually accomplished something. horn sanity. too much talk about the selfie. and on the question of the media staying away from new town on this traj geek anniversary, the last they need is a circus and not a reminder of how terrible it was. pamela jones, why not? most of the media have stayed away from the new town shootings and what it says about america all year. megyn kelly caused a christmas season storm reacting to a piece that says santa shouldn't be depicted as a white man anymore. she said for you kids watching at home, santa just is white. after criticism and mockery, kelly told viewers she was making an offhand jest referring to the commercial
santa as white, but the humor was lost on many. >> others suggesting i am a racist who is outraged at the idea of a black santa. well this would be funny if it was not so telling about our society in particular the the jerk instinct for so many to race bait. >> some of the critics were not race baiting, they were uh febded. if anybody miss interpreted the comments, she bears part of the responsibility in another part of her remarks. >> i did say jesus was white as i learned in the past two days that is far from settled. >> santa we are talking about a fictional character. kelly touched a nerve where many presents st. nick as the same color they are. i will give her the same word. >> race is a volatile issue in this country and fox news and yours truly are big targets for many people. >> so last week i got chided for being a bit of a
fuddy-duddy saying the media giving this "anchorman 2" movie too much. and now cnn is part of the pr team. >> ron burgundy. >> what hasn't been said about ron burgundy. >> she a news legend. >> one of the most influential actors. >> on camera, he is the best. off camera, he is a bit of an [bleep]. >> come on. the next thing you know you will see ron burgundy announcing, this is cnn. some thought ed snowden should be person of the year, but instead it went to pope francis. >> i think it is good. the spirit the pope has, the peace, the humility. the secular community has noticed. of course it helped sell magazines. >> every time "time" magazine does this honor it is a marketing device. >> this is a controversial division because he has only been pope for 300 days. maybe it should have gone to somebody else. as a catholic, he is humble,
engaging, willing to reach out to the press. he is a worldwide figure who has entranced the world. >> it was a good choice because he is remarkably open to the press. a new interview with the italian newspapers. he said marxist reality is wrong, but i have met many good marxist people. that is it for this edition. go to our facebook page right now and give as you like and continue the conversation on twitter and e-mail us at our home page, fox news.com/media buzz. we are back next sunday morning. we will have the latest buzz. thanks for watching.
alert for you. a shopper gunned down in a mall parking lot. this happened in north jersey. the 30-year-old man is dead after being shot in the head during a car jacking in aparkin. he was killed in front of his life. two men took off in the car. his wife was not injured. the two had just finished holiday shopping. >> he got in the driver's side and started -- (indiscernible). >> the two suspects are still on the run. law enforcement agencies across the country are trying to make sure that people are safe by offering some holiday shopping safety tips. take a look. this includes parking in well lit areas. be aware of your surroundings, have keys ready before