Fox News host Howard Kurtz: Trump deserves praise for driving the debate about guns

From the February 25 edition of Fox News' MediaBuzz:

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HOWARD KURTZ (HOST): Jonathan, President Trump has put himself at the white-hot center of this emotional and divisive gun control debate. And with those meetings, he turned it into a riveting television show. Without him doing that, I think at least the gun control part of the debate would be getting much less coverage.

JONATHAN SWAN: Well, and you and I were talking earlier, he actually is a unique position. He was so strongly endorsed by the NRA, he was such a Second Amendment absolutist. And he does have the capacity to be a Nixon to China figure on guns. He's also shown amazing capacity to change public opinion within that block of Republican voters who follow him. So, it'll be interesting to see how he uses that power. I think we've seen --

KURTZ: Is he intentionally driving the coverage? I mean this is a guy who knows how to get the stories he wants at the top of every newscast. 

SWAN: Of course. And that's how he uses his Twitter feed as well, it's how he orchestrates all of these events. We often say he's the producer, writer, show runner of his own reality TV show every day from the White House. 

KURTZ: Emily, as Johnathan just alluded to, I mean this is a guy who ran as a champion of the Second Amendment, strongly supported by the NRA, and he's putting the media and political focus very strongly on gun control. Why with a few exceptions, and just briefly, are so many -- so few in the media giving him credit for that?

EMILY JASHINSKY: Yeah, it's an interesting question. I think it was Chris Stirewalt in the clip you just played said that this was a risk, the forum that he had at the White House was a risk. But what we saw was him being very restrained, very, I think, sober and curious and compassionate towards people. And he gave them a real forum to air their emotion. I think that --

KURTZ: Those are not words that the media usually uses to describe this person. 

JASHINSKY: Even when he does exhibit those traits, he doesn't get the credit. Though I do think there was, and we played it in the clip just now, I do there was -- he got reception that was surprising to me, surprisingly appreciative of what he did in that forum.


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