• With: Judy Miller, Cal Thomas, Jim Pinkerton, Kirsten Powers


    POWERS: There is no guilt. No, I do think sometimes media polls can be a little cooked. There is no question; I have a friend who used to do it for one of the media organizations. And used to always say, like, ding, here is, you know, it's been cooked, here is what you wanted. And -- but the thing is, Nate Silver did a really good analysis of the polls that shows that there are biases, but they are actually sort of evenly split, if you look at the big polls. Some of them are weighted towards Republicans and some are weighted towards Democrats, so the best thing to do is look at the real clear politics average in attempts to kind of even out right now, it says Romney is down by about four points. Which I think probably sounds right to people.

    THOMAS: You know, one thing the media never do, though, Rick, is to do a survey of previous polls and show how wrong they were.


    THOMAS: Remember Carter was going to clobber Reagan in 1980. There have been a number of inaccuracies, but they keep going back to them, just like the fortune tellers. It doesn't matter how many times they were wrong.

    FOLBAUM: Coming up next on "News Watch," are the media still ignoring what happened in Libya? We'll talk about that.


    UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: More details surface about the deadly attacks on the U.S. consulate in Libya. Al-Qaeda terrorists behind the murders of our ambassador and three other Americans. What did the White House know and when did they know it? And why aren't the media crying fowl that is next on "News Watch."


    FOLBAUM: Here on "News Watch" we cover the coverage ever week, even when that means covering ourselves. On Friday, during "Studio B" with Shepard Smith, we watched a man kill himself after a car chase in Arizona. Police in Phoenix say the suspect stole a car from two people at gunpoint, and led cops on a long high-speed chase. It ended on a dirt road where the suspect got out and ran, moments later he shot himself and fell to the ground. Fox News channel inadvertently showed the portion where the man shot himself and anchor Shepard Smith apologized to viewers at the time. This was followed by a statement from Fox News executive vice president of news editorial Michael Clemente. He said, "We took every precaution to avoid any such live incident by putting the helicopter pictures on a five seconds delay. Unfortunately, this mistake was the result of a severe human error and we apologize for what viewers saw ultimately saw on the screen."

    More than two weeks ago on September 11th our consulate in Benghazi, Libya was attacked and our ambassador there and three other Americans were killed and the White House response has been, shall we say, questionable. But as the days passed the story is getting a bit more clear thanks to a journal kept by ambassador Chris Stevens who was killed. Fox News correspondent James Rosen now to tell us that piece of the puzzle and the reaction over its use.


    JAMES ROSEN, FOX NEWS: Rick, at issue here is a hard bound book containing seven pages of handwritten notes made by ambassador Stevens. CNN says correspondent Arwa Damon found the journal on a consulate grounds three days after the attack there. In his notes, Stevens reportedly expressed concern about, quote, never ending security threats and worried if he himself had been placed on an al-Qaeda hit list. Asked if Stevens cabled back such concerns to Foggy Bottom a State Department spokesman told me, the FBI is investigating. However, a former U.S. ambassador told Fox News' Megyn Kelly, the contents of the Stevens' journal may expose, quote "a failing in the overall approach to the region."

    JOHN BOLTON, FMR. U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: I'm sure that if he believed that security was a problem, he would have informed the State Department's diplomatic security bureau. They would have made a threat assessment and should have taken the necessary steps. The fact that he and three other Americans were killed by definition shows there was a massive failure of security.

    ROSEN: At first, CNN only cited an individual familiar with Stevens' thinking. And a few days later, Anderson Cooper disclosed the existence of the journal.

    Enter Philippe Reines, an aide to Secretary of State Clinton. Reines gave a furious statement to the Huffington Post accusing CNN of lacking humanity by failing to honor assurances that the network purportedly gave to the Stevens family to return the journal promptly and not report on personal details. CNN executives dispute that. Now enter Michael Hastings, a reporter for BuzzFeed.com, best known for having written the story for Rolling Stone a few years back that resulted in the resignation of General Stanley McChrystal. Hastings emailed Reines Sunday morning, "Why didn't the State Department search the consulate and find the Ambassador Stevens' diary first. What other potential valuable intelligence was left behind that could have been picked up by apparently anyone searching the grounds? Was any classified or top secret material also left?"

    On classified material the answer is no, Reines shot back at him. But you might want to ask CNN if they took anything else from the crime scene that they haven't yet told anyone about. Later on, Reines asked Hastings, "Why do you bother to ask questions you've already decided you know the answers to?" "Why don't you," Hastings fired back "give answers that aren't b.s. for a change?" "I now understand," Reines emailed back why the official investigation by the Department of Defense as reported by The Army Times and The Washington Post concluded beyond the doubt that you are an unmitigated blank hole. How is that for a non b.s. response? Now that we have gotten that out of our system," Reines added, "have a good day. And by good day, I mean blank off." Reines did not respond to Fox News request for comment. Through Italian diplomats acting as intermediaries, CNN returned Ambassador Stevens' journal to the State Department on Sunday, September 23rd. Reporting for "News Watch," James Rosen.


    FOLBAUM: OK, so, Judy, the diary and CNN finding it and using it as a source for its reporting. Would any other news organization have done any differently?

    MILLER: No. I mean I don't -- do not begin to understand the White House's and the State Department's indignation over the reporting of obvious news. Every news organization would have done that. I end up -- we understand that that outcry was about.


    MILLER: They were trying to change the subject. They wanted to make it about CNN. And not about their -- what looks now like incompetence or intelligence failure or a failure to respond to an obvious threat.

    FOLBAUM: In meantime, Jim, we just heard James reporting on the correspondence between -- one of Hillary Clinton's -- -this is an assistant deputy secretary of state...

    PINKERTON: Deputy assistant. Yes.

    FOLBAUM: Deputy Assistant Secretary of State. What kind of way is that to have a conversation with a reporter?

    PINKERTON: Well, Dana Milbank, right in The Washington Post said, look, this is sort of what you have now. And every great figure of president, you know, secretary of state or whoever, has a little cadre of loyalists who see themselves entirely as counter punchers and punching hard against the media and everybody else. And it's just -- it's a professional, sort of almost gild of spin doctors. And now, we see one what they really sound and act and talk like. Everybody in politics knows them. And this time (inaudible) the Republic to me.

    FOLBAUM: And very little attention, Cal, in the media, to this correspondent at the meantime. When Mitt Romney goes overseas during the summer and one of his aides has a little heated exchange with a reporter its front page news.

    THOMAS: Yeah, well, once again, we have more evidence as if more is needed, of the bias of the mainstream media. But I agree with Judy, this was news. It was legit; the big argument was between the State Department and CNN as to whether it was some agreement was lived up to. But here is the real problem. The administration, the Obama administration wanted this diary out of the way as rapidly as possible because Chris Stevens was concerned, he wrote in his diary, about the lack of security. And they don't want to be held accountable for that. And then there is a report on Drudge on Friday that links the potential of a budget cut for security at the State Department with what happened in Benghazi. They don't want their fingerprints on that one.

    FOLBAUM: Kirsten, if the goal was to change the subject as Jim suggests, did it work? Did they throw the media off the trail?

    POWERS: The media was never on the trail. So, there is nobody to throw off. You know, and the thing about it is, there's only been a few reporters who have been really on this story. You know, and I think that what is interesting what was in the diary, the journal, to be very specific, it wasn't just the he's concerned about an attack, it was that he was concerned about al-Qaeda. And that is something, that now, Eli Lake has reported The Daily Beast, and Fox News has reported on, that they knew within 24 hours, at least according to multiple intelligence officials that this was linked to al-Qaeda. So that is why there was such a heavy -- I mean this was Philippe trying to just crush this story to make sure that no other reporter would even go after it.

    FOLBAUM: Fox News has been doing a lot of reporting on that, as well. We'll pick up on that part of the story. When we come back on "News Watch."More on the terror attack in Libya and charges now of a cover-up when we come right back.



    BRET BAIER, HOST OF "SPECIAL REPORT": Good evening, I'm Bret Baier; this is the Fox News Alert. Within the last two minutes, the State Department announced it is temporarily withdrawing more staff from its embassy in Tripoli, Libya. Officials are citing security reasons saying they hope to return them early next week, but they will reassess. This comes two weeks and two days after the deadly attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya. Even though the administration initially and repeatedly denied that assault with terrorism, it was at the same time working with the assumption that it was just that.


    FOLBAUM: "Special Report" anchor Bret Baier, of course, Thursday night, reporting that even though the Obama White House claimed the attack on our consulate in Benghazi, Libya was due to a spontaneous reaction to a YouTube clip insulting to Muslims, they actually knew that it was a terror attack, so Kirsten, was there a cover-up? Why would the White House internally classify something as terror and then send Ambassador Susan Rice out on to so many Sunday talk shows days later to claim that it was spontaneous.

    POWERS: Well, that is the question. And it does appear that there is a cover-up. I've been trying, to, as you know, many -- I know Judy has been trying to track down exactly what happened. There are many reporters, who are asking questions, and you can't, you know, what you are told is well, she was just operating under the best information she had and she was very clear that she was couching it as only the most recent information. But she was so specific, and I think that's the problem. And I think not only was she so specific, but it was just contrary to common sense. There is just no -- you know, to even compare to what was happening in Cairo to say that the movie caused it. All these other things, you know, protesters don't carry RPGs or usually have mortars or things like that. So, you know I think that the media has just a really disturbing lack of curiosity about this and really should be holding them -- their feet to the fire and...

    THOMAS: Well, there is also another element here. The 24-7 news cycle, the desire to get something out into the public arena quickly, often brings mistakes like this. I think of Colin Powell and the demonstration at the U.N. of supposedly WMDs in Iraq and then he went on all the Sunday talk shows. He was talking about what he thought at the time was true. And it may or may not have turned out to be true and the stuff may have gone to Syria, we don't know, but this is a function of the news cycle. And especially during the election campaign.

    PINKERTON: That was -- the statement months in preparation...

    MILLER: Yes.