This is a rush transcript from "Fox News Watch," October 6, 2012 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
Watch the latest video at FoxNews.com
JON SCOTT, HOST OF "FOX NEWS WATCH": On "FOX News Watch' -- a week of anticipation as the news media got set for the big debates.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Governor Romney, they say, does not have to win a charm offensive on that debate stage. He simply has to prove that he can relate to average American problems. A lot at stake here.
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SCOTT: But when all was said a done, a big win for Romney, a big loss for the president, and a big shocker for the mainstream press.
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GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, CO-HOST, ABC "GOOD MORNING AMERICA": Where was the president? Where was the fight?
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SCOTT: The liberal media in overdrive, trying to spin the outcome and defend their man.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDREA MITCHELL, MSNBC: Did you really mean to call Barack Obama, the president of the United States, lazy?
JOHN SUNUNU, R-N.H., FORMER GOVERNER: Yes!
MITCHELL: But I think to call the president...
SUNUNU: All right, Andrea. Whatever.
MITCHELL: ... lazy and...
SUNUNU: Whatever you want!
(END VIDEO CLIP
SCOTT: Another big story, new details about the murders of our ambassador and the other three Americans in Libya. But that was missed by most in the news business.
A video clip from the president's past gets new attention for what was said. How did the media react? And is it fair game?
Spanish channel Univision gets high marks for its coverage of the Fast and Furious scandal. Why didn't anyone else seem to notice?
And the NBC-owned Weather Channel heats up a little controversy about winter storms.
On the panel this week, writer and Fox News contributor Judy Miller, Richard Grennell, who served as press spokesman for the last four U.S. ambassadors to the U.N., Jim Pinkerton, contributing editor The American Conservative magazine, and talk Radio News bureau chief Ellen Rattner.
I'm Jon Scott. "Fox News Watch" is on right now.
Ah, wouldn't you love to know what the cartoon thought bubbles above their heads would say? That was the scene at the end of the presidential debate between Governor Mitt Romney and President Obama. And this is some of the coverage that followed.
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BRIT HUME, FOX SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: He was a lot like the President Obama we're used to hearing. I don't think he seemed rusty. He seemed comfortable discussing the subjects. But I don't think he had the spark or the energy or the precision, really, tonight that Governor Romney had.
ED SCHULTZ, MSNBC "THE ED SHOW": The president tonight was disappointing when he allowed Mitt Romney to talk about $716 billion in Medicare, and the president did not come out and explain it and go after him.
BRIAN WILLIAMS, ANCHOR, "NBC NIGHTLY NEWS": It appeared that an energetic Mitt Romney showed up for this face time tonight before a national audience.
CHUCK TODD, NBC WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT/POLITICAL DIR.: I think you're going to see team Obama buckle down more. They went through a lot of mock debates, supposedly, but he did seem to come out and wasn't crisp. And instead, you saw Mitt Romney -- he looked like a credible alternative tonight.
STEPHANOPOULOS: I didn't see any knockout punches.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No?
STEPHANOPOULOS: I didn't see any breakthrough moments or major mistakes by either candidate. I think Governor Romney will get the boost that challengers usually get coming out of these debates.
JOHN KING, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: If you look in the Twitterverse, it is clear that the Republicans are very, very, very happy at this moment, including the top team around Mitt Romney, a lot of liberals complaining about the president's performance.
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST OF "HARDBALL": Where was Obama tonight?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCOTT: Well, there you go, Jim! The mainstream and liberal media are just shocked; shocked that President Obama didn't win that debate.
JIM PINKERTON, THE AMERICAN CONSERVATIVE MAGAZINE: Right. And Chris Matthews went on to say, I think on that segment, he says, If only the president had been watching my show...
PINKERTON: ... he would -- Andrea Mitchell and Ed and all the rest of them (INAUDIBLE) Listen, this was one of those epic political masters (ph), if you will. Jay Leno said it best, said; Only the replacement refs for the NFL think that President Obama had a good night.
SCOTT: You know, that comment there that challengers always get a boost -- I mean, nobody seemed to want to say that Mitt Romney won because Mitt Romney won!
JUDY MILLER, WRITE, FOX CONTRIBUTOR: Yes. It was amazing. I mean, when even, even MSNBC had to carry on as if someone in the family had died -- you know, it was an astonishing performance, but I think it was a rare moment of consensus, Jon, in the press because the press basically agreed Romney had won. And it must have been very painful for some of them to admit that, but it was obvious.
SCOTT: Ellen, the media ahead of this were waiting for a Mitt Romney gaffe or a misstep. They were going to pounce upon that, and it didn't happen.
ELLEN RATTNER, TALK RADIO NEWS SERVICE: No, it certainly did not. I was not one of the not mainstream liberal media but the middle-stream liberal media that was very upset with how the presidential did.
And I actually have a theory about why he didn't do as well as he could have, and that is that this White House, as opposed to the Bush White House and the Clinton White House, has been much more protective. Usually, only the five or six television mainstream people get questions. He doesn't engage in the sort of back and forth.
Even President Bush had off-the-records with radio people. And so therefore, he doesn't get to hear what some of the little-stream media have to say. And that would train him better.
SCOTT: We put together a list of the recent interviews the president has done, I mean, hard-hitting events like People magazine and "Entertainment Tonight" and Glamour. He's -- he's had some...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Joy Behar.
SCOTT: Joy Behar. That's for sure.
RICHARD GRENNELL, FMR. SPOKESMAN, LAST 4 U.S. AMBASSADORS TO U.N.: I actually think it's a little bit even deeper than that, in that we saw Obama without a teleprompter. And the media are jumping to say, Oh, Obama just wasn't himself. I think he was himself. He was himself when he doesn't have a teleprompter. And Mitt Romney was himself, too. See, this is the exact Mitt Romney that the media have not wanted us to see!
MILLER: Well, where has he been up until now?
PINKERTON: Buried under a narrative -- this Tuesday's Washington Post before the new realization of the debate came in -- the headline is, "The staying power of 47 percent." Now, why is 47 percent staying? Because the media are putting it on the...
MILLER: Well, but President Obama did not mention that. He did go on the $5 trillion dollar attack. So he did nothing to come back at him! It was -- I got to tell you, I've -- I've watched all these debates since Clinton's first debate, and I was in shock!
GRENNELL: Again, the reason why he didn't bring it up, it wasn't on the teleprompter!
MILLER: Well, that -- I've seen him in the press room, and that is not (INAUDIBLE)
PINKERTON: And look, just to -- I actually agree with what Ellen was saying. Matt Latimer (ph) in The Daily Beast and Andrea Tantaros in The New York Daily News both said, Look, after four years of fawning press coverage, he's not ready for anything resembling a tough question or even, as Rick is suggesting, a tough opportunity.
MILLER: There was just an attitude by Obama of aloof disdain. It was supposed to be part of a strategy of not being overly aggressive, but it just looked like condescension! And it felt terrible!
SCOTT: Well, Ellen had her theory about why the president came off the way he did. We've compiled a few, and I just love these -- on MSNBC, Michael Eric Dyson claimed that in his opinion, the president was overly deferential to Mitt Romney because he was concerned that he would come across as an angry black man. That's what he said on MSNBC.
Michael Moore -- you know Michael Moore. He blamed the president's lackluster effort on the coaching or the debate sparring that he got from John Kerry.
And Al Gore -- this is my personal favorite, being from Denver -- Al Gore on his Current TV, the channel that nobody watches, said that Obama's poor performance could be blamed on Denver's altitude. So there you go.
PINKERTON: It's always the climate with Al Gore!
MILLER: ... he wasn't wearing enough earth tones.
GRENNELL: But here's the thing, is President Obama has been to Colorado so much that even if that was the case, that he had a little altitude sickness, he certainly has adjusted. He's been campaigning more than he's been governing.
PINKERTON: And -- by the way, Bill Maher (INAUDIBLE) throw him in there -- said that it was like Michael Jackson on tranquilizers.
PINKERTON: I mean, this has been a brutal, brutal time, where the -- I think the left is afraid of what they're going to see in the next couple debates.
GRENNELL: Yes, Andrew Sullivan...
MILLER: You know what?
GRENNELL: ... called it a disaster.
MILLER: I actually...
GRENNELL: I love that!
MILLER: I actually think that he will do quite well in the next two debates. But can he do (INAUDIBLE)
PINKERTON: The next one, we're going to have Teleprompters.
MILLER: You know, get off the teleprompter thing because if you really covered him, he really is quite fine off the cuff. He just doesn't get the hard questions.
SCOTT: He had four minutes more speaking time during those 90 minutes than Mitt Romney did, and he made far fewer points or punches.
RATTNER: You're asking this part of the press to comment? I mean, I got to tell you, it was not the best. And -- but I also have to say that part of it, I think, was that he didn't -- you know, we always say you invite -- invite the person in your living room for the next four years. That's who you're going to vote for president.
And The Baltimore Sun also said that Mitt Romney won the debate because he talked a little bit about his personal journey. The president didn't talk about that at all.
SCOTT: OK. Next on "News Watch," was the president's poor showing the fault of the debate's moderator?
MITT ROMNEY, R-MASS. PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Under the president's policies, middle-income Americans have been buried. They're -- they're just being crushed!
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ANNOUNCER: The media gave Mitt Romney high marks for his debate performance. How will his success affect his coverage now? And how did the media rate the job of the moderator? That's next on "News Watch."
SCOTT: PBS "News Hour" host Jim Lehrer moderated the great debate this week, but his performance didn't win him many accolades. Some of the critiques -- Robert Bianco from USA Today -- "Apparently, Jim Lehrer thinks the best moderator is no moderator at all." Alexandra Petri in The Washington Post -- "Whether letting go of the leash was a calculated, intelligent choice on his part or simply the only option for a man walking two recalcitrant cats, he definitely let go of the leash."
"I thought the moderate did not moderate." That from MSNBC's Chris Matthews. And Howard Fineman from the Huffington Post -- "Jim Lehrer was practically useless as the moderator."
Lehrer responded, "I thought the format accomplished its purpose, which was to facilitate direct, extended exchanges between the candidates about issues of substance. Part of my moderator mission was to stay out the way of the flow, and I had no problems with doing so."
So let's find out what our panelists think. Rick, what about the job that he did?
GRENNELL: Well, let's summarize. The media is upset that they weren't part of the story and that the candidates got to talk. I think it's brilliant. This is exactly what a moderator is supposed to do. You're supposed to let the candidates talk. This is not about the media.
And shame on the media, who jump in there and say, you didn't become part of the story and you didn't wrestle with the politicians. You are not a part of the story. It's about their ideas. So let them talk. I loved it. I thought it was (INAUDIBLE)
SCOTT: Ellen -- Ellen, you're an unabashed Barack Obama supporter. Would he have done a better job if Lehrer had done a better job or...
RATTNER: No, I don't think...
SCOTT: ... a different job?
RATTNER: I think the two of them are unrelated. But I do think that Michael Calderon (ph) from Huffington Post had an interesting point, which is that Lehrer did not go to what is now new media. He didn't take any crowd-sourcing questions. He didn't go and ask people what he ought to ask. He just decided it by himself. That's not how things are done anymore.
SCOTT: It was mostly the liberal media that trashed Lehrer's performance afterward, and it was the conservatives who were afraid ahead of time that he was going to be somehow unfair.
MILLER: Right. Well, Stephen Colbert called Jim Lehrer the most boring man on evening news, and I think that that was certainly something of what we saw. But you know, I have to agree with Rick and with Ellen. I think that he understood that the two men wanted to engage, and he stepped out of the way. And that was a good thing.
PINKERTON: The Lincoln-Douglas debates were between Lincoln and Douglas. There was no moderator between them. (INAUDIBLE) went on for three hours (INAUDIBLE) everybody agrees that -- everybody likes to say that would be a better model. Let's have the two debates. Well, actually, they tried that this time. They just debated. Obama got his head handed to him. And now the media are blaming Lehrer.
Look, Packado (ph) wrote last week that the media are part of the team. (INAUDIBLE) Romney's playing against the Democratic team and the media team and they're both trying to tackle him on the field. And the fact that Lehrer wasn't a tackler -- he's now getting beat up for it.
SCOTT: Well, and the ratings were huge for this thing, 67 million people. And they -- you know, they have a way of measuring how people stay with the program, and they stayed with it. I mean, Lehrer must have been doing something right.
GRENNELL: Well, I think the people loved it because, again, the media was removed from the equation and we got to see the candidates talking. I'm a big Twitterer, and it was very exciting to be on Twitter during this debate and watch as people commentated. And the public actually has a role now.
MILLER: Ten million tweets. That's a lot of tweets.
SCOTT: One of tweets that was trending on social media was the phrase "Poor Jim," which goes back to, you know, Jim Lehrer and the work he was trying to do, herding these cats. But seemed to do a fair job.
GRENNELL: Again, I think the summary is, is when you remove the media and the politicians get to talk to the people, it's always a good thing.
PINKERTON: But the media don't like it.
MILLER: No, the media don't like it.
SCOTT: So what would be, you know, the -- if the roles of the two candidates were reversed and President Obama had come way out in front on this thing, what would be the media be saying?
PINKERTON: There'd be stone silence about Lehrer, other than he was simply a wise man, period.
MILLER: I mean, can you imagine if Romney had spent the entire time looking down at his notes or sneering at his opponent, how the media would have reacted?
RATTNER: But the media reacted very -- I mean, there were very few people that thought Obama made even a passing C.
GRENNELL: But it wasn't a pro-Romney. It wasn't that Romney did well, it was Obama wasn't there.
PINKERTON: And look, there's going to be no shortage of reporters saying, What about Big Bird? We got to defend Big Bird? They're going to rally. They're -- they're -- they're on their backs now, the wind knocked out of them, but they're going to get up and charge ahead. And they'll be slugging around (INAUDIBLE) every last fact-check (INAUDIBLE)
SCOTT: You know, Romney -- Romney didn't seem to make any huge gaffes, and so Big Bird has become the best that some of these media commentators can come up as an attack line.
GRENNELL: Well, if you actually watched Carol Costello's show on CNN, you thought the entire debate was about Big Bird.
GRENNELL: And that's what is, I think, spinning at some network...
GRENNELL: ... all about PBS.
MILLER: Big Bird -- Big Bird's creators have actually written a letter to Mitt, saying, How could you do this after all the mornings that I taught your sons letters?
PINKERTON: We used to -- we used to borrow (ph) from (INAUDIBLE)
RATTNER: ... media didn't cover the fact that the president of the Corporation for Public Broadcast, Patricia Harrison (ph), is actually -- was vice chair of the Republican Party. She was a Bush 1st appointee or suggestion. And people aren't even talking about that, even though PBS...
PINKERTON: As they say in Washington, where you stand depends on where you sit. Brilliant for PBS to hire a Republican to lobby for more money from the government (INAUDIBLE)
GRENNELL: And Pat -- I know Pat, and she knows very well that we don't have a lot of money and that we can't borrow from China.
RATTNER: One hundredth of 1 percent of the federal budget is PBS.
PINKERTON: And so -- and that -- Mitt Romney's taxes are one millionth of 1 percent, and the media seem to be fixated on that!
SCOTT: Speaking of media gaffes, the next big debate is -- speaking of gaffes and how the media handle them, the next big debate is the vice presidential debate. So what -- what is going to be, I guess, the meme, Jim, to borrow your phrase, as Vice President Biden goes up against Paul Ryan?
PINKERTON: I mean, Biden -- look, take -- back to chains, you know, you're all in chains and the middle class is buried. Again, if anyone -- if the media picked up on these the way they picked up on Dan Quayle, there wouldn't even be a debate because it -- because -- they'd be having Biden in an undisclosed location.
SCOTT: All right. So the big vice presidential debate comes next week, the two candidates, Joe Biden, Paul Ryan. You can watch it here on Fox News Channel on Thursday night.
And more "News Watch" ahead.
First, though, if you see something that you feel shows evidence of media bias, hit up Twitter. You can tweet us @foxnewswatch.
Up next: Are the polls biased, or is it the coverage?
ANNOUNCER: Playing the numbers. When it comes to political polls, who do you trust? Who should you trust? And is there someone in the back room cooking the numbers? Find out next on "News Watch."
SCOTT: Well, the first presidential debate was the big news of this week, and Governor Mitt Romney's big win gave the GOP a burst of energy. It also gave Mr. Romney a big boost in the snap polls the next day. In a CBS poll asking uncommitted voters who won, Mitt Romney got 46 percent, Barack Obama 22 percent, 32 percent said it was a tie.
So what about all of these snap polls, Jim? These reactions are, you know, taken overnight sometimes in these polls, and yet reactions may change -- you know, people's reactions may change, but the media narrative often stays the same.
PINKERTON: Well, this -- we'll see about this one. I mean, the polls on Friday, the Gallup (INAUDIBLE) Rasmussen and We Ask America had both showed Romney pulling ahead by a slim margin.
And I will predict that the people who are complaining bitterly about the polls a week ago will not be complaining anymore. It'll probably be flipped, as a matter of fact. I mean, Frank Newport, who runs the Gallup organization, had a blog on his post (ph) about this.
Listen (INAUDIBLE) talk about the methodology of this. These polls are what they are. And it's -- they are snapshots of opinion, but I don't think they're cooked either way. And therefore, I think conservatives should be happy that Romney's ahead.
SCOTT: But then there was the Washington Post poll that ran on Monday. Judy's nodding her head in agreement. Here was the headline, 41 percent for Governor Romney, 52 percent for Mitt -- I'm sorry -- President Obama in this Washington Post poll. It said 52 percent of likely voters across swing states side with Obama, 41 percent Romney in the new national poll.
The problem here -- there was a margin of error of 8 points and there were, let's see, a sample size of 161 people?
MILLER: Right. That poll never should have run, and a hats-off to Jennifer Rubin, the conservative blogger for The Washington Post, who called her own newspaper on that poll and pointed out the 8-point margin of error and also the slimness of the number of people polled. That was a really good job. I think we have to be always aware what is the margin of error and also what are the underlying assumptions about who' being polled?
RATTNER: ... because Jim Garrity (ph) also -- at The National Review also talked about the sample size. And the other problem is, is that who cares about whether the whole nation thinks one thing or the other? Even if a sample size is good, which a lot of them are not, it's really a state- by-state election.
GRENNELL: Yes. I agree, actually. Part of the narrative for me on these polls is that we don't get that they are just a quick snapshot -- 161 people, 500 people -- and you don't know what the question is. As we all know, you can ask a question a lot of different ways to get a lot of different answers.
MILLER (?): Push polling.
SCOTT: And it's also true that -- I think most people, when they read a headline -- and you know, The Washington Post made a headline out of those poll results -- most people are going to be looking for the margin of error.
PINKERTON: Right. Well, you can -- you can make an argument that the -- some newspapers -- and The Post and The New York Times come to mind -- are deliberately highlighting poll results to try and create momentum.
However, I just think that the reality of the polls are -- the pollsters, as opposed to the headline writers, are trying to do (INAUDIBLE) reflected (ph) the fact that when everybody agrees Romney crushed Obama in the debates, the polls show that, too. And when everybody agreed that Romney obviously has a surge, he's -- as of Thursday and Friday, he's surging. The polls are reflecting what people are thinking.
GRENNELL: John, what some people don't realize is the 4.5 percent margin of error really means a 9-point swing either way. So if it's within 9 points, you can say the whole thing is wrong.
SCOTT: Right. And I guess, you know one of the questions, Judy, in the week ahead -- we've seen the polls. We've seen the results of the last debate. Are there going to be -- is the coverage, I guess, going to be skewed to match the polls or to match some direction that the media want this race to take?
MILLER: Well, it often is, but I think President Obama was saved this week by those job numbers on Friday. Once you have numbers that good, the meme or the mantra can kind of swing back to the president regaining momentum, realizing that he did not have a good day. I mean, I think you're going to see the narrative shift back to the president.
SCOTT: But there you again, you know, you have 114,000 jobs created. That's not enough to keep up with population growth.
MILLER (?): (INAUDIBLE) 150,000.
SCOTT: Right. Doesn't keep up with population growth. But the headline and the president is already out there talking about the fact that we're going in the right direction.
PINKERTON: Look, what critics of the Obama administration had to do beginning three years ago was introduce new metrics, like the labor force participation rate or U5. There's other metrics that are much more discouraging (INAUDIBLE) make the Republican argument. As long as the unemployment number by itself becomes the single metric, then the administration benefits.
MILLER: As opposed to housing starts, which are very, very low.
SCOTT: We're going to have to leave it there. But next on "News Watch," have the media finally caught up with the Libya terror attacks?
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HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: Let's establish all the facts before we jump to any conclusions.
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ANNOUNCER: The administration is still tap dancing around the details of the deadly terror attacks on our consulate in Libya. Why aren't the media pushing for the answers? That answer next on "News Watch."
Watch the latest video at FoxNews.com
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, let me start by cautioning everyone on seizing on any single statement or piece of information to draw final conclusions. It's essential that we go through all of the information and the entire context, so that we can get a full and complete, accurate understanding of what happened. I take this responsibility very seriously, and I believe that our diplomats, our leaders, and the American people deserve a rigorous, serious, careful process.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCOTT: That is Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday vowing to provide a full and accurate account of the attacks on U.S. consulate in Benghazi that killed four Americans. The terror attack taking place just a little over three weeks ago on September 11th. So, was that directed at the media? Rick, I mean was she telling reporters, hey, back off, don't be looking into the story and don't be, you know, pulling diaries out of the rubble?
RICHARD GRENELL, FMR. SPOKESMAN, LAST 4 U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: What I actually heard her say, is, in summary, hey, Susan Rice misspoke.
SCOTT: Susan Rice, the U.N. ambassador...
SCOTT: ... who went on the Sunday shows a few days after the attacks to say...
SCOTT: ... this was -- this was all just a spontaneous attacks, spontaneous demonstration.
GRENELL: Yeah, with what we saw from the Secretary of State there was don't jump to conclusions. However, she should have said that to the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice because Susan Rice judged to conclusions and told us unequivocally what happened. I'm actually really perplexed as to why the media has not gone to Susan Rice to -- as a follow-up, to say, what were you talking about? Because the facts have now proven you to be wrong. Where is the U.N. press corps? Where is the State Department press corps?
SCOTT: Well ...
GRENELL: Why are they not going with the microphones...?
ELLEN RATNER, BUREAU CHIEF, TALK RADIO: Because you cannot get to Susan Rice. I mean we were also covering ...
SCOTT: So, she is in a bunker?
RATNER: No, but she does not make herself really very available.
SCOTT: She was very available on Sunday morning. She made the rounds of all the shows.
RATNER: She was, but then -- but then when you try and talk to her at the United Nations she will come out sometimes in front of the Security Council, make a couple of statements, take one question and she is gone.
JIM PINKERTON, THE AMERICAN CONSERVATIVE MAGAZINE: She tried the press visibility thing, and look, how that (ph) got (ph) for ...
PINKERTON: And now, look, I mean every time -- when I heard Secretary Clinton say, which is, and I thought well, look, let's get to this after the election, please, do us one favor, give us a couple of months, and then you can investigate all you want.
JUDY MILLER: I think that when at the same time that Susan Rice was making her unequivocal statement about what this was and what had caused it. We had Eli Lake in The Daily Beast writing that within 24 hours there were indications from more than one intelligence source that this had been a pre-planned attack involving al-Qaeda or some elements thereof. So, clearly there is a conflicting view of the facts here and we do need to get to the bottom of it.
PINKERTON: Well, thank God we have CNN and the Washington Post to go scour that site.
RATNER: Jim, if you recall when you and I and went to Iraq in 2003, Jim actually walked into what was then their CIA and picked up documents that our government had just left behind and had ...
PINKERTON: A whole building full to be honest. And it was quite something. And a lot of fun, frankly, back then. However, I mean, look some of this is just the fog of war and fog of life, the fog of investigation. It is kind of astonishing, though, that you think that they would have put up a perimeter around the site so that Washington Post reporters couldn't go there and find out. If they were really interested in getting to the bottom of this.
SCOTT: Well, and Rick, is the administration concerned that, you know, one month out to an election they don't want to read a bunch of headlines about how this nation may have known or should have known about terrorists planning an attack on our facilities?
GRENELL: Oh, clearly. The narrative that the Obama administration is pushing is that Osama bin Laden is dead and we are fine. Al-Qaeda has been pushed aside. So, the media are following, however, at one's quick prediction, I think, ABC's Martha Raddatz who is the moderator for the vice presidential debate, she is a foreign policy expert, I think she will get Joe Biden on this.
SCOTT: But, you know, talking about, you know, al-Qaeda being on the ropes this apparently was an al-Qaeda affiliated group that carried out some fairly sophisticated attacks on our diplomatic facilities in Benghazi?
GRENELL: There is no question and there was more security for Susan Rice going to her "Meet the Press” interview than the U.S. ambassador had in Libya.
SCOTT: ABC News found a State Department communication, an email from May 3rd, indicating that the embassy diplomatic staff, the State Department, I should say denied a request from the embassy security team in Libya. They wanted a DC-3 to be kept in the country to better conduct their duties. Again, you know, it’s...
GRENELL: It was a money decision.
GRENELL: That somebody made the decision to not spend money on security...
GRENELL: ... while we had intelligence that was saying, al-Qaeda is beginning to pick up.
SCOTT: But isn't that the kind of thing that the media should be jumping on?
MILLER: Well, I think this has largely been a media driven story, because Kirsten Powers, me, other people, Catherine Heritage is doing, doing wonderful work at this network, what we've been encountering is stonewalling by the White House. They do not want to talk about the story, even when their story shifts day to day...
SCOTT: ... because they don't want to look bad.
MILLER: Because they don't want to look bad and Tom Pickering who heads the commission that's going to be investigating this, is excellent, he is an excellent...
GRENELL: He is excellent, but...
MILLER: But he is going to be reporting after the election.
GRENELL: He is never going to blame the State Department that he loves.
RATNER: Oh, I don't know -- I don't know about that actually. I think Tom Pickering is a pretty fair guy. But I have to say this.
GRENELL: He is a great diplomat, but...
RATNER: It is interesting the Wall Street Journal both -- a couple of times said that journalists have stayed on the case. They really have followed how the journalists have stayed on the case. And I think journalists have stayed on the case.
PINKERTON: And also, they are...
RATNER: I mean all -- The New York Times ran a front page on this.
PINKERTON: Darrell Issa has made it possible to open up a lot of information.
SCOTT: Congressman Issa. Next on "News Watch," why are the media ignoring some controversial words from our president's past?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT OBAMA: I'm generally trying to avoid speaking at ministers' conferences.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Some videos from the president's past get attention from the press, but the liberal media cry foul? Are these clips fair game? That's next on "News Watch."
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OBAMA: When 9/11 happened in New York City, they waived the Stafford Act, said this is too serious a problem, we can't expect New York City to rebuild on its own. Forget that dollar you got to put in. Here's ten dollars. And that was the right thing to do. When Hurricane Andrew struck in Florida, people said look at this devastation. We don't expect you to come up with an almighty hand; here is the money to rebuild. We are not going to wait for you to scratch it together. Because you are part of the American family. What is happening now in New Orleans? Where is your dollar? Where is your Stafford Act money? Tells me that somehow the people down in New Orleans, they don't care about as much.
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SCOTT: Then Senator Barack Obama at Hampton University reportedly speaking to a mostly black audience in 2007. An event that was covered by the media back then. But the video reintroduced this week by the conservative website The Daily Caller. So, Jim, why does this -- why does this video reappear now and how does it bear some importance in this campaign season?
PINKERTON: Well, look, it would have been a hundred times more impactful if it come out in any real way in 2007. And when people could have played it out, for example, that President George W. Bush went to New Orleans a few weeks after the hurricane and committed $125 billion, if I remember, (inaudible) spending to help New Orleans, anybody who has been anywhere near New Orleans and Ellen Ratner had a lot of charitable work in there, knows, which was an enormous amount of federal money came in there, which the president didn't seem to know about or chose not to talk about.
SCOTT: Didn't he also in the same speech, you know, make -- speaking glowing words about Reverend Jeremiah Wright, his spiritual advisor at the time?
MILLER: Well, I think he said he was unapologetically Christian and unabashedly black, what made that unusual is that the president normally doesn't mention race when he is discussing -- giving a speech like that. That made it different, but I don't think that it makes it a scandal. Or makes it rise to the level of a 47 percent statement, which is what I think the Republicans were trying to do by dragging out this on tape. And it didn't work. It didn't -- and I think it fell flat.
RATNER: I would agree with Judy. I do think so, and remember that the president also said about New Orleans and Katrina that the administration was colorblind in terms of that, people didn't pick that up, but what I have to say, is they -- Dylan Byers covers this in Politico, this speech, but how come nobody has actually been discussing whether the Obama administration has made a difference in the African-American communities?
Here, I don't see that anywhere in the press.
GRENELL: Because the unemployment rate has skyrocketed, so he hasn't helped in the African-American communities. You know, I just -- I think I am struck by this speech. If Mitt Romney gets criticized for going to the NAACP and using the word ObamaCare, why isn't Barack Obama criticized for a southern accent? If we are going to talk about pandering. This to me is, you know, you are watching somebody who we all know the president doesn't speak like that. He is pandering and no one is talking about it. I'm perplexed.
MILLER: We have talked about it a lot on this show how when Barack Obama is speaking to certain people, whether they are workers at GM plants or to a black audience he tends to drop his G's and he gets very folksy. I think that's been a whole mark of his appearance. But it's consistent.
PINKERTON: It is, frankly, this was in the middle of his first and very successful presidential campaign. It's just the media were just sliding by content to say well, if Obama says this, a race transcending visionary beyond politics, beyond partisan. All this stuff that reporters with the straight face were saying in 2008, they could have looked at this. It was in there, it's been on YouTube for five years. It didn't bother.
MILLER: But it is not -- it is not the same as the 47 percent.
GRENELL: Why is it not? Is it? Is it different from the 47 percent?
PINKERTON: Well, I'd say one difference is, Mitt Romney has said that he was wrong about the 47 percent. And he apologized for it.
RATNER: Like in the last few days.
PINKERTON: It took him a week or so, but he said, that was, quote, completely wrong. Now, five years later, has President Obama taken back or even adjusted anything what he said in that speech? No.
SCOTT: Here is the difference, too. The New York Times has covered the 47 percent video till we are blue in the face; they have not covered this video from Barack Obama.
RATNER: Because it's not even of the same -- it's not in the same universe. It really isn't.
MILLER: It isn't.
RATNER: And I know the conservatives are trying to push that, but it is not in the same universe.
SCOTT: All right, next on “News Watch,” Univision's report on "Fast and Furious" might put the mainstream media to shame.
SCOTT: Univision, the Spanish language television network had a shocking documentary linking the Fast and Furious gun running scandal to a bloody massacre in Mexico, in which 16 teenagers were killed in January 2010. ABC, CBS and NBC have largely ignored the follow-up on this story. So first of all, Rick, Univision and the praise they deserve for putting this out there?
GRENELL: Yeah, kudos to them and it was a really well researched piece. That was (inaudible) -- they decided to really follow the evidence. And that is exactly what I think we need to require the media is to go after this. This is what you Univision did, no one else has done. And it's taken years for this to happen. And I think, you know, Univision not only gets kudos, but the rest of the media should be shamed into looking at this piece, and saying, why didn't we do that?
SCOTT: Yeah, well, and why isn't it happening? Ellen, I mean you know the way it works. The news directors, you know, the big producers sitting in New York and they pick up the Washington Post and the New York Times and they see what's on the front page and they say, go out and put that story on the evening news. Why haven't they done that here?
RATNER: I don't, I have to agree, I don't understand why they haven't. I mean I think Univision did an amazing job, they got a lot of criticism from people like Brent Bozell and the "American Thinker" for saying that they should have blamed the Obama administration, you know, wholesale. I don't -- I think that that would have been out of the mission of Univision, but you are right. People did not pick up what Univision did and that is just crying shame.
MILLER: And they didn't only do it in this instance. They did one of the few really tough interviews with President Obama. We know how hard that is.
MILLER: And they actually asked really -- series of tough questions. It wasn't the entertainment shows that we've ...
GRENELL: It's been his toughest interview.
MILLER: And how can Univision not do this? This is a Mexican story. This is violence affecting Mexicans.
PINKERTON: Spanish are now the largest minority group in the country. And so, a good chunk of the people in this country have a heritage back to Mexico or to Latin America. And on top of that there is a major war, for lack of the better term, going on, 50,000 people killed in this drug war. It should be, you know, front page news. Everybody, it just does not matter of hemispheric security. Somebody is taking the lead and they are.
SCOTT: Well, and you know, Judy, you have been watching. A border patrol agent gets killed with a gun that came from America and was apparently allowed to go into Mexico. Brian Terry, there is this picture, by the Justice Department, and the Obama administration when 14 -- is it 14? teenagers get killed by some of those same guns, it's not a story to the American media? How come?
MILLER: No, it's not a story, when Pakistanis die, when Afghans die, all we see are -- or Iraqis, all we see are the figures of American deaths. That is the way the American media are. They are focused on...
SCOTT: But is that because -- but is that because, you know, when some editor is sitting there, saying, or, this would make the Obama administration, this would make the Justice Department really look bad. I mean it's bad enough to have border patrol agent...
RATNER: No, I really think, it is because as we say and talk right now, Americans don't care about foreign affairs until they see a tank coming up their driveway. And I really do believe that editors are often reflection in their home communities. And people don't care unless it's Americans. We are living next to a failed state of Mexico at this point and it's not getting the press coverage it deserves.
GRENELL: It's a pack mentality. We have to admit that. Journalists follow the group thing. And if the leaders of that group are not reporting, New York Times, the AP, the others will not follow.
SCOTT: 16 teenagers at a birthday party? And gunman burst in and blew them away with weapons that came from -- came with the permission of our justice department?
PINKERTON: And look, another border patrol agent since agent Terry, agent Ivy was killed, and that was a little bit of news here and there. But nobody is connecting it to -- again this giant war. Frankly, the United States and its drug consumption is mostly financing all these people killing each other all over the place. I mean it's been remarkable, and a real black spot on American journalism that they haven't all put bureaus in Laredo and, you know, all over the place.
RATNER: But they'd better not put them in Mexico because they are not going to survive if they do.
MILLER: If place is getting to be like Syria, then it's just too dangerous to go there. Except the State Department doesn't want to issue an advisory because of U.S. Mexican relations.
SCOTT: All right. Funding issue, too, as well.
SCOTT: Next on "New Watch," one cable channel's idea about what to do with winter storms is catching some heat.
SCOTT: Each year as you probably know the National Hurricane Center lists the names for the upcoming season's tropical storms and hurricanes. Now, naming of hurricanes has been around for hundreds of years. People on islands in the Caribbean would name storms after the saints of the day. During the Second World War, military meteorologists began to name storms after women claiming it made communication easy. In 1953 the National Hurricane Center took that idea and started naming storms in the Atlantic. The names helping the public become more aware of the storms and the threats they were about to bring. Today the naming of storms is maintained and updated through a strict procedure by an international committee of the World Meteorological Organization. Now, under the -- who died and made them king column, in a brazing attempt to get some attention, the geniuses at the Weather Channel have decided to enter the name game. Announcing this week that they will start to name winter storms. So, in place of things like Snowmageddon, Snowpakolips and Snowzilla, the creative forces at the Weather Channel have come up with these winners.
Draco, Euclid, Khan, Nemo, Plato and Yogi to name but a few of their list. Well, as you might expect the rest of the weather predicting universe didn't give the Weather Channel's winter storms' idea a warm reception. From the founder and president of AccuWeather, "In unilaterally deciding to name winter storms, the Weather Channel has confused media spin with science and public safety and is doing a disservice to the field meteorology and public service." That's for the lame names, considering the Weather Channel is partially owned by NBC, maybe they should look within the peacock family when naming nasty cold frigid blinding snow jobs or snowstorms. That's a wrap on "News Watch" for this week. Thanks to Judy Miller, Jim Pinkerton, Richard Grenell and Ellen Ratner. I'm Jon Scott. Thanks for watching. We'll see you again next week.
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