This is a rush transcript from "Fox News Watch," October 27, 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"...
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRET BAIER, HOST OF "SPECIAL REPORT": Breaking news on the Libya scandal! We now know the White House had information on the Benghazi attack that it was terrorism.
SCOTT: Blockbuster news this week. State Department e-mails showing the White House knew on September 11 the Benghazi consulate attack was a terrorist attack, the revelation calling into question what the president, his spokesman and his administration repeatedly claimed and falsely blamed a YouTube video. What did they really know?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT OBAMA: You're right that this is not a situation that that was exactly the same as what happened in Egypt.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCOTT: The new details finally getting some mainstream coverage, but are the media connecting all the dots or burying the lead?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST, FOX CONTRIBUTOR: This is journalistic malpractice.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCOTT: The last big debate makes news.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: We have these things call aircraft carriers, where planes land on them.
GOV. MITT ROMNEY, GOP NOMINEE: Mr. President, America has not dictated to other nations. We have freed other nations from dictators.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCOTT: Both candidates square off their final face-to-face. Did the media react as expected?
With just over a week to go until Election Day, the candidates hit the road, doing their best to win your vote, and the media doing all they can to swing the election the way they think it should go.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When I go to the polls to be red, white and blue for you know who.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCOTT: Big name celebrities doing all they can to sway your vote, as well. But do you really care what they think? And why do they get so much media attention?
And more bad news for the newspaper biz. Superman's alter ego Clark Kent says good-bye to his mainstream media job.
On the panel this week, writer and Fox News contributor Judy Miller, syndicated columnist Cal Thomas, Jim Pinkerton, contributing editor, The American Conservative magazine, and Alan Colmes, author of Thank the Liberals for Saving America and host of The Alan Colmes Show.
I'm Jon Scott. "Fox News Watch" is on right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCOTT PELLEY, ANCHOR CBS EVENING NEWS: It was six weeks ago today that terrorists attacked the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Now we've obtained e-mail alerts that were put out by the State Department as the attack unfolded. As you know, four Americans were killed, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens.
BAIER: Good evening. I'm Bret Baier. With just 13 days to go before America votes, e-mails obtained by Fox News show our nation's top leaders were aware terrorists were taking credit for attacking the U.S. mission in Libya the very day it happened. And while the White House is now saying there was still confusion, there are new questions about what could have been done in those early hours as the attack was still ongoing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCOTT: CBS News on Tuesday, Fox News on Wednesday. New details about the terror attacks on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Every day this past week, we seem to have learned something new about who knew what and when they knew it, e-mails sent to key members of the Obama administration detailing what was going on in Benghazi and who was to blame.
Why did it take so long for the media to pay attention to this story? And why did the White House seem to spin it differently? Columnist Charles Krauthammer shared his view earlier.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST, FOX CONTRIBUTOR: They might have made a calculation the media's interested in the Romney stuff. They're not going to be interested in this (INAUDIBLE) detail. We ride it out until Election Day.
What the secretary of state said (INAUDIBLE) that we saw is, you know, let's not rush to any judgment because we're going to get the report of her committee. You know when her committee's going to report? In the middle of next month. That means after Election Day.
All they wanted to do from the beginning is to string it out until Election Day. And why not run with a story that it's all about an American nut who released a video and not about the administration for -- admitting that Al Qaeda is not on its heels but Al Qaeda is active?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCOTT: Krauthammer went on to say in another appearance that the media ought to be embarrassed by their performance in this story. Judy, what do you think?
JUDY MILLER, WRITER, FOX CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I think some of the media definitely should be embarrassed. And it is a sad, sad day in America when the American press decides that this is a partisan issue that the death of four Americans overseas doesn't matter if a Democratic president is in charge!
SCOTT: Do you think that's what's been determined?
MILLER: For some people, yes. Some people have bought into the administration's narrative, even though most of the information that's come out tends to question and challenge that narrative. There has been so little skepticism on the part of some of the media of what the administration has been saying.
SCOTT: You have said -- you've said, Jim, all along that information wants to be free. Now the information's coming out. The e-mails are coming out. But the media interest has been slow to develop.
JIM PINKERTON, AMERICAN CONSERVATIVE MAGAZINE, FOX CONTRIBUTOR: And they're perfectly happy to live with confusion and ambiguity and cloudiness about this. And an example of the kind of semantic sludge that we're dealing with, as Brent Baker at Newsbusters pointed out, when Brian Williams interviewed President Obama, he posed a question as, So Mr. President, it was a spontaneous terrorist attack.
Note the oxymoron, spontaneous -- those are two different things, spontaneity and terrorism. But the point is, you could give a question like that to the president, he -- oh, well, you know, we’re still working on it -- more smoke -- more smoke, more fudge, more clouds.
And the media go on -- and then they -- as Matthew Balan at Newsbusters pointed out, they’re much more happy on the "Today Show” -- NBC’s also channel -- station -- program -- showing Snooki vacuum cleaner reports, and of course, the all important Halloween costumes.
SCOTT: Yes, they’re...
ALAN COLMES, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST, FOX CONTRIBUTOR: I want to register Semanticsludge.com and...
COLMES: Of course, Newsbusters is a right-wing Web site, always looking -- they find anti-liberal -- or anti-conservative bias under every bed everywhere.
CAL THOMAS, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST, FOX CONTRIBUTOR: They don’t have to search far.
COLMES: Look, David Kirkpatrick reported in The New York Times that this, in fact, was related to a video. You have a -- the Washington Post reported the CIA briefing that came out on September 16th that said it was having to do with the video. There was all kinds of conflicting information. Condoleezza Rice just said the other day; You have to wait until all the information is out.
So is she part of the left-wing media? Why hasn’t the media reported more on these particular points, which all I keep hearing is how terrible the administration’s been, but the points I just mentioned have been rarely reported?
THOMAS: Let’s go back...
COLMES: Why is that?
THOMAS: ... 40 years, probably before you were born...
THOMAS: ... the 1972 election, Watergate was just starting to break. What was the media reaction there? They assigned Woodward and Bernstein of The Washington Post to dig these things out. The Nixon administration was stonewalling the media, trying to keep information from trickling out. It didn’t come out until after the election, and Nixon won a landslide against the late George McGovern. And -- but it did come out eventually.
Now, there are two questions here. First of all, if this were a Republican in the White House, the media would have already attached the suffix "gate" to it! Secondly, with the exception of FOX and the superior reporting of Jennifer Griffin, Bret Baier and Catherine Herridge, the major newspapers and the networks are not going after this cover-up -- and it is a cover-up...
COLMES: What makes (INAUDIBLE)
THOMAS: ... as the Watergate people -- the information about who knew what and when! Why didn’t they send the rescue operation in? Who made the decision to say, No, we don’t want those people to go on? These are all legitimate questions.
COLMES: And those questions need to be answered...
THOMAS: They do!
COLMES: ... once you get all the information, which you don’t get in the fog of an attack, as Condoleezza Rice herself said!
THOMAS: We’re six weeks afterward -- six weeks after the attack! How long does it take?
SCOTT: Judy, to you. The question is, are reporters reluctant to ask some of these questions because we’re in the middle -- I mean, we’re in the closing days, really, of a presidential campaign?
MILLER: I think it’s -- that may be a factor for some media. I think a lot of the other media are frightened by what Alan has referred to as the confusion about what actually happened.
But I would divide this story into two parts. What happened on the ground in Libya? How many people were there? Why were they assigned? Why was the security so -- why were there so few people in security?
An the second part of it is what did the president and the administration say to explain what happened? And on that, you’ve seen a singular lack of skepticism on the part of the media!
SCOTT: Go ahead.
PINKERTON: As Cal said, there are Pulitzer Prizes waiting to be won here.
PINKERTON: I mean, big name investigative reporters Bob Woodward, Seymour Hirsch, Brian Ross, all these people seem to be on the sidelines instead of digging into the story, for some strange reason!
COLMES: The president, by the way, said "terrorism" two successive days after September 11, and that gets lost. And this -- Mitt Romney kept -- misrepresented that in the second debate and...
MILLER: Alan, it’s not even clear that his reference to terror, to acts of terror, was to the events in Benghazi!
COLMES: Well, the second day in Denver...
MILLER: It was not clear.
COLMES: It actually was much clearer when he said it the second time in Denver after -- the day after the Rose Garden.
SCOTT: Let’s talk about that. CBS had that big interview on "60 Minutes" with the president on September 12th, but this part of the interview was not carried on the broadcast. It was put on the Internet. Play it now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: We’re still investigating exactly what happened. I don’t want to jump the gun on this. But you’re right that this is not a situation that was exactly the same as what happened in Egypt. And my suspicion is, is that there are folks involved in this who were looking to target Americans from the start.
So we’re going to make sure that our first priority is to get our folks out safe, make sure that our embassies are secured around the world. And then we are going to go after those folks who carried this out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCOTT: September 12th, the day after the attacks -- Judy.
MILLER: Yes, well, it didn’t air! CBS did not air that broadcast tape, that portion of it, incomprehensibly! I mean, what were they thinking? Especially when, as Alan said, this became an issue, you’d think at some point, CBS would have chosen to publicize some very interesting footage that it had.
SCOTT: And then there’s ABC. The Media Research Center folks, which are -- they are, you know, a conservative-leaning media watchdog organization, say that all of the major news networks except ABC did some - - at least one major story about it. ABC did 20 seconds. Brent Bozell, the president of MRC, says ABC has been shielding Obama from the Benghazi fallout for weeks in order to help him win reelection, but the American people see right through it.
PINKERTON: Right. And again, just to anticipate Alan here for a second...
COLMES: You don’t need me (INAUDIBLE)
PINKERTON: If the Media Research Center’s facts about timing to the second, how many seconds each network devoted to the story are correct, then it doesn’t matter whether they have bias or not. They’re simply pointing out a true statement that...
COLMES: ... more time on the story, they would have pointed out the link to the film, for example, and some of the other issues that have not been covered in any of the media.
SCOTT: We have the rest of the hour to continue to fight this out.
Next on "News Watch," the closing presidential debate.
ANNOUNCER: The presidential candidates face off for a final time in their last big debate, taking on concerning (ph) issues of foreign policy. Did the coverage reflect the real outcome, or was media bias clear and present? Answers next on "News Watch."
SCOTT: the third and final debate between Governor Mitt Romney and President Obama, a record-breaking audience watching here on Fox News channel -- thank you -- as the candidates took aim at one another.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: I think Governor Romney maybe hasn’t spent enough time looking at how our military works. You mentioned the Navy, for example, and that we have fewer ships than we did 1916. Well, Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets because the nature of our military’s changed. We have these things called aircraft carriers, where planes land on them. We have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines. And so the question is not a game of Battleship, where we’re counting ships, it’s -- it’s what are our capabilities.
ROMNEY: The reason I call it an apology tour is because you went to the Middle East and you flew to Egypt and to Saudi Arabia and to -- to Turkey and Iraq. And by the way, they noticed that you skipped Israel. In then in those nations and on Arabic TV, you said that America had been dismissive and derisive. You said that on occasion, America had dictated to other nations! Mr. President, America has not dictated to other nations. We have freed other nations from dictators.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCOTT: Let’s start with President Obama’s performance, first of all, in that debate. How did the media react?
THOMAS: Well, there were several on the liberal side who said that they thought he was condescending. But Jon, I really think the media wall that has been defending the president is beginning to crack.
Here are just a few comments. Here’s David Gergen. Quote, "I think Mitt Romney did something that was extremely important to his campaign tonight. And that was he passed the commander-in-chief test." Chuck Todd of NBC News said on MSNBC, "The president’s got bigger problems than trying to disqualify Mitt Romney now. The president has to requalify himself for a second term." That’s pretty amazing stuff.
SCOTT: What about the reaction to Mitt Romney’s performance?
MILLER: Well, I think that he was definitely moving to the center, which many, many commentators who were watching the debate pointed out. This was a kinder, gentler Mitt Romney, who didn’t want to scare away women voters.
But I think that a number of people were struck, as Cal said, by the president’s patronizing attitude towards Mitt Romney, which even Rachel Maddow, who’s hardly a right-winger, had to point out.
I think Governor Romney did himself a lot of good with that, and I think most of the media recognized it.
COLMES: How do you know which Romney you’re going to get? This was moderate Mitt. All of a sudden, you had Mitt Romney -- how are conservatives going to be assured that this is the guy that was so hawkish up until two weeks before the debate at least, and all of a sudden, he’s agreeing with almost everything -- I think the shorter Mitt Romney of that debate was, "What he said."
THOMAS: He’s trying to (INAUDIBLE) like Bill Clinton.
PINKERTON: It’s always touching when Alan expresses concern for conservatives and how they might...
COLMES: I care about you because...
PINKERTON: A fascinating subtext to this debate is that Matt Bai, who’s an important reporter for The New York Times, wrote an article about how Bill Clinton may have hurt the Obama campaign -- repeat, hurt the Obama campaign. And the -- and this is -- clearly Obama forces going to The New York Times and saying, you know, Look, we followed Clinton’s advice trying to say that Romney was a right-winger, and now he turned out to be moderate, as Judy was saying...
COLMES: They printed that...
PINKERTON: And now they’re blaming Clinton. I mean, this is...
COLMES: Obama told them to put that in The Times.
PINKERTON: This is -- well, somebody did.
PINKERTON: No, but it’s clearly Obama forces. It’s clearly his...
COLMES: Obama forces?
COLMES: ... editors at The Times.
PINKERTON: It’s an interesting kind of cannibalism on the Democratic side.
SCOTT: Here’s something from The Wall Street Journal’s James Taranto. He noted before the debate, the left was confident that Romney would scare the hell out of voters by coming across as, in the words of New York Times editorialist David Firestone, a, quote, "strutting warmonger," unquote.
After the debate, they started mocking him as Peacenik Mitt. Judy, is that accurate?
MILLER: Well, there’s definitely several indications that he shifted positions.
MILLER: And Alan is right that he did -- there were several conflicts with earlier positions...
COLMES: Like every time he spoke.
MILLER: ... that he has taken. But it tells you a lot about where this debate is at and how close Romney’s people must think that it is that he felt he was going to ingratiate himself to...
COLMES: And what does he stand for?
THOMAS: More -- more evidence of the crack in the media wall. Chris Cillizza of The Washington Post tweeted during that final debate, quote, "If you had no idea about the race, the level of aggression from Obama would make you think he is behind." CNBC’s John Harwood said the president looked like the challenger with his sharp attacks and interruptions!
COLMES: Oh, my gosh! He looked like a challenger! Oh, my!
SCOTT: And talk about media assessments, a lot of media paid attention to the body language of these two candidates. There were all kinds of articles written about how they looked and how they smiled, and so forth.
MILLER: He was -- Governor Romney was unflappably beneficent. He had this expression on his face the whole time that never wavered.
COLMES: It’s called a smirk to me, but...
MILLER: No, it was not a smirk!
COLMES: Yes, it was.
PINKERTON: It was a calm (ph).
MILLER: It was calm (ph), yes.
PINKERTON: (INAUDIBLE) what Cal was saying about the criticism -- Pat Caddell, who admittedly is not an Obama fan, made the point, and having been through the Carter campaign in 1980, on the other -- where Obama is now, said Romney, like Reagan, passed what he called sort of the meta-issue test of, Are you ready to be president? And Reagan passed that on October 28th, 1980, and Romney passed it...
COLMES: How about getting the geography wrong on where Syria is? I think that was (INAUDIBLE)
SCOTT: More "News Watch" ahead.
But first, if you see something you feel shows evidence of media bias, e-mail us at Newswatch@foxnews.com.
Up next: Were the presidential debates really helpful?
ANNOUNCER: Four big debates, four chances to get to know the men who want to lead our country for the next four years. Did the debates help you decide, or were they merely made-for-TV sideshows?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: With all due respect, that’s a bunch of malarkey.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: That’s next on "News Watch."
SCOTT: And that was it, the last face-to-face debate between President Obama and Governor Romney and the last chance for the media and voters to do a side-by-side comparison.
So Jim, were these debates worth it?
PINKERTON: I think they were. And there’s a lot of conventional wisdom buzz prior to these debates, Oh, the debates don’t really matter, and that looking back at it now, it looks to me like pro-Obama propaganda because it’s really clear to me that that October 3rd debate -- there have been four, but the first one with Romney and Obama set the template for the rest of the election.
It reminds me of other debates which were decisive -- 1960, where Kennedy was good, 1976, actually, where Carter was good, and as I mentioned earlier, 1980 with Reagan. I think 2012 will be up those with those in terms of showing just how important it is to meet the candidates on TV live in your living room unfiltered (INAUDIBLE)
SCOTT: That’s the question. Did these debates do a better job than the media have done of giving us a picture of these two candidates?
MILLER: Well, I think they did because the two men got a chance to interact and people got a chance to see how they reacted to each other. I mean, all of the popular cultural references aside, the malarkey, the binders full of women, all the things we love to talk about -- what is really going on here is the American people are deciding who they think they want to vote for and what the character of that person is like.
SCOTT: So what about the moderators? What did you think about the moderators, now that it’s all said and done?
COLMES: I think we spent too much time focusing on the moderators. What was this gaming of the debate before each debate, where conservatives in particular love to go after the media? Part of going after the media all the time is the moderators aren’t going to be fair, somebody went to somebody’s wedding how many years ago, and that means that this person...
THOMAS: ... the number of interruptions, that kind of thing, it’s pretty clear!
COLMES: Well, sometimes they -- journalists should interrupt and get -- get things on the record. What is a journalist supposed to do? Depending upon what the rules of the debate are, (INAUDIBLE) conservatives in particular attack almost every moderator before the debate as if to try to set what the game would be. The expectation game is normally played with candidates. They played it with the moderators.
THOMAS: I’m glad you asked that question, Alan, because I have the answer for you!
COLMES: That was not a question.
THOMAS: The reason is because they’re all liberals! Because they all tend to vote for the Democrat!
COLMES: Have you seen their voting records? You just make the assumption...
THOMAS: No, I don’t!
THOMAS: Look, we go back to a Connecticut insurance company survey in the 1970s.
COLMES: That’s relevant.
THOMAS: And every single one -- every single survey...
THOMAS: ... have shown that most of the media people are leftists.
COLMES: So we just assume...
THOMAS: However, let me -- let me give a shoutout to Bob Schieffer. I’ve known him for a long time. He is -- yes, he tends to be liberal. However, I thought he was the fairest, most balanced and most effective of the four moderators.
COLMES: Jim Lehrer came off as liberal?
THOMAS: No, I said he was the most effective.
PINKERTON: Alan seems to think that it was only conservatives attacking moderators. Jim Lehrer, the moderator of the first debate, got clobbered by the mainstream media and the left for being too easy on the -- on the candidates. Then the conservatives...
COLMES: That was after the debate.
PINKERTON: Yes, it was. Right.
PINKERTON: And then it became -- well, it became obvious that the -- that he -- that Lehrer had let the left down, as it were, by not jumping in the way Crowley and Raddatz did in their debates. But I do agree with Cal that Schieffer was terrific. I think Dylan Byers at Politico made that point and quoted Brent Bozell, who is a conservative, who oftentimes fault with the media, who said, Listen, I can’t find anything wrong with the way Schieffer handled that debate. So I agree.
MILLER: I think we all agree on Schieffer. But I still like the potted plant approach to moderating these debates. Let the two candidates go at it and let’s us get out of the way.
COLMES: Well, it depends on what the rules of the debate are. Every debate had a different set of guidelines...
COLMES: ... moderator’s job is to obey the guidelines.
THOMAS: That is a good point.
MILLER: When Ms. Crowley’s interventions were again and again on one side, you have to wonder after a while whether or not she’s really being fair and balanced.
COLMES: Some people see things on one side because that’s the way they (INAUDIBLE)
THOMAS: Yes, the left never does that, no. I agree. I do think the different rules are (INAUDIBLE) I would much rather see a panel with a diversity of ideology. Why can’t we have a Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity questioning the liberal or an Alan Colmes, since he’s hitting (ph) me to mention him because it increases his speaking fees...
THOMAS: ... you know, interrogating the one on the right? I think that would be far more interesting.
SCOTT: So make it blatant right up in front...
THOMAS: No, not blatant...
SCOTT: ... the political position?
THOMAS: Not blatant.
SCOTT: No, the political positioning of the questioner.
THOMAS: But I think it’s good that -- this is the kind of thing journalists used to do. They would ask a confrontational question of -- of the candidate. That’s good stuff.
SCOTT: All right, next on "News Watch," the clock is ticking, the campaigning and the coverage ramps up.
ANNOUNCER: Debates are done, and with Election Day just over a week away, what can we expect from the candidates and what can we expect from the press? Find out next on "News Watch."
SCOTT: A little more than one week until Election Day, President Obama and Governor Romney campaigning nonstop. The media trailing along in lock step. These spent a lot of time in Iowa this week, Jim. In Iowa, The Des Moines Register, big paper there, the one that endorsed President Obama for president back in 2008 when he was a candidate, covered the campaign and talked about how different they are, a stark contrast between the two campaigns. Why?
JIM PINKERTON, THE AMERICAN CONSERVATIVE MAGAZINE: One contrast was --and again, The Des Moines Register supports -- is likely to support President Obama as a liberal paper. However, they were struck by the fact they’ve interviewed both candidates they formerly endorsed. And so, Governor Romney did an interview on the record, no problems. And then President Obama does a phone interview and they say, oh, by the way, it’s off the record. I mean, we want you to endorse and us and everything, but the interview is off the record, because there’s news in there. And it’s interesting how the media dynamic, The Register then went on their own Web site. And listen, we are outraged that our president won’t give airing on the record. And then at that point, the Obama campaign backed off and said, fine, it’s on the record. Something tells me this won’t end up in the love match once again between The Register and Obama.
SCOTT: You think?
COLMES: They said the endorsement would not depend on whether it was on or off the record. They should put it on the record. There was nothing that came out of it that hurt the campaign. I didn’t know why they didn’t allow it to be on the record.
CAL THOMAS, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Well, it’s all information manipulation. A lot of little dirty secrets in this business -- if you want the president, if you want the vice president, you want the secretary of state, you are not allowed to ask certain questions. Don’t be too confrontational. COLMES: Nothing came out of there that was --
THOMAS: I know, I know. But the point is that they try to manage the message especially this late in the campaign.
SCOTT: Why would campaign agree to that in the first place?
SCOTT: I’m sorry, a newspaper -- why would a newspaper agree?
MILLER: You need to know more about the ground rules, how they were set and when they are set. I was struck by The Rolling Stone interview with the president and Eric Bates when he was talking about using the word we can’t use on the air.
COLMES: Oh my --
MILLER: I know it doesn’t shock me. But I think it did shock some people. And yet we don’t know whether that remark was presumed.
SCOTT: All right. For our viewers who weren’t reading Rolling Stone, the president is on the cover of that youth-orientated magazine. And here’s what he said in part of his interview. He said, "You know, kids have good instincts. They look at the other guy and say, that is a bull bleeper, I can tell."
COLMES: I think he said that as he was leaving or before, he didn’t say it during the interview. I think it was around the interview.
PINKERTON: That didn’t do Stanley McChrystal any good --
COLMES: Shock, I tell you.
SCOTT: Stanley McChrystal is a guy who is running special operations.
PINKERTON: He is quoted by Rolling Stone reporter. He thought it was off the record. Actually, he wasn’t quoted. It was his aides talking to him and McChrystal still go his head --
THOMAS: One politician calling another politician a B.S.er is --
COLMES: How about the vice president on the floor of the Senate telling a senator to go perform an act which is just nearly impossible --
PINKERTON: That this discussion of barnyard expressions isn’t important here, can I just introduce something I think it’s not getting coverage and should, and that is Politico last week. Jonathan Martin had a story about an aide to Joe Biden, vice president, for 30 years. The guy had been involved in his campaign and staff and so on, who writes a back called The Payoff that is very, very negative on Joe Biden, and no coverage whatsoever. The book came out in September. And I just have to ask myself, if this book had been about and what a terrible guy he was, what do you think the chances are the media would have ignored it for one month?
SCOTT: It’d be front page. And then there’s the president’s interview and president’s interview schedule this week, which included the hard hitting MTV network as well as Jay Leno.
MILLER: It does not speak well of the media that the toughest interview that the president had was with Univision. Where is everybody else?
COLMES: On Friday, president did a series of radio interviews and Mitt Romney’s campaign said he’s staying off the national media for the next two weeks?
THOMAS: You know these radio interviews, Mr. President, what your children wearing for Halloween?
COLMES: Be nice to radio people.
THOMAS: Oh, sorry.
SCOTT: All right. Coming up on “News Watch” the media and the hot button topic of abortion.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICHARD MOURDOCK (R-IN), U.S. SENATE CANDIDATE: But certainly, I did not intend to suggest that God wants rape, that God pushes people to rape.
ANNOUNCER: A Republican candidate for Senate makes headlines over his view on abortion. Why is there a media double standard when it comes to religious beliefs and other hot button issues? The answer is next on “News Watch.”
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MOURDOCK: I struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize life is the gift from God. And I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCOTT: U.S. Senate candidate Richard Murdoch giving his view of abortion in regards to a rape victim. Mourdock is a Republican and that comment received a good amount of coverage. Abortion obviously, Judy, a hot button issue but when it comes to covering it, especially in a context of a political campaign, the media always pull up comments like that and Todd Akins in Missouri and use that as -- you know, the "be all end all" in the coverage.
MILLER: Well, it’s a very important statement, especially to undecided women, especially to a campaign that is trying to reposition its candidate to be kinder and gentler towards women. I think it deserved to be covered.
COLMES: Are you suggesting the media should ignore it? That this is, oh, you know, we shouldn’t bother with that. That’s not -- it’s such - - the statement is such an outlier that any candidate would say something like that. Of course it gets covered.
THOMAS: Mourdock forgot the first rule of being interviewed you never answer the question the way it is asked. What he should have done in a situation like this was to say, look, rape is a horrible crime, but it results in only 1 percent of pregnancy in this country. But my real concern is that 55 million babies aborted legally in this country since 1973 and a number of women who are coming forward and saying they’ve been lied to. That’s the way you’d turn the question around, he blew it.
SCOTT: The media, Alan, take that comment, though, and apply to all conservatives and tied Governor Romney to it.
COLMES: It’s part of the narrative. It’s part of a narrative, because you had Todd Akin make statements about rape. You had Paul Ryan write a bill defining certain kind of rape, legitimate rape. And you have a guy in Romney who’s never had that Sister Soulja moment where he has distanced himself from the far right wing extremists and he’s tried to pander to them, this whole thing and that’s why this is part of a narrative about the Republican Party.
PINKERTON: Notice Alan’s great use of passive voice. It was part of a narrative. Where did that narrative come from, Alan? Why is it --
COLMES: It comes from people who are saying crazy things.
PINKERTON: There are crazy things. There are three far flung events that the media and you are happy to bundle together in one package.
COLMES: I don’t blame you from trying to distance yourself from the fact that this maybe didn’t really happen if the media made it happen. The devil made me do it.
PINKERTON: No, they happened. They’re there for anybody to watch and they are certainly of interest to people in Missouri and Indiana. However, the immediate jump, this is Governor Romney’s problem. (CROSSTALK)
COLMES: Including the vice presidential candidate who write legislation which has this kind of language in it that is part of an important story of who we might be electing in public office.
MILLER: Or the Republican Party platform for that matter which is in ink for all to read.
SCOTT: Well, and then there was a new ad just out from the Obama campaign this week in which a young female voter is looking at the camera and urging I guess other young female voters, you know, if it’s your first time and on and on it goes. Have you seen the ad, Judy?
MILLER: Yes, I have.
SCOTT: Bordering on tasteless, I thought.
MILLER: Well, the issue for the campaign, is it effective? And I think that younger people tended to respond well to that ad.
PINKERTON: The issue for the campaign could be, to use Alan’s passive voice narrative thing, could be -- does Jim Messina and David Plouffe directly want to answer Dunham’s strange endorsement of them. And the answer is no, they don’t have to, because the media don’t make the Obama people to answer for their stuff away --
COLMES: Jim, there is one the media. It’s the media. It’s one thing. It’s one monolithic entity, the media.
PINKERTON: Alan admitting right here on the air.
MILLER: The media are plural, which is why we have a show.
COLMES: Yes, media is plural. The media.
THOMAS: They’re plural but not pluralistic.
SCOTT: Well, here’s another example of media values -- perhaps conservative values and the kind of treatment they get. These are the LSU, what’s --
PINKERTON: Louisiana State --
SCOTT: I’m trying to remember, I’ve lost the name of the -- the painted -- I forget what they call themselves. But at any rate, there is a picture of them. They have crosses as part of their body paint. But when LSU chose to put it out in some kind of university publication, they airbrushed the crosses out and subsequently apologized. I guess, Alan, you just can’t be Christian.
COLMES: I’m not defending this. I think it was dumb. They shouldn’t have airbrushed this out.
THOMAS: Well, all they had to say was that they were using it as a defense against vampires. Vampire movies are big right now.
SCOTT: All right. Next on “News Watch” do voters really care who the Hollywood elite support for president?
ANNOUNCER: Hollywood stars and the candidates they support. When it comes to celebrity endorsements, do they really matter? That’s next on “News Watch.”
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KATY PERRY, SINGER: You know I got my poll outfit shorted, OK? Because when I go to polls in California, it’s going to be on point. It’s going to be red, white and blue for you know who.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCOTT: Singer Katy Perry performing in Las Vegas this week, jumping on the celebrities for Obama bandwagon. We have talked about how the media try to sway your vote. But do celebrity endorsements have an affect as well? Fox News correspondent William La Jeunesse looks into it. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
WILLIAM LA JEUNESSE, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: America loves its celebrities, think People magazine and "Access Hollywood." But are they important in a campaign and how do they influence voters? While most people will not admit I voted for the president because Barbra Streisand told me so, celebrity money and can help bring people in the tent and help validate voter’s choice. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Vote.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Vote.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Vote for Barack Obama.
LA JEUNESSE (voice-over): Do they matter? We watch their movies. We listen to their music.
OPRAH WINFREY: My personal style is easy.
LA JEUNESSE: We take their advice and buy their products. But do celebrities influence voters?
DARRELL WEST, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: Voters don’t want to think that Hollywood celebrities are telling them how to vote. They understand that those people -- their expertise is completely outside the political world.
LA JEUNESSE: But that doesn’t mean they are not valuable.
JENNIFR PEROS, US WEEKLY MAGAZINE: People who do read publications like Us Weekly probably aren’t on political Web sites. But when they see pictures of these celebrities and these magazines endorsing the presidential candidate, they definitely are paying attention more.
KID ROCK, MUSICIAN: Let’s hear it from Paul Ryan.
LA JEUNESSE: A Kid Rock appearance drives turnout and generates media coverage.
WEST: Candidates surround themselves with people from outside the political world in order to enhance their own credibility.
AD NARRATOR: Every president inherits challenges.
LA JEUNESSE: Which helps explain why the president asked Morgan Freeman to narrate this ad and Mitt Romney recruited Clint Eastwood. And while Romney attracts his share of stars, the edge goes to Obama, with heavyweights like George Clooney and Jay-Z and Beyonce helping him raise about $20 million.
PEROS: When you see celebrities coming out to political events, it definitely brings a different demo, a different group of people into politics.
LA JEUNESSE: So, while there’s not a lot of hard evidence that celebrity endorsements directly influence a voter’s choice, the arms race continues. Democrats count on Morgan Freeman and Tom Hanks as their heavyweights. Republicans counter, of course, with someone like Clint Eastwood. In Los Angeles, I’m William La Jeunesse, for “Fox News Watch.”
SCOTT: So do celebrity endorsements help or hurt presidential candidates? Cal, what do you think?
THOMAS: Well, I got to tell you; Meatloaf’s endorsement of Romney put it over the top for me. I would like to see the media interview one person who says that they have been influenced completely or mainly by a celebrity endorsement and then that person should probably not be allowed to vote. SCOTT: Alan?
COLMES: I let Ted Nugent or John Voight tell who to vote for.
THOMAS: Really? That explains a lot.
COLMES: Kelsey Grammer or Janine Turner, those are the people I turn to.
MILLER: I think the issue is really the amount of money that they can help these candidates raise. And look at the amount of money that has been spent on this race at a time when this country has so many pressing needs, for shame, for shame, when everybody who helps --
MILLER: It shouldn’t cost that much.
PINKERTON: Eva Longoria, who was on that segment, sent out, retweeted a tweet that would make any of us around this table cringe. If we said it on the air, we’d get fired. And I said last week, she sent this week, she’s sort of half apologized, half un-apologized. And I said nothing will happen to her. And just this week we learned that she signed a deal with Universal, which is by the way a sister company of NBC to go on great television career, because again, if you slam conservatives in the most savage possible way, nothing happens.
COLMES: It’s bother you when Ted Nugent called a B-word --
PINKERTON: It did bother me. And Ted Nugent is not exactly in hot - - in the toast of Hollywood wave.
COLMES: But he’s held up -- you know, people like Jon Voight is in Hollywood. I mean, it’s not just one side --
PINKERTON: They are not working in Hollywood.
COLMES: All right. So they do their movies in another location.
PINKERTON: They did their movies 40 years ago.
THOMAS: You wouldn’t see any young celebrity endorsing Republican. It’s only when you get to the status of icon --
COLMES: Kid Rock.
THOMAS: -- like a Clint Eastwood or like a Jon Voight, then you get --
COLMES: Kid Rock endorsed Romney.
MILLER: It’s a hard call to decide who is more biased to many in the media or many in Hollywood, but I think I’m going to go with Hollywood. Hollywood leans toward Obama. It’s very clear the money has gone that way. I think anyone who pays attention, it’s really --
SCOTT: When the actress Stacey Dash endorsed Romney, she had her head handed to her by Hollywood. MILLER: Exactly. And it’s a lesson to all, don’t go out there if you want --
COLMES: Misogynistic words by --
PINKERTON: And nobody in Hollywood stuck up for her.
COLMES: By the way, Ed Asner’s show is cancelled because he’s an outspoken liberal. So, we can play this game from both sides.
PINKERTON: To end in positive note, Kid Rock is pretty well known Cal, did a very thoughtful and kind of sweet PSA with all people Sean Penn, it’s like 10 minutes and two of them, they attack to each other in politics and come on agreement over beer. It’s kind of sweet.
COLMES: And like the beer summit.
SCOTT: The question is: how many of these celebrities would be able to find Benghazi on the map? That’s what I would like to know. Superman takes a stand against the mainstream media. That’s next on NEWS WATCH.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lois Lane, say hello to Clark Kent.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Remember my dynamite expose --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How are you doing? Jimmy Olsen, photographer.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Clark Kent, nice to meet you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCOTT: We’ve often talked about these challenging times for print journalism, newspapers around the country going from dailys to weeklys, shutting operations altogether in some cases, citing costs and the immediacy of the Internet. Well, as if print media doesn’t have enough problems, comes the news that the guy from Krypton has jumped ship, as well. In the latest issue of DC Comics, Superman number 13, Clark Kent, Superman’s mild-mannered alter ego, stands up on the Daily Planet newsroom saying he is done with the mainstream media, protesting the journalists spend more time on soft stories rather than the real issues. Alan is wincing.
COLMES: The big problem is where does he change now that there are no more phone booths? That’s another big problem.
SCOTT: Comic book writers have him turning his back on 70 years or so as an award-winning journalist, apparently turning his back on Lois Lane. Reports are, she has been cheating. Now, he is going to become -- wait for this -- a blogger. Yes, the Man of Steel jumping head first into that bastion of substance and civility we know as the Internet. Julie is shaking her head. He is leaving the wavering newspaper business to start another blog that cannot make money and writing about Lindsay Lohan and posting TwitPic of his lunch. As one reviewer wrote, Superman may be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound but can he figure out how to make a living under Google’s ad structure? So, Superman, Cal, what about you? Will you stick with the newspaper business?
THOMAS: Well, I don’t know. I’ve always been a fan of Wonder Woman myself. Look, changing times. Phone booths have been gone for the last two Superman movies.
COLMES: I want wanted to keep you up to speed.
THOMAS: Thank you.
PINKERTON: Kid Rock.
SCOTT: That’s going to do it for this week. Thanks to Judy Miller, Jim Pinkerton, Cal Thomas and Alan Colmes. I’m Jon Scott. Thanks for watching. See you next week for another edition of “Fox News Watch.”
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