SCOTT: Right, but...
MILLER: They covered it and they covered it pretty straight.
SCOTT: But the exit polls said that voters thought that Mitt Romney was better equipped to handle the economy than Barack Obama.
MILLER: Then it said something about the attitude toward the two men and they made a choice or the two parties and they made a choice. Because if you just go by viewers, Fox vs. MSNBC, Romney should have won three to one. And he didn't.
SCOTT: But Kirsten, the exit polls, some suggest reflected sort of the media meme that Barack Obama is the candidate of the little guy and the middle-class and Mitt Romney is this rich guy who only cares about rich guys? Was that the media meme, first of all?
KIRSTEN POWERS, USA TODAY AND DAILY BEAST COLUMNIST: Well, I think that's truth. I mean-- I mean I think that it's clear that Obama is the person who is looking to have middle-class tax cuts and Mitt Romney was the person that was looking to give tax cuts to rich people. But what I would say, the reason I don't think that the media played as big of a role in this, is that I think the reason Barack Obama won is because he ran a superior campaign. And it was very targeted in these battleground states. And I -- and if you -- I would be more interested, actually, in seeing exit polls from the battleground states which unfortunately we didn't have. These national exit polls, I think, don't tell us that much because what happened in the battleground states was so radically different than what was happening elsewhere. Especially if you look the gender gap, there were some really amazing swings that happened because Barack Obama's campaign was bombarding them with these messages about women and Mitt Romney.
SCOTT: Microtargeting. Through -- well, media like Facebook and that kind of thing, Cal?
CAL THOMAS, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Well, if you think the media are all powerful and can convince most people, how to vote, how do you explain the Republican victories in the past several election cycles? Ronald Reagan twice, the Tea Party and the rest. Look, the nation is changing. It is younger, it is less white. The first thing that the Republicans ought to do is get rid of the "o" in GOP, it's Grand Old Party. That's their problem.
They need an infusion of young and Hispanic and African-American and more female leaders. And granted, as some radio talk show hosts have said this week, every time the Republicans put one up, whether it's a Condoleezza Rice or it's a Clarence Thomas, or whoever, Nikki Haley in South Carolina - - they're always bashed as being anti-women or Oreo's or whatever. But they got to keep trying, because the color of the world is changing.
PINKERTON: However, Romney only lost by two points. And so, Judy, you spent some number of decades at the New York Times...
PINKERTON: ... which for much of that period was probably the most powerful single news entity. Could you please clarify for us how you see the political coloration of the New York Times and its coverage of the last few decades?
MILLER: I think there is no doubt that most of the reporters who are at the New York Times lean Democratic.
POWERS: The same reporters who were there were when George Bush...
MILLER: Exactly. But they are the same reporters who are - who were there...
PINKERTON: But the question is whether you win because or win in spite of.
MILLER: I don't think you win because the New York Times endorses you or doesn't endorse you.
PINKERTON: You don't think?
MILLER: I think it's almost irrelevant, and that is a problem today for major newspapers. They don't -- people aren't reading it as they used to.
PINKERTON: Even journalistic study shows that President Obama sailed into prominence on the basis of media affection in the --2004 to 2008...
POWERS: But that's not going to help you overcome what he was up against. Barack Obama defied history in getting reelected. And he may -- he actually won by 100 electoral votes. So, I mean...
MILLER: And that's not --
POWERS: Yeah, I mean...
SCOTT: He certainly had the media on his side.
PINKERTON: It didn't defy history. I mean 11 of 15 elected incumbents seeking reelection, got re-elected.
POWERS: But not with an unemployment rate and not with approval rating under 50. I mean, he was...
SCOTT: But did the media make enough of that? He seemed to have the media on his side, including Chris Matthews of MSNBC. Look at this.
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MATTHEWS: I'm so glad we had that storm last week because I think the storm was one of those things, now, politically I should say, not in terms of hurting people. The storm brought in possibilities for good politics.
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SCOTT: Yeah, more than 100 people dead in the hurricane. And Chris Matthews was glad. For now, he did apologize for it the next day. Judy.
MILLER: Yes, he did. But what does one expect from Chris Matthews? If you watch that show, you want to hear that point of view.
MILLER: And that is what has happened to the media. Just as we have discussed week after week the intense polarization of the media, just as we've had of the electorate.
PINKERTON: After Katrina the media pinned all the blame on President Bush. After Sandy the media pinned all the blame on Bloomberg. And not FEMA, and just -- Rudy Giuliani who should have been able to make news, said FEMA was just as bad in -- at the wake of Sandy as they were in the wake of Katrina, and oddly enough, that didn't make the media narrative about the election.
THOMAS: One thing the media did promote. It was the Democratic line of entitlement, greed and envy. This was the -- this was from Bain Capital during the Republican primary right up through the campaign. And this appealed to an awful lot of people. You heard that in his Friday afternoon remarks post election. And by the way, unlike most other post elections, there were no reporters there. There were just cheerleaders for him. He answered no questions.
SCOTT: Much more to come on "News Watch," including an analysis of media treatment of Republicans.
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