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

    SCOTT: Two days before the election, CBS posted that clip from a September 12th "60 Minutes" interview, in which President Obama seems to contradict himself on the Benghazi attack. As you just heard, Mr. Obama would not say whether he thought the attack that killed a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans was terrorism, but we all remember, Jim, what happened during the debate.

    PINKERTON: We do. When Candy Crowley jumped on the stage and tackled -- attacked Romney...

    (LAUGHTER)

    MILLER: Exactly what happened.

    PINKERTON: To sum up the situation like that.

    (LAUGHTER)

    PINKERTON: Look, hats off to Bret Baier who -- what noticed this, or at least was first to print it and note that this information here, which makes the president look inconsistent, shall I say, why did CBS wait almost six weeks to, almost two months, actually, to make it available to the public? Let the public decide.

    THOMAS: Practice in the past has always been what's not on the air; you put the rest of it in its entirety on the web, so people can access it. To have this come out just a few days before the election feeds the conspiracy theorists out there, who are in their bunkers in Idaho waiting for the meteors to fall.

    SCOTT: Well, and some of them - some of them are in tin bunkers in Idaho.

    (LAUGHTER)

    SCOTT: Judy or a lot of, you know, very smart people who say, CBS covered up.

    MILLER: Well, I think there's a difference between making a mistake and a conspiracy. And put me down in they made a mistake department. Because if they really were part of a conspiracy, they wouldn't have released this information at all until after the election

    Look, I think news organizations are bureaucratic and turf driven organizations. And the purpose of the "60 Minutes" interview was not, the focus was not Benghazi, it was the economy and the broader record. And the reporter involved, Steve Kroft, is very balanced and very careful. But he just wasn't paying attention to that. Eventually, when it was discovered that they had news, they did put it out there. Too late, but they put it out.

    SCOTT: But why not -- you know, why not do that the week before, Kirsten?

    POWERS: Well, I think it's probably if you take what Judy says and accept that as being the truth, and I do...

    SCOTT: That they bungled it.

    POWERS: Yes. Then I would say it speaks to a bigger problem with the media, which is that they weren't following the Benghazi story. And they weren't taking it seriously, and that they bought the administration's line. I mean that is what happened with Candy Crowley, is that she was just -- they weren't following this. They just were taking this direction from the White House and then parroting what they heard. So, the fact that he didn't know that that was news says more about the broader media culture that they just aren't taking this seriously.

    SCOTT: Let's just imagine, Jim, that, you know, during that debate that, you know, Candy Crowley had, you know, backed up the president in the way she did. If some enterprising CBS News producer, and there are millions of them on "60 Minutes", probably 25 of whom saw that interview, if they had said, wait a minute, we have news here. We can play the president and his thinking on the day after the attack. What would that have done?

    PINKERTON: Well, I think it would have made a big difference. I mean look what the media did to Condi Rice and the Bush administration on the 16 words and the yellow cake. That was the most covered analyzed chronicles of Abu Ghraib. I mean pick your mistake or abuse of the Bush years, and just apply it to this. Look, the media had a template, which was number one horse race, which is what -- as at "60 Minutes" interview was mostly vowed horse race. Oh, and by the way, subtext, support Obama. So therefore, what we do with Benghazi? Put it in the can.

    THOMAS: Well, I just don't accept the idea that somehow the media weren't paying attention. And so that's why they didn't focus on this. It's a big story. We have had terrorism on the front pages of our newspapers and in lead positions of our television newscast at least since 9/11. This is part of a larger piece. This is part of the radicals in the Islamic world saying in their media that they are coming after us. And if we don't believe it, then that is a problem in the media and the mindset of the American people.

    SCOTT: Well, Congress wants to take this up. Is it going to be -- it's not an election issue anymore. President Obama has won reelection, so will the media treat this as a serious story or will it be just a Republican conservative sort of attempt to go after the White House?

    POWERS: Well, I think that...

    THOMAS: Yes.

    POWERS: I would like to think that they would take it seriously. But unfortunately, unless some Democrats come and get on board with also wanting to look at this, it's going to come off as being a partisan attack.

    SCOTT: Why would Democrats don't want to do that?

    POWERS: Because they don't want to do something that's going to be harmful to the president, and I think they believe what the White House is saying. They believe that it was just a fog of war and all of these other things. The other thing I'll say is that Chairman Issa really I think damaged himself with his Fast and Furious thing, which he spent all this time on, and it ended up bearing no fruit. And so now, it looks like he is just a partisan going after the president. Even though, in this situation there is really a lot of questions that need to be answered.

    SCOTT: Judy.

    POWERS: I think they're going to be answered. And my problem always with the way, in which the story was being covered, was that were too few mainstream reporters covering it. Ironically, and this makes the CBS screw up even harder to accept is that CBS was one of the networks that did pay attention to Benghazi. But now, you're going to have hearings and we are going to get some answers finally. I don't think it's going to go away.

    SCOTT: All right. Up next, the hits and misses of social media and the election.

    (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

    SCOTT: According to Twitter there were 327,452 tweets per minute at 11:19 p.m. on election night when the networks called the presidential race for Barack Obama. The rest of the night had some Twitter activity, as well. And then there was this photo. By Friday, it had been re-tweeted more than 800,000 times and liked on Facebook more than 4 billion times. So, this was perhaps the biggest election involving social media. Has the impact been overestimated, overstated?

    PINKERTON: Well, you don't know until it happens. I was -- I noted on the show before that disparity between President Obama and Mitt Romney on Facebook likes and Twitter followers was, you know, orders of magnitude, like ten times. And I was speculating is this going to mean anything or not? Who knows for sure, because there’s a little subculture of people say, actually, a lot of this social media is kind of fake, there is all, you know, robots and drones, and things, you know ...

    (LAUGHTER)

    PINKERTON: Fake, vaporware sites. However, now we know that President Obama took a 2 million vote lead and turned it into a 130 vote Electoral College spread, which means he did a better job at distributing his votes, and that suggests a triumph of micro-targeting.

    SCOTT: Yeah.

    PINKERTON: In his favor.

    SCOTT: The Obama campaign sent out something like seven times as many tweets during the course of the campaign as the Romney campaign.

    MILLER: Exactly. And the Economist, a mainstream magazine, took that tweeted picture and made it its cover to show you the impact now of the social media. The way in which its memes, Jim, are picked up by others and the mainstream media. And 20 percent of the people who sent out those tweets also said that they had used it to try and influence their friends to vote a certain way.

    PINKERTON: Yes.

    MILLER: So we have a kind of double effect here.