• With: Judy Miller, Jim Pinkerton, Geoff Holtzman, Alan Colmes

    PINKERTON: Well, the headline in Friday's Washington Post, quote, "Holder defends keeping inquiry from White House." Unquote. And I think it's now been pretty well documented by everybody that the FBI and the Justice Department and everybody else at that level knew all about this. And now, we just have to believe Attorney General Holder and everybody else that nobody at the White House knew until, you know, two days after the election, and that the director of national intelligence didn't know until Election Day.

    These are stories even this -- a fawning press, and by the way, Alan, President Obama was last on Bill O'Reilly in 2008, it's been a while.

    COLMES: He's done O'Reilly twice. I think he did it once since then, as a matter of fact, during a half-time show.


    PINKERTON: Hard-hitting half-time--

    COLMES: When everybody is watching by the way in the Super Bowl, but also Eric Cantor's office knew about it and he stayed quiet. Eric Cantor knew about it since October and he didn't go to -- so this isn't just a left-wing--

    PINKERTON: It's the most unbelievably Beltway juicy story ever, frankly, for all the reasons I mentioned earlier, and I will say this. I think you're going to see a change. I think for the first week or so, Petraeus had kind of a sympathetic press, I mean, all these reporters who have been embedded with him, no pun intended in Iraq and Afghanistan, were kind of fans, including on the left. Once it became clear, though, late last week that he was going to say that the CIA actually did a good job and did different talking points, you're going to see the press on him turn big time as they now say, well, he's the enemy, he's no longer part of the Obama administration lying about how we didn't know, and it's ambiguous--

    SCOTT: So bucking the administration line on this is trouble for him, do you think?

    MILLER: Well, I think that the meme, the line on General Petraeus or Director Petraeus changed dramatically this week. We did see kind of shock and not awe. Shock and horror at the initial reports of why he was stepping down. But now, you're getting an examination by many in the media of the relationship between the media and General Petraeus and his great ability to manipulate and curry favor with the media. Michael Hastings had an extremely interesting piece in Buzzfeed that pointed out that some of the people who wrote books about him, such as Linda Robinson, actually went off to work for him in CENTCOM after they wrote their work. So he's very good at that, and I think that has to be acknowledged and it is beginning to be acknowledged in the media.

    SCOTT: We have to talk about this next on "News Watch." Are the media pushing for a plunge off the fiscal cliff?


    OBAMA: The Senate has already passed a law like this. The Democrats in the House are ready to pass a law like this, and I hope Republicans in the House come on board, too.

    UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: President Obama putting pressure on Republicans to do it his way or face the plunge off the fiscal cliff. And the media take the cue in the blame game, too, pointing fingers at the GOP for standing their ground. Will the pressure of bad press force their hand? Answers next on "News Watch."




    BOEHNER: I don't think anyone on either side of the aisle underestimates the difficulty that faces us, but I do think the spirit of cooperation that you've seen over the last week from myself and my team, from Democrats across the aisle, from the president, have created an atmosphere where I think that I remain optimistic.

    OBAMA: We face a very clear deadline that requires us to make some big decisions on jobs, taxes and deficits by the end of the year. Both parties voted to set this deadline, and I believe that both parties can work together to make these decisions in a balanced and responsible way.


    SCOTT: President Obama and House Leader John Boehner before him sounding somewhat positive on working out a plan to divert the fiscal cliff. They met in person at the White House on Friday, along with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Senator Mitch McConnell. Geoff, it seems like the media are poised to blame Republicans if this deal falls apart.

    HOLTZMAN: If you look at the polling, over half the country believes it would be the GOP's fault if this deal falls apart. And why is that? I think the reason is because the Democrats, the president himself have done an effective job of essentially trashing Republicans, saying that this whole -- the reason that there's a, you know, there isn't a deal in the first place is because it's their fault, when that's not true. It was both parties that did this. It was the president particularly not showing leadership and kicking the can down the road and creating a super committee.

    Second of all, the media is not covering this story correctly at all. They are reporting that the president want a $4 trillion deficit package. $1 trillion of that is from ending the wars, that's already going to happen anyway, and another $1 trillion is from the spending cuts that were already passed. You know, so they are just completely ignoring that. And again, it's not spending cuts that the president is going to agree to in the end. It's reducing the growth rate in spending, so it's a complete misnomer to suggest that he's going all in on these spending cuts.

    SCOTT: NewsBusters reported that the networks blamed the fiscal cliff on the Congress and the GOP 16 times more than President Obama.

    COLMES: NewsBusters is always talking about how the poor little conservatives are being blamed. The fact is, here is the president who was reelected -- you can use the word mandate or not -- but people see now that this Republican Congress, which is viewed as a do-nothing Congress, the media is accurate when it says it's really up to the Republicans now to come forward, because they've already rejected what he offered the last time.

    SCOTT: All right. Jim.

    PINKERTON: I must say to me the most interesting story of this is the sub-story of the left, Paul Krugman, John Carroll, others, saying it's a horrible mistake to do this. It's 1937 all over again in terms of tax increases, spending cuts in the middle of a tentative recovery.

    I'm not as convinced that the left of the Democratic Party or the left of the country is going to hold still for this deal. It's sort of a centrist Beltway thing that the right opposes, and the left opposes, and as -- President Obama, the Washington Post editorial board, the New York Times, a few others kind of in the middle there. We'll see.

    SCOTT: Judy, the media loved it this week when the president met with some the heads of these major corporations, but there weren't really any small-business people represented, and the question is, is it just a photo op?

    MILLER: Well, I think the president is reaching out. He's making an effort to meet with a lot of different people. It is interesting that the first people who saw him after his election were union people, and that shouldn't be surprising, but the media did take note of that. But I think that Mr. Boehner's conciliatory attitude reflects exactly, as Geoff said, the politics of the situation. David Brooks had a very interesting column saying not only would it be irresponsible to take the country over the fiscal cliff, but it's bad politics for the Republicans. I think that accounts for the mood of conviviality and consensus here.

    PINKERTON: Bad politics for the Republicans if the media says it is bad politics.


    SCOTT: And speaking of that, the New Yorker had a blaring headline this week, "Is Obama Willing to Leap Off the Fiscal Cliff? Let's Hope So." Take that for what it's worth. Next on "News Watch," an interesting moment from Nancy Pelosi.



    PELOSI: Yesterday, we did not have a majority, but we have the gavel. Excuse me. We don't have gavel.


    PELOSI: We don't have -- we have our own gavel.


    PELOSI: We have something more important.