This is a rush transcript from "Fox News Watch," November 24, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
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JON SCOTT, HOST OF "FOX NEWS WATCH": On "Fox News Watch," new images of an eight-year old story as Israel defends its citizens from attacks by Hamas. Reporters from around the world move in to tell the story, but are their reports biased to fit an agenda?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MARCIA FUDGE, D-OHIO, CONGRESSIONAL BLACK CAUCUS CHAIRWOMAN: There's a clear - in my opinion, a clear sexism and racism that goes with these comments that are being made by, unfortunately, Senator McCain and others.
SCOTT: Democrats in the liberal media play the race card, calling Republican criticism of ambassador Rice racist and sexist, is this new spin working in the coverage?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Thank you.
SCOTT: President Obama gets his second term as the media pour on the positive press to push for his win. New details are out. And Joe Biden is back making news.
VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: We've got a homeboy in the deal who gets it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCOTT: 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 Talk Radio news bureau chief Ellen Ratner. I'm Jon Scott, "Fox News Watch," is on right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VICTORIA NULAND, STATE DEPARTMENT: We've been extremely clear about our concern for Israel's security, about the fact that Israel has a right to self-defense, but I'm not going to go further than that.
MATT LEE, AP REPORTER: Why -- why can't you say that you don't agree with the Turks?
NULAND: Because I'm not going to get into a public spinning match with allies on either side, we are just not going to do that. OK?
LEE: And do you think that that's worse, the public spinning match with one of your allies is worse than hundreds of people dying every day.
NULAND: I don't understand the question here, there's not a question here, you're just looking for a fight, let's go.
LEE: No, ma'am, the fight is already on.
NULAND: Yes. Absolutely.
LEE: It's going on over there.
LEE: And you guys by refusing to say anything about what you're trying to do or refusing to say whether you agree or disagree with comments that are being made by your allies or others...
LEE: That makes things worse, not better.
NULAND: We, of course, agree that rhetorical attacks against Israel are not helpful at this moment.
NULAND: Is that what you were looking for, Matt?
LEE: Yes. Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCOTT: That's Victoria Nuland, a spokeswoman for the U.S. State Department getting hammered by AP reporter Matt Lee, who wanted more of a response to this statement from the prime minister of Turkey. It read, "Those who speak of Muslims and terror side by side are turning a blind eye when Muslims are massacred en masse. For this reason I say that Israel is a terrorist state and its acts are terrorist acts." So, we had that face-off at the State Department, Jim, and there was more of it. I mean we only showed about a third of that actual exchange. Was the reporter right to be pushing her in that way?
JIM PINKERTON, THE AMERICAN CONSERVATIVE MAGAZINE: That's certainly a new AP.
PINKERTON: He was expressing his opinion. But look, the State Department's in a hard spot here. I mean, Turkey is a NATO ally, and I don't agree that Israel is a terrorist state, and I'm sure Hillary Clinton and the State Department don't either, but the way the camera makes it look, she's sort of on the -- Nuland is on the defensive, and she's got her job to do with 150 state world capitals watching. I -- it was a little bit of an ambush on the State Department.
SCOTT: A pretty amazing statement, I think, from the Turkish prime minister, how did the media react?
JUDY MILLER, WRITER & FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, it was unbelievably -- it was almost no reaction. I mean, I read that statement, and I said now I'm going to wait for the article that says Turkey has just disqualified itself as an intermediator, as a mediator in this conflict. I didn't see that statement. I didn't see that story. It's really amazing the way Turkey is -- remains undercovered in the American media.
ELLEN RATNER, BUREAU CHIEF, TALK RADIO NEWS SERVICE: You know, I had exactly the same reaction as you did, and what was even more amazing is why didn't anybody do a story that compared what Turkey said about Israel with what Turkey has said about Syria, or not said. And there was none of that. It was really quite -- the silence was deafening.
SCOTT: Here we go all over again, Cal. I mean the conflict in that part of the world never seems to end. Things appear to be relatively peaceful. Then all of a sudden, you get Hamas launching rockets, you get Israel responding and you know, you get a peace deal like was brokered on Wednesday, and then everything seems to cycle all over again.
CAL THOMAS, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: I wrote a column this week titled "Groundhog Day." I think the application is very similar to that movie where Bill Murray gets up every morning and repeats the previous day. But look, remember, the height of positive media coverage for Israel was 1976. Our bicentennial July Fourth when the Israeli commandos went into Entebbe Airport in Uganda to rescue 100 Israeli citizens from Palestinian-friendly terrorists. It was the editorial comments, the news coverage extremely positive. In years subsequently, it has unraveled. And Israel is now portrayed in much of the major media, especially CNN, BBC, as the aggressor, as the predator nation, and the poor Palestinians and Arabs is the victims.
SCOTT: Yeah, what about that? Is the coverage sympathetic to Palestinians and Hamas?
RATNER: You know, I will probably be a little different than everybody here on the panel, particularly when it relates to that photo that was shown in The Washington Post where they had the picture of the Palestinian with the dead baby and then they showed the competing picture was Israelis in the bomb shelter. I didn't get as offended by that as other people did in terms of saying that "The Washington Post" was being more towards the Palestinians. I didn't, I didn't see this.
PINKERTON: More flagrant, though, is CNN running phony footage and the BBC running a tweet from Syria that they actually said was Palestinian, and again, speaking of no reaction, you know, the British reporter for the BBC John Donnison, he said, oh, I made a mistake, I accidentally smeared the Israelis when I really meant to smear the Syrian government, oh too bad. And again, stone silence, no reaction, the BBC certainly won't fire him. Who knows what he will be doing a week from now, other than tweeting again.
SCOTT: Judy, the coverage of what happens there tends to focus on how many rockets were fired and how many casualties on both sides, but there seems to be a vast moral gulf between the two sides. Here is a look at the cover of the New York Daily News and then, basically the same title and the same photo, almost, in the New York Post. Very similar coverage of Hamas members dragging somebody through the streets on, you know, tied to a motorcycle, somebody they had executed on suspicion of being an Israeli sympathizer or spy.
MILLER: Exactly, and that's part of the challenge for a reporter of covering what's going on in Gaza, because there are many more reporters this time around from in 2008-2009, which is the last time Israel went into Gaza, but they are still the captives of Hamas, they're being led about, they're being shown things, we have no way of knowing whether or not the people who were being portrayed as victims, were really killed by Israelis rockets or injured by Israeli rockets fire. We don't know. Even The New York Times, Jon, ran an editorial saying, "Hamas's Illegitimacy," talking about the fact that Hamas is responsible for this, but the subtitle of that editorial was "Israel Is Not the Only Party Responsible for the Current War." What does that tell you about the...
THOMAS: I thought Bret Stephens, The Wall Street Journal wrote a dreaded (ph) mea culpa column this week where he said he was wrong when several years ago he said that it was right for Israel to pull out of Gaza. Some of us have been saying that for a long time. I think the big failure of the media is that they do not accurately report on the history of these two movements. They don't believe the Palestinians and the Muslim radicals who say they want to kill all Israelis and Jews and get them out of there, they don't believe it even though that's what they say.
SCOTT: All right. Coming up, next on "News Watch," a new twist in the coverage of the Benghazi attacks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN, D-CALIF.: We have seen wrong intelligence before and a lot of people were killed based on bad intelligence.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Reworked talking points about the Benghazi terror attacks, getting reaction from both sides of the aisle. And getting more attention from the mainstream media. But will media attention add pressure to get the answers about who knew what and when? That's next on "News Watch."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FUDGE: All of the things that have -- they have just lied about things that have gone on in this administration; they have never called a male unqualified, not right, not trustworthy. I don't recall it ever happening. They didn't even say that about General Petraeus who they're all up in arms about. So, there's a clear, in my opinion, a clear sexism and racism that goes with these comments that are being made by, unfortunately, Senator McCain and others.
RICHARD WOLFFE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Now that John McCain has sunk his teeth in, he's made it about presidential authority and frankly it's outrageous that there's this witch hunt going on on the right about these people of color, let's face it, around this president. Eric Holder, Valerie Jarrett, now Susan Rice, before it was Van Jones. This is not about who is hawkish in the same way John McCain is about foreign policy, because if you look at Iran and Libya, Susan Rice checks those boxes, this is a personal vendetta--
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST OF "HARDBALL WITH CHRIS MATTHEWS": So you think McCain is being -- McCain and people like Lindsey Graham -- McCain who had his own daughter attacked -- accused of having an illegitimate child when in fact adopted a young girl from South Asia, you're saying that McCain is being driven by racial prejudice here?
WOLFFE: There's no other way to look at this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCOTT: Another week and another twist in the media coverage of the Benghazi terror attacks and the aftermath. Ambassador Susan Rice and the reworked talking points about the deadly event. You kind of got a sense of it there, Jim. There's the suggestion that any criticism directed toward the Obama administration is either racist or sexist. Is that the new media meme?
PINKERTON: As Rich Wolffe says, no other way to look at it. Period. I mean, that settles that. Let me struggle a little bit. I mean look, it's clear that, you know, Jane Newton (ph) for Time magazine made the point, this sort if base politics for the Democrats. If in fact the Obama administration nominates her, and obviously, see her support there and the tack that they'll take at sort of a mass political level. At the elite level, I think the administration is doing a pretty good job of saying, well, actually the talking points were massaged by James Clapper and by the Justice Department and by everybody -- a lot of fingerprints on there, and then David Petraeus came along and said, well, actually, you know, there are reasons why they took out all the Al Qaeda stuff from the talking points that Rice delivered on the air, and I think that argument among the elites is kind of prevailing. I think that it means that if the president does appoint Susan Rice, I think her confirmation will go through pretty quickly.
SCOTT: Not everybody agrees, though. Maureen Dowd wrote this in The New York Times. "Rice should have realized that when a gang showed up with RPG's and mortars in a place known as hot bed of Al Qaeda sympathizers and Islamic extremist training camps, it was not anger over a movie. She should have been savvy enough to wonder why the wily Hillary was avoiding the talk shows." And this from The Washington Post. Dana Milbank writes, "True. Rice was following orders from the White House, which she does well. But the nation's top diplomat needs to show more sensitivity and independence, traits Clinton has demonstrated in abundance. Obama can do better at State than Susan Rice."
RATNER: Well, you know, I'm -- I'm -- I actually, Washington Post did run an article called "Susan Rice's Tarnished Resume." I have to tell you, I was very disappointed in the press for not bringing up her -feelings her about her and what she's said about regime change in Africa and some countries and for not really looking in more to her resume.
THOMAS: Let me -- let me bring up a point here on this whole racism and sexism business. It never cuts the other way. Liberals can criticize conservative African-Americans and conservative black women, like Allen West now soon to be former congressman of Florida. Condoleezza Rice, Clarence Thomas as not being authentically black, as not being down for the struggle, as being Oreos or handkerchief-head Negroes, all of these things have been used by left wing African-American women against conservatives, and it's no problem. But it's only when you criticize the content of their character, not the color of their skin or their gender, that all of a sudden it's racist and sexist.
MILLER: I mean, where is the evidence of racial prejudice in the questions being raised about Susan Rice and what she did and said? She went out; she gave a set of talking points. It's not as if she's a reporter who just has to work with the material you are given and you're trying to confirm it. She had access to the classified. She should have known that that material could be nuanced, she could have done great many things, but instead, Jake Tapper and others have praised her as a good soldier. And MSNBC, "Morning Joe" suggested that the optics of this are very good for the Democrats, because any questions raised about her will be interpreted as racist. And I think that's wrong.
PINKERTON: But look, Dana Milbank and Maureen Dowd, if they had to, would vote for confirming Susan Rice if they had a vote in the U.S. Senate. Nothing will make--
RATNER: I don't know--
PINKERTON: -- big chunks of the chattering class and the media in President Obama's second term as to be sort of light critics of what they're doing. They keep some detachment and some ironic distance especially important to Milbank and Dowd, and meanwhile the agenda goes forward, that kind of tarnished resume will not stop her from being the next secretary of state.
RATNER: If the press did their job, there would be some serious questions.
PINKERTON: That's a different question, but I agree with you on that. If they did, that's a huge if.
SCOTT: The former CIA head David Petraeus, we've talked about this, his belief that the attacks were carried out and planned as terrorism attacks, and then came his resignation from the CIA. The New York Times put this piece out, "A Phony Hero for a Phony War," Lucian Truscott wrote it, "and now comes Dave Petraeus in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. No matter how good he looked in his biographer-mistress's book, it doesn't make up for the fact that we failed to conquer the countries we invaded and ended up occupying undefeated nations." Was it a hit piece?
MILLER: It was a hit piece. I think it was completely scandalous that the Times ran that attack on David Petraeus, and I want to salute Fred Kaplan of Slate magazine, who has a book coming out called "The Insurgency," spent a lot of time with Petraeus. He has some questions and problems with him, but on the other hand, he says Truscott's piece was over the top. David Petraeus was not in charge of invading Iraq, he was in charge of turning around a situation that was bad, and Truscott gives him no credit for that.
SCOTT: There's more "News Watch" to come. If you see something that you feel shows evidence of media bias, tweet us @foxnewswatch on Twitter.
Up next, did negative coverage doom Mitt Romney?
SCOTT: President Obama winning another four years in the White House, delivering his victory speech on election night and thanking his family and his supporters. According to the Pew Research Center, he could have also thanked the media for his win. The people of Pew found media coverage of President Obama was more positive at 29 percent during the last week of campaigning before Election Day. Coverage of Mitt Romney on the other hand, mostly negative, 33 percent that same week. So, should this be a big thank-you to the media for his reelection.
RATNER: No, I mean, I think he would have lost the election because of their get out the vote thing and other things as well.
SCOTT: You're talking about Romney.
RATNER: That's right, but if you look at the media's coverage and the Pew people said that they thought it was that reporters were paying attention to the polls. Well, you know what? Reporters, unless they're reporting on a poll, should not be paying attention to polls when they write their story, and they should be aware of any unconscious bias.
SCOTT: Somehow, Jim, I suspect, you're not surprised by those numbers from Pew.
PINKERTON: No, I'm not, and look, I've cited before Evan Thomas saying that it could be 15 points in an election, then he amended that to say 5 points. OK, so even 5 points covers a potential Romney victory.
However, I must say that the Romney post-election period has been kind of a tailspin for him, not just all the comments about gifts and so on, but this whole thriving and quite fascinating subculture of articles about ORCA, ORCA, the get out of the vote effort, has been -- makes anybody who thinks it's only media bias made Romney lose, think, gee whiz, maybe the campaign was done in by its own technological incompetence.
SCOTT: And there are all kinds of articles offering advice to Republicans on what the party needs to do in order to survive.
MILLER: Right, the party needs to dump the Tea Party, the party needs to reinvent itself. The party -- you know, the party is going do to do all of this after a while, because the party presumably wants to win. But I'm just shocked, shocked, isn't anybody else, that the media would have been biased towards Obama? I mean, has nobody been watching--
THOMAS: Republican presidents and candidates since Nixon have had the press against them. They'd found a way to overcome it, and that was Romney's major failing. He didn't overcome what was obvious going in.
SCOTT: All right. Next on "News Watch," some momentous events to remember from this week in history.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: As a kid, I spent all my time on the Jersey shore. I'm from Wilmington, Delaware and Claymont, but everyone in the northern part of my state comes 60 miles across to the shore. Everybody in the middle part of my state goes to the beach down in Rehoboth. But, so, I was kind of, not kind of, literally raised on the shore.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCOTT: That is Vice President Joe Biden earlier this week, speaking after getting a firsthand view of some of the destruction at the Jersey shore from Hurricane Sandy. Mr. Biden also celebrated his 70th birthday this week, and we just want to wish you a happy belated birthday, Mr. Vice President. We appreciate all you do to add to this program.
Some other notable anniversaries from this week. November 19, 1863. Beginning with the now iconic phrase, "four score and seven years ago," President Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg address. This only confirmed photo of Lincoln at Gettysburg is a photo taken a few hours before his famous speech.
100 years later, on November 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated while riding in his motorcade through Dealy Plaza in Dallas, Texas. The media coverage of that event will always be questioned.
Also this week in 1998, the Judiciary Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives began impeachment hearings against President Bill Clinton over the Monica Lewinsky affair and his testimony. A month later he was impeached by the House for perjury and obstruction of justice, then acquitted by the Senate. The liberal bias in the coverage was clear and present in that one.
And then we have this. The classic film about inmates taking over the asylum, "One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest," debuted this week in 1975.
That's a wrap on "Fox News Watch."The asylum for this week. I want to thank our inmates, Judy Miller, Jim Pinkerton, Cal Thomas, and Ellen Ratner. I'm going to go yank a sink off the wall. I'm Jon Scott. Thanks for watching. Keep it right here on Fox News Channel.
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