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This is a rush transcript from "Fox News Watch," January 12, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JON SCOTT, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: On "Fox News Watch."
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shoot him again! Shoot him!
SCOTT: A mother of two shoots a man who invaded her home.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We believe that the shotgun came from his residence.
SCOTT: A teen takes a shotgun to school, allegedly targeting two bullies.
VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: The president is going to act, executives orders, executive action that can be taken.
SCOTT: Vice President Biden meets with groups on all sides of the gun debate with a promise to deliver his plan to the president next week.
ALEX JONES, RADIO HOST: The Second Amendment isn't there for duck hunting, it's there to protect us from tyrannical government and street thugs.
SCOTT: The media take on the issue, but the coverage leaned way left.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Show up with a semiautomatic that you've got legally and pop em...
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: No peacocks, no jerks, no whiners.
SCOTT: Mr. Obama named three men to take key positions in his Cabinet.
REP. CHARLIE RANGEL, D-N.Y.: It's embarrassing as hell.
SCOTT: Are the media happy with his choices? The controversial film "Zero Dark Thirty" opens nationwide. Did the Hollywood producers skew the story to fit an agenda? And a seasoned sportscaster, the victim of overreaction for his overreaction.
BRENT MUSBURGER, ESPN: What a beautiful woman, wow.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCOTT: On the panel this week, writer and Fox News contributor Judy Miller. Radio talk show host, Monica Crowley. Jim Pinkerton, contributing editor of the American Conservative Magazine and Ellen Ratner, bureau chief of talk radio News Service.
I'm Jon Scott, "Fox News Watch" is on right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
BRIAN WILLIAMS, NBC NEWS: The fight over guns and the news of another school shooting, breaking at the very same time that they were meeting at the White House trying to figure out what to do about all of the gun violence.
DIANE SAWYER, ABC NEWS: The White House ready to take action on gun violence.
SCOTT PELLEY, CBS NEWS: The vice-president has been tasked with coming up with recommendations for curbing gun violence.
BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Vice President Joe Biden heard from the other side today in the debate over gun control.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
SCOTT: Well, the debate over gun control took the top spot in news coverage this week, the media in overdrive to push their positions on the issue. As the White House ramped up its agenda to try to curb gun violence. Vice-president Joe Biden heading his boss' task force to come up with a plan, had this to say on Wednesday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: The president is going to act or executive orders, executive action that can be taken. We haven't decided what yet, but we're compiling it all with help of the Attorney General and all the rest of the cabinet members, as well as legislative action we believe is required.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCOTT: Well, that was what the vice-president had to say on Wednesday, the day before meeting with the NRA. His comments got a lot of reaction, Jim, from Second Amendment proponents, but not so much in the media.
JIM PINKERTON, THE AMERICAN CONSERVATIVE MAGAZINE: Well, you know, this is Vice President Biden's chance to shine, as he prepares himself for the 2016 nomination, nomination quest. I would say this though, on Friday, politico reported that the White House might be backing off on the assault weapons ban, as not pushing it forward, which I think is quite significant. And it could be that the country see the issue differently than, for example, the mainstream media. Do the country, for example, might relate better to the story of Melinda Herman, this woman in Loganville, Georgia, who shot an intruder in her house five times and then, obviously, needed more bullets because the guy wasn't dead yet and needed a bigger clip, and I think if the media were really doing its job. Donny Herman, the husband, who was the coolest customer ever to be on phone with 9/11 and his wife at the same time. Just saying, honey, you remember this, this, and this, like we talked about. They'd both be household names now and oddly enough, they're not.
SCOTT: Judy, you know, it strikes me, that the vice-president has been given what -- a couple of weeks to come up with his recommendation, this is a debate that's been raging in this country for years and yet, they're trying to push something through in I don't know, seems like a relatively short amount of time.
JUDY MILLER, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I think a couple of newspapers have actually pointed out that they have a set of proposals that they shelved during the first Obama term, when they figured out they just didn't have the political capital and didn't want to spend the political effort that was required on this. Now, they feel that the mood has changed. Whether or not it's changed sufficiently to get the kind of sweeping measures that many gun control advocates favor is a separate issue. But I think something has changed and that's why you see Biden all in on this one. He wants a deal, he wants something he can get through and what he can't get through, I think they're preparing to do on the law enforcement side, by executive or -- fiat.
SCOTT: Is the mood of the country changing because of the media coverage?
ELLEN RATNER, BUREAU CHIEF, TALK RADIO NEWS SERVICE: Well, we don't know. I mean the NRA says that they've got 100,000 more members after Sandy Hook. I have to say this, and, you know, I'm a lib, I don't like guns, all that kind of stuff, but I have almost never heard in the mainstream media stories about people defending themselves with guns successfully. That is x'd out. I will give you that. And I mean, I don't know about it. I've never ...
SCOTT: Gabrielle Giffords, the congresswoman who was shot in that terrible incident in Tucson, she and her husband, the former astronaut Mark Kelly, they started that organization this week that they say is going to, you know, designed to counteract the effectiveness of the gun lobby. They got a lot of publicity for that.
MONICA CROWLEY, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Right. They did, they did. Because these incidents provoke a lot of emotion, it's true. I mean you see Gabby Giffords, she has survived this attack and come back in extraordinary ways. You see the heartbreak in Newtown, the heartbreak in Aurora, so, of course it pulls on the emotional heartstrings. But when you look at the media coverage of this, I fault the mainstream media because they're more interested in advocacy for stricter gun control laws than actually reporting the facts. For example, the Aurora shooting, in theater as well as in the Newtown shooting, both of those mass murders took place in gun- free zones. You didn't see that report. And also, Jim, you mentioned the assault weapons ban, they may or may not go down this road this time, but you see very little reporting as to the fact that the last time we had such a ban for ten years from '94 to 2004, there was very little appreciative effect of having that ban and having a decline in gun related murders and violence. You just don't see those kinds of facts reported. What you do see is emotion-laden reporting and that's not entirely fair to the conversation.
SCOTT: Well, and you saw Alex Jones appear on Piers Morgan this week. Piers seems to set him up as the typical example of the kind of gun owner that's out there in America.
PINKERTON: Right. And Jim Geraghty at the National Review said that Piers Morgan picked him well, because so say, Jones comes on a little strong for me.
MILLER: Do you think?
PINKERTON: For mainstream. In other words, Morgan has given himself a little signature on this issue, and he's riding it hard and he sort of mocking the U.S. Constitution as he does so, but one point on what Judy said about executive orders, Rush Limbaugh made a great point. He says, listen, it's entirely possible the Obama administration will do something for gun control background checks by executive order and it's entirely possible the mainstream media will say well, that's terrific, that's exactly what we need. And Limbaugh said, look, imagine if it's been Bush 43 doing this on abortion. What would the reaction then be? It would be completely different. This is a -- usurpation of executive -- of congressional power and blah-blah-blah.
SCOTT: This is one of those weeks when we need more time for a topic like this. But next on "News Watch," Mr. Obama's cabinet pick is getting some interesting media attention.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: President Obama out to rebuild his Cabinet. His choices a bit controversial. Has the press already passed on his picks or is there a battle ahead? Answer is next on "News Watch."
SCOTT: Mr. Obama working to rebuild his Cabinet. Earlier in the week, naming former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel as his nominee to be Defense Secretary and John Brennan as his pick to become the new CIA director.
Then on Thursday, naming his chief of staff, Jack Lew as his nominee to become the next Treasury Secretary. The president's pick is getting all sorts of media attention from all sides. Conservative media groups in particular, Jim, seem to have issues with Chuck Hagel, the liberal media seems to have issues with Brennan to run ...
PINKERTON: And then there's issue of Jack Lew's signature ...
PINKERTON: Everybody has -- everybody has an issue with. I mean -- yeah, I mean, look on the Hagel thing, we're having all the issues about the Iraq war and Israel lobby and all the other things that Hagel has brought up. We've got another drama within a drama there, which is, you know, Chuck Schumer (inaudible). I mean, you know, Chuck Schumer is a Democratic senator from New York, Jewish, and is seen as a decisive vote as it were inside the Senate, because Republicans mostly oppose Hagel, and question where the Democrats go and they could be following Schumer's lead, and I think he's going to enjoy this drama for as long as he can and get on TV a lot saying I'm deciding, I'm deciding, I'm deciding, and well, we see what he has in the end. I bet in the end they both --
SCOTT: How would you assess the coverage of, you know, the president picking this former Republican senator to be his defense secretary?
MILLER: Well, I think a couple of mostly conservative commentators have said, why would you pick someone who has such tense relations with Republicans? I mean most Republicans don't see Chuck Hagel as a stand-up guy anymore. So, I think Jonah Goldberg said the reason he's there, is that they're asking Republican, nominal Republican to cut the defense budget, that's an unpopular thing to do in Republican circles and that's why he's there.
SCOTT: Has the politics of this choice been examined? I mean it seems to me that if you want to fracture the Republican Senate in the way that you fractured the Republican House with the fiscal cliff vote, maybe you pick a Chuck Hagel.
RATNER: Well, you know, it's interesting, because Slate's folks took a look and they were -- went after sort of Bill Kristol, and what -- why he's doing this, and I mean I almost felt that whole thing was kind of manufactured.
SCOTT: All right.
CROWLEY: It is -- it is an interesting pick, though, because, as you say, this would be typically Obama's emote to choose the Republican that he can get with to try to break apart the Republicans in the Congress. But the problem with Hagel is, he doesn't really have any Senate allies on either side. He was a very prickly guy when he was in there, so he has no natural allies. What's interesting, which I don't think has really been covered, is the fact he was picked because he ended up opposing the Iraq war. He voted for it, but then he turned on it. The opposition to the Iraq war is the reason Barack Obama is president. Remember, it's the reason he beat Hillary Clinton in the primaries, it's the reason he's president. That's why Hagel is there, in addition to his very deep support for very deep military cuts, which is what he's going to be testing ...
RATNER: The press did cover a couple of his no votes on sanctions, but they did not cover all of his votes and his voting record. I found that kind of interesting.
PINKERTON: We'll get to Brennan and torture next week.
SCOTT: What about this photo that ran in "The New York Times," it was I guess taken in December, and it ran with an article that said "Obama's remade inner circle has an all-male look so far." The White House released this photo, also, on Tuesday. Why has that become an issue, Jim?
PINKERTON: Well, because the feminists, the National Organization for Women, for example, are leading a little petition drive now against this. I don't think this is going to be the most effective campaign ever. Not as if Obama's credentials as a liberal are in disrepair. This is called (inaudible) a tempest within a teapot, one of the many little subplots of this whole ...
CROWLEY: And by the way, to be fair to the president, he actually has a lot of very strong women around him. His top two advisers are his wife Michelle and Valerie Garrett. He's appointed two females to the Supreme Court and he's got a number of very strong women in his Cabinet. At least in his first term, Hillary Clinton, Kathleen Sebelius, Lisa Jackson.
SCOTT: OK, so you're defending the president and -- and -- she's giving me some kind of a look like ...
RATNER: I would like -- his record on women is better than President Bush, but no better than President Clinton, I would have liked to see -- I want to see ...
CROWLEY: How about -- how about a meritocracy? Where it's the best person for the job ...
RATNER: But I also would like to see the press take a look at who he has appointed and what's happened to them.
SCOTT: And as Jim says -- no, Charles Krauthammer, I'm sorry, Charles Krauthammer says "the binders full of women" came up empty at the White House.
SCOTT: Next on "News Watch," flak over the bin Laden photos and the film about bin Laden's death.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: "Zero Dark Thirty" opens nationwide with questionable torture scenes and concerns over access to CIA secrets. Does the Hollywood production mislead the audience? Do the media care? That's next on "News Watch."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you're right, the whole world's going to win in on this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We'll never find him.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's one of the disappeared ones.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCOTT: Clips from the film "Zero Dark Thirty" which opened nationwide on Friday, and the film getting a lot of media attention along with controversy over the so-called torture scenes. What about that, Judy? What -- before the film, while it was being made there was a lot of concern about the access these film makers were given and then the film comes out and there's a lot of concern over whether it was accurately portrayed or not, especially the water-boarding?
MILLER: Right, and as its producers say, it's a movie. It's, you know, it's based on something, but we shouldn't take it as gospel. On the other hand, it's a very powerful movie and it's interesting to me that Sony felt they had to delay it until after the election, because I found its message to be rather critical of many aspects of the Obama administration's counter-terrorism policy.
PINKERTON: It's -- as Dan Froomkin on Huffington Post says, a little disingenuous of them to say, it's only a movie considering they pegged it as the true story. I mean, they can't have it both ways.
SCOTT: Yeah, well, that's the thing -- other producers are claiming this is not a documentary. And yet, when they were building this thing, I mean they were getting access to top secret information.
CROWLEY: Right. No, it's clearly not a documentary, really, it's an extraordinary bit of film making, but this kind of mixture of fact and fiction, we've seen this. Oliver Stone has been doing this for decades, other film makers do, is they take a real situation and they fold in fiction and they make up characters and composite characters. It's always sort of dangerous when you're talking about real historical events, but I think it's particularly dangerous when you're depicting an event that is critical to a war we're still engaged in. Are we still engaged in these kinds of tactics, the Obama administration says no. But you are also in a process of signaling to the enemy what at least we have been willing to do in the past and I think that is a very dangerous thing.
SCOTT: In the meantime, Judicial Watch sued this week to get access. It wants, you know, Freedom of Information Act, access to the death photos of Osama bin Laden.
RATNER: Yes, they did. And in my view, they'll often do anything for a story, whether they're going to get that access or not.
SCOTT: Should they?
RATNER: I don't think so, actually.
SCOTT: Why not?
RATNER: Why? Because I think that we have a lot of secrets in our government and I'm not so sure that that one is going to do the United States any good.
MILLER: I would normally be against what Ellen just said, but given the fact that there's so much in this administration that is being kept secret, I would rather go after other things that are, I think, of more immediate interest and benefit to the American people.
PINKERTON: I would keep it secret, which is not the same as saying it will stay secret, because after all, there's more Hollywood movies to be made, right, and more memoirs of Obama administration officials to be published in the years to come.
SCOTT: All right. Ask yourself this question, is it bad to call someone beautiful?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MUSBURGER: What a beautiful woman, wow!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Brent Musburger takes a moment during a big bowl game to admire the sights. Then, gets tackled in the press. But why? That's next on "News Watch."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MUSBURGER: Do you see that lovely lady there? She does go to Auburn, I will admit that. But she's also Miss Alabama, and that's A.J. McCarron's girlfriend, OK? And right there on the right is Dee Dee Banner (ph), that's A.J.'s mom. I'll tell, you quarterbacks, you get all the good looking women I'll tell you, what a beautiful woman. Whoa.
KIRK HERBSTREIT, ESPN: He's -- A.J. is doing some things right down there.
MUSBURGER: So, if you are a youngster in Alabama, start getting the football out and throwing around the backyard where it pops.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCOTT: The ESPN sportscaster Brent Musburger and his announcer side Kirk Herbstreit taking a break from the title BCS title game introduced the audience to Katherine Webb, the 23-year old beauty queen girl, friend of Alabama's quarterback. Musburger's comments got a little reaction, described as creepy and awkward and this from Sue Carter, a journalism professor at Michigan State telling the New York Times it's extraordinarily inappropriate to focus on an individual's looks. It's a major personal violation and it's so retrograde that it's embarrassing. The ESPN apologized saying Musburger's commentary went too far. Did it, Judy?
MILLER: Musburger, don't apologize! This is absolutely ridiculous and it shows you what's wrong with journalism schools in America. She is a former beauty queen. She had no problem with the4 comment. Get over it!
SCOTT: Even Ellen is not in -- I think agreement.
RATNER: I mean it is completely ridiculous. Who cares. It was a comment. It's sports, it's a game, she is a beauty queen, give me a break.
SCOTT: Rush Limbaugh made the point that there is all kinds of criticism directed at Musburger, and yet when CNN had a New Year's Eve -- I guess you would call it simulated oral sex incident between Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin, that didn't seem to get a whole lot of attention.
PINKERTON: Right. And that has been a tasteless show for years ...
PINKERTON: That New Year's Eve thing. And they never -- they never -- look, remember, the game was kind of over quickly. I mean the Alabama went to I think a 28 to nothing lead, or 24 to nothing, so. There wasn't a lot to talk about with the game, after a while, so, of course, you're groping around, looking for something -- things to cover.
CROWLEY: Here is what's wrong with the man calling a woman beautiful -- nothing.
SCOTT: So, why did the -- why did ESPN apologize?
CROWLEY: Because the word police have gotten so out of control. There were some feminists who posts to some blogs saying this was inappropriate, this is feminism gone off the rails, political correctness and the world police. You can't even give somebody a valid compliment? Come on.
SCOTT: And then she went on the "Today" show. And I thought defended herself. She is very articulate. I thought she did a great job.
MILLER: That's what I said. If she were offended by it, I could see that feminists would rise in anger. But please, please, you know, get over it, it's not like they are calling Hillary Clinton a beautiful woman and not paying attention to what she is doing. This is really PC, too far.
SCOTT: All right. We are going to have to leave it there. That's a wrap on "News Watch" this week. Thanks to Judy Miller. Jim Pinkerton, Monica Crowley and Ellen Ratner. I'm Jon Scott. Thanks for watching. We'll have another beauty queen in the next week, keep it right here on the Fox News Channel.
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