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This is a rush transcript from "Fox News Watch," January 26, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
JON SCOTT, HOST: On "Fox News Watch."
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Our journey is not complete.
SCOTT: President Obama's big celebration Monday, his second inauguration drawing supporters, celebrities and the fawning media.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't believe I have this vantage point.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, Mr. President!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President! How are you doing?
SCOTT: Did the cheerleading overshadow the reporting?
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, R-ARIZONA: The American people deserve to know answers.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The New York Times -- Four are out at State Department after scathing report on Benghazi attacks. Not true.
SEN. RAND PAUL, R-KENTUCKY: Had I been president at the time, I would have relieved you of your post.
SCOTT: Hillary Clinton finally answering questions about the Benghazi attacks, putting on quite a performance for lawmakers and the press. Real emotion or just an act?
The woman who ignited the Petraeus sex scandal takes her story to the press. Is it too late or, did the media take the bait?
Notre Dame All-Star linebacker Manti Te'o gives Katie Couric the straight scoop on the fake girlfriend hoax.
And Prince Harry gets hammered by the media for giving the facts.
PRINCE HARRY: We fight when we have to. Take a life to save a life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCOTT: On the panel this week, Daily Beast and USA Today columnist, Kirsten Powers. Syndicated columnist Cal Thomas. Jim Pinkerton, contributing editor, the American Conservative magazine, and investigative reporter and Fox News contributor, Vicky Ward.
I'm Jon Scott. "Fox News Watch" is on right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: I, Barack Hussein Obama, do solemnly swear.
JOHN ROBERTS, CHIEF JUSTICE OF THE SUPREME COURT: That I faithfully execute.
OBAMA: That I will faithfully execute.
ROBERTS: The office of president of the United States.
OBAMA: The office of president of the United States.
ROBERTS: And will to the best of my ability.
OBAMA: And will to the best of my ability.
ROBERTS: Preserve, protect and defend.
OBAMA: Preserve, protect and defend.
ROBERTS: The Constitution of the United States.
OBAMA: The Constitution of the United States.
ROBERTS: So help you God?
OBAMA: So help me God.
ROBERTS: Congratulations, Mr. President.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCOTT: It was a big day for Barack Obama on Monday, taking the ceremonial oath of office for his second term. It was a big day for the media as well. Jim, we had CNN's Jim Acosta saying that he had to pinch himself. We saw Al Roker screaming to get the president's attention. What happened to reporting?
JIM PINKERTON, AMERICAN CONSERVATIVE MAGAZINE: Don't forget Chris Matthews comparing it to the Gettysburg address. Look, I think that Noah Rothman of Mediaite summarized it very well. He said this is the tale of two inaugurals. In 2005, which is to say Bush 43, the second inaugural, media sneers. In 2013, media cheers. And he could be alluding to the endless discussion about how great Mrs. Obama was dressing, the kids and so on and so on, and how good was the economy and how everything was great, in contrast to the 2005 inaugural, just eight short years ago, when the discussion was any money that was spent on the inaugural was coming at the expense of the poor, when the unemployment was a couple of points lower than it is now, and meanwhile, the Iraq war, et cetera, et cetera.
Mr. Rothman completely nailed the sense of bias. I salute him in his efforts here.
SCOTT: What about that, Kirsten, I mean, do reporters not have memories?
KIRSTEN POWERS, DAILY BEAST: That's a loaded question. No, I think there's a little bit of a double standard here. Clearly, the economy is still in a bad place, so you can't say that there are no longer poor people. They're concerned about spending back when Bush was president and they should be concerned about it now.
But look, we just did an interview a little earlier about Michael Hastings, a Rolling Stone reporter who wrote a book saying that in covering the president, being around the media, that what he observed was very immature behavior. They were giddy is the word that he used, and they are sort of in awe of the president. And I think it just confirms what we've been saying here almost every week about the problem with the press corps and their inability to cover the president.
SCOTT: Cal, we heard during the inaugural address, we heard about climate change, we heard about gay rights, we heard about lots of issues, but nothing much about the deficit and some of the pressing issues of, you know, the really pressing issues of our time.
CAL THOMAS, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Well, some of the really great analysis from a lot of journalists and commentators was, well, he's a liberal. Who knew? This is the biggest media coverup, this is their version of Watergate. They tried to portray him as a centrist, a man who not a blue state or a red state America, but the United States of America. A guy who could transcend all of the political divisions in Washington. Now they are saying after all this stuff you just mentioned, well, golly, I guess he really is a liberal after all. Who knew?
SCOTT: Was there too much media cheerleading in all of the coverage?
VICKY WARD, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: I think the media lost sight of the real L-word here. It's not so much liberal as legacy. This -- if you listen to the speech and you took out the words climate change, guns, this speech could have been given in 1963. He was -- the president was making a speech about social reform, he was setting himself up as the great social reformer of America, channeling his inner Teddy Roosevelt. And I don't think he got into the detail, and I think the media did not pick up on that enough.
SCOTT: What about that, Jim? I guess one wouldn't expect the president to bring up Benghazi in this context, in an inaugural address, but I mean, there are some big foreign policy issues that we're facing out there that didn't get touched.
PINKERTON: You're right, and Vicky mentions legacy, and I think it was Joe Pollack (ph) of Breitbart News who was the first to notice the lines, the words slipped in there, "peace in our time," which any Briton will remember--
WARD: Yes, absolutely.
PINKERTON: -- as Neville Chamberlain's famous comment coming back from the Munich deal with Hitler in 1938, which is the most misbegotten phrase ever. It is astonishing to me that that quote even inadvertently and said in a different context slipped by the fact checkers and the speechwriters and the reviewers. And of course, nobody in the mainstream media noted jeez--
WARD: I did.
SCOTT: And now there is Newsweek magazine, which is an online only publication, I guess you would call it. "The second coming." Now, conservatives have long complained that President Obama thinks that of himself, but now, Cal, they have made it official, I guess.
THOMAS: He was treated as a messiah figure the first time around, and I think the media put too much faith in politics and government, because it reflects their particular ideological bias, and they're really -- they're setting him up for a no-fail second term. They're not going to hold him accountable, they didn't hold him accountable in the first term because they are afraid of being branded as racist. And they agree with him. I think the reviewer of the coverage for the Washington Post had it right when he said Al Roker, who you mentioned earlier, embarrassed himself. He wasn't alone.
SCOTT: And then there was the New York Times, which complained about George W. Bush spending $40 million on his second inauguration, Jim touched on this. They said "The Inauguration: ceremonies for inauguration in war time, a lingering question of tone." That was all about George W. Bush's second inaugural. And then for Barack Obama spending $50 million on his second inauguration, The Times wrote, "Fund-raising is lagging so far for inaugural plans." And lamenting the fact that in this economy, $50 million was tough to raise. Just an interesting point.
Next on "News Watch," Hillary Clinton serves it up and the press reacts.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: What difference at this point does it make?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hillary Clinton finally answers questions about the Benghazi debacle, delivering a powerful performance to convince lawmakers and the media to see it her way. Did it work? Find out next on NEWS WATCH.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SECRETARY OF STATE HILLARY CLINTON: With all due respect, the fact is, we have four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night and decided they'd go kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make? It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, Senator.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCOTT: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton finally facing lawmakers in the House and Senate, taking some tough questions about the Benghazi fiasco and getting some mixed media reaction.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
BRIAN WILLIAMS, NBC NEWS: After four years in office, roughly a million miles flown, 112 nations visited, in the past few weeks alone she has fought illness and injury, including hospitalization. She leaves her post as the most admired woman in the world.
DIANE SAWYER, ABC NEWS: The fiery appearance for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testifying before Congress on the tragedy in Benghazi. It was a valedictory that showed her indignation and emotion.
BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS: Amid accusations of a cover-up, incompetence and inaction, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton defended her handling of the September 11 assault on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, while still accepting responsibility as head diplomat.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
SCOTT: It was perhaps, Jim, the big story of the week, how did she come off in the coverage?
PINKERTON: Well, I think it was very formulaic. You kind of knew that she was going to have her moment of tears and her moment of outrage, and knew the Republicans were going to come after her. Unfortunately for the sake of all those Republicans in the two committees, they sort of kept asking the same questions over and over again, with the exception of, as Dave Weigle (ph) of Slate pointed out, Tom Cotton, freshman Republican of Arkansas, who went right back to the question, pointed out, the only person ever accused of doing anything on this Benghazi stuff was a fellow in Tunisia who has now been let go, released, and what did she have to say about that? And she sort of mumbled her answer on that one.
Other than that, I thought it was kind of predictable, and I also questioned the part guys going out for a walk at night. Who ever said that? Talk about a strawman. I don't think anybody has ever said that was a possible explanation, and that is a great deal, how that came to pass, how the four people got killed.
SCOTT: And she asked in front of Congress, what does it matter now? Well, the context is important, because it mattered then, right before an election, right?
POWERS: Well, the only people who are more pathetic than the media are the members of Congress, because I mean, the fact -- they could have come back very simply and just say, you just laid out two scenarios that never happened and that nobody was ever talking about. So, she mentions the protests, but like you said, no one ever -- that wasn't the alternative. Like, the alternative is terrorism. You know, so, the fact that-- to a certain extent the media can't create that story, they're covering the questioning. And if the questioners can't do the questioning, then I don't know what the media is supposed to report.
SCOTT: She seemed to try to blame the Republicans for cutting security funding or not providing enough security funding. Did it work in the media?
WARD: Did it work in the media? I think this whole thing -- I'm going back to Jim. This was a pageant, this was a public flogging, and sort of everyone colluded on it, and the media sort of missed that point, I think, in that she was there to react and to have questions asked, but no real truth came out, and I don't think it was -- anyone expected--
SCOTT: So has the media put it to bed, all over and done with now?
THOMAS: Probably so. But look, what they're going to do with Hillary Clinton is the same thing they did for Barack Obama. They're going to part the waters like Moses did the Red Sea to give her the clear path to be the first woman president. We've had the first African-American president, now the first woman president. They treated him as the messiah, they're going to treat her as the Virgin Mary.
SCOTT: And do you think, Jim, that the media are sort of helping set up a potential 2016 Hillary run?
PINKERTON: That's been accused (ph). Some have said so. But I want to go back to this business about the security issue. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the Republican from Florida, was (inaudible), and pointed out, I guess you didn't get the $300 million you wanted, but you got $1.3 billion for climate change, which was, again, one of those juxtaposition of expenditure spending priorities that needed to get more attention and didn't. And I think just watch this space, the headline in Politico Friday morning was, "I'm John Kerry, Mr. Climate Change, Secretary of State for climate change." If that really is what the Obama administration is going to put its emphasis on in the next four years in terms of diplomacy, as opposed to Iran or China, well, that's kind of consequential.
SCOTT: Interesting take. More NEWS WATCH ahead with comments like that.
But first, if you see something that you feel shows evidence of media bias, tweet us @foxnewswatch on Twitter. Up next, she ignited a sex scandal, now she wants better press.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The other-other woman caught up in the Petraeus sex scandal, trying to clear her good name, takes her story to the media. Are they buying her tale or is it too late? That's next on NEWS WATCH.
SCOTT: Jill Kelley is a Florida socialite who got the media spotlight after he claimed she received threatening e-mails from an anonymous sender. The FBI got involved, then discovered the e-mails came from Paula Broadwell, a biographer who it turns out had an affair with the man she wrote about. That man, General David Petraeus, who then resigned as CIA director after the story went public, just after the election. So three months later, she wants to get her story out. Is it a little too late?
POWERS: Well, nobody cares. I mean, really, and what's interesting about it, is she actually complains in the piece that she came out and wrote about how nobody would move on. And then everybody's moved on, and then she wants to talk about it.
SCOTT: Yes. Vicky, you were offered the story.
WARD: I was offered the story, and I turned her down, because I was offered two terms. The first, could she have the cover, and I had a big piece coming out which addresses the real issue about Jill Kelley, which I would disagree very respectfully, because I think there's one big question about Jill Kelley that does matter, and that is how did somebody like this have access to General Petraeus and General Allen, and are we safe as a result? I mean, that's -- that is important. That is the only real question. But no, she asked me for the-- could she be interviewed, she asked for these conditions, and I said no self-respecting journalist would, A, give you a cover, and B, say that yes, I'd give you a favorable interview. That's not journalism.
SCOTT: You criticized Howard Kurtz.
WARD: I did.
SCOTT: And said that it was a new low in American journalism.
WARD: I did.
WARD: Because his interview didn't ask the most important question of Jill Kelley, which is how did you come to be so close with General Petraeus? The most, you know, at one point, the most important military commander in the world. What do you know? I mean, it's -- that's really what we need to know about our military. That's the only importance of Jill Kelley.
SCOTT: The title of his column was, "Jill Kelley says Paula Broadwell tried to blackmail her." Is there any proof to that?
WARD: Well, apparently the Justice Department does not think so, and Howie Kurtz does not address it. So I just think it was a very, very shoddy piece of journalism. He disagrees, by the way.
THOMAS: Well, the early reporting showed that the way that they ingratiated themselves, these women, Broadwell and Kelley and the rest of them, in Tampa, where Centcom was held, they threw all these lavish parties, and who doesn't like a good party after a day of sweating in Centcom with all these other people, with your medals and the weight of your responsibilities, go out and have a few drinks with some good-looking women. You know, this is nothing new, this is what they did.
PINKERTON: Well, I mean, look, I think that Howard Kurtz has a franchise, a he is a good, smart, hard-working reporter of people who want to get their stories out in a certain way, go to him first. And so not only did Jill Kelley do it, but then Kurtz, kind of dangling for the next story, has a headline in the Daily Beast, like Jill Kelley, Paula Broadwell, eyes (ph) come back after Petraeus scandal. Byline, Howard Kurtz. Guess who Howard Kurtz would love to get the story from? Paula Broadwell. So look, I did Kelley, and maybe as Vicky says, I gave you some breaks here and there. Now, Paula, you're the real big get. Don't think Oprah, don't think Katie Couric, think me.
POWERS: I have to defend Howie here. He's done a lot of good journalism, and if people have issues with this story, OK. You know, but let's not smear his whole career. I mean, he is a very well respected media reporter. He was with the Washington Post for a long time. And you can take issue with this, but I don't think his motives are so impure.
SCOTT: Point taken. Let's talk about somebody else who wanted to get his story out, Manti Te'o. The fake girlfriend hoax took a new turn this week, more details about who was behind this hoax, and he took his story to Katie Couric. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MANTI TE'O: Katie, put yourself in my situation. My whole world told me that she died on September 12th. Everybody knew that. This girl, who I committed myself to, died on September the 12th. Now, I get a phone call on December 6th saying that she's alive, and then I am going to be put on national TV two days later and they asked me the same question, what would you do?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCOTT: Should this story die with the fake girlfriend or should there be more questions asked here, Vicky?
WARD: I hope not. Jon, you know, what I thought was so interesting, it was quite clear watching that interview, he got to Notre Dame on a football scholarship, obviously, not an academic one.
WARD: I mean, really, and I love the fact that he kept talking about himself as a child. He's 21, and the parents became (ph) his props (ph), because we forgive children when they make mistakes.
THOMAS: How do we know that Te'o exists? That's what I want to know. The only thing I got out of this interview is that now Katie Couric is wearing stiletto shoes. I think that's very important.
POWERS: I said this before, I don't understand this story. I don't understand having a girlfriend who you've never met, whose funeral you don't attend. Things like that seemed a little strange to me. So I'm kind of at a loss here.
SCOTT: It helps explains why the press lets politicians get away with lies.
PINKERTON: It's the getting the interview that is so important. And again, as you were alluding to with your story about Paula Kelley (sic), there is so much negotiating in advance, if you can pull it off to say, look, but it's implicit in the fact that I go to you first for the interview, that you will be kind to me. Look, the story may very well die as a news story, but it will live on in literature. The play "Cyrano de Bergerac" has elements of this with the guy, and also, the more recent play, "M. Butterfly."
SCOTT: All right. Next on "News Watch," Prince Harry back in the press.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRINCE HARRY: Yes, so lots of people have. The insurgents (ph) being out here, everyone has fired a certain amount. Probably a little bit more than this time last year. It's to some extent, that's just the way that it's (INAUDIBLE).
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCOTT: A portion of an interview with Britain's Prince Harry just before he returned home from a tour of duty in Afghanistan, spending four months as an Apache helicopter pilot. Again, the interview getting some praise and pans in the press. The Daily Mirror called him a royal misfit. The Daily Telegraph telling Harry to muzzle himself. Then this from Matt Lauer and his guests on NBC.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATT LAUER, NBC NEWS: He talks about his missions, the missions he went on where he was fired upon by Taliban and returned fire killing some members of the Taliban, and he takes it kind of matter-of-factly. I know you have heard the interviews, what do you think about it? Is it OK?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was really confused as to why the palace would permit the prince to give such an interview. Why do you need to antagonize the Taliban?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I thought he jumped the shark when he was shown playing video games, and then oh my God, we killed people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCOTT: Well, Prince Harry has not had an easy time with the press, as you know, some of it his own doing, but considering he puts his life on the line to protect us from the people who want to kill us, maybe the media would think about showing a little appreciation and respect for the young prince from time to time.
That's a wrap on NEWS WATCH this week. Thanks to Kirsten Powers, Jim Pinkerton, Cal Thomas and Vicky Ward. I am Jon Scott. Thanks for watching. We'll see you next week with another edition of "Fox News Watch."
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