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This is a rush transcript from "Fox News Watch," February 16, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
JON SCOTT, HOST: A week full of news, North Korea tests a nuclear bomb. Pope Benedict calls it quits, a historic move. President Obama gives his State of the Union speech setting the tone for the next four years. His legacy on the line: a Republican senator gives the GOP response and gets a little thirsty doing it. A major manhunt ends in California. The wanted killer dead in a burning blaze. The New York Times reviews a car, but the real facts are missing. And Sarah Palin slaps The Washington Post for stupidity. Which stories made our list? Find out next on "Fox News Watch."
On the panel this week, writer and Fox News contributor, Judy Miller. Syndicated columnist Cal Thomas, Jim Pinkerton, contributing editor of the American Conservative Magazine, and Daily Beast columnist Kirsten Powers. I'm Jon Scott, "Fox News Watch" is on right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE JOHN BOEHNER, R-OHIO: Members of Congress. I have the high privilege and distinct honor of presenting to you, the president of the United States. Thank you.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Thank you.
OBAMA: Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCOTT: President Obama delivered his State of the Union address Tuesday night pushing his agenda items. Setting the tone for his second term and trying in part to cement his legacy, bold and aggressive, that's what we heard the speech was going to be. Kirsten, before it was actually delivered, most in the media seemed to give it a thumbs up. You had kind of a different take?
KIRSTEN POWERS, USA TODAY AND DAILY BEAST COLUMNIST: Yeah, well, I mean, I thought it was a pretty underwhelming speech, actually. And the reality is you could almost write the articles before they come out or what people are going to say. Every speech that Barack Obama gives, they think is brilliant, even when it's transparently not brilliant. And I think when you talk -- when I talked to a lot of Democrats behind the scenes, they are like, yeah, underwhelming speech. But for some reason, the media continues to insist that every single thing he does is amazing, when it was just very uninspired. A bunch of old rehashed ideas that we've -- pre-K? I mean what? Universal pre-K? Is this 1980, I mean I don't -- you know, it was -- just and yet, they raved about it.
SCOTT: Well, again, yes, Bob Schieffer on CBS said it was much better than his inaugural address, on the "Today" show, Savannah Guthrie, on NBC said, he played the best card he had in a very political fight, which is the emotion card.
JIM PINKERTON, THE AMERICAN CONSERVATIVE MAGAZINE: Right. I think that really gives away the way that a lot of reporters see this is a team. They
are on team Obama. And they have to crush team Republicans, and so, when their -- I mean it's like a football coach says my quarterback is the best quarterback ever.
PINKERTON: They all say it, every year. But even if it's a different quarterback. If you're in the mood of just rooting for the president to succeed and you don't mind displaying it to your TV audience, then you sound exactly like Savannah Guthrie.
SCOTT: Well, is there too much cheerleading, Judy?
JUDY MILLER, WRITER & FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I think that if you were a conservative you tended not to like the speech. If you are liberal you tended to like the speech. I think with Kirsten, I have to agree that this has become -- the reaction has become as predictable as the speech itself. But there was at least something from Aaron David Miller who is writing in "Noting Dash", you know, there was no foreign policy this week, and he called Mr. Obama the Extricator in Chief, which was a phrase I rather liked, but other than that, I really found the commentary to be quite dreary about a quite uninspired, but effective speech.
POWERS: But let me just -- to the point of the most liberals like these things. There's nothing in this as a particularly liberal. And it's gotten to the point now, in order to be a liberal you have to like every stupid idea that Barack Obama has.
POWERS: You know, and it's not -- there was really nothing in there that was particularly inspiring ..
POWERS: Again, is it 1980?
CAL THOMAS, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Well ...
POWERS: I don't understand, like, why are-I mean the economy isn't -- turning around now and he wants to talk about raising the minimum wage? I mean, it just isn't-- this is not an inspiring reaction to what's going on.
THOMAS: Is it really in a column this week, thank you, I have no higher authority than myself to quote. The president's contribution to climate change, apparently is recycling old ideas. I mean the media are so deep in the tank for this guy that if they came up they'd suffer from the bends. Erik Wemple of "The Washington Post" wrote in a blog post this week, he didn't call the president a liar, but he came real close to it. He said all of his claims were fantastic. You got -- he mentioned Head Start. He wants pre-K, three to four, Head Start has been shown to be a failure.
PINKERTON: Wemple is a smart reporter, but I will say one thing, I wrote a piece, speaking of ...
PINKERTON: And my credentials will be on the show, for "American Conservative," in which I pointed out the president did talk specifically about Alzheimer's. He made a point that medical research pays for itself over and over again. If we ever want to get a handle on entitlement spending, the only way to do it is by curing diseases as opposes to caring for the diseases. I think that was fresh and again, I think unfortunately the mentality of just Democrats and Republicans, that point got lost.
SCOTT: And then there was this. Florida Senator Marco Rubio gave the Republican response his speech noted not so much for the content, but for this. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MARCO RUBIO, R-FLA.: I mean I've been here in Washington. Nothing has frustrated me more than false choices like the one the president laid out tonight. The choices in just between big government or big business, what we need is an accountable, efficient and effective government.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCOTT: Well, after that swig of water, CNN implied that it was a career ender. On MSNBC, they showed a replay of his swig, approximately 155 times.
SCOTT: 101 of them came during the Rachel Maddow show? What's up with that?
MILLER: What's up is water-gate, as they are now calling it. I mean this is so absurd. This is a young man who gave a speech in English, and in Spanish, to a party that has had problems recruiting Hispanics, I mean, why could they not pay any attention at all to the content of the speech, whether or not they agreed with it.
THOMAS: It's not so much about Marco Rubio drinking of water. It's about the media drinking the Kool-Aid for Obama, that's what it's about.
PINKERTON: There's such a thing as was fumbling forward. If you remember back in 1988, Bill Clinton made a terrible speech at the Democratic convention. And then went on the "Johnny Carson Show" and mocked it up, and (inaudible) -- but I think Rubio is doing the same thing. I got an email from his PAC, Reclaim America, in which he said if you give money, you get a Marco Rubio water bottle.
PINKERTON: So not only be inspired, but also hydrated.
SCOTT: Right. Sharija Cobas, an opinion columnist for The Hill tweeted this, he said, Hispanic Republican senator drinks water on TV and media demolishes him. Hispanic Democrat Senator Menendez, is accused of scandals, and the media ignores. Does she have a point?
POWERS: Well, I think this gets more to just how they can't cover anything of substance, because the reality with Menendez is there's a lot of substance that needs to be covered. I'm not even getting into the issues with underage prostitutes, which I still think it's unclear what went on there. But the stuff that is clear they don't want to cover, but they want to cover someone taking a sip of water. I mean I know, I actually didn't see it live and I watched it the next day and I sat there the whole time thinking what, I don't understand that. You know, and then this little moment of sipping water is the whole story?
SCOTT: In the meantime he did make the cover of Time magazine, which put him on there and called him "The Republican Savior." Jim?
PINKERTON: Well, nothing like the expectations game.
SCOTT: I guess there is no such thing as bad publicity.
MILLER: At least he has a foreign policy.
THOMAS: I like his response.
THOMAS: I like his response. He said, you know, I'm not -- I'm not a savior, Jesus is the savior, that will cut well with evangelicals, with the Catholics. .
SCOTT: It's very well. Next on "News Watch," Tesla Motors fires back at The New York Times after a bad review.
SCOTT: "Stalled Out on Tesla's Electric Highway," that's the headline of the review of the Tesla Model S, a high end electric car designed to drive long distances on battery power. The review written by John Broder of The New York Times, who test drove the car from Washington to Boston. His review not so good. Driving in cold weather, he claimed the battery drained more quickly than expected. He had to drive more slowly and turn down the climate control to get where he wanted to go, and eventually, had to call the tow company when the car ultimately died. Tesla, though, says it has the data from the car, and the CEO Elon Musk, fired back at the review.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ELON MUSK, TESLA MOTORS CEO: We have the log from the vehicle which has - he did not realize, because this is the Tesla-owned vehicle and the log showed that when he says he was doing 54 miles an hour, he was actually doing 80 miles an hour. When he says he's turned the heat off, he's actually had the heat blasting at 74 degrees, the press has been tremendously positive, but writing one more article that just reaffirms that doesn't get any, any click, that doesn't get any attention, but writing an article with a picture of a car on a flatbed. That gets attention.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCOTT: That's the point he was trying to make.
Tesla says it has the proof, the Times is standing by its story. Who wins this travel?
POWERS: Well, I think they need to have an independent third party to come in, frankly, that understands this data and look at it, and try to figure out to make sure that everything was calibrated (ph) correctly in the car. It's possible that, you know, that something was off there. It's a toll, he said -- he said, there is no way to really know what happened without getting an independent person involved in this.
SCOTT: And Judy, do you think The Times is playing it straight here?
MILLER: Well, I think that there's no reason to believe they're not given what has been reported to date. I mean, the reporter has answered all of the criticisms that Tesla raised about the story, he said even that Elon Musk called him when the story -- before this story was going to appear saying, look, I'm really sorry that the test run was such a disaster and yes, we probably should put charging stations closer together, which by the way, has huge financial implications for this company. Also, The Times
has reviewed this well on the West Coast, which raises questions about whether or not it's a Times bias or that there's a problem with the battery in the car that it doesn't do very well in cold weather.
SCOTT: Taxpayers might want to pay attention, Jim, because, well, we have several hundreds millions of our tax dollars invested in this company.
PINKERTON: Right. This is one of the green energy efforts that the Obama administration has put so much stock into. This is from a communications point of view, this is a reminder why corporate PR people started audiotaping and videotaping the interview simultaneous with the reporter for, you know, I don't know, "60 Minutes" coming in to do it and so on. And this now takes it to a new level. And the fact that there's a little black box - by the way, a lot of cars already have them. We know how fast Jon Corzine was driving when he had this car accident, because there was a little black box and he was going, I think, 91 or whatever it was. So, this whole issue of big data and how -- and whether or not it can be trusted. I mean, you know, on the Tesla Motors blog there's all these charts and graphs showing every last claim they make with the times disputes and Kirsten is right. Definitely, it needs somebody to come there and analyze the reporter's claims and Tesla's claims.
THOMAS: Well, if he was doing 80 miles an hour on any road between Washington and Boston, some state police officer ought to be sending him a ticket. Because I know one time when I did that, I get a ticket.
THOMAS: Look, there's a bigger issue here. When you get a bad review in The New York Times, whether it's for a Broadway show, which usually quickly closes or a car like this, The Times' readers are a target audience for selling this car. It's a very bad thing, so the company has got a lot invested in this and Mr. Broder has a lot invested, if he's proved to have lied about this, it could be a career ender for him.
SCOTT: And it's $100,000 car.
MILLER: It's $100,000 car, so this is not exactly, you know, the car that most American families are going to worry about buying, but this I will say. Wired magazine says come on, if this is your data. This is the data from that black box, release the underlying data. Release the raw data and then we'll have an independent check on whether or not there may be a problem with the computer. In other words, we do need further investigation.
SCOTT: One of the questions is whether John Broder is objective. In an article back in 2012 he wrote this: "The state of the electric car is dismal. The victim of hyped expectations, technological flops, high costs and a hostile political climate." So, given, if that's his attitude can readers trust what he's writing?
POWERS: Well, I mean I support the idea of developing electric cars, but I wouldn't disagree with that assessment. You know, I think that that's a fair assessment of the climate. That there have been problems, early technology often has a lot of problems and there are always naysayers and people telling us why we shouldn't do it and it's too expensive. And the same with early computers. So, no, I think he could still be objective about this.
SCOTT: We'll keep an eye on it. There's more "News Watch" ahead. But if you see something that you feel shows evidence of media bias, tweet us @FoxNewsWatch on Twitter.
Up next, did the media interfere in a massive manhunt?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
A major manhunt for a rogue ex-cop gets major media attention. Did the press get too close to the action? And did some in the media side with the killer? Details next on "News Watch."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. BENJAMIN CARSON, JOHNS HOPKINS NEUROSURGEON: You make $10 billion, you put in a billion. You make $10 you put in 1. Of course you've got to get rid of the loopholes ...
CARSON: ... but ...
CARSON: Now, now, some people say, they say, well, that's not fair, because it doesn't hurt the guy who made $10 billion as much as the guy who made ten. Where does it say you have to hurt the guy? He just put a billion dollars in the pot. You know, we don't need to hurt him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCOTT: Renowned pediatric neurosurgeon Ben Carson delivering a speech at last week's National Prayer Breakfast. It was critical of President Obama's policies of taxing the highest income earners, government spending and Obamacare as well. Cal, you were not impressed with what he had to
THOMAS: Well, I was impressed by what he had to say, I just think it was the wrong venue to say it. It's like going to church and getting a book report. That's not why you go.
THOMAS: This is -- I've been a part of this for, I don't know, 40 years or so, and speakers are supposed to talk about a higher king and a different kingdom, not lecture a president on his policies and it would have been just as inappropriate if he had praised the president or if a Republican president had been criticized by a Democrat. That's not the format.
SCOTT: On CNN, Candy Crowley had a panel discussion and asked her panelists if they were offended by those remarks from Dr. Carson. Was it offensive?
PINKERTON: Look I -- first of all, I completely agree with his right to say it. And I admire Cal for writing a really gutsy column and Kirsten who was tweeting on it. It was well, on his behalf. He's got a right to say it. It's an inappropriate venue and I don't know if CNN should be offended or not, but it was damaging to this wonderful national bipartisan, non-partisan institution of the National Prayer Breakfast that everybody should feel welcome to and not think that they're going to get a political lecture, enough of those in Washington everywhere else.
SCOTT: As a matter of fact, the president took the opportunity at the same event to lecture, or at least not at the event, but to talk about cable news. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: I do worry sometimes that as soon as we leave the prayer breakfast everything we have been talking about, the whole time at the prayer breakfast seems to be forgotten. On the same day of the prayer breakfast.
OBAMA: I mean, you'd like to think that the shelf life wasn't so short.
OBAMA: But I go back to the Oval Office and I start watching the cable news networks and it's like we didn't pray.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCOTT: So, what about that? I mean, people are saying that the good doctor should not have been, you know, talking politics, but the president's kind of talking politics there, isn't he?
MILLER: No, what the president was doing, was saying exactly what Cal has been saying in his column and Jim just said and Kirsten just said. There's a time and a place for everything and can't we just for a moment remember those things at an event like this that bring us together as Americans rather than those that divide us, which we get every other minute of every day in Washington and New York and the rest of the country?
SCOTT: All right. Let's move on to a story which was breaking, leading up to the State of the Union on Tuesday. The largest manhunt in LAPD history came to a dramatic end when Christopher Dorner, a former police officer wanted for killing three people, died in a cabin in Big Bear, California the media went full-tilt on the coverage, including this, from Columbia University professor Dr. Marc Lamont Hill on CNN.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARC LAMONT HILL, HUFFINGTON POST LIVE HOST: And as far as Dorner himself goes, he's been like a real life super hero for many people. Now, don't get me wrong, what he did was awful, killing innocent people is bad, but when you read his manifesto, when you read the message that he left, he wasn't entirely crazy, he had a plan and a mission here. And many people aren't rooting for him to kill innocent people, they are rooting for somebody who was wrong to get a kind of revenge against the system. It's almost like watching "Django Unchained" in real life, it's kind of exciting.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCOTT: What about that?
SCOTT: I mean there are people who were you know, executed at the hands of this guy. I mean a young woman and her fiance shot to death in a car and
this guy is all excited because it's "Django Unchained"?
POWERS: I don't understand that, because I actually really usually like to listen to what Marc Lamont Hill has to say. So, I don't know why he would even say something like that. Honestly. I mean I'm just at a complete loss.
THOMAS: I'm still reading Ted Kaczynski's manifesto. That was a high point of my life.
POWERS: And I don't know what was in this manifesto that was so great, either.
PINKERTON: Well, as Greg Pollowitz of National Review and Noah Rothman of Mediaite both pointed out, because the manifesto was sort of more left wing and crazy as opposed to right wing and crazy, the media weren't interested in it. If it had been some Tea Party saying, well, here is why I have to shoot cops because (inaudible) Washington Post told me to, that would have been a front page in The New York Times, and instead, as Pollowitz and Rothman pointed out, it disappeared.
SCOTT: All right. Also worth noting that CNN leading up to the State of the Union, ran the pursuit and the climactic end to that whole case on its headline news channel rather than the State of the Union.
Did you hear about Sarah Palin's new job? That's coming up on "News Watch."
SCOTT: Here is some big news reported by the Daily Current. Sarah Palin has joined Al-Jazeera America. You know the Qatarian news network that paid Al Gore a boatload of money for his Current TV. The article reveals that Palin signed a multimillion dollar deal to host her own shows. That story was then picked up by Washington Post blogger, Suzy Parker, with the headline, "Sarah Palin Tries to Stay Relevant" and quoting Palin saying she did the deal because Al-Jazeera reaches millions of devoutly religious people who don't watch CBS or CNN.
The problem is the article is fake, a bogus story dreamed up by the satirical geniuses of the Daily Current and The Washington Post bought it hook, line, and sinker. And, of course, the former Alaska governor fired back with this. "Hey Washington Post, I'm having coffee with Elvis this week. He works at the Mocha Moose in Wasilla."
SCOTT: The Washington Post eventually corrected its mistake.
That's a wrap on "News Watch" this week. Thanks to Judy Miller, Jim Pinkerton, Kellen -- Cal Thomas and Kirsten Powers. See you next week.
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