• With: Judy Miller, Cal Thomas, Jim Pinkerton, Ellen Ratner

    This is a rush transcript from "Fox News Watch," March 2, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

    JON SCOTT, HOST: A jam-packed week of news.


    PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: This is going to be a big hit on the economy.


    SCOTT: The president takes the sequester doom and gloom show on the road playing the same old tune for the people and the press.

    A media icon calls Mr. Obama the sequestration source, then gets pummeled by his so-called liberal media pals.

    Pope Benedict is pope no more. ABC News edits out the first lady's error on guns. A former Obama spin man admits to misleading the press. The one year anniversary of the Trayvon Martin shooting gives the media another shot at the shooter. And The Washington Post recorder admits to a bias in his work, which stories made our list, find out now 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 Ellen Ratner, bureau chief of Talk Radio News Service, I'm Jon Scott. Fox News Watch is on right now.

    President Obama on Friday, a surprise appearance in front of the White House press corps, after his meeting with congressional leaders over the sequestration. It ended a week of more doom and gloom forecasts. Mr. Obama claims will be a result of the automatic spending cuts, the theme parroted by the press, members of Congress and members of the president's cabinet.


    ARNE DUNCAN, EDUCATION SECRETARY: Well, some of this stuff happens earlier, some stuff happens this fall, but what it does, it creates tremendous instability and there are literally teachers now who are getting pink slips, who are getting notices that can't come back this fall.


    SCOTT: Well, that statement was totally wrong. In fact, The Washington Post gave the education secretary four Pinocchios for the phony claim. Jim, the media has been pushing the doom and gloom theme all week. We heard about, let's see, Obamageddon and Barack-alypse as the result of all of this. And yet, Friday came and went and the world is still turning.

    JIM PINKERTON, AMERICAN CONSERVATIVE MAGAZINE: So far we're still alive. Right. I think, actually the White House had the template of the 1995-96 shutdown with Gingrich and President Clinton back then and they might have kind of get -- gotten a little ahead of their skis on this in terms of pushing out Arne Duncan, the education secretary, and also Janet Napolitano, allegedly unbeknownst to her and letting those prisoners go on and so on like that. But I think the alternative media, the conservative media did a pretty good job in this case of sort setting it up. Jim Geraghty of National Review writes a morning thing, that goes out, said, that this morning thing will be two percent shorter because of this and then he proceeded to under the hashtag sequester tales, all bunch of very funny tweets including one from Jonah Goldberg, who said, and joking, now it wasn't until I ate my neighbor's pancreas that I realized that president was right about the sequester. That kind of mockery I think he's pushed it back pretty well so far.

    SCOTT: Is that why the president decided to appear in front of the White House press corps, Judy?

    JUDY MILLER, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: I think so. You know, when the Washington Post calls the media treatment of this the fiscal equivalent of clubbing a baby seal, you know you've perhaps a bit of overkill -- look, a lot of at stake for the president, he has basically said I'm going to blame the Republicans for this and they are going to take the political heat and that's going to help me in 2014. And I think what I haven't seen enough of is media writing about the political repercussions of this. We know about the fiscal repercussions. but not who is going to win and who's going to lose.

    SCOTT: Peggy Noonan wrote in the Wall Street Journal that the president, whom you adore, is taking a real risk here, that this thing is going to blow back on him, despite his attempts to ...

    MILLER: I think he's taking a risk. I think actually what went around the talk media circuit as well as some of the conservatives, is that he was -- he was for the sequestration before he was against it. And that was sort of the line that I heard repeated throughout the week through some of the alternatives, as Jim says, media.

    SCOTT: He is -- in that news conference, he mentions, specifically he said talking to our television audience now let me explain what the continuing resolution is. He clearly knew he had the megaphone.

    CAL THOMAS, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: He did, but if you listened to some of the questions, not all of them, but some of them are the typical sycophantic questions. There was one -- I don't remember who the one was, who she worked for. Mr. President why can't you just invite those Republicans down and put them in the room and, you know, win this issue, what is that? And he says, well I'm not a dictator. Well, he's certainly -- he's behaving like one. The media continue to be in the tank, they continue as Richard Benedetto wrote, a former White House correspondent for USA News -- for USA Today, the media megaphone distorts the budget cut battle. They won't get into the specifics of what is being reduced in the level of spending. They only get into the battle. That's what they're more interested in.

    ELLEN RATNER, TALK RADIO NEWS SERVICE: Most of - the most of the real careful analysis I saw was from something like National Journal, but that was only on their paid content. So if you really wanted something that was a little more in depth, you had to pay for the content.

    SCOTT: There was the blame game amplified this week when Bob Woodward, the famous journalist who was involved in uncovering the Watergate scandal, wrote a column last week claiming that the sequestration plan was the president's, charging that the president actually moved the goal posts in asking for more revenue as part of the sequestration. Now, that article led to a call by the president's economic czar, Gene Sperling, first screaming at Woodward and then sending an e-mail apologizing for the warning, I think you will regret staking out that claim. Woodward talked about it earlier this week.


    BOB WOODWARD, WASHINGTON POST: The problem I have with the Gene Sperling memo and e-mail, and this comes after a shouting match. Now, you know, lots of people shout at me, and he says I'm going to regret, you know, that's -- that's -- that goes into the coded, you know, you better watch out. The problem is, there are all kinds of reporters who are much less experienced, who are younger, and if they're going to get roughed up in this way and I'm flooded with e-mails from people in the press saying this is exactly the way the White House works. They're trying to control and they don't want to be challenged or crossed.


    SCOTT: Fair to say, Jim, that every White House tries to control the message, and if -- they know somebody is working on a piece they don't like, they'll pummel that messenger.

    Interesting thing was the backlash from the media.

    PINKERTON: Right. Right. I worked in two White Houses and I can tell you I've heard pretty big screaming matches with reporters and you know, Gene Sperling is not an aggressive, nasty guy at all. What -- but Woodward obviously referring to was the way the media reacted to him. It wasn't the White House reaction, it was the media reaction. John Nolte at Breitbart did a long list of New York Times, Politico, CNBC, Slate, Gawker, Andrew Sullivan wrote a headline Bob Woodward quote, "demonstrable liar," unquote.

    And that's push back -- not from the White House, but from the press.

    SCOTT: I thought it was interesting, Judy, that taken The New York Post

    on Friday, the editorial read it -- the story isn't whether Bob Woodward was right, when he said he interpreted the words of the White House email as a threat, it's whether he was right when he reported that the president isn't telling the truth about his role in the sequester and his behaving badly, as his actions on national security show. America is still waiting for the White House press corps to take up that story.

    MILLER: Right, well, the issue of whether or not Woodward was right, in asserting that tax revenues were never on the part of the original sequester, is really very, very important. And we've seen all to little discussion of that in the media and much too much about whether or not the threat was a kind of Karl Rovean -- you're going to be story because you're wrong or whether or not it was a, here is a horse head in the bed kind of threat, as in a Joe Pesci movie. That's what the press focused on, not what Woodward actually said.

    SCOTT: All right. Next on "News Watch," a controversy over an edit at ABC.


    UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Michelle Obama pushes gun control in an interview on ABC delivering wrong facts. But ABC rescued her image by editing out the error. Is that good journalism? Find out next on "News Watch."



    MICHELLE OBAMA: She was standing out in a park with her friends in a neighborhood blocks away from where my kids grew up, where our house is, and she was caught in the line of fire. I just don't want to keep disappointing our kids in this country. I want them to know that we put them first.