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SCOTT: First lady Michelle Obama, discussing the need for a new gun control, as she sees it, during the interview on "Good Morning, America" this week, however, that clip was edited. Here is what she actually said:
"She was standing out there in a park with her friends in a neighborhood blocks away from where my kids grew up, where our house is. She had just taken a chemistry test. And she was caught in the line of fire because some kids had some automatic weapons they didn't need. I just don't want to keep disappointing kids in this country. I want them to know that we put them first."
Yes, the mention of automatic weapons was cut out of the clip that aired. Automatic weapons were not used. They are and always have been illegal. ABC claimed the edit was made for time. So, does that pass the smell test, Ellen?
RATNER: Well, it does and it doesn't. First of all, ABC should have never claimed that was done for time, but we have all made mistakes on the air, doing either live reads or giving opinions or whatever and all of us have, if we've been in charge of our own editing before the piece goes on the air, we'd edit that out. I don't have a problem with that. I have a problem with ABC saying it was cut for time.
SCOTT: And so, would they have done the same thing if it had been a Laura Bush?
THOMAS: Of course not.
MILLER: They should.
THOMAS: But look -- this is -- this apparently is a virus going through the networks. NBC and MSNBC have had several similar situations, they've edited tape to either make a Republican, in the case of John McCain look bad or the Democrat look good. This is clearly an editorial decision based on a political point of view and that's what makes it outrageous and in violation of whatever journalistic ethics remain.
SCOTT: ABC did put the actual text on the Web site, their news Web site, but that doesn't exactly have the same impact.
PINKERTON: No, it doesn't. But this is -- this is a close call, because if they left it in, they would have said -- half the people watching, would have said, oh, they had an automatic weapon there, and we should be banning those, just like the president says. And so, I think that they -- this is sort of like "The 60 Minutes" situation with the tape of the president on the Benghazi going back a few months, you know, where they did it on one version on the air and another version on the Web site. And Scott Whitlock of Media Research Center pointed out. It was an eight and a half minute segment. Ellen was right, it's ridiculous to call it a time choice. It's not noticeable, however, just to clean up the show and avoid having to do a correction on well, she said automatic weapons and didn't mean it. I don't blame them for leaving it out on the air.
SCOTT: And she also appeared on the Oscars, naming the best picture winner, evening opening the envelope and all of that. Critics claim that it was wrong and it illustrates this coziness between Hollywood and the White House. Your take, Judy.
MILLER: I agree with the Boston Globe, that it demonstrated a kind of tone deafness on the part of the White House. I mean, this is a woman who doesn't not lack for air time, face time with the American people on air, and the fact that she was quote, promoting the White House's care about the arts. And that just doesn't muster, and I particularly disliked the use of soldiers as props in the background. If she wants to give them the envelope to open, at least they'd have a speaking part.
RATNER: Would we have had a Hollywood person announcing the election results? It just didn't work.
THOMAS: I think it simply ratifies the synergistic relationship between Hollywood and Washington. Both of them are phony entities.
PINKERTON: But the troops are real. And it would be a little difficult here and say that was a thrill of a lifetime for those military aides to wait, in effect, wave to their families, and I don't think it was that bad.
THOMAS: You're going soft, Jim.
RATNER: Listen, I'm an Obama-- I'm an Obama person and I don't think it was appropriate. So you know, what can I say?
SCOTT: There were some who thought it looked a little creepy.
PINKERTON: I mean, they're handsome people and they look nice in their uniforms and it is sort of-- I mean, I--
MILLER: She was rattled enough.
PINKERTON: There's an adversarial culture that requires to say whatever the Obama administration does it's bad, and sometimes when they unite on having troops on the air, it's not a crime.
RATNER: I don't have a problem with the troops. But do you have the first lady of the United States announcing the Oscars, do we have Hollywood people announcing elections?
PINKERTON: I think that Cal explained the parallel between them earlier.
THOMAS: I don't care. I mean, it's all phony, right? So it goes.
SCOTT: All right, next on "News Watch," a former White House spokesman reveals a secret.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Former Obama spokesman Gibbs gives it up, admitting he was told not to talk about our drone program, ordered not to tell the press or the public. What does that say about our transparent president? That's next. On "News Watch."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT GIBBS, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: When I went through the process of becoming press secretary, one of the things, one of the first things they told me was, you're not even to acknowledge the drone program.
You're not even to discuss that it exists.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCOTT: Well, that's Robert Gibbs, a former White House press secretary, who now works for MSNBC, telling the world that he was instructed to dodge questions from reporters about the drone program. The program that allows the president to kill enemies of America that he deems are combatants. So the question here is, anybody here surprised at his admission?
SCOTT: You are?
RATNER: And I'll tell you why, did he -- people told me when he left the White House, he was still very, very close to the president. So is this a Scott McClellan, former secretary to President Bush, kind of reveal all? There is something going on in that relationship that we don't know about.
SCOTT: But this was the man who was the first press spokesman for the most transparent administration in history, Jim.
PINKERTON: Right, and it will be interesting to see the reaction to it beyond a few, you know, clucks here and there. But I remember my former colleague in the Reagan administration, Larry Speaks, who resigned from the White House in good graces in 1987 and went to a big job at Merrill Lynch up at Wall Street, and then wrote a book the following year, 1988, in which he said he fabricated a grand total of two quotes in six years on the job for President Reagan. And the roof caved in on him. He obviously had no intention -- no idea (inaudible) publishing the book, and was fired within a week from his big job on Wall Street because of two quotes. It seems as if Robert Gibbs is at least fabricating the truth, for lack of a better phrase, for two years, and I don't think--