RATNER: They all had a different take on it.
SCOTT: After kind of ignoring the peace process for much of his first term, why now?
MILLER: Well, I still don't think the peace process, even though there was a lot of talk about it is at the forefront of that agenda. The agenda is clearly Syria and Iran or perhaps in reverse order, but there, and Egypt. Keep your eye on Egypt. As net several commentators are beginning to take note of. You're going to have very, very severe crisis as you're heading - -
THOMAS: We saw last week in The New York Times another indication of how the media are just totally clueless about the dynamics here. Here is the headline, this is beautiful, it says everything. "Muslim Brotherhood Statement on Women Stirs Liberals' Fears." Who knew that the Muslim Brotherhood doesn't like women?
SCOTT: Might crack down.
RATNER: You know, it was interesting, because one person even suggested while the real reason he was doing this was so that Israel would withdraw from Judea and Samaria. Where they pulled that from? I don't know. But it was like everybody had their own little theories here. And nobody asked ...
MILLER: My favorite headline was The National Post, "Obama is from Venus, Bibi is from Mars." And it will remain thus no matter how much good will this trip generated among people.
THOMAS: Palestinian Daily had all you need to know, that two op-ed pieces welcoming the president and it said that, it suggested that Hitler was better than Roosevelt and that Americans were behind 9/11. That tells you the mentality.
SCOTT: Here you go. All right, next on "News Watch", a plan to ban guns falls flat and the media go largely silent.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCOTT: The Sandy Hook shooting ignited a fierce debate over gun ownership. The liberal media in overdrive attacking anyone opposed to a ban. Now, the ban is dead. Where are the media now? Answers next on "News Watch."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: The coming weeks I'll use whatever power this office holds to engage my fellow citizens from law enforcement, the mental health professionals to parents and educators, in an effort aimed at preventing more tragedies like this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCOTT: The president there reacting to the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School. One key item in his plan, a ban on so-called assault weapons. That plan ended this week after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid dropped the ban from any legislation. So, Jim, you didn't get a lot of coverage on that in the media.
PINKERTON: Well, you got on CNN on Thursday, you got a certain amount of oh, you know, hand wringing, oh, this is so terrible. This is the end of everything in terms of this issue with this. And what you're struck by is the contrast between the way that news Thursday was covered and the clip you showed up on the president, December 16th of last year, in which he talks about mental health professionals, parents, educators. He talked the whole panoply of things you may do, whether you agree with him or not on behalf of eliminating shootings. And so Adam Lanza, the killer there, and sort of fallen out of the picture and these all issues have become gun control. And the media is so focused on the gun issue that the fact that John Holmes, now, according to "The National Enquirer" which has been right about a lot of things, he has converted to Islam. Do you think that would be kind of interesting, too, in terms of, you know, what was going on with him. But no, they are not interested in anything. The only thing they want - the only thing they define as justice for Newtown is gun control up or down.
SCOTT: I'm going to get to you in a second, Judy. Because I know how you feel on this issue. But Ron Fournier of The National Journal wrote, Ellen "The ban on assault weapons sponsored by Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein of California apparently died Tuesday with barely a whisper from media outlets or the White House. Black bunting should have hung from every window in Washington. It's like they don't even want to acknowledge what happened.
RATNER: Well, it's interesting, because there were some-- there was another headline, goodbye to assault weapons and then you had Michael Moore on Piers Morgan's talking about - Piers Morgan - talking about it, and what I found interesting is nobody talked about the political implications and why this happened. You don't like watch how sausages are made. They didn't talk about that. They just talked goodbye or, you know, Dianne Feinstein is upset about this, but nobody really talked about the horse dealing and trading that went on.
SCOTT: Mike Lupica of The New York Daily News, Judy, wrote an op-ed piece, and here is how it was titled "Spineless pols spit on the graves of Newtown victims by not pushing for assault weapons ban", but, you know, just days before that he had also written an article talking about how video games play a role here.
MILLER: All right, I mean, you know, I think the simple fact remains that the people like me who believe in restrictions have failed to make a strong enough case to the American people so that the deluge of kind of outrage and calls for restrictions that were expected to come to Capitol Hill and expected to fall upon the people who were going to do this, and even on Harry Reid, a traditional supporter of gun freedom, it never materialized. And that - those are the hard facts and The New York Times of course can be predictable in comparing Harry Reid and his cowardice to the courage of Governor John Hickenlooper of Colorado. But the fact remains, until the Congress feels the heat nothing is going to change and they didn't on this issue. If anything they felt the opposite.
THOMAS: We've heard all of this before. Eugene Robinson, ultralib for The Washington Post, also an MSNBC commentator was all over Harry Reid, frankly in a very honest column in The Washington Post this past week, basically calling him a weasel, which is very unusual coming from him. He's pretty much a defender of all things Democratic. But I think, you know, the president knows this, isn't going anywhere, and it's all about politics and appealing to the base. It's not going to happen. There are too many Democrats who are up for reelection and they're from states with a strong gun ownership constituency.
PINKERTON: And the president has taken some heat on this, the lack of leadership on this, including from the left. And the thing you see - the thing that connects the Middle East story from the previous segment and this story is, President Obama is now reelected. It's much safer, it is not going to help Mitt Romney if you criticize the president, the way you would have pre-election.
SCOTT: All right. There coming up on "News Watch", more from the sequester fear playbook.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCOTT: Senate Leader Harry Reid sinks to a new low trying to tie the deaths of U.S. Marines to the sequester cuts. And a new study tells how the political press failed their mission leading to the election. Details next on "News Watch."
SCOTT: A new study by the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism examined the personal portrayal of the 22 presidential candidates in 50 major news outlets over a 10-week period. They found 72 percent of this coverage has been negative for Barack Obama and 71 percent has been negative for Mitt Romney. Back in 2008, 57 percent of media coverage was negative for John McCain, 31 percent for Barack Obama. But the real story is where those narratives come from, the campaign - the study shows, Jim, that political journalists are not really investigating, but just sort of following the narrative that's laid out by the campaign. Surprised?
PINKERTON: No, not really. I mean, you know, there's a limit to what a reporter watching a candidate to six stops a day can really do. I mean do you really want them to step in back and saying - this is, you know, whatever - maybe you do, but their job they think, and people certainly watch and that's what the news has to say, what the guy said today. It's up to others to provide perspective and context.
SCOTT: But the feeling, Judy, is that the campaigns then sort of create their own stories and the media just (INAUDIBLE) them off.
MILLER: No, how many times on this show are we going to complain about the lack of investment in both foreign reporting and investigative reporting? It is the most expensive kind of reporting to do and fewer and fewer news outlets are doing it and it's a terrible shame, and this is what you get.
SCOTT: So will anything change?
RATNER: No, and what was fascinating, is that I like the word that the report used about reporters on the campaign trail, calling them mega phones.
RATNER: And because that is what happens. I always say if you want to cover the White House, don't go to the White House because you're not going to get anything except what's fed to you.
THOMAS: Let me repeat a story I did on your show, actually it wasn't - we did it in the green room, Marvin Kalb, the great CBS correspondent for many years now at Harvard told me the story that when the great Edward R. Murrow visited two Nazi death camps at the end of World War II, he went back to his hotel room and thought about what he had seen for two days before he went on the air. Those days are completely gone. Nobody contemplates or assimilates anything anymore, they just go right on the air. And by the way, the Project for Excellence in Journalism, I think that's a contradiction.
PINKERTON: And by - just there are other outfits now, doing (INAUDIBLE) you've got ProPublica and you've got the Franklin Center for Public Integrity and you've got new groups emerging out of the nonprofit world that are doing exactly this, and that's sort of a different function and probably from the days of Murrow should be divided between coverage and analysis.