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This is a rush transcript from "Fox News Watch," April 13, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICK FOLBAUM, HOST: A jam packed week of news.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Newtown, we want you to know that we're here with you. We will not walk away from the promises we've made.
FOLBAUM: The president takes his message on the road playing the same tune for the people and the press, while the Senate overcomes a filibuster threat clearing the way for a debate on gun control.
A Fox News reporter is in court fighting to protect her sources.
The liberal media hammer the Iron Lady as news of her death spreads worldwide.
Hip-hop power couple, Jay-Z and Beyonce vacation in Cuba.
MSNBC runs a controversial promo claiming kids belong to the community, not parents.
And a Hollywood reporter names its 35 most powerful people in the media. Who made the list? Find out now on "Fox News Watch."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOLBAUM: On the panel this week, writer and Fox News contributor Judy Miller, Richard Grenell, former spokesman to the last four U.S. ambassadors to the United Nations. Jim Pinkerton, contributing editor to The American Conservative Magazine and Ellen Ratner, bureau chief of talk radio news. I'm Rick Folbaum in for Jon Scott, "Fox News Watch" is on right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: I've also heard some in the Washington press suggest that what happens to gun violence legislation in Congress this week will either be a political victory or defeat for me. Connecticut, this is not about me. This is not about politics.
OBAMA: This is about doing the right thing for all the families who are here that have been torn apart by gun violence. It's about them and all the families going forward so we can prevent this from happening again. That's what it's about. It's about the law enforcement officials putting their lives at risk, that's what this is about.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
OBAMA: It is not about politics.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOLBAUM: President Obama making his second trip to Connecticut since the Newtown school shootings, he did that earlier this week, making the last ditch attempt to revive Democrats' faltering efforts to pass stricter federal gun legislation. And then on Thursday, the Senate ending a filibuster attempt on a new gun control bill, which clears the path now for a floor fight next week and it could bring about the biggest changes in U.S. gun laws in about 20 years. Let's talk to the panel about this and Jim, we saw the president's enthusiasm and passion for this issue when a lot of people sort of noticed the same kind of enthusiasm in favor of gun control legislation on the part of the media.
JIM PINKERTON, THE AMERICAN CONSERVATIVE MAGAZINE: Right. I mean we saw the power of the bully pulpit there, and by that, I don't mean the president and all his trappings making speeches nationwide. I mean the real bully pulpit, which is the media, and when you get to the point when Senator Biden -- pardon me Vice President Biden gets three hours on MSNBC to make his case and then actually then thanks MSNBC, thank you so much for helping me with this case. And then senator mentioned, thanked CNN, you know, that it's powerful as the president, as the media even more powerful, and even more united in pushing this issue.
FOLBAUM: We saw a lot in the media, Judy, using the same language that the president has used both in the switching Connecticut and the State of the Union address, CNN saying that -- one of the anchors saying that you can't believe that the GOP had even planned a filibuster against -- against some gun control measures. CBS says that the Republicans owe the families of Newtown at least an up or down vote. Is it appropriate for the media to really adapt and adopt the same kind of language that the president is using?
JUDY MILLER, WRITER AND FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I think the people, the anchors and the reporters that were using that language, some of them, not all of them, but some of them did say as the president said. Or -- but I do think that it is natural to use the same thing when roughly 80 to 90 percent of the country pretty much feels the same way about this issue. Look, I think that John Gandelman of The Week wrote one of the smartest pieces about this whole debate. He said the NRA has actually won, what are we debating here? We're debating universal background checks, we're not debating banning assault weapons, we're not debating a limit on magazine clips, we're not debating anything that the president said in his initial suggestions for what we needed to do to fight this. So, come on, declare victory, Wayne LaPierre, say we won, we're fighting about a small measure that would make a modest amount of difference, maybe, but it is at least a start.
PINKERTON: I agree.
RICHARD GRENELL, FMR. SPKSMN, LAST 4 U.S. AMBASSADORS TO U.N.: So, Judy just made sense. The problem is that the media are not echoing that, Judy, the media are saying that Republicans are terrible and somehow we're forgetting that Harry Reid is in charge of the Senate. I mean if the president is saying, we have to have a vote. Pick up the phone and call Harry Reid and schedule the vote. They're from the same party. What's the problem here? Why aren't we hearing that in The New York Times? Why isn't there a front page piece saying where is Harry Reid?
ELLEN RATNER, BUREAU CHIEF OF TALK RADIO NEWS SERVICE: OK. All right. But The National Journal actually ran a piece, they jumped the gun and then they said that the NRA had already won, so it isn't all one way or the other. The National Journal came out with this, you know, the NRA wins this. That's just not true.
FOLBAUM: I want to talk about the Newtown families and, of course, our hearts go out to them all, I can't imagine what they're going through. But it's been a week now, they have appeared on CNN, Jim, they had a big photo spread in People magazine.
RATNER: Air Force One.
FOLBAUM: The president then flew to Connecticut, we saw a bit of the speech. He brought a number of them back to Washington D.C, they have been -- lobbied lawmakers on Capitol Hill. What do you think about the way the Newtown family has allowed itself to be put out there and sort of used for political purposes?
PINKERTON: It's the way things work now and it has been extremely effective. Mike Allen and Jim Vandehei in Politico had a terrific piece going inside the story. And again, it sounds manipulative, of course, but the moral authority is there, no question. However, it would be nice if the media had a little bit more clarity more about this. For example, on Thursday night, Diane Sawyer said, it's a David and Goliath story. It's David being the Newtown families versus the Goliath of the Republican Party and the NRA, not mentioning Harry Reid and Barack Obama and stuff, and of course, immediately saying, you know, David is a good guy and Goliath is the bad guy. And there might actually be two good guys in this. The NRA might have a point, and the news (inaudible) might have a different point, but the media, in this case, ABC, would never think that way.
FOLBAUM: Aside from LaPierre's media appearances, which had been panned by everybody on the left and even a couple of people on the right, are those people who are upset about more gun legislation, who look at it as an infringement on their Second Amendment rights, are those people's voices being heard in the mainstream media, Judy?
MILLER: Well, I think they are in the print media more than they are on television, because the Newtown families are visually compelling story that everyone wants to cover. But I do think that the fact that the Newtown families exist as individuals and as a unit, makes them a new element in this story that deserved coverage along with Mayor Bloomberg's extraordinary grass roots campaign and there is against illegal guns. These are the new elements that people have begun to pay attention to ..
RATNER: But Fox has a Newtown family who has actually been on, who is -- don't -- totally disagrees with the majority of the Newtown families. He's been given some coverage here and a little bit elsewhere, but not a lot.
GRENELL: But let's say that the coverage is very one-dimensional. It's, say, you know, Republicans versus Democrats, gun or no gun. Where is the coverage of mental health issues? It's really rare, although, Fox has done mental health issue -- angles. And I think that's really important. There's a whole bunch of angles here.
PINKERTON: Smart contrarian piece by Matthew Continetti in The Washington Free Beacon then how the Obama administration and Bloomberg are morphing together in the same kind of elitist liberalism. A good piece.
FOLBAUM: All right. Time for a break, but first, a reporter faces jail time for being a good journalist.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FOLBAUM: A real test against the freedom of the press playing out in a Colorado courtroom as a reporter faces jail time for refusing to identify her sources. But where is the media outrage? Where is the coverage? That's next on "News Watch."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOLBAUM: The case of Fox News reporter Jana Winter finally gaining some attention by the mainstream media after being widely reported across this network last week. Winter's exclusive July 25th story from last year revealing the existence of a notebook that accused gunman James Holmes sent to his psychiatrist the days before the Aurora movie theater shooting that left 12 dead and 58 injured and now Arapahoe County D.A., or judge, rather, that's Carlos Samour Jr., threatening Winter to divulge the names of her confidential sources who gave her that information or spend time in jail for refusing to do so. The judge delaying his decision now on Monday so we haven't gotten exactly what the judge is going to do, and whether he's going to force Jana to reveal that source or lock her up. But Judy, you almost single-handedly, because of your own personal experiences in this story, a similar one, got people focused on this. I didn't really see anybody talking about it until I read your piece.
MILLER: Well, thank you very much, but I had a lot of help and initially, believe it or not, from social media, because for some reason, the mainstream media didn't seem very interested. But I did want to salute Hunter Schwarz of BuzzFeed, who was one of the first people to write about the absence of mainstream media coverage and also Joe Scarborough who mentioned her case in his show, and Jake Tapper, the only anchor on CNN who talked about it. But, you know, this can happen when reporters aren't paying attention and I think that's the lesson that we've seen and I also want to thank Judge Carlos Samour (ph), the new judge in this case for trying to begin to make this issue go away.
GRENELL: We should also probably thank the editors of The New York Times who cover the B section ...
GRENELL: because they put it on B6, which I thought was very generous, and they were very late with it, so, whoever does the ...
RATNER: They -- yeah. As of Monday, there was nothing. On Tuesday, they ran an op-ed, et cetera, but as Monday ...
MILLER: B3. B3.
RATNER: But it was not anywhere to be seen when it first came out.
FOLBAUM: Let me -- I want to go back to Rick for a second, as someone who has been a source for journalists in your former capacity as a spokesperson ...
GRENELL: And possibly with somebody at this table, perhaps.
FOLBAUM: So, I just want -- explain to folks, because I don't know that everybody fully understands the relationship between sources and reporters and why that, that agreement between them when source needs and requires anonymity, what that's so important and what happens when it's -- when it's broken.
GRENELL: Yeah. It's certainly very important and sources are the ones, consistent sources, people, where spokespeople. We really know who is pushing the limit, who says things in the media that weren't quite exactly what we said. And so, there is a whole huge kind of industry of people who know the reporters who push it too much. But it's really important to be able to get the story out and not play gotcha politics. The problem that we have in our society is too much of the oh, I'm focusing on one world and we miss the spirit of the conversation.
FOLBAUM: Ellen, some have said, including Judy that if Jana worked for anyone other than Fox News that the story would have been -- getting a lot more attention a lot sooner.
RATNER: Well, you know, it is true, actually. Media went and said that all of us here at Fox News right, left, center, supported Ms. Winter. And Ms Winter, yeah.
RATNER: Ms. Winter, I got it right. And that we did that, yes, because people don't understand that we may have different viewpoints where we come from politically, but we all understand, I hope, good journalism.
PINKERTON: There's a -- I completely agree, this is the finest hour of the media, even the Columbia Journalism Review belatedly came through with a story on this much to their chagrin, I'm sure, because it was helping Fox.
PINKERTON: But new cases emerge. For example, the Franklin Center for Public Integrity, which is a conservative media watchdog group, and a media outlet, for that matter, did a seven part series on Terry McAuliffe and as green jobs, neo-Solyndra, A123, boondoggle in Virginia and Mississippi. And long and investigative and complicated, caused a lot of ripples, and now Terry McAuliffe is suing them for $85 million. They did their journalistic thing, and now they are being sued for 85 -- that's not intimidation against -- the piece is not defamatory, it simply says they wanted ...
GRENELL: It's journalism.
PINKERTON: It's journalism.
FOLBAUM: Judy, last word on this for now, the fact that the judge has delayed his decision, do you think in the end he's going to do the right thing?
MILLER: Well, I'm certainly hoping so, and the amount of media attention will also -- it has to affect that decision. And all I can say, Rick -- I would have gone to jail to protect you anytime.
GRENELL: Thank you.
And maybe you did.
FOLBAUM: All right. "Fox News Watch," straight ahead. A superstar couple goes on vacation in Cuba.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FOLBAUM: American hip-hop power couple Jay-Z and Beyonce taking a controversial trip to Cuba, raising eyebrows from Congress, but are the media dismissing the story? Details next on "News Watch".
FOLBAUM: There's new fallout over how hip-hop power couple Jay-Z and Beyonce were approved for a recent trip to Cuba. According to the U.S. Treasury Department, the trip was approved as part of a "People to People" cultural exchange program, but we're not aware of who was on the list. Several members of Congress were not pleased, including Senator Marco Rubio. "Since their inception, the Obama administration's "People to People" cultural exchange programs have been abused by tourists who have no interest in the Cuban people's freedom, and either don't realize or don't care that they are essentially funding the regime's systematic trampling of people's human rights." A story much ado about nothing, Judy, do you think that's what one news outlet was calling it?
MILLER: No, I don't think that is correct. Even though the way, in which it's been covered would suggest that. But look, this issue was, what are we going to do about Cuba? People are going down there left to right. Some people go Brookings, the Brookings Institution just led a very high level delegation down there. We've got to get our policy straight on Cuba and I think if they serve to highlight that point, it's good. Even though I wish that Jay-Z had done what Bono did when he went down there, which is to talk about the people who are in jail and the dissidents.
FOLBAUM: There are these pictures, Rick, of the couple smoking Cuban cigars and drinking martinis, not that I have anything against any of that, it sounds like a blast. But is that really like an educational mission, the, you know, in the sort of the spirit of what that program, the Obama administration program is supposed to be about?
GRENELL: You know, Judy did a great job of spinning the policy of Cuba ...
GRENELL: Well, let's talk about the law, because we actually have the law. And they broke the law, there's no question. Even though ABC News reader Josh Elliott on "Good Morning America" told us, you know, calm down, no laws have been broken. So Judge Josh has already ruled. But, you know, I'm uncomfortable with ABC just immediately saying that this is a non- issue. Ben Sherwood who runs ABC News, his sister was hired by the Obama White House and worked at the Obama White House. So, what's the connection there?
PINKERTON: Right. There's never been a shortage, Judy, of left wings dupes going to Russia in the '30s ...
PINKERTON: ... talking about how great Stalin was or North Vietnam in the '60s, like Jane Fonda talking about great the anti-American war was, and now these people coming there. If you want to know what's going on in Cuba look at the place like Babalu blog, which is the chronicle of political prisoners and oddly enough, Jay-Z and Beyonce didn't meet any of them. It would be fun, though, if the mainstream media would wake up and get off the seals, and say how exactly did they get this approval from the Obama administration?
FOLBAUM: All right, moving on to a new ad that's running on MSNBC. That's sparking a huge debate over parental responsibility. In it, host Melissa Harris-Perry argues that children do not belong to their parents, instead calling for the larger community to take charge. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY, MSNBC HOST: We have never invested as much in public education as we should have because we've always had kind of a private notion of children. Your kid is yours, and totally your responsibility. We haven't had a very collective notion of these are our children, so part of it is we have to break through our kind of private idea that kids belong to their parents or kids belong to their families and recognize that kids belong to whole communities. Once it's everybody's responsibility and not just the household's, then we start making better investments.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOLBAUM: Kind of, Ellen, when you watch her, there's like this pause before she launches into it where she thinks should I really say this? And then she goes and she says it.
RATNER: Oh, my friend Mark Finkelstein called it "socialist fire." Now, I happen to sort of agree with her, however, anybody who is a left wing talk show host or right wing talk show host would tell you that's slanted. And the -- I -- I may agree with her, but it's slanted.
FOLBAUM: And she's a left wing talk show host on a left-wing network. Espousing left-wing views on the importance of public education, is this really so surprising?
PINKERTON: No, not really. But as Erik Wemple in The Washington Post said, was the media video there viral? Check. Was it angering the opponents? Check. Was it stirring discussion? Check. In other words, mission accomplished. Here she is.
FOLBAUM: And then, maybe that was the idea, I mean here, you know, this is -- she works on a TV network, they need viewers, maybe get people riled up is a way to get people tuning in.
MILLER: And they've gotten them. This goes right to the base, it was a core message that resonated clearly inside and outside of MSNBC, but look, isn't she in an unfortunate way just saying what Hillary Clinton said, it takes a village.
GRENELL: I think she goes up a notch on that, though.
GRENELL: Because it's really a private versus collective. We've heard a lot from this administration on fair share of money and this is now fair share of your family. They're going to take the idea that it's no longer private family, but now it's a collective family. No one is saying it, but where else do we see the word collective versus private?
FOLBAUM: Ellen, our friend Rich Lowry who appears on this program sometimes.
FOLBAUM: ... had a piece this week that said that this promo that we just took a look at a piece of is proof that liberals are anti-parents.
RATNER: Well, I think that is -- that's overboard. As I actually thought her op-ed then defending her position was a little overboard, because she said she thought it was uncontroversial and then she doubles down, which I mean -- give me a break. I might have that position, but I know it's controversial.
MILLER: Rick, nobody is going to come and take your guns away and nobody is coming to take your children away. So I think everybody needs to calm down. It's TV.
PINKERTON: Help -- tell that to the homeschoolers who get this kind of harassment all the time ...
MILLER: That's another -- that's another ...
PINKERTON: ... when the government is coming to take your children away.
FOLBAUM: All right. I'm coming to tell you all to stop for one second because we have to take another break, coming up next, the most powerful people in the media revealed.
FOLBAUM: The Hollywood reporter releasing their annual 35 most powerful people in the media with four different covers, celebrating the movers and shakers. Those who set the bar high and drive a national conversation. So, who are they? No one here at this table. But Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes is on the list. Fox News anchors Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly and Megyn Kelly, Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough who co-hosted MSNBC's "Morning, Joe" and another MSNBC host Rachel Maddow and CNN host Piers Morgan and Anderson Cooper. To name a few who was left off the list, Rush Limbaugh, the most listened to talk show host on the radio in the country and Fox's Bret Baier and Greta Van Susteren who both kill in the ratings over the MSNBCers and CNNers who made the list. And this entire panel, well guys ...
FOLBAUM: I'm sorry. Always next here. And that is a wrap on "News Watch" this week. Thanks to Judy Miller, Jim Pinkerton, Rick Grenell, Ellen Ratner. I'm Rick Folbaum. Thanks so much for watching. Keep it right here on the Fox News Channel.
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