This is a rush transcript from "Fox News Watch," June 22, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
JON SCOTT, HOST: On "Fox News Watch," with scandals engulfing the White House, like the IRS targeting Tea Partiers, the NSA snooping on Americans, Eric Holder and the Justice Department going after journalists, the president takes a road trip, schmoozing with world leaders. But his charm offensive falling flat and his big speech not so big. But how did the media rate his performance?
Dick Cheney condemns the actions of the NSA leaker.
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FORMER VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY: He's a traitor.
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SCOTT: The liberal media ignore the details and attack Cheney. The leaker goes public again with more details and slams the media for doing their jobs.
The governor of Maine is tired of getting bad press. So he shuts the press out.
The proof is in. The media have a pro-gay marriage agenda. Really? And NBC's Chris Matthews loves HBO's left leaning "Newsroom" program. But do you know why?
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CHRIS MATTHEWS, NBC: Those are the keys to these shows. Honesty and give people substance to take away. And I think you just said it well.
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SCOTT: 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. "Daily Beast" and USA Today columnist Kirsten Powers. And Fox news contributor Richard Grenell. I'm Jon Scott, "Fox News Watch" is on right now.
President Obama in Berlin this week, delivering a speech to a smaller crowd than the last time he was there. His trip to Germany followed his attendance at the G-8 summit in Northern Ireland. And his bilateral meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, well, the meeting, if you can read the body language in this photograph, was just a little bit chilly. The president out of the country avoiding some of the scandals and dropping poll numbers at a time when according to this Fox News poll, Americans' trust and confidence in government is very low, 63 percent. So this was the president, Jim, who was going to reset -- hit the reset button on our relations with Russia. Did anybody in the media pick up on that during this thing?
JIM PINKERTON, AMERICAN CONSERVATIVE MAGAZINE: Well, John Cassidy of the New Yorker, for example, pointed out that the statement the G-8 issued - that's in conjunction with Putin of Russia - was very bland and in fact, when it came to Syria, The New York Times -- talk about the president's base -- said he is a bad diplomat on the front page. It was a tough week. And it was capped by the bad visual, the speech in Berlin, last week versus the five years ago, and you saw the difference.
SCOTT: Yeah. I think we have that reflected in a graphic. 2008, candidate Obama, yeah, 2008 the candidate Obama, filled up that space. Hundreds of thousands of people. This time not so many. The White House says this was an invited group.
JUDY MILLER, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: I know. But not an enthusiastic one. That was the problem. This -- this appearance, these speeches, actually absolutely bombed. I mean, yes, the German press was kinder than others, but nobody liked it. The British press was savage. And I think the charm has just worn off, and the NSA scandal has so enraged Europeans. It is OK, it is all right to be listening in on them, but not Americans. I think that's offended a lot of people.
SCOTT: Rick, you spent a long time working for the State Department in a spokesman role. Does the imaging matter here? Do the -- do the pictures we see of the president, do they matter?
RICHARD GRENELL, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: They should matter. But I don't think that they are mattering to the U.S. media. I think Judy is right that the international coverage is kind of waning, but not here in the United States. You know, in the Bush administration, every problem was indicative of a larger leadership problem. We had problems in Iraq but it was -- because Bush was unpopular.
What we see now with the media here in the U.S., is that they are excuse making for Obama. You take Jackie Calmes' piece in "The New York Times" this week. She did report on the fact that the Putin meeting didn't go well. But she really gave excuses as to why. She said that, you know, Putin is -- is a difficult person. There is no larger issue that Obama is the problem or his reset button is not working. There is no literally bigger issue here that the press is covering.
SCOTT: Is that a fair critique, Kirsten?
KIRSTEN POWERS, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Yes. Look, I mean, I think that -- first of all, if the White House thought they could get a couple hundred thousand people, they probably would not have made it in invitation only event to start with. We have to bear that in mind. I also think that there -- if this was Bush, they would probably would have been leading more with the downsides of things, whereas when you read the coverage, it was more sort of almost on an AP reporting style, just reporting, like this is what happened and this is what's said, and there is not as much sort of commentary that seems to make it into the news coverage when it is somebody they don't like.
CAL THOMAS, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Niall Gardener (ph) of the U.K. Telegraph wrote a blistering column headlined, "Barack Obama bombs in Berlin. A weak, underwhelming address from a floundering president." I guarantee you that you will never see this in the American press. The American media, which treated Obama as the messiah and helped usher him into office is never going to divorce him. At some point, though, I think they are going to transition over to Hillary and work on her candidacy without ever acknowledging that they were wrong about the president.
SCOTT: Well, Chris Matthews on MSNBC was saying that the sun was in the president's eyes and he couldn't really deliver the speech effectively therefore.
POWERS: Exactly. I guess because he -- he was stumbling a little bit and he couldn't see the Teleprompter and so he had to read a speech, you know, and that makes Chris Matthews rage at the sun.
SCOTT: What about -- it is often that domestic leaders, when they are having problems here, they go overseas. Is that what happened here? And did it work?
PINKERTON: I think it is. But as George Will pointed out, if you just read the substance, forget the optics, forget the size of the crowd, the substance of what the president said in Berlin, he is still disputing whether or not North Korea has a nuclear program. He wants to negotiate with the Russians and Putin over arms control at a time when everybody else is building more nuclear weapons, and he says the most important issue we face is global warming. You are still sort of waiting for the president to say, where does Syria and your intervention there fit into this context? Is that less important than the polar bears 100 years from now?
SCOTT: It did seem that by talking about nuclear weapon, you know, destroying nuclear weapons and so forth, the president was trying to change the topic. Did the media let him?
MILLER: He did succeed in changing the subject, but ultimately it comes down to his performance and whether or not he is credible. And a lot of people are less, less willing to give him the benefit of the doubt now.
SCOTT: The IRS scandal, Rick, has not gotten a whole lot of coverage or so it would seem, especially since the NSA thing broke. What happened to the media coverage on the IRS issue?
GRENELL: It is -- it is already done. I mean, it was viewed as really a bureaucratic mess-up, and, again, it does not touch the White House, even though we know that the White House chief of staff and the White House deputy chief of staff both were involved in trying to figure out how to cover this up. So we have a disinterested press. You know, Jim brought up John Cassidy from The New Yorker, and I think John said something very interesting, which is key to the excuse thinking. He said that our problems may be beyond anybody, and I think what we are seeing now is that the narrative from the media to say these are bigger problems and Obama is trying and let's give him credit. He is not being held accountable.
THOMAS: Well, Rush Limbaugh has a theory on this, expressed again this week. He calls it the Limbaugh theorem, and that is that Obama is above everything. He's out campaigning constantly and never connected with any of the scandals or other things that are going wrong in Washington. And the media won't hold him accountable, because they are all out covering his non-stop campaign.
SCOTT: All right. Next on "News Watch," the NSA leaker hits the media.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hero or traitor? The man who leaked details of the NSA snooping operation made more news this week, attacking the media for their coverage of him. And when it comes to press relations, what do these two politicians have in common? That's next on "News Watch."
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