This is a rush transcript from "Fox News Watch," July 27, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: With this endless parade of distractions and political posturing and phony scandals, Washington has taken its eye off the ball.
RICK FOLBAUM, GUEST HOST: More details emerge about the IRS targeting conservative groups.
REP. DARRELL ISSA, R-CALIF.: You said you only worked on Tea Party groups. Is that correct?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In 2010, that's correct.
FOLBAUM: Why are the mainstream media ignoring the details? A New York Times reporter fights to protect his sources and tries to stay out of jail. And have you met Carlos Danger? Former Congressman Anthony Weiner faces the media after admitting to more sexting. How many passes will the press give him? Plus, a mega media blitz for William and Kate's new prince. Covering the coverage next on "News Watch. "
FOLBAUM: And on the panel this week, writer and Fox News contributor Judy Miller. Radio talk show host Monica Crowley. Jim Pinkerton, contributing editor to the American Conservative magazine. Merrill Brown, director of Montclair State University School of Communication and Media. And Fox News contributor Rick Grenell. I'm Rick Folbaum. "Fox News Watch" is on right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: We are actually poised to reverse the forces that battered the middle class for so long and start building an economy where everyone who works hard can get ahead. But -- and here's the big but. I'm here to tell you today that we are not there yet. We all know that. We are not there yet. We have got more work to do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOLBAUM: President Obama at Knox College in Illinois on Wednesday. This is the exact same place where back in 2005, then Senator Obama laid out his economic vision for the country. And Jim, a lot of times you and fellow conservatives like you have said that the media is giving the president a free pass. But he comes out with this speech. He announces a series of speeches about the future of the country. And a lot of the media aren't buying it. I have seen a lot of critical headlines. What do you think?
JIM PINKERTON, AMERICAN CONSERVATIVE: Right, you kind of expect Charles Krauthammer would say that he's still running for president again. He's got nothing better to do than campaign. The Wall Street Journal would point out that incomes have fallen steadily since the recession ended. But you are right. As John Nolte (ph) pointed out, ABC News, Chuck Todd, Ben White, Dana Milbank, these are all big foot media reporters, and they have all -- I mean, Chuck Todd called it deja pivot. Like this is the 10th or 17th pivot back to the economy. There is a lot of cynicism from his base.
FOLBAUM: You mentioned Dana Milbank. And Judy, Milbank, with "the Washington Post," of course, wrote this week that the very fact that the president feels the need to go out and talk about bold, new, aggressive ideas actually shows that he doesn't have any.
JUDY MILLER, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Right. It was a very tough column. Even MSNBC, which just loves President Obama and everything he does, was kind of hard-pressed to figure out why he would be dwelling on an issue that clearly doesn't play for him very well, since income -- average income has fallen by 4 percent for the middle class since the end of the recession. That middle class problem, the gap between the rich and poor, which is so important in this issue, you know, reporters just don't like to look at it.
FOLBAUM: Let's take a look at some Fox News polls that came out this week. Voters asked, has the Obama administration made the economy better or worse? And you can see here, you know, you have better, only 43 percent. Worse, 44 percent. And you can compare those numbers to a year ago this time. And then people asked, do you see any signs that the economy has begun to turn the corner? And a whopping 57 percent of people say no.
And Monica, the president's approval numbers are down as well. Also, around 46, 47 percent. I wonder if his approval numbers within the media are down as well.
MONICA CROWLEY, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: I'm not sure I would quite go that far. I would love to see those approval numbers in the media. But you guys are right. The media has been generally more skeptical about this latest pivot to jobs and the economy, because Weekly Standard did by their count, it was his 19th pivot. So the idea that somehow the president would expect the media as well as the public to go along with the idea that this 19th speech would somehow be different from the previous 18, what we got was the exact same rhetoric from this president as we have gotten over the last five years. More class warfare, more radical wealth redistribution. More talk about fair shots and fair deals. And I think it falls on deaf ears at this point. It is sort of like the boy that cried wolf. At this point the economy hasn't improved. In fact, it's just sort of bubbling along on a plateau. We are nowhere near the kind of growth that the American engine of economic growth and opportunity should be. And I think the American people are feeling this on the ground. The media certainly sees this.
And the danger zone for any president is when the American public tunes them out and the media gets bored with them. And as dynamic a character as President Obama still is, I think he is now in that danger zone.
FOLBAUM: Merrill, is that where we are?
MERRILL BROWN, MONTCLAIR STATE UNIVERSITY: I don't think that's precisely where we are. Obama still has three and a half years of a presidency left. Consumer numbers measured by Michigan are up. The stock market is very positive. I applaud the fact that at least he is trying and trying to change the conversation from things that are somewhat more trivial to things that really matter to the American people.
FOLBAUM: Rick, I don't want to ignore you out there in Los Angeles. You know, even with all of this critical coverage of the president's economic policies, the media is still talking about the Republican Party and their constant attempts to beat down any kind of idea that the president puts out there, like it should be surprising that the opposition party would try to put down the president's ideas.
RICHARD GRENELL, FORMER SPOKESMAN FOR U.N. AMBASSADORS: Yeah. I was going to bring up the fact that there is one reporter who didn't get the message. And that was Jonathan Weissman (ph) from the New York Times. Let me just read to you his first paragraph above the fold in The New York Times in the setup piece for the president's speech. He wrote, "The GOP will gut the budget, the sharpest cuts in the generation from the GOP, they will hold hostage the budget unless it is stripped." That was the setup. The New York Times is playing right into the campaign rhetoric of this president.
FOLBAUM: Jim, how do you see it? The coverage of the Republicans versus the coverage of the president.
PINKERTON: Right. Again, the president suffers from a cynical media that aren't as enthusiastic as they used to be, by a long shot. And Republicans suffer from a relentlessly hostile media that still looks to blame them. I mean, Brian Williams was highlighting the congressional approval rating and setting it up as if that was all the Republicans' fault. Actually, there are two parties in Congress, and the Democrats actually control one of those two chambers.
FOLBAUM: Monica, is there anything the Republicans can do to sort of even the playing field a little bit?
CROWLEY: Very tough for them. Look, they have got to come out with a consistent message, which I think they've done over the last couple of years on the economy, job growth, tax reform, the need for entitlement reform. Very tough to punch through though, especially when you are competing with a president who still, despite all the skeptical coverage over the last week, still is on the president's side. The president believes, and rightfully so, he has got this huge megaphone and he can try to change the subject by directing the press to cover the latest speech on jobs and the economy. But it is all a distraction. It is a diversionary tactic to try to keep the press away. Not that they have been covering the IRS and Benghazi and the DOJ aggressively. But it is all a way to try to change the subject.
FOLBAUM: Hold on, I'm sorry. I don't mean to interrupt you, but we're going to have a lot more. Quick break. But first, can the media handle the IRS scandals?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's here. Britain's new prince dominates the coverage and headlines around the world. Yet the networks here at home are mum on the widening IRS scandal. That's next on "News Watch."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think the IRS scandal is a phony scandal?
JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I think what we have seen is inappropriate activity that the president came out and forcefully said he would not tolerate, and that he installed somebody at the IRS to take care of. What we have seen from Republicans is cherry-picked information based on investigations that turns out to be only one side of the story. Again and again and again, if you look up on Capitol Hill, when Chairman Issa and others have selectively released information and refused to release the full facts. The full facts show that the story is quite different. And I think you can - it is demonstrated by the way the press has, you know, gotten extremely excited about the potential for a scandal and basically dropped it when the facts have come out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOLBAUM: That of course Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, talking to Joe Scarborough on MSNBC about the IRS scandal, claiming that the Republicans and the press are trying to make something out of nothing. And what about that term, Merrill, phony scandals, what do you think?
BROWN: Well, he didn't think it was phony when it came out. He thought it was legitimate, thought that the Congress and the investigators internally should get to the bottom of it. I think we can all agree at this table that we ought to get to the bottom of it, because, just like so many of these scandals, we need to understand the process that got us here. I had a conversation with a reporter the other day about GSA. We all remember GSA, and to this day, I don't know and none of us really know what happened there and how it is in the government mindset you can spend millions of dollars on an (inaudible).