Media's coverage of the presidential race

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," August 23, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP, "LAURA INGRAHAM SHOW", AUGUST 21)

JAKE TAPPER, ABC NEWS: I thought the media helped tip the scales. I didn't think the coverage in 2008 was especially fair to either Hillary Clinton or John McCain. Sometimes I felt like with the story selection and other decisions, magazine covers, photos, you know, campaign narratives that, it wasn't always the fairest coverage. I hope it doesn't -- I hope that doesn't happen again.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "TODAY"/NBC)

LESTER HOLT, CO-HOST: The Obama folks clearly know they found some traction on this tax return issue with Romney.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think the press still likes the story a lot.  The media is very susceptible to doing what the Obama campaign wants. Do voters care about it? I don't think so. The economy is still front and center.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRET BAIER, HOST: OK, so two members of the media talking about the media and the coverage of this campaign. We have in our Fox News poll tonight one question, who do most members of the media want to win? And 61 percent responded President Obama, 15 percent Governor Romney.

Back with the panel.  Charles, thoughts?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: The media always had a liberal slant since the Earth cooled. But what has happened is that with Obama, it got completely out of hand. In 2008, the media was so much in the tank for Obama that they needed snorkels. Today they are slightly less wild-eyed because he hasn't had exactly a stellar record and all of that hope and change stuff and charisma and rock star stuff has worn off.

I think what animates the bias now is antipathy toRomney, conservative ideas, Ryan and all that. Sort of the natural ideas that liberals have. It isn't only what perception of the electorate is that the media are heavily supporting Obama, it's the fact if you look at all the polls of the elite media in Washington over decades, the numbers are overwhelming. I remember a poll about eight or 10 years ago, 78 percent were Democrats and 11 percent were Republicans. That is an accurate reflection. The only question of it is how much of is it hidden and how much of it is overt? In '08, it was unbelievably overt.  Now I think it's still all there but a little more hidden.

BAIER: Kasie, thoughts?

KASIE HUNT, ASSOCIATED PRESS: Well, you have to remember both campaigns spend a lot of time complaining about media coverage, the Obama campaign as well as the Romney campaign. The Obama campaign is angry about the welfare ad that folks have been running that's been debunked by some fact checkers. The Romney campaign, on other hand, is very focused on the fact that they think the media is not looking at the big picture in a lot of instances. Romney, for example, did a press conference few days ago where he laid out his Medicare policy on a white board and then at the very end was asked about the tax returns, and what led most of the story was, of course, the tax returns, not the debate they were pushing about Medicare. So I think you are seeing it come from both sides. To be fair, in a lot of instances both campaigns are perfectly willing to encourage these kind of things when they are aimed at the other party.

BAIER: I mean, a lot of times, judge, to Kasie's point, it is like campaigns on both sides, trying to put the rabbit out there and have reporters chase it.

JUDGE ANDREW NAPOLITANO, FOX NEWS SENIOR JUDICIAL ANALYST: Understood, but I think the American public realizes the overwhelming numerical superiority of liberals and Democrats in the media. And as I indicated to you earlier today, the perfect antidote to that is the Citizens United case that allows the free market to amass wealth and express ideas that might not always be covered by some of our colleagues.

BAIER: Interesting.

To one point about coverage, you know, you heard a lot of stories and focus on the pick of Paul Ryan and what is was going to do as far as his issues on Medicare and his budget plan. In our poll number nine, who would be a stronger vice presidential candidate? Paul Ryan 49 percent, Joe Biden 39 percent. Then the next one, if they had to serve as president, who would you be more comfortable with? There you see all voters 46, 45, independents 47, 37 percent.

Charles, on the Medicare issue, actually, the Romney-Ryan ticket is only two points down in the poll on that issue. So that would be against conventional wisdom and reporting that we're seeing.

KRAUTHAMMER: When you consider that the Democrats have owned the Medicare issue, ever since it was enacted in the mid-'60s. The fact they're roughly tied, I think, is a victory for the Republicans. It has the added effect of once the Democrats have to talk about Medicare, the counterattack from Republicans is that ObamaCare steals from the trust fund. So now, Democrats have to talk about ObamaCare, which they tried not to because it's so unpopular. So it actually has a double effect. I think if Ryan succeeds in at least neutralizing the Medicare issue, which I think he easily can, then what you have to go is the default issue, which is the American economy, and that is a loser for Obama.

BAIER: Most important speech at the RNC convention?

HUNT: Mitt Romney's.

BAIER: By far.

NAPOLITANO: Absolutely. Absolutely. People are going to watch Ryan. They love his youthfulness and he makes Biden look old and testy by comparison, but Romney has to hit it out of the park.

KRAUTHAMMER: The Ann Romney speech is extremely important. It looks to be on a day in which the networks won't cover it. They ought to change the day of that speech.

BAIER: That is it for the panel.

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