• With: Judy Miller, Cal Thomas, Joe Concha, Ellen Ratner, Richard Grenell

    This is a rush transcript from "Fox News Watch," August 31, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


    JON SCOTT, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: A big week of breaking news.


    UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Allahu akbar!

    SCOTT: The media debates diplomacy or military action as the bloody civil war in Syria escalates to a new level.

    PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Because they can march, America changed. Because they marched, the civil rights law was passed. Because they marched, a Voting Right Law was signed.

    SCOTT: The nation marks a historic milestone as civil rights leaders and the president remembers the march on Washington.

    A former Disney darling turns heads with a bizarre performance.

    And another controversy over gender and name as the media struggle with how to refer to Bradley Manning. Covering the coverage, next, on the final edition of "Fox News Watch."


    SCOTT: On the panel this week, writer and Fox News contributor Judy Miller, syndicated columnist Cal Thomas, Mediaite.com columnist Joe Concha, Ellen Ratner, Talk Radio News service bureau chief and Fox News contributor Richard Grenell. I'm Jon Scott. "Fox News Watch" is on right now.


    DIANE SAWYER, ABC NEWS: The president has moved the nation one step closer to military action against Syria.

    SCOTT PELLEY, CBS ANCHOR: The Pentagon is awaiting the president's order to retaliate against the Syrian dictatorship.

    UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The U.S. tonight appears to have just lost a key ally.

    CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Top administration officials are briefing congressional leaders this evening. On their case for launching an attack against Syria.


    SCOTT: Coverage of the lead up to what is widely believed to be U.S. military action in Syria dominated the news cycle this week. Some suggest Rick Grenell, that the president is being pushed into military action by the media. What do you think?

    RICHARD GRENELL, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: I think the president is being pushed into action by his campaign promise nine weeks before his re-election. You know, he ignored the issue for so long and then suddenly drew this red line and now has put himself into a corner. The media, really, you know, this week, tried to make comparisons to Iraq and say basically this is not Iraq. But what the New York Times and New York magazine and Time magazine failed to do was to really tell us that this is not Iraq. We don't have a U.N. resolution, we don't have congressional approval. And now we're finding out that the president wants to go to war with basically no allies. We had 40 plus allies in the last Iraq war. This president hasn't been able to get the British.

    SCOTT: Yeah, well, that is true. The British said no. Joe, Mediaite.com had a column about Rush Limbaugh saying that the media are trying to protect the president from his own red line.

    JOE CONCHA, MEDIAITE.COM COLUMNIST: Absolutely. And it is funny because last time we heard about with Iraq that George Bush was going alone. Yet now, he had Britain at least, he had the 40 allies that Richard Grenell spoke to earlier. That is the funny part about this. If you want a microcosm of how the media on the left is trying to spin this after the president seemingly backed away from his red line declaration, let me tell you what Eric -- sorry, Ed Schultz said on his show on Thursday, "We have to be fair about this," he said. "We do have a history of presidents misspeaking. And we need to give him some room here." Would Schultz give President Bush that same courtesy and saying, oh, you only misspoke. It's kind of like in "A Few Good Men," Tom Cruise asked Jack Nicholson. Did you order the code red? Oh, well, yeah, but I only misspoke. The fact that Schultz is actually defending the president and saying oh, he only misspoke. It is the height of unintentional comedy.

    SCOTT: This president, in large part, was elected, Judy, in -- because of his opposition to the Iraq war. He called it the dumb war. So, how can he now look at Syria and say we deserve to launch an attack?

    JUDY MILLER, WRITER & FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Because he is portraying this as intervention that will be -- as Josh Earnest said "very discreet, very limited," which automatically raises the question why do it at all if you are not going to affect the outcome that you wish to achieve, which is getting rid of Assad, which the president said was his goal. And that is the contradiction that many analysts in the media have focused on.

    SCOTT: ABC News, Ellen, had a piece suggesting that the president did not really draw that red line or that it's a little more ink.

    RATNER: Right. ABC did that, however, when you really read through ABC's quote of the president's quote, my reaction is if it looks like a duck and it walks like a duck, then it quacks like a duck, it is a duck. And I've got to tell you, there is nothing that ABC quoted that doesn't makes me think that he did not say red line.

    SCOTT: So, are the media supportive?

    CAL THOMAS, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Look, they own this guy. OK? They own President Obama. They pretty much ignored Hillary Clinton's statement during the debates in 2008, a run up to the election that who is going to take the 3:00 A.M. phone call? Hillary Clinton said that he did not have the experience to be president. He did not have a foreign policy view. She was right. He was a great community organizer, but he has been terrible on foreign policy. None of the editorials I read, none of the reporting I've read in any major or even minor media have stated what our foreign policy is with the Russians, with the Chinese, with the Middle East, other than pressuring Israel, which never works. I don't know and neither do any of the media people know what our foreign policy is.

    SCOTT: Judy?

    MILLER: You know, Cal, I think on Friday, Secretary Kerry's speech went a long way to answering that question. He said, it is not as much as what is going on in Syria, yes, people have been killed, 100,000. But with the way they are being killed. But more importantly it is who we are.

    THOMAS: Oh, please.

    MILLER: Will we react? This is the political argument.

    THOMAS: 5 million people have been killed in the Congo since World War II. We have not done squat there.

    MILLER: But not with weapons of mass destruction.

    THOMAS: Oh, so if you die with the weapon of mass destruction, it's different than if the bomb dropped on you?

    MILLER: I'm not -- Cal, I'm not defending it. I'm simply pointing out that Samantha Power, as you know, his U.N. ambassador --

    THOMAS: Who was on vacation.

    MILLER: Is the author of this doctrine of humanitarian intervention, called responsibility to protect.

    THOMAS: Oh, please.