The following is a partial transcription of the October 15, 2005 edition of "FOX News Watch", that has been edited for clarity:
ERIC BURNS, FOX NEWS HOST:Here's the kind of thing you don't often hear a talk-show host say:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OPRAH WINFREY, TALK SHOW HOST: I heard the call. It was as clear to me as if God himself spoke - I think it was God - that this is what I'm supposed to do. With your help, America, we're going to change these laws.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNS: Now that was Oprah Winfrey on Tuesday. And the laws she wants to change are laws that protect children against sexual predators, laws that she thinks are not tough enough.
And she's giving rewards of $100,000 to people who provide information that leads to the capture of child predators. The two women that you see shown here with Oprah are splitting one of the rewards.
Jim, we have something real interesting here, don't we? Between what seems to be - you can make a case for strong public service. Can you also make a case for a sting audience appeal, and a ratings grab? And if so, how do those two fit?
PINKERTON: Kind of a win-win. And I think - I think it also connects up to the previous segment. We talked about the value of media and coverage of - of events so the people can see for themselves.
Oprah Winfrey is putting information on TV. To me, this is like a wanted poster, in the old days, or like an Amber Alert, or like any number of efforts people have made to catch crooks.
I - I think the story in the last 30 or 40 years is we went way too far in leniency and towards crime, and now we're swinging back toward a more tough-minded approach. And she, Oprah Winfrey, is part of this process. And good for her.
BURNS: You give her credit for it?
THOMAS: Well, for that kind of money, I'd like to turn in Neal.
But -- no -- one of the interesting things she said though -- she kept repeating, you know, "this isn't about the money. You would have done this anyway without the money." And one of the -- one of the people -- one of the women, Oh yes, yes, it wasn't about the money.
Well, I'm just wondering if Oprah said, You know, we're going to cut out the money, and now we're just going to ask you to be good citizens. And that person living upstairs that you've felt a little suspicious about, we want to turn them in anyway. Let's see how many of them would turn them in.
BURNS: But does that ultimately.
GABLER: By the way, I just want to say, good sense is not a crime, Cal.
BURNS: Does that ultimately matter? I mean, police departments give rewards.
I mean, in terms of whether or not this is a true public service, whether or not there's a reward and the size of it, Neal, doesn't seem to.
GABLER: No, I mean, look it - it raises the entertainment value, and it certainly raises the interest. And there is entertainment value here, as you pointed out earlier.
But she is to be commended. It's - look it, this is - here's the options: Tom Cruise talking about Katie Holmes and makeovers on the one hand (ph), and capturing child molesters on the other. And she's being very cautious and responsible in the kinds of people she's putting on - on the air. That is, the - the - the alleged perpetrators.
All of these people have been charged. Almost all of these people are fugitives. So she's not being irresponsible in the people that she's targeting.
BURNS: Who is it on this show who a few weeks ago - because, you know, I've told you, you all tend sort of to blend together after awhile -- who called Oprah America's new anchor?
PINKERTON: That was me.
BURNS: Jim, that was you?
PINKERTON: That was me. Thank you.
BURNS: This seems, Jane, if she is America's new anchor, that she's taking her position to an even more exalt - well, I don't know whether I want to say exalted - to a more activist state, even.
HALL: Well, you know, she has said that she herself was molested as a child.
HALL: And, you know, I think we all are commending her. At first I thought, is this some time of vigilantism.
Then you go back -- I read through the transcripts; I went to her Web site. She is offering tips on how to look for people, how to protect your children online. The people that she has helped apprehend so far -- I completely agree. This — this fellow who was apprehended was sentenced to 10 years, served two years. She has said she wants to change -- help change the laws.
I would say, Where are the other media organizations? You know, we've had story after story recently about the child-abuse scandals in the Catholic Church. Where is the New York Times investigation? The Washington Post looking into the laws and -- and adding to what she's doing, rather than our debating whether what she's doing is a good thing.
BURNS: But this is a very interesting point - these stories have been covered, these other stories about child predators. You know, the all-news cable has carried these stories for a long time and made a lot of them.
But Oprah, Cal, seems to be in a position where if she gives the same information, and a lot more money, she just has a lot more impact, doesn't she?
THOMAS: Well, she does. And I agree with Jane, there should be done more on the abuses of the Catholic Church going back 75 years at least, we read from the press reports.
There - there is a lot of audience participation in this, and this is a - very key, from a media standpoint, of why this is probably going to work. People -- the polls, or the politicians, have realized for years that crime is a serious concern, or has been, among the American people. And so if they can feel - if little Nancy or Joe sitting in their apartment someplace to feel (ph) -- I can -- I can strike a blow against crime and a horrible even, this is going to be good for ratings.
BURNS: And buy a great, fancy, new car and have a nice vacation!
PINKERTON: I think -- I think this is -- this is proof to all those viewers out there who are sometimes skeptical, that reporters are people too. We have -- we're children; we're parents; we're siblings. We care about child molestation in a serious way and want to take it seriously, and for once, this panel is united.
GABLER: It's also her audience. Remember, these are women who are very sensitive to the kinds of issues she's raising.
But Jane raises an interesting point that we also heard from Oprah about changing the laws. That's not as sexy here as getting people on the air. Let's see if this will actually have an impact in changing the laws.
BURNS: You know, our viewers, when we get e-mail, don't like it a whole lot when the panel is united. So why don't we take a break, have our "Quick Takes".
HALL: Think it over.
BURNS: And let's not agree too much in the next segment. We will take a break and will be back with our argumentative "Quick Takes."
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