Transcript: 'FOX News Watch,' July 12, 2008

This is a rush transcript from "FOX News Watch," July 12, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

JON SCOTT, FOX HOST: This week on "FOX News Watch," Barack Obama make big plans for his big speech in front of a big crowd in Denver. Will the coverage soar to new heights in the Mile-High City?

The Ramsey family cleared in JonBenet's death. Now what? Plus, Boone Pickens unveils his energy plan. Are the media on board?

Obama's daughters give their first TV interview. What's the reaction? And when athletes get divorced, which wives score the highest?

First the headlines, then us.


SCOTT: On the panel this week, Jane Hall of the American University; syndicated columnist Cal Thomas; Jim Pinkerton, contributing editor and writer for the "American Conservative" magazine; and Joe Strum, senior editor at "Editor and Publisher" magazine.

I'm Jon Scott. "FOX News Watch" is on right now.

All right, there it is. Denver's Invesco Field where my beloved Denver Broncos play. That's where Barack Obama will make his acceptance speech on the final item of the Democrat convention. The stadium seats more than 75,000. The move, already being praised as a master stroke by media observers.

Cal, a lot of people are saying brilliant programming. What do you think?

CAL THOMAS, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: I think since he's been styled as the messiah, the only way to make an entrance is to be dropped out of a helicopter and let him float in.

But I think this is almost going to be an in-kind contribution by the networks if they cover this. I thought Paul Friedman, of CBS management, made an excellent point. He threatened or suggested maybe CBS wouldn't cover Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday because of the enormous expense of moving that relatively stable venue from the convention center over to the stadium. I think that's a good point.

SCOTT: Yes, all of a sudden. They have been planning for this one thing at the Pepsi Center. Now they've got a second venue and it literally is going to cost hundreds of thousands more for the television coverage.

JANE HALL, AMERICAN UNIVESITY: It will be interesting to see. There's all a cat and mouse game between the networks and their convention coverage and the parties. The parties always try to put something interesting up so they can't turn away. It's really stagecraft. It's really putting Obama in a Kennediesque, Brandenburg Gates — which he also wants to do — setting. And it's interesting. Do they have to spend the bucks to do it? I can't imagine they're going to get out of covering it though.

SCOTT: But you have the opportunity, Jim, for news to happen at this convention. Hillary versus Obama and everybody said we can't have that. We've got to decide this before the convention.

JIM PINKERTON, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR & WRITER, "AMERICAN CONSERVATIVE": I think they will. I think frankly the Obama campaign would be perfectly happy to see nobody covered except him and maybe the vice president. If you remember what happened to Wesley Clark, this notion of what happened to McCain with Phil Gramm, you don't want other people stepping on your message. If the networks go dark and only cover Obama, I'm sure the Obama campaign would be more than happy to pay the networks to help set the cost of the stuff up. They do expect rapturous coverage at Invesco Field and they'll get it.

THOMAS: And if they do that, that would be a clear conflict of interest.

SCOTT: Joe, imagine the pictures of Obama in front of had raucous crowd of 76,000 plus, maybe 80,000 if you include folks on the field. What does that do to John McCain?

JOE STRUPP, SENIOR EDITOR, "EDITOR AND PUBLISHER": First of all, I hope it doesn't rain in Denver. Then they'll have a big problem. It'll be great to see McCain move his into the Metrodome, get the nomination in a place named for Hubert Humphrey.


SCOTT: Don't you think the networks though — they probably want this kind of thing. They'll put the Goodyear blimp up in the air.

THOMAS: Yes, they've been complaining for years how dull and boring it was. Remember a couple cycles ago, Ted Koppel, then with ABC, walked out and took his entire "Nightline" crew with him and said there's no news, which outraged a lot of people. but he was right.


PINKERTON: The notion of a live event with all the unpredictable, including rain, is enticing to the networks. It will be news and the audience reaction, who shows up in the crowds, spotted people in the crowds. It'll be a lot of fun for the networks to cover. Conventions are boring. This is something special and the network and the Obama campaign gets credit for thinking ahead.

SCOTT: Be a lot of fun except for FOX, who is the network fool that night. We'll have to spend next year's budget. I won't be here next year because they won't be able to pay me.

Go ahead.

HALL: Well, the other thing is there are stories coming out now about they how they were requiring organic catering. And whether they have room. The Obama people have been anonymously complaining that they don't have the venue set up yet. They don't know what they're going to do with protestors. This will be fodder to the late night comedians if not to the Republicans. If they have only organic food and it's not available.

SCOTT: There is crazy stuff about they want lots of colors in the foods so it all looks nice.

Couldn't this backfire, Joe, on the Democrats because they're counting on big numbers and big coverage? What you're saying, we're going to scale back.

STRUPP: They've been scaling back for years. You know the cable networks are going to be on it. Obama doesn't really need this. They're going to have things with Clinton good or bad. It'll get a lot of attention.

SCOTT: Well, if he doesn't need it, why do it?

STRUPP: That's what I don't understand. It's going to cost more. How the money is not where it's supposed to be. They're not organizing well. This is a big thing to throw in that's ripe for problems if it's not done right.

SCOTT: Jane?

HALL: One thing I'm thinking is who are the speakers going to be. Will Reverend Jackson be endorsing him?

THOMAS: Ohhhh!

HALL: We don't know.

SCOTT: Brought up the Reverend Jackson.

PINKERTON: That reminds me.



SCOTT: Your mic is hot, Jim. Let's listen, just so our viewers can — in case you missed it this week, here's what Jesse Jackson had to say while he thought the mic maybe was not on.


REV. JESSE JACKSON, RAINBOW PUSH COALITION: See, Barack been, um, talking down to black people on this faith based. I wanna cut his (EXPLETIVE DELETED) off. Barack, he's talking down to black people.


SCOTT: Joe, your magazine ran a big piece on exactly what was or what wasn't said there and how it got quoted in the media. Pretty funny, the reaction.

STRUPP: Here in the death of George Carlin recently, certain words you still can't say on television or can you? This is not only behind the scenes, this is words do you bleep out or not.

SCOTT: Nuts are OK when you're talking about squirrels.

STRUPP: I don't know. That depends if you're off mic or not. This is a great catch and shows the real thought behind someone's real decisions.

SCOTT: Should he have known better?

THOMAS: Well, of course. He's a veteran. He knows once you go into a studio and put a microphone on, don't believe the engineer that says it's not on.

Here's why this resonated, aside from the crudities and the rest. People are sick of the kind of politics were getting, focus groups, sound bites. This was a real emotion and what people though he really thought. You see that so seldom in politics that that was part of the attraction.

PINKERTON: As Michael Kingsley, the pundit, says, a gaff is when somebody accidentally tells the truth. This is the genuine Jackson. He hates Obama. And he stuck most of the time praising him. I'm sure part of him feels good about getting out what he thinks about Obama on the air even by accident.

SCOTT: Even despite the apologies he had to make?

HALL: Yes, but we have a new generation of leadership. And his own son has a lead role in the Obama campaign and condemned this. I think the media can be faulted for only focusing on Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson. There are new people out there and a generational split. This incident may reveal how much power Jesse Jackson really has.

SCOTT: It could be good for Barack Obama.

We have to take a break. If you want to hear what we talk about during the commercial, go to our website. It's

We'll be back in two minutes with this...

ANNOUNCER: More than 11 years after her murder, JonBenet's family is cleared by new evidence. Does the press need to apologize or dig a little deeper? That's next, on "News Watch."



PAM PAUGH, PATSY RAMSEY'S SISTER: The days of lynching are over.


SCOTT: That's Patsy Ramsey's sister reacting to the news on Wednesday that the family of JonBenet Ramsey has been cleared of any wrongdoing in her death. Patsy Ramsey, of course, died of cancer some time ago.

Jane, that lynching word, is that appropriate here?

HALL: You know, I think anytime you have your lives completely upended, your child dies — I don't know the truth of this story. Apparently, this is new genetic testing, which has apparently cleared them. This is the first of all these tabloid stories.

I was thinking of the guy accused of being the Unabomber...

SCOTT: The Atlanta Olympic — Richard Jewell.

HALL: The Olympic bomber. He never really — people still think he did it. I'm sure people still think John Ramsey did it. The media tried this family and they've suffered.

SCOTT: What do the media do now, Joe? Do they keep digging? Do they keep looking for the actual killer here?

STRUPP: It would be nice if the police would look for the actual killer, find the person whoever it is.


In the beginning, this got a lot attention because there were local investigative mistakes, about letting the father in to help search. The local D.A. came under scrutiny. He had connections to the family, apparently.

I don't know about the DNA coming out now, but obviously genetic testing it gets — where the technology gets it to be. It seems strange to come this late. Also, the way this family handled the child in these pageants. It's sort of (inaudible) no matter what happens.

SCOTT: And the ransom note and all that.

PINKERTON: This incident, the latest development, it vindicates every family that's ever tried to get publicity for the case of their lost loved one, kidnapped or murdered, whatever. Only 12 years of relentless flogging of this case, with obviously the close collaboration of the media, has gotten to this point where something approaching a resolution, at least for the family, has occurred. It's only media and public pressure. It's had people using all the science and technology and applying it to this case.

Again, I would say only relentlessness will help focus the authorities to provide the effort needed to exculpate some people if not find the actual criminal.

SCOTT: Maybe relentlessness and a whole closed full of videotapes of your beautiful little girl, because without that, Cal, would this had been a story?

THOMAS: No. And Jim's right about that. But there's also very few prohibitions in our culture anymore. The increased sexualization of children and pedophilia is something that still grosses out and offends an awful lot of people.

This wasn't a case of the girl doing it to herself. This was something the parents did to her. They trotted her out. They made her an image. They dressed her up, if not as an adult, but certainly a teenager. It was a form of child abuse that they did to her. These kind of kiddie pageants aren't cute. They are fodder for the pedophiles and the screwed up minds that feed on this kind of stuff. Ok, they may be innocent in all the rest and it was terrible the media tried them, but I think there's a worse crime committed here. It's not illegal. And it's the way you treat your kids.

SCOTT: Let's talk about something else. T. Boone Pickens, the legendary billionaire oilman trots out a plan this week to wean the nation from oil or at least reduce our dependency.

The question, Jim, are the media buying into his plan and does he have a little self-interest to serve here?

PINKERTON: He has total self-interest, which he was good enough to admit up front — I'm rich. I want to be richer. But I think he's hit a chord on this energy independence stuff. We've got from 24 percent imported oil to 70 percent.


SCOTT: ... the oil embargo.

PINKERTON: In the last 35 years. That's catastrophic for our national security. I think most people, including in the media, think this guy is a hero.

THOMAS: This is a Nixon-China moment. It takes a conservative Republican to enter the political arena and do something like this. Had it been Al Gore and John Kerry, it would be, ahhh! But this is important that T. Boone Pickens did it.

HALL: I think you have to be a rich Texas like Ross Perot too. There's a certain tradition here. I was visiting in my hometown in Texas. There are wind farms where there used to be cattle ranches. That's what he's trying to promote.

SCOTT: Well, and that's what he's got. He's building the biggest wind farm in America. He's the major investment behind it down in Texas.

HALL: I think there's something about a billionaire who you think — well, something, betting billions of dollars saying this is my plan to get us off foreign oil. I think it's an interesting campaign.

SCOTT: We're going to talk more about this after the break. And be back with this...

ANNOUNCER: Oilman, T. Boone Pickens has a new energy plan, but is he getting a fair shake from the media? And the Obamas go on TV. Was it a mistake?



T. BOONE PICKENS, ENERGY TYCOON: We have a fabulous wind resource in the central part of the country. If you could take, say, 20 percent of your power and build with wind, you could release 20 percent of your power generation by natural gas. So you're going to replace natural gas with wind. The natural gas would then go into the transportation fuel market. And that would reduce — get this number — that would reduce your dependency on foreign oil by 38 percent. A huge number. All that could be done at home.


SCOTT: So that was energy tycoon, Boone Pickens, talking with our David Asman on Tuesday about his energy plan.

Is that the market reacting to what the consumer wants?

PINKERTON: I think there's a lot of interesting things in the topic. But worth noting that Pickens is on his way to becoming a media star. I guarantee both Obama and McCain will meet with him, talk about the energy plan between now and the election.

Boone Pickens is 80 years old. He violates every possible rule about people on television being young. People are still interested because, as Jane said, he's got credibility on this topic. People know it's important and they want to hear what Pickens has to say, even if it starts a debate. There will be plenty of people criticizing him. But the American people want this debate to occur and he gets credit for starting it?

SCOTT: Does he have creditability, or does he have the investment in the wind farm?

THOMAS: I think he has both. He also has a lot of money. As Jane said and Jim affirmed, he has a track record of success. This is a great common-ground moment. And the media can lead a campaign, even drag the politicians, kicking and screaming, along with them, if they make this a cause and help lead us out of the darkness of one-dimensional energy dependence.

SCOTT: Joe, should that be the media's job? Should they lead America into some kind of a new energy program?

STRUPP: They have to give it the attention they're giving him. That's a positive point. But also the people in Washington — you talk about the president, the Congress or whoever else — has to get this point across that we can't stay where we are with dependence on oil. The wind is one part, even a clean nuclear approach that's safe, which is a questionable thing that the public is not huge fans of from the past. But it's all got to happen together and it takes media and the folks in Washington who haven't led the charge just yet.

SCOTT: All right, let's turn to topic number two. Access Hollywood's Maria Menounos sat down with the Obama family this week. The show aired that interview.

Let's take a look at some of it.


MARIA MENOUNOS, HOST, "ACCESS HOLLYWOOD": What have you guys thought about the possibilities of living in the White House someday?


OBAMA DAUGHTER: It would be very cool.

OBAMA DAUGHTER: I think my most excitement about it is that I get to redecorate my room. I enjoy decorating.

MENOUNOS: What's the big deal that's going to happen when all this is done?



SCOTT: So all of a sudden, news about that interview was everywhere and then, lo and behold, Jane, Senator Obama says, not going to do that anymore, I'm not going to put my kids on TV. Appropriate?

HALL: He was — from what I read, they had sort of an impromptu birthday party for the older child. Some people have said cynically that it smells a little of exploitation. Most people have said their kids are off limits. They said their kids are off limits. He's putting them forward.

But also, the deeply cynical view is, if you're going to put your kids forward, put them forward on "60 minutes," not "Access Hollywood."

SCOTT: President's traditionally — Chelsea Clinton, she was walled off from the media when she was in the White House.

THOMAS: Well, so were the Bush twins. The office reacted sternly when any reporter said anything about the twins, especially when they went out doing illegal drinking.

Also, another thing. I think this has been almost a tradition, an agreement between the press and the White House that, all right, they won't invade the lives of the kids. Obama came out right afterwards and said this won't happen again. Does this display an era of bad judgment? I don't think you exploit your own kids. I think that was a bad call.

PINKERTON: I think the key to this is engineered between the campaign and the White House. But if Obama wins and they get in the White House, there will be a million press secretaries between those kids in the media.

Campaigns are much looser. They're much more interactive. You become friends with reporters, believe it or not. I can see how this could almost happen by accident.

SCOTT: But, Joe, the Obama campaign or himself expressed surprise at the level of interest in this interview. Do you think that's real?

STRUPP: It makes it sound like almost a setup, to allow it and then to quickly say this was wrong. It would have been better to let them have a glimpse. He's a human person, has kids. They're cute. And just kind of fold it away without a lot of attention. But, oh, that was a mistake. I'm never going to do it yet, gets a lot more attention.

SCOTT: Without a lot of attention. It was on ABC, GMA...

STRUPP: Exactly. It wasn't the attention. It just matters how far you pull back after and make a moment out of it.

HALL: I think it's wise for them to show him with his young children. It confirms his youth, relative to McCain. Again, I real when the fellow who died, who did all the famous photographs of the Kennedy children, he said Jackie would be away and JFK would say, come on, take these pictures. He knew the American people wanted see these cute kids.

SCOTT: And you're thinking, Jim, that assuming Barack Obama were to win the White House, we're not going to see that kind of thing anymore?

PINKERTON: I think it will be much more managed. Again, I think that they — as I said earlier, why would they do "Access Hollywood" as opposed to the more formalness.

But, listen, this is — there haven't been kids in the White House, like two, for a long, long time. I think there's going to be enormous fascination with these kids. And frankly, their lives are going to be decisively changed by this whole experience.

SCOTT: Coming in the same week that this Invesco Field thing came up, they pay a lot of attention to media management.

THOMAS: Yes, the next story will be in the tabloids, sibling rivalry. Can the Obama children get along?

SCOTT: Can you and Jim get along?

THOMAS: Oh, absolutely.

We have to take one more break. When we come back. . .

ANNOUNCER: Big time sports, big time money and big time divorces. Which sports superstar paid the bigger price? The answer next, on "News Watch."


SCOTT: The New York tabloids could not get enough of the news this week to hear that star third baseman, A-Rod's wife filed for divorce. By Thursday, we were hearing about C-Rod's side of the story. She is Cynthia, after all. We don't know where it will end up but, if history is any indicator, Ms. Rodriguez will be getting a whole lot more than peanuts and Cracker Jacks.

Take a look at the most notable financial rewards for athletes who split up with their spouses, with apologies in advance to David Letterman.

Number seven, Chris Evert and skier Andy Mill Evert reported signed an agreement to pay 7,000,000 in cash and securities to Mill. Here are some additional details. Evert got custody of the couple's three sons and got to keep there $2.8 million Florida home. Mill held to their $4 million home in Aspen. She is now married to golfer, Greg Norman. His name will come up later.

Number six, Nick and Gil Faldo, $11.8 million. The former Ms. Faldo got an estimated award consisted of $4.7 million mansion, a $6.e million payoff and $790,000 pension for her work with Faldo's foundation.

Number five, Jeff and Brooke Gordon. The former Ms. Gordon, an estimated award of $15.3 million.

Number four, Gene and Michael Strahan. The former Ms. Strahan got an estimated award a $15.3 million. More than $200 grand in child support. 90 percent of the cost of their kids school tuition as well.

Number three, Mike Tyson. Divorced twice, he's paid out a total estimated $20 million.

Number two, here he is, Greg Norman and Laura Andrassy. The golfer's divorce cost an estimated $103 million.

Topping even that, coming in at number one, Michael and Juanita Jordan, estimated settlement, $168 million.

Joe, that's a lot of money.

That's all the time we have this week.

Thanks to Jane Hall, Jim Pinkerton Cal Thomas and Joe Strupp.

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