This is a rush transcript from "FOX News Watch," May 9, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
JON SCOTT, FOX HOST (voice-over): On "FOX News Watch," a high-flying, boneheaded stunt causes fear in the street.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Run, run!
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SCOTT: The president apologizes.
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BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It was a mistake.
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SCOTT: The press demands to see the shots.
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ROBERT GIBBS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I don't know where those are. We're release those findings and release those photos.
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SCOTT: And at least we do.
Could The New York Times and Washington Post be manipulating you with White House direction?
A pageant beauty gets raw treatment from the media. Are gay groups behind the smear?
Oprah Winfrey and CNN have news about women, but they forget the facts.
And the scorned wife of a presidential wannabe embraces the media to tell her tale and, yes, selling a book.
SCOTT (on camera): On the panel this week, Marisa Guthrie, programming editor for Broadcasting and Cable; Charles Hurt, Washington bureau chief for The New York Post; Jim Pinkerton, fellow, New America Foundation and "FOX Forum" contributor; and Kirsten Powers, columnist and FOX News political analyst.
I'm Jon Scott. "FOX News Watch" is on right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: It's a two part question on the status of the video, the fly-over...
GIBBS: The president — I'm sorry — the report, I believe, will be concluded at some point this week. We'll release its findings and release a photo.
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SCOTT: White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs there on Wednesday, talking about the White House's decision to reverse course and release a photo from the administration's biggest P.R. blunder so far? You remember that one, don't you?
Take a look. One of the president's planes flown to New York City for a photo op with the Statue of Liberty.
Now, the image of two fighter jets and a low-flying 747 terrified people in lower Manhattan. All of this captured on cell phone video. Days following this ill-thought-out maneuver, White House officials insisted that photo would not be made public but promised there would be an investigation. Following persistent requests for the picture and a Freedom of Information request from FOX News, the White House gave in.
All right, Kirsten, was it media pressure that made the White House do what they decided to do?
KIRSTEN POWERS, COLUMNIST & FOX NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: Yeah, definitely. I mean, I think — I don't really know why we need to get a copy of the picture. Everybody has seen the picture. Also, the White House didn't know about this. This is something that they found out about later. These types of decisions simply do not get made at the level of the president. It was some P.R. office in, you know, in another agency that did this.
So, look, they don't want to release the pictures because they don't want the story to go on that $300,000 were spent on a photo op essentially.
SCOTT: I don't suppose, Jim, anybody thinks the president said, hey, I want a new photo of Air Force One on the White House web site. But it's curious. You've got this White House getting ready to release photos of so-called torture — you know, the interrogations of terror suspects. Those photos they are going to release. This photo, they didn't want to release.
JIM PINKERTON, FELLOW, NEW AMERICA FOUNDATION & "FOX FORUM" CONTRIBUTOR: And the KIA is coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan. Look, nobody thought that Nixon ordered Watergate either. And nobody thought that Reagan dreamed up the idea of selling arms to the Iranians back in the '80s.
POWERS: This is just like a photo op.
PINKERTON: I'm not saying that just like— however, reporters— it's just the nature of the beast to go after stories and want to get to the bottom of this. And I do think that the White House — and Charlie was saying this in the Green Room before the show — has done a brilliant job of trying to distance Obama from this. And poor old Robert Gibbs got a little bit off message and said the president, and then he caught himself. He said, oh, got from active voice to the passive voice, the report, like unnamed munchkins are doing a report, leaving President Obama completely out of this because, as we know, he had nothing to do with this.
CHARLES HURT, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, NEW YORK POST: But the great thing about it is we don't have to have a reason for wanting the photos. True, the reason we want the photos so we can talk about the story for a couple more days, but we don't have to have a reason. And truthfully, it was indefensible for them to suggest, after we the taxpayers paid for the plane, it was our plane, it was our back drop, that they were going to — that they didn't want to release them. Well, it's just indefensible. I think that's more than anything what pressured them.
SCOTT: And the photo that's being replaced, Air Force One flying over Mt. Rushmore, is a perfectly good photo. I don't know why they need Air Force One over the Statue of Liberty in the first place.
POWERS: This is so stupid. What I read that was reported, and you're covering this more, no, is that Obama was angered by this. He didn't think it was a good idea. It was clearly an idiotic thing to do. I don't think anybody disagrees with that.
HURT: I think in the press shop there, I think they instantly — as soon as they saw the footage they thought to themselves, goodness, we have — deservedly have a nightmare on our hands.
SCOTT: Especially since they could have informed the people of Manhattan and chose not to. They made it a top secret flight why?
HURT: 0stensebly, for security reasons. So then suddenly, the security of this aircraft is more important than scaring the living...
SCOTT: And the president was not on board.
HURT: Right, and then scaring the living wits out of — and also, dredging up some of the worst memories of our — from our country.
SCOTT: Another thing I wanted to ask you about, Charlie, we saw two images this week of the same person on the front pages of The New York Post — I'm sorry, The New York Times. You're at The Post. — New York Times and The Washington Post, same person, same sort of article. Now, you run the Washington bureau for The New York Post, tell us how that works? How that happens.
HURT: And I think Jim pointed out a minute ago, whenever we talk about this stuff, credit has to be given to the Obama press shop, because they're very smart. And during the campaign they were very smart, they knew how to use the media to their advantage and always keep stories alive that were favorable to them and quash the ones unfavorable. And this is a perfect example where they took General Jones...
SCOTT: The national security advisor.
HURT: ... after, I'm sure, months of requests from both papers, to sit down and talk to them. And they just managed to make it work out so that they could get access this week. And it was very important. And it was well-timed to the visits from earlier this week from the presidents of Pakistan and Afghanistan. And it was an absolute home run on their part.
I don't know that it's — it's certainly shrewd on their part. I don't know that it's particularly devious, but it shows how well they manipulated the media and how manipulatable the media is.
SCOTT: The rest of the panel wants to gets in on the discussion. But we have to take a break. So if you want to hear what we're discussing during the commercial break, go to our web site, FOXnews.com/FOXnewswatch. We'll be back to talk about, quote, unquote, “gay mafia at The New York Times”. Are they putting pressure on the president, and more?
ANNOUNCER: A Supreme Court justice plans his exit as the president and the press plan the next pick. And Miss California is the target of an Internet smear. Why has she become such a media target? Details next, on "News Watch."
SCOTT: Do you think the president has enough to deal with — concerns over the Taliban and Pakistan's nuclear arsenal, the economy, Chrysler, unemployment, to name a few. But The New York Times thinks there is something much more important. "Gay issues in view; Obama is pressed to engage." That's right, in big, bold letters above the fold in the "Times," a paper, according to the gay magazine, "Out," editorially influenced by an internal gay mafia. "We can't help but notice that the gray lady has a thing for the gays who, together, help set the agenda of the world's most influential newspaper."
Is the gay mafia, Jim, trying to push the president to pay more attention to gay issues?
PINKERTON: I mean, gay mafia is their word. I would...
SCOTT: "Out" magazine's word.
PINKERTON: "Out" magazine's word. Although the phrase "gay mafia" is attached to a lot of the things. It seems like every group has a gay mafia somewhere in the parlance. The New York Times, as a liberal, urban paper, has a natural proclivity and sensitivity to these issues. And they do get on their hobby horse about AIDs or gays in the military. And it a world view shared by much of the mainstream media, which is why they can whip up a lot of enthusiasm for an issue, which would to most Americans seem either secondary or outright undesirable.
SCOTT: So are they pushing the White House into, you know, paying it attention they think is deserves.
MARIA GUTHRIE, PROGRAMMING EDITOR, BROADCASTING AND CABLE: No. I think it's in the news cycle because of what happened in Maine, Iowa and what just happened in Washington D.C. So it's in the news cycle. You saw a lot of similar stories bubble up about African-American interest groups when Obama was elected that he wasn't paying enough attention to them or that their interests would be down on the list because he had other things to do.
SCOTT: So, Charlie, if the New York Times puts up that story, can the White House ignore it?
HURT: No, I don't think they can ignore it, but not just because it's the New York Times, they can't ignore it because it reveals the problem that Democrats have always had, which is that they're sort of built of a lot of special interests with very unique things — very unique interests that they want pressed, whether it's unions or environmental groups and things like that. So when this comes up, you know, issues like this come up, they have enormous sway inside the party. And Obama has no choice, but to listen.
SCOTT: We're talking about special interests, Kirsten. We're hearing all sorts of handicapping about potential nominees for the Supreme Court now that David Souter is retiring. Is there too much of the horse race aspect of all of this going on and not enough substance?
POWERS: Yeah, but that's always the case on the media. The can I expand on the issue of the gays?
SCOTT: If you'd like, you've got the floor.
POWERS: I think this a totally legitimate story. And when I read it, I thought this is very news worthy because gay people are influential in the Democratic Party. And the truth of the matter is they are unhappy. And they are pressing Obama. And they've had recent meetings with him. This is going to become an issue for him if he doesn't do something about it. And by the end of the year, I think there's an expectation of gay activists that he needs to move on gay marriage. And it's going to be a serious political problem for him. And I think it's a legitimate news story.
SCOTT: A serious political problem if he ignores them or if he does as they want?
POWERS: Yeah, well, both.
PINKERTON: Either way.
PINKERTON: MSNBC recorded that he wrote a letter to an Army lieutenant, a woman, who declared herself to be a lesbian and got thrown out of the military, and Obama wrote her a personal letter saying, I really feel bad about this.
POWERS: Good. I think that's great.
PINKERTON: But that is definitely showing that Obama means to, I believe, change the gays in the military policy by the end this year.
POWERS: Absolutely. And I think their expectation is, at a minimum, by the end of the year, he'll put a moratorium of kicking people out of the military for being gay, which I think is a good thing. And I don't see this necessarily as a fringe issue. I think it's an equal rights issue. It's totally separate from the marriage issue which I know is...
PINKERTON: But you will agree it's little bit of a top-down issue. I mean, it's not quite the same as the economy or the war in Iraq. It is an issue coming from the elites and trickling down onto the public at large.
POWERS: It is and but it's completely unacceptable for discrimination against a specific group of people. I just think something has to be rectified and I think it's reasonable for them to expect him to live up to his promises.
SCOTT: I suppose it could end up in the lap of the Supreme Court at some point. But I wanted to ask you about the, you know, the Supreme Court nomination. We hear in the media that the next pick is likely to be a woman and probably Hispanic. I mean, are there interest groups out there pushing their own particular candidates through the media on the White House?
GUTHRIE: Yes, of course, which they always do. And there was story in Politico that said that the Republican special interest groups that so pushed the nominations of Roberts and Alito and were effective in those, are now bankrupt and it's going to be very hard for them to mount any sort of defense, grass roots defense, if he they don't like who Obama nominates. So — but you always have this sort of horse race play out in the beginning. The White House has not released any names. So, it's all purely media speculation at this point.
SCOTT: All right, it's time for another break.
First though, we would like your help. Story ideas always welcome here at "News Watch," especially if you come across a story that you think shows media bias. E-mail us, NewsWatch@FOXnews.com.
We'll be right back to talk about Elizabeth Edwards media blitz and much more.
ANNOUNCER: Elizabeth Edwards back in the media spotlight on her husband's betrayal, battle with cancer and a new tell-all book. Plus, CNN and Oprah report on a new sexual trend. But did they forget the facts? All next, on "News Watch."
SCOTT: Well, there she is, Carrie Prejean, Miss California USA. Since her appearance on stage at the Miss USA Pageant last month, she's been called a female dog by one of the judges, likened to a Nazi war criminal by a cable news host, and been the brunt of endless sexual jokes. Why? Because she publicly said she does not support gay marriage.
And there's more. This week, photos of Prejean modeling lingerie as a teenager hit the Internet. She fired back issuing this statement, "I am a Christian," she says, "and I am a model. Models pose for pictures, including lingerie and swimwear photos. Recently photos of me taken as a teenager have been released surreptitiously to a tabloid web site that openly mocks me for my Christian faith. I'm not perfect and I never will claim to be."
Why, Charlie, this drip, drip, drip of information and photos and so forth about her? Is it part of a campaign to smear her in the media?
HURT: It beats me because, I mean, she's modeling what God gave her, and doing it very well.
POWERS: Well, a little extra, maybe.
HURT: But it does — but it does bring a serious question about one thing, if she were — if she were, say, Hindu or Muslim or something like that, and as unlikely as that may sound, I don't think it would be acceptable to beat the tar out of her and bring up all of these and say all the nasty things about her.
SCOTT: Yes, but Kirsten...
SCOTT: If she had said that she's supported gay marriage, would she be — would she be the target in the media as she is?
POWERS: No. I mean, no. Everyone's wrong on this in my opinion.
Like the guy who attacked her is wrong. I mean, Mr. Equality, who's sitting there judging a beauty pageant which I think is demeaning to women personally. I just don't have a lot of sympathy for him.
She, on the other hand, invokes Christianity. Once you invoke Christianity, I'm sorry, people start looking at you and saying, OK, are you living up to what Christians do?
POWERS: It's not true that all Christians model and swimwear. I have a devout friend who is a devout Christian who is a model and who does not do that. Once she invoked it, it's fair to say, OK, if you're going to judge other people and tell them how to live their life based on Christianity, are you the spokesperson for Christianity.
SCOTT: Although, Marisa, we called the top 15 organizations that represent women's issues and asked them if they've put out a statement in her defense in any way. Not one single one of those organizations has done anything like that.
GUTHRIE: Because if you're in a beauty pageant, you're complicit in your own subrogation.
POWERS: Exactly. Thank you. Amen, sister.
GUTHRIE: Yeah, OK? And another thing, I mean, the whole leaking of the pictures, I mean, naked or semi-naked pictures of a beauty queen being leaked, that's never happened before, ever.
SCOTT: She's a teenager.
POWERS: She was 17. I mean, it's just not like a 14-year-old.
PINKERTON: Just to wrap up, if she had come out in favor of gay marriage, she would have gotten an honorary degree by now from Harvard or NYU.
POWERS: that's true.
PINKERTON: So there is a total double standard here. The parallel that it leads to mind, for those old enough to remember, is Anita Bryant, another beauty queen, who took an anti-gay rights pledge and they destroyed her career.
HURT: It's not about her whether she is or is not a hypocrite. it's about whether or not those of us in the media have put her to a double standard. And I think, clearly, we have.
SCOTT: All right, another hot topic in the media this week, presidential drop-out John Edwards back in the news. Why? You can thank his wife, Elizabeth, now embracing the media to tell her story and maybe sell a couple of books.
Mrs. Edwards talked to Oprah about her husband's infidelity.
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OPRAH WINFREY, HOST, "THE OPRAH WINFRE SHOW": The other woman has a baby.
EDWARDS: That's what I understand.
WINFREY: And there is great speculation that your husband, John Edwards, is the father of that baby.
EDWARDS: Right, that's what I understand. I've seen a picture of the baby, I have no idea. It doesn't look like my children, but I don't have any idea. And honestly...
WINFREY: You honestly thought — you must have thought, is it or is it not.
SCOTT: Since when did babies become an "it"? Just curious.
Charlie, you worked in Charlotte and you say you know — you've dealt with both John Edwards and his wife. What do you think about this? Why is she talking about a private thing all of a sudden?
HURT: It's the strangest thing that I've seen recently. You know, she's always been very good with the media. She's very shrewd at dealing with the media. And reporters like her very much because of what I would call sort after canned frankness and it plays well. But she — I think she's also very manipulative in a lot of ways. And the big question is why would she be doing this? I think she likes the attention. And it is cringing — I find myself cringing watching this stuff.
SCOTT: What about you, Marisa?
GUTHRIE: A lot of the female columnists have speculated that it's revenge or some misguided attempt to put her own spin on the story. but I think it's — we can't ever no the inner workings of someone's relationships, but I think, for women in the media, we would just like for once, one of these women with these philandering husbands, just one time, kick him to the curb.
SCOTT: Just smack him around a little bit.
She didn't have much good to say about the media during the campaign.
PINKERTON: Right, which makes it all the more perverse. The famous historian, Ferdinand Brodelle (ph), wrote a book with a great title. It speaks to this discussion here, "The Frenzy of Renown" and that is the mania to be famous, to get your name out there, to live in history forever. And Elizabeth Edwards has found a very, very strange, and I don't think attractive, way to do that.
SCOTT: Kirsten, and there was all kind of speculation about John Edwards during the campaign. But it took the "National Inquirer" to break the story. I mean, keeping it in the background, was that a good move in hindsight?
POWERS: Well, I don't know.
SCOTT: By the national media.
POWERS: It wasn't a media — it was appalling. Absolutely appalling, especially when you consider "The New York Times" ran a front-page story instigating that John McCain had an affair that he didn't have and that they didn't bother to actually follow up on this. It was appalling.
SCOTT: All right, "Caught in the Web" this week, according to the media web site, newsbusters.org, Oprah.com and CNN.com teamed up to tell us about a new trend, women leaving men for other women. Now, this could get interesting. The site points out, but there are no statistics and no proof offered by these two Internet giants to back up their claims. Why is that? Because Oprah.com says statistics are hard to come by.
A big night for the Washington press tonight spending some quality time with the president and Mrs. Obama at the White House Correspondents Dinner. Some blogs calling it the media's high school prom. Comedian Wanda Sykes, the headliner, "Every president since Calvin Coolidge has attended this event." Check our web site, FOXnews.com for the highlights.
We have to take one more break. Next, we'll show you how one fashion designer makes good use of newspapers like this one.
SCOTT: Lots of doom and gloom these days about the future of newspapers. Senator John Kerry even called a hearing on the future of journalism, might be because his favorite hometown paper, The Boston Globe is in trouble.
Fashion designer, Isaac Mizrahi may have a way to make papers more popular. He was challenged to create a dress out of newspaper, out of USA Today.
Here is what he had to say about his creation.
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ISSAC MISRAHI, FASHION DESIGNER: I would say about a full newspaper went into that dress, a whole full newspaper. One shoulder is a very important movement at the moment. I think a lot of people are doing one shoulder, including me. And, of course, like the Obama reference right on the shoulder is a good thing. An armhole is difficult to make in fabric. You can imagine how difficult an armhole is to make in news print. If you can't imagine, let me tell you. It's very, very difficult. But I think we did a good job, right? I think this would be like comfortable and beautiful on whoever wears it.
SCOTT: I think it would scratch the dickens out of you.
And that's going to be a wrap for "News Watch" this week.
Thanks to Marisa Guthrie, Jim Pinkerton, Charlie Hurt and Kirsten Powers.
I'm Jon Scott. Keep it here on FOX. We'll see you next week.
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