This is a rush transcript from "Fox News Watch," April 24, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
JON SCOTT, HOST: On "Fox News Watch," the president wins his way to —
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PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Wall Street.
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SCOTT: Taking his message of reform to the nation's financial center and imploring that community to help him.
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OBAMA: I urge all of you to join me.
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SCOTT: Is the press on board, or are there still questions which need answers?
Earth Day hits 40, putting a spotlight on Mother Nature and our environment. In the past four decades, has the media coverage been objective or mostly doom and gloom?
America remembered a tragedy in Oklahoma.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get 'em back!
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SCOTT: That dark moment in our nation's past gave some in the media a chance to compare Tim McVeigh's evil deed to Tea Party protesters. Should there be outrage?
Concerns over Iran's nuclear threat grow. And a leaked memo from the defense secretary makes headlines. But are the media missing the mark?
And with suspended anchors and internal strive, is MSNBC in trouble?
On the panel this week, writer and Fox News contributor, Judy Miller; syndicated columnist, Cal Thomas; Jim Pinkerton, fellow, New America Foundation; and columnist, Kirsten Powers.
I'm Jon Scott. "Fox News Watch" is on right now.
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OBAMA: As I said on this stage two years ago, I believe in the power of the free market. I believe in a strong financial sector that helps people to raise capital and gets loans and investor savings. That is part of what has made America what it is. But a free market was never meant to be a free license to take whatever you can get, however you can get it.
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SCOTT: That's how the president began his address to Wall Street's financial titans, telling them increased government oversight will be good for their industry. And headlines like these on Friday morning, in The Washington Post: "Obama seizes reins on issues of financial reform, a stern speech on Wall Street." In the Market Times: "Obama chastises Wall Street and calls to stiffen rules." New Jersey's Star Ledger: "Taking it to the Street." And this one in the New York Post, part of the parent company of this network, "Dear Mr. President, don't kill the golden goose," obviously, an appeal to the fact that much of New York City's tax revenue comes from Wall Street.
So what about it, Jim? Is the president trying it kill the golden goose, and are the press joining him in bashing?
JIM PINKERTON, FELLOW, NEW AMERICA FOUNDATION: I think President Obama is trying to have it both ways. He's trying to take their money and take it again in 2012.
SCOTT: $15 million during the presidential campaign.
PINKERTON: A point, many, many people just from Goldman Sachs to the Treasury Department where the fox then guards the hen house. And then, at the same time, trying to get credit for being a populist. It's quite a trick. And those headlines prove that the MSM is completely on board.
SCOTT: The left has been attacking Wall Street. Well, I guess I should, I should say the press has been attacking Wall Street.
PINKERTON: Oh, wait a second. You repeat yourself.
SCOTT: The press has been attacking Wall Street as long as Republicans have been attacking big government. Maybe longer. I mean, is it — is it just popular to pile on at a time like this?
JUDY MILLER, WRITER & FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Of course, it is. It's kind of a dog bites man. It's not new. And it wouldn't have even been possible had this great golden goose laid a huge, huge, leaden egg. What the president is doing, given his poll numbers, which continued to sink even after health care, is going — striking an anti-Wall Street, anti-Washington, anti-elite tone and going to his face. It's politics 101. He had the votes. He has the votes for the financial reform package, before Air Force One even touched down in New York.
SCOTT: Kirsten, I want to get your reaction to something Charles Krauthammer wrote. He says, "The president's tact is to denigrate, cast out and de-legitimize any argument against his." What do you think?
KIRSTEN POWERS, COLUMNIST: No, Charles and I don't usually see things —
SCOTT: That's why I gave you the question.
POWERS: As much as I respect him, and I do. I mean, I think that that's the typically what you have to do when you're the president. You have to take a pretty hard line on your positions. And you have to — I mean, you have to go out and fight for something. So are you really going to be — I think as much as anybody, he has actually tried to listen to the other side. But he's got to go out and make his argument.
I do actually think that — that Obama is trying to have it both ways on this financial reform stuff. I think he's been very much in bed with Wall Street, you know, if you look at the type of people he's appointed, if you look at how much money he's gotten from Wall Street. and I think that he's finally realized that politically, that people are angry at him, that people feel like everything has been done to benefit Wall Street, while Main Street has been left in —
SCOTT: And is the president paying attention to at that issue?
POWERS: No. I don't think they are at all. I think that they let him talk on both sides of his mouth on this and that he's way late on this. He's very, very late on dealing with this issue.
SCOTT: I want — there was news that started out the week, Cal, about the SEC investigation of Goldman Sachs. a lot of speculation about the timing of all of this, you know, beating up on Wall Street in the same giant Wall Street firm, at the same time the president's getting ready to crack down on Wall Street. Rahm Emanuel went on "The Charlie Rose Show" and said something about all of that.
Listen to this and then let's get your reaction.
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CHARLIE ROSE, HOST, THE CHARLIE ROSE SHOW: How was it that The New York Times knew about this before Goldman Sachs did, the filing of the complaint?
RAHM EMANUEL, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: I have no idea.
ROSE: And that soon thereafter there was, you know — literally within an hour or so, the White House was — in terms of information coming from the White House.
EMANUEL: I can tell you with absolute — everybody at the White House found out like everybody else when it hit the news.
ROSE: When it hit New York Times?
EMANUEL: No, when it hit the news, it is — the SEC is an independent agency, operates independently. Nobody at the White House would know anything ahead of anybody else.
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SCOTT: So there you go.
CAL THOMAS, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Well, if you Google Goldman Sachs and SEC, it takes you to a Barack Obama webpage, where you're invited to sign up, presumably for petitions on this. Anybody who believes Rahm Emanuel on this, I want to sell them land in —
SCOTT: Do you think his nose was growing there?
THOMAS: Oh, my goodness, Pinocchio on steroids.
You know, there's a narrative in the media on this. The president says he believes in this and that. And W.C. Fields said, "Everybody has to believe in something. I believe I'll have another drink."
It has absolutely nothing to do with it. These guys are in bed — not only the Democrats. The Republicans are too. And Goldman Sachs had its tentacles in government, in Washington for years. Do the banks need to be reformed? Absolutely. Do they need this 1300 page bill? The media thinks so. An awful lot of other people don't, including me.
SCOTT: And then it comes out that the SEC — some of the SEC lawyers who are supposed to be watching the hen house were actually surfing porn.
THOMAS: That gives you a lot of confidence, doesn't it?
PINKERTON: 17 SEC employees, making a minimum of $100,000, spent 16,000 hours surfing porn. It's astonishing. But there are so many threats here that the press needs to be talking on. For example, why did Lloyd Blankfein go to the White House four times? What was he talking about there? Did he meet with —
SCOTT: Head of Goldman.
PINKERTON: Head of Goldman Sachs. And now we learn that the rating services, like Moody's and Standard & Poor's, were soliciting the projects they were rating for money and saying, look, we'll give you a better rating if you give us more money. That is, shall we say, a pretty good big scandal.
Look, I think all four of us agree that both parties have been in the tank on the issues for a long, long time.
THOMAS: That's right.
PINKERTON: And only now is it blowing up in America's face.
SCOTT: And all three heads are nodding in unison with Jim there. That doesn't happen often on this program.
It's time for a break.
But first, more stories on media bias and an insider's view on what goes on here during the breaks, if you want some of that, log on to FoxNews.com/Foxnewswatch after the show.
Up next, Earth Day, the environment and the media. Please pass the doom and gloom.
ANNOUNCER: Earth Day hit 40 this week, four decades of environmental awareness and four decades of mainstream media cheerleading. Why do journalists trash objectively when it comes to Mother Nature?
America remembers tragedies of the past, as some in the press link political activism to the sins of McVeigh. All next, on "News Watch."
SCOTT: Earth Day turned 40 this week. Originally inspired by former U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson, the day brings attention to environmental issues worldwide. I'm old enough to remember the first one.
Judy, it helped — it does help keep environmental issues on people's minds without pointing fingers, Earth Day does. But what about the press, the media coverage of it?
MILLER: Well, now, I think that the press has grown as accustomed to covering this annual event as people are accustomed to exploiting it. and what's happened is Earth Day has, for both the media and I think for mainstream world, have become a kind of victim of its own success or a — it's now a big business. So you have, as Leslie Kaufman wrote — an extraordinarily good article in the business section — Earth Day is big business, including the umbrella that enables to you drain and reuse water.
SCOTT: But you know, I remember, you remember, growing up in Denver as a kid, we had terrible pollution problems in the '70s. And that has gotten a lot better now right.
PINKERTON: Right. Right. It has gotten a lot better and the environmentalists should celebrate that. Of course, they're too busy dooming and glooming about global warming to worry about that.
Look, Eric Hoffer, the famous philosopher, who coin phrase, "true believer," says, "Every movement starts out idealistic, then becomes a corporation, and then eventually becomes a racket.
THOMAS: In this case, a cabinet level position in the EPA, brought in by Richard Nixon of all things.
SCOTT: How have you seen this change?
THOMAS: First of all, you have to understand that most of the media approach this as a secular religion. You're to worship the earth. We did quite well in my father's generation with conservationism. You had things like the Isaac Walton League. Even the media were involved in saying, don't throw those things on the ground, keep the water supply clean. You want a nice place to go fish. All of that worked out fine. But now, we have environmentalism, which is, as I said, a kind of secular religion. You have to love your mother, the earth. And you have to worship trees.
And we've had scares from (inaudible) on apples to the crazy global warming cult of Al Gore.
POWERS: I'm sorry. Who says you have to worship trees?
MILLER: Oh, no, no, no. Cal, come on.
THOMAS: Loving your pine tree. You know, hug your tree.
POWERS: I mean, the people — now the environmentalists are people who believe in global warming, like myself, are called doom and gloom people. Guess what they used to be called when they were talking about lead paint and they were talking about the water being polluted, doom and gloom people. They were described as being sort of crazies and tree huggers. And it's because of them that kids now don't have — to get lead poisoning from their paint. So, you know, it is, it is the same group of people —
PINKERTON: There's a slight difference between the toxic effect of lead and the nontoxic effect of CO2. CO2 actually creates life.
POWERS: But I'm saying that your kind, back then —
THOMAS: Your kind?
POWERS: — were attacking my kind, who were pushing these environmental protections. And I think it's the same thing again.
THOMAS: Being right once doesn't give you —
POWERS: But I think what Judy said is a point that — or maybe you said, they're a victim of their success. Whoever said that, I think it's a lot easier when rivers are catching on fire to say, oh, we have an environmental problem. It's a lot more complicated to explain global warming.
SCOTT: The Media Research Center posted a special report this week claiming networks generally hide the decline of credibility of claims of climate change. And that 48 percent of Americans, according to go a March 2010 Gallup poll, think the threat of global warming is greatly exaggerated.
POWERS: It probably is exaggerated by some people. I know some very smart environmentalists who think that Al Gore has exaggerated it too much and has made it to a point where it's losing credibility because he exaggerates so much. But that it's still a very serious threat. And so, just because it's exaggerated, doesn't mean it's not a serious threat.
PINKERTON: Fortunately for the greens, they have the White House Press Corps, which announced that its participation in the White House Correspondent's Dinner will be carbon neutral. Hats off to Mike Allen of Politico for catching these people being — being pious.
POWERS: And hats off to Rupert Murdoch, who makes this company green. And we have things all over — we have posters telling us to be green. Come on, it's not a liberal left wing conspiracy.
SCOTT: All right.
POWERS: — that most Americans —
MILLER: It's become one.
POWERS: — environment.
SCOTT: There's way too much agreement —
It's time for another break.
First, if you see evidence of media bias, send the example to us at newswatch@Foxnews.com.
Up next, an anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing prompts some in the press to make comparisons that seem anything but fair and balanced.
ANNOUNCER: 15 years ago, an act of terror rocked our nation. And now are some in the media trying to link that crime to a popular political view?
Plus, Iran's nuclear threat grows. And a memo from the defense secretary reveals a weak plan on how to deal with that threat. Is the media paying attention? Answers next, on "News Watch."
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BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When I went back and started preparing for the 15th anniversary of Oklahoma City, I realized that there were a lot of parallels between the early '90s and now, the rise of a kind of identity politics, the rise of the militia movements and right wing talk radio with a lot of what's going on in the blogosphere right now.
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SCOTT: Former President Clinton on ABC's "This Week," saying he sees a lot of similarities between the nation's mood at the time of the Oklahoma City bombing and current anti-government attitudes.
MSNBC aired a special this week on Oklahoma City bomber, Timothy McVeigh. Rachel Maddow, who hosted that show, went on John Stewart's program. Listen to how she describes similar views:
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RACHEL MADDOW, HOST, THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW: The dark side of it is he really did see himself as part of an anti-government movement in the United States. And we have that to a greater or less are degree over time in the U.S. And right now I think we are experiencing an upswing again in sort of anti-government extremism. That's not to say that the next Timothy McVeigh is out there, but is to say that people should be not encouraging government — violence against government institutions and people.
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SCOTT: You know, Jim, as I recall, Timothy McVeigh blew up the Murrah Federal Building because he was angry over Janet Reno, Bill Clinton's attorney general, sending in the, you know —
PINKERTON: At Waco.
SCOTT: — the federales to the Waco compound.
PINKERTON: Look, this is — Bill Clinton helped himself enormously to get reelected in 1996 by blaming Oklahoma City on Rush Limbaugh, in effect, and he's trying to do it again to help the Democrats in 2010. It's a pretty transparent tactic. and it's nice to see that ABC News and Jake Tapper are there to be with him every step of the way.
SCOTT: But, I mean, to suggest that the Tea Party movement — and that's what she seems to be talking about. Would you agree? Tea Party movement is tantamount to blowing up the federal building?
MILLER: I think that's the subtext in what she was saying, but I don't have any specific quarrel with what she was saying or what former President Clinton was saying, because I think we have to be careful about the language we're all using and we're hearing. We see these threats against congressmen from the left and especially the right, and we have to be careful, and remember that a lot of this can end in violence.
THOMAS: This is interesting to hear, because in the 1980's, when conservatives argued there was a connection between sex and violence in the media, and acts of sex and violence, rape, beating up people, that the left side, oh, no, no, there's no connection at all.
Ted Bundy, the serial killer did an interview —
MILLER: That's no feminist for him to say that? That's ridiculous.
THOMAS: — and said — and said that pornography was the cause of his decision to violently abuse and kill women. But the left said, oh, no, no, he's wrong. He's faking it.
POWERS: Cal, there's an entire movement called feminism that actually —
THOMAS: Not anymore, apparently.
POWERS: — actually, at that time, took up all the causes, and actually still does take the causes. It's not as big a movement as they used to be.
THOMAS: No. The word of the '80s was, if you don't like America, change the channel.
POWERS: There are organizations — that's not true. Gloria Steinem led an anti-pornography —
MILLER: Gloria Steinem led the movement against that.
POWERS: Yes. I mean, the left was very much on her side.
PINKERTON: Hold on. But the left also had the ACLU, which said, anything goes.
POWERS: But ACLU has a totally separate mission. That's not the same thing. You're lumping everybody together.
PINKERTON: No, I'm not lumping together —
PINKERTON: But you're just saying that the left includes more than feminists.
POWERS: Yes, it does. But you cannot — you cannot leave out an entire group of people who were in the forefront of fighting these issues. I just don't —
SCOTT: Speaking of fighting, let's talk about Iran. That country's Revolutionary Guard began extensive war games in the Persian Gulf on Thursday. This, as concerns grow over Iran's nuclear threat.
Recent Pentagon reports predict Iran could develop an inter- continental ballistic missile capable of reaching the U.S. as early as 2015.
The New York Times on Sunday ran an article detailing a classified memo that Defense Secretary Robert Gates sent to the White House. In that memo, Gates raises concerns about Iran's nuclear program and whether the U.S. has policies in place to deal with it.
Secretary Gates supposedly did not like seeing his classified memo leaked to a major paper, although there's been speculation that he himself might have leaked it. He pushed back, calling the paper out for serious mischaracterizations about the memo's content and purpose. He wrote, "The memo was not intended as a wakeup call or received as such by the president's national security team. Rather, it presented a number of questions and proposals intended to contribute to an orderly and timely decision-making process. There should be no confusion by our allies and adversaries that the United States is properly and focused on this question and prepared to act across a broad range of contingencies in support of our interests."
Is this diplomacy in the media, Judy?
MILLER: This is vintage Secretary Gates. He is an insider. He knows how to play this game. He was the former head of the CIA. and this memo was leaked. And what is extraordinary about it is that, as Senator McCain said, I don't need a three-page classified memo to tell me we don't have a well-conceived Iran policy.
SCOTT: So if it was leaked by someone close to him, what does he get out of it?
PINKERTON: He gets distance from a failed policy. It reminds me a lot of what Don Rumsfeld did when the Iraq war turned south in 2003. He said, oh, gosh, are we making things worse in Iraq? That, strangely enough, ended up on the front page of the paper, too.
SCOTT: All right.
Up next, newsroom drama on NBC. Why all the anchor angst at Club Peacock?
ANNOUNCER: He's suspended. He's suspended. and nobody really likes him. Are Peacock News anchors out of control? That's next, on "News Watch."
SCOTT: We could start a regular segment titled, "What are they thinking over at MSNBC." Two weeks ago, anchor, David Shuster, was suspended indefinitely for straying away from the Peacock paddock and taping a pilot program for rival CNN. He has been in trouble before for inappropriate tweets and his pimping-out comment about Chelsea Clinton.
Now extra Donny Deutsch, stage left, and exit Donny Deutsch, stage left. The former CNBC host was supposed to anchor for a week on MSNBC, but got the boot after he included a shot of Keith Olbermann and something called "America the Angry." According to The New York Times, Deutsch got the boot because he dared make an unflattering reference to that channel's number-one anchor.
Stay tuned for more.
That is going to be a wrap on "News Watch" this week. Thanks to Judy Miller, Jim Pinkerton, Cal Thomas and Kirsten Powers.
I'm Jon Scott. Thanks for joining us. Keep it right here on Fox News Channel. And we'll see you back here next week.
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