'Fox News Watch,' May 22, 2010

This is a rush transcript from "Fox News Watch," May 22, 2010. This copy is may not be in its final form and may be updated.

JON SCOTT, FOX NEWS HOST: On "Fox News Watch..."


PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: My administration is taking a very close look at the Arizona law.

JAN BREWER, R-GOVERNOR OF ARIZ.: Mr. President and Secretary Napolitano, it is your responsibility to secure our borders and I plead with you and I ask you respectfully do your job.


SCOTT: A war of words and anti-Arizona actions over that state's new law to protect Americans and secure the border. How is the story playing in the press?


RICHARD BLUMENTHAL, D-CONN. ATTORNEY GENERAL: We have learned something very important since the days I served in Vietnam.

I may have misspoken. I did misspeak.

I served in Vietnam.

I regret that I misspoke on those occasions.


SCOTT: Democratic hopeful's error or a lie? Do the media know the difference?

Has the White House changed how it treats the press?


REPORTER: Is that your answer?

OBAMA: We won't be answering — I'm not doing a press conference today.


SCOTT: Nope.


SCOTT: Voters send a message to Washington on primary Tuesday. But has that message been lost on the media?

And what has five years of YouTube done to us?


SCOTT: On the panel this week, writer and Fox News contributor Judy Miller; editor for the National Review, Rich Lowry; Jim Pinkerton, fellow, New America Foundation; and columnist Kirsten Powers.

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


SEN. ARLEN SPECTER, D-PA.: I have just called Congressman Sestak to congratulate him and to tell him that I think it is vital that we keep this seat with the Democratic Party. And that I will support him in the election.


SCOTT: Arlen Specter a casualty of Tuesday's primary, losing his bid to extend his nearly 30 years in the U.S. Senate for the state of Pennsylvania.

And in Kentucky.


RAND PAUL, R-KY., U.S SENATE CANDIDATE: The Tea Party movement is huge. The mandate of our victory tonight is huge. What you have done and what we are doing can transform America.


SCOTT: Rand Paul, a favorite of Tea Party activists, winning the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate in Kentucky, and getting national media attention in the process.

Some of the headlines following the results, from the New York Times, "Specter defeats signals a wave against incumbents"; Los Angeles Times, "Primaries put Republicans on notice"; from Politico.com, "Cracks in the political establishment."

That attention and the voters' message downplayed though at the White House.


ROBERT GIBBS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Look, I think we've — for both in Pennsylvania and Arkansas done quite a bit for each candidate.

REPORTER: How closely as the president been following these campaigns?

GIBBS: Not that closely.


SCOTT: So it raises the question, Rich, was this White House really that disinterested in the campaigns, especially Specter's?

RICH LOWRY, EDITOR, NATIONAL REVIEW: As soon as a candidate is going down, that's when they lose interest.


That's the pattern here. Look, the media emphasized the anti- incumbent, anti-establishment aspect, which is real and significant. It emphasized a little less the fact that Obama has very little clout in these elections that we've seen the last six months or so. And there's a real ideological element out there. In the Pennsylvania 12 special election, which Democrats like to highlight, because they held a swing district there, the Democrat was probably to the right of Jim Pinkerton.


He was that far right.

SCOTT: Let's go to Jim Pinkerton.

Because I want to ask you about Joe Sestak, the Congressman who beat Arlen Specter in that Pennsylvania primary. He has long said that the White House tried to bribe him to get out of race. When the president's Press Secretary Robert Gibbs was asked about that Thursday, he didn't have an answer. Is there something that ought to be looked into?

JIM PINKERTON, FELLOW, NEW AMERICA FOUNDATION: That was a scandal that the press was, strangely enough, never interested in. But, look, this was a confusing result. The left won a scalp in Pennsylvania. The right won in a scalp in Kentucky. And the Democrat held that seat in Pennsylvania, that I don't think the media gave enough attention to the fact. Look, the Democrats had a contested primary that same day. That's why so many Democrats went to vote for that. But on the other hand, the Republicans still lost a seat.

SCOTT: Rand Paul beat the Republican favorite son in Kentucky and the media cost that generally as a black eye for the Republican Party.

JUDY MILLER, WRITER & FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Yes. And I think Doug Schoen made the same point. And Doug is a Democratic pollster, who said that part of the problem is the Republicans are not able to capitalize a lot on the opportunity that is being offered because they have no mission and you're going to waste an opportunity. Of course, Rand Paul wasted a great opportunity himself with the world's shortest honeymoon.

SCOTT: The Tea Party movement that elected Rand Paul has gotten short shift in the media in general. Would you agree?

KIRSTEN POWERS, COLUMNIST: Yes, and I would count myself among those who early on didn't take them seriously and thought they were just being hyped and weren't quite as big as they were portrayed to be. It turns out that they actually have tapped into something that's a very serious feeling in the country. I think now people are starting to really appreciate how, you know, powerful they actually are.

SCOTT: So why don't we see more stories, Rich, about, I guess, the power of the Tea Party or positive portrayals thereof?

LOWRY: You've seen more coverage. You just never are going to see positive portrayals. For better or worse, Rand Paul is now the poster boy of the Tea Party movement and it's partly because that's the way he's branded himself. He's the only candidate who has gone out on election night they way he did and said that he's from the Tea Parties.

The down side of that for conservatives and the Tea Partiers is that he does have some strange views. He's not a traditional politician. Every time he goes out there with some quibbles about the Civil Rights Act in 1964...


...like he did before, is not going to play very well.

SCOTT: It is going to be an interesting campaign season. Are the media geared up to cover it?


PINKERTON: Yes. This is — horse races are what the media love the most, the competition.

Back to Rand Paul. I think the most astute thing anything said about that whole flap about the Civil Rights Act was Joe Scarborough, on MSNBC, who said, what was Rand Paul thinking, going on Rachel Maddow's show? I think it was Mark Finkelstein, of NewsBusters, who first pointed that out. As he said, it would be fun to be an olive in the martinis, when Maddow and Scarborough get together at the MSNBC Happy Hour.


SCOTT: Time for a break.

For more on the stories we don't cover and a little bit of what you don't see on TV that happens in our studio during the breaks, after our program, log on to foxnews.com/foxnewswatch.

We'll be back with the media's role in creating the firestorm over Arizona's immigration law. Are they reporting the news or trying to send a message?


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, R-ARIZ.: Have you read the Arizona law?

ERIC HOLDER, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: I have not had a chance to. I've glanced at it. I have not read it.


ANNOUNCER: Arizona's illegal immigration law drawing criticism and reaction. Is the news media clearing up the confusion or blurring the issue?

And a Democratic hopeful forced to come clean.


BLUMENTHAL: Since the days that I served in Vietnam.


ANNOUNCER: Misspoke or lied? And does the media know the difference? Answers next, on "News Watch."



MCCAIN: Have you had a chance to review the new law passed by the state of Arizona?

JANET NAPOLITANO, SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY: I've not reviewed it in detail. I certainly know of it, Senator.

POE: Have you read the Arizona law?

HOLDER: I have not had a chance to. I've glanced at it. I have not read it.


SCOTT: All right, there you go. Two key members of President Obama's cabinet, who have been critical of Arizona's new illegal immigration law, both admitting they hadn't actually read it.

Later in the week, while hosting Mexican President Felipe Calderon, Mr. Obama had his chance to comment on the Arizona law.


OBAMA: I want everyone, Americans and Mexicans, to know my administration is taking a close look at the Arizona law. We're examining any implications, especially for civil rights, because in the United States of America, no law abiding person, be they an American citizen, illegal immigrant or a visitor or a tourist from Mexico, should ever be subject to suspicion simply because of what they look like.


SCOTT: Kirsten, it seems there has been a sort of campaign of misinformation about in law, whether intentional or otherwise. Is that a result of what the administration has been doing or is it the media jumping on a bandwagon?

POWERS: I think it is probably a little bit of both. I think, even if they had read the law, I don't think their positions are particularly going to change on it. I think this may become the new thing that we always do, always ask people if they've read something. In the past, nobody ever asked anybody if they read the laws, when we all know they didn't. Now it is something you jump on people about.

SCOTT: Have you read the law?

POWERS: But substantively...


No, I haven't. Substantively, I don't think it is going to change their position.

LOWRY: The health care bill — Betsy McCoy read it.


It is 2,000 pages long. It's understandable most people wouldn't read it. But Eric holder saying he glanced at it, you cannot glance without reading it. I mean, it is 10 pages long. The most controversial provision is about a paragraph long. And Kirsten is right, these are people that wanted to reject the law and oppose it no matter what. There hasn't been one — given how controversial this is, not one, that I've seen, lengthy article setting out the legal precedents that are behind this law and that the drafters relied on. And there are plenty of them.

SCOTT: It does seem like the media headlines, Judy, have been "Arizona law: Bad."

MILLER: That was certainly the message. And that continued after the Arizona legislature changed the law to tone down some of the more objectionable provisions.

However, the law, which was read and analyzed here on Fox News by Judge Napolitano, he maintains it is clearly unconstitutional in that a 1939 Supreme Court decision gave the authority over immigration policy to the president.

LOWRY: Right. He's right about that.

MILLER: And the president doesn't want to go near this.

LOWRY: We don't want to get into the legalities, but this is wrong.

MILLER: Cheap labor for the Republicans and cheap votes for the Democrats.

PINKERTON: All the more reason to actually read the law. Somebody has to read it.

MILLER: Yes. Yes.

PINKERTON: And it was interesting, as Brent Bozell, at the Media Research Center pointed out, not any of the big networks, ABC, CBS, NBC, reported that Holder and Napolitano hadn't read it. And the major newspapers, the Post and Times, also didn't report it.

By comparison, we could imagine what would have happened if a Democratic congressman asked Alberto Gonzales, the former attorney general under President Bush, if he hadn't read something. There would have been a typhoon of, "What a moron." Yet, stone silence from the mainstream media.

SCOTT: Well...

LOWRY: One of my favorite comments on this, Jon, was the Sunday afterwards, Brit Hume was on "Fox News Sunday" and commented on the law and said he was quite troubled by it. The next Sunday, he went back and said, "You know what, I read it. The prior Sunday, I relied on media coverage. That was a mistake, and now I think it is reasonable."

SCOTT: And related to that, when President Calderon made that appearance in front of the joint meeting of Congress, he talked about his observing to the law. Got a 15 second standing ovation, including Vice President Biden and the Attorney General Eric Holder.

MILLER: Right, he got a standing ovation from the Democrats. He did not get a standing ovation from Republicans. This has become...

SCOTT: But did the attorney general read the law before he applauded?

MILLER: Maybe he had read it by that...

LOWRY: Has Calderon read the law?


LOWRY: Was it translated?


MILLER: Yes. It is probably in Spanish and in English because he speaks both languages well and reads in both.


PINKERTON: But the dog that didn't bark this week on this whole issue was President Obama saying, standing next to Calderon in the Rose Garden, quote, "We are not defined by our borders." If that is not a signal as to where the Democrats are on this border issue, nothing is.

SCOTT: There's a Fox News poll out this week, Kirsten. 65 percent of Americans say they think the states have the right to make their own immigration laws and protect their borders, if the federal government doesn't do the job. Does that point of view get reflected in the media coverage?

POWERS: No, what gets reflected is what the media coverage is what the media thinks. At the same time, this is not a popular position, but it is what I believe. That's nice that Americans think that, but I don't know how they have the expertise to know that unless they are all lawyers. Unless they are all are able to make judgments about how the legalities of these things play out. In the end, I don't think that's how we make our laws. I think we should make them based on what is legal, what is constitutional and what is the right thing.

SCOTT: OK. What is the legal thing regarding immigration? That's the question for Washington.

PINKERTON: But remember, the law is a function of public sentiment. In the end, people get to define what their governors and what their Constitution says.

MILLER: Yes, but this is a cry for help from Arizona. And most Americans understand that. I think that's why they are sympathetic to the fact that the federal government has done nothing for Arizona and for their problem.

SCOTT: Time for a break.

Up next, the president and the press, why is this relationship so cold?


OBAMA: We won't be answering. I'm not doing a press conference today.


ANNOUNCER: President Obama ignores reporters again as the White House continues to control the message. Is there any hope for America's free press?


ANNOUNCER: YouTube turns five. How did we live without it? All next, on "News Watch."



BLUMENTHAL: We have learned something very important since the days that I served in Vietnam and you exemplify it.


SCOTT: "Since the days I served in Vietnam." Seven words from Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal. His claim of serving in Vietnam not true. the New York Times reported on its front page that Blumenthal, the front-running candidate for U.S. Senate in his state, has, on several occasions, suggested, and in one instance, flat-out claimed that he served in Vietnam even though he did not. The accusations that he intentionally misled voters about his false military background forced Mr. Blumenthal to do damage control, facing the public and the press.


BLUMENTHAL: Now, on a few occasions, I have misspoken about my service. and I regret that. And I take full responsibility.


SCOTT: All right, Kirsten you served as a press secretary to a politician. Did he misspeak or did he lie?

POWERS: If I worked for him, I would say he misspoke.


But he lied. And he lied very specifically. He also claimed he was spat upon. This was not some one-time, he accidentally said something and corrected it, which is sort of what the defense has been. I think it is egregious.

There were many profiles of him that he let stand that repeated this, where any politician I know, if they saw something that wasn't true about them, would immediately correct it for precisely this reason. I think that he — the fact that people are coming to his defense is absurd. What he did is outside of the bounds of what is acceptable.

SCOTT: Did the times have the scoop, Jim?

PINKERTON: Actually, the Times didn't. There's a blogger named Gary Weiss, who found an article from 2002 in the Norwalk, Connecticut, newspaper, called The Hour, where they had it. The Times should have given the Norwalk paper credit. And maybe there's others, too, out there.

But what is also interesting the degree to which the MSM is covering for Blumenthal. They're saying he's haunted by this. They are agreeing that he misspoke. I agree with Kirsten, he lied.

SCOTT: If Richard Nixon had said the same thing...


Would he get this kind of treatment in the press?

MILLER: He would have misspoken at this point in time.


Look, there are all kinds of wonderful politically gobble-de-gook words. Tina Brown put it well, "He lied." why don't we use the word?

Kirsten, thank you for using the word.

But the New York Times’ omissions from the story were very interesting. And I don't understand why they did that. Why did they leave out the source of that report and why did they leave out the fact that others had it first?

LOWRY: Those are key things. I think they nailed him and nailed him justly. But on the most stark misstatement, when he said "in Vietnam," prior, and earlier in that speech, he actually correctly stated his record.

And also, if they did get it from the McMahon campaign, the Republican candidate up there, they should have revealed that. Now, he's guilty of indirection, innovation that was a lie. He let false things on the record stand because it was favorable to him.

SCOTT: Moving on now. President Obama signed the Press Freedom Act Monday, then decided not to answer any reporter questions.



OBAMA: You are certainly free to pass them.

REPORTER: Will you answer?

OBAMA: We won't be answering. I'm not doing a press conference today. But we'll be seeing you guys in the course of this week.



SCOTT: The new law requires an annual report on press freedoms in other countries. If this is what Candidate Obama promised, the most transparent White House in history, it is also one that has zero sense of irony. President Obama signing the act after he has made it clear that dealing with the press is one of the least favorite parts of his job. So he signs the Press Freedom Act and then won't take any questions.


MILLER: Right. Why are we surprised? CBS called it rich irony. This is not the first time that President Obama has demonstrated his disdain for the press. It was his administration that has also tried to tighten the restrictions on a balancing test for a shield law to protect journalist sources. It has delayed the law. He has done it quietly. He has gotten no attention on this from the press. He doesn't like us. Surprise.


SCOTT: In the early weeks of this administration, we had primetime news conferences or statements it seemed like every week. Now it has been 43 weeks since.

PINKERTON: Yes, but then there was the Cambridge police incident and that kind of ended the sense that Obama should answer questions without a teleprompter.

SCOTT: So does anybody care that it has been, what, 43 weeks since the...

LOWRY: Journalists care. But it has always been an unrequited one-way love affair. They are in love with the guy and he has contempt for them.


It is a deep arrogance. He looks down on them. He criticizes cable TV all the time. He thinks all of us are grubby and unworthy.


And he's probably right.


SCOTT: Maybe we are!

We have to take one more break.

Up next, it has hit two billion hits on its videos each day. What would we do without YouTube?

ANNOUNCER: Five years of the incredible...


ANNOUNCER: ...interesting...


ANNOUNCER: ...and bizarre.




ATTORNEY: YouTube turns five. That's next, on "News Watch."


SCOTT: YouTube turned five years old this week. With two billion daily hits, it's hard to imagine the Internet without it. It started with a clip showing the cofounder, Jawed Karim, at the San Diego Zoo and, from there, it took off. It's became a source of endless entertainment. You can watch the keyboard-playing kitty. Aspiring entertainers have turned into a star vehicle. Teen superstar, Justin Bieber, put himself on the YouTube to germinate an audience that's made him an international sensation. And it's also become a place for politicians to spread their messages. And it was a way for protestors in Tehran to share their plight to the world.

That's a wrap on "News Watch" this week.

Thanks to our panel.

We'll see you next week.

Content and Programming Copyright 2010 Fox News Network, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Copyright 2010 Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.