'Fox News Watch,' June 5, 2010

This is a rush transcript from "Fox News Watch," June 5, 2010. This copy is may not be in its final form and may be updated.

JON SCOTT, HOST: On "Fox News Watch," this week, the oil continues to gush. Images of an environmental catastrophe flood the media. And all sides try to spin the story in their favor.


TONY HAYWARD, CEO, BP: I'm deeply sorry.





SCOTT: Does BP stand for Barack's problem or baffled press?

Pictures are worth a thousand words. But when the pictures tell two different stories, whose words do the media believe?


BENJAMIN NATANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: No evidence is needed. Israel is guilty, until proven guilty.


SCOTT: Is the future of a free American press in danger? The U.S. government takes first steps to reinvent journalism. Is this an attempt to control the media?




SCOTT: CNN turns 30. Once the forerunner on cable, now lost in cable space. Is it time to say good-bye?

And Al and Tipper call it quits. Can the media handle the break-up?

On the panel this week, writer and Fox News contributor, Judy Miller; conservative columnist, Andrea Tantaros; Jim Pinkerton, fellow, New America Foundation; and Juan Williams, senior national correspondent for National Public Radio.

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


OBAMA: The cameras, at some point, may leave. The media may get tired of the story. But we will not. We are on your side and we will see this through.


SCOTT: Well, the news cameras and reporters have not left the gulf region. They actually seem to have increased in numbers. Even network news anchors have returned to the evolving story of the disaster in the gulf, and efforts under way to stop the oil leak. And with some truly awful pictures coming out, and public opinion turning sour, all of the involved parties are working hard to get out their messages.


HAYWARD: The gulf spill is a tragedy that never should have happened. I'm Tony Hayward. BP has taken full responsibility for cleaning up the spill in the gulf. We have helped organize the largest environmental response in this country's history. We will honor all legitimate claims. And our cleanup efforts will not come at any cost to taxpayers. So those affected and your families, I'm deeply sorry.



BOBBY JINDAL, R-GOVERNOR OF LA.: what we're saying to BP is doing the right thing. Stop sending an army of the attorneys. Do the right thing. Either go ahead and sign the contracts to move the dredge yourself or, if you don't want to do it, just give us — just move out of the way and give us the check and we'll do it. Either way, let us move before midnight that first dredge. And we're asking the federal government, don't ask BP to do this. Under LPA, the Coast Guard doesn't have to ask them to do this. Make them do it. Tell them to do it. The Coast Guard, our federal government should hold them accountable and make them responsible.


SCOTT: All right, we're going to start this edition with a quiz.

Jim, who wrote the lines, "What does it say about the media coverage of Mr. Obama, it's not a good narrative arc, the man who walked on water is now ensnared by a crisis under water, and oil will not stop flowing, but the magic has."


SCOTT: In the New York Times.

PINKERTON: New York Times.

SCOTT: Yes. And what does it say about the...

PINKERTON: I mean, this last week, you saw media big feet, like Jake Tapper and Maureen Dowd and David Broder, really pummeling the president. David Broder, the Washington Post, compared him to Jimmy Carter and the Iranian hostage crisis, which is kind of a lethal analogy.

SCOTT: Yes, Juan, that cover of Newsweek, this past week suggested that this could be as bad for the Obama presidency as the Iranian hostage crisis.

JUAN WILLIAMS, CORRESPONDENT, NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO: Yes, you know what is interesting to me is that this press has celebrated him as cool and analytical and able to stand above the fray, now has honed in on this idea that he is not sufficiently emotive, that he has not communicated a passion about his concern for the folks down in the gulf. And what strikes me here is that it is coming from the left more so, I think, than the right. And the right, you can charge with hypocrisy. Oh, you guys were all for drill, baby, drill at one time. Now you've got this spill. But the people on the left, like the New York Times, like the Maureen Dowds, like the Newsweeks, those folks I think are disappointed in Obama because he has not been righteous in his indignation and hasn't been furious.

SCOTT: We heard at the top of the show there, Andrea, from Bobby Jindal, who was hammered after he made the Republican response to the State of the Union, what, a year or so ago.


SCOTT: And now, he seems to have regained his voice.

TANTAROS: Absolutely. After that rebuttal, he was made to look like a fool by the media. And he's definitely has his mojo back. I think Obama could learn a thing or two from Bobby Jindal, who has been there from day one. He's been out. He's been active. And even if Bobby Jindal can't solve the crisis himself, he at least comes out and communicates what is going on. And that is where Obama dropped the ball, the great communicator. If he can't fix this, and if BP can't fix this, he needs to communicate that.

SCOTT: What about BP, Judy? You have seen them trying to work the spin machine. They're taking responsibility in those commercials we saw from the CEO.

JUDY MILLER, WRITER & FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Yes. Well, I think Mr. Hayward, or "I want my life back," head of BP, is really in deep, deep water, so to speak, covered in oil.

But Salon magazine had online, had a great, great column. I love Liz. And they have a list of people to blame for this catastrophe. And there's plenty of blame to go around. I think the president is doing a risky thing, given his personality, he's kind of saying, I'm not going to pound the podium. But, I want to you to hold me responsible for fixing the leak. Now, if he doesn't do that, boy, then watch those ratings plummet.

TANTAROS: He didn't pound the podium, ironically, until people pointed out that he wasn't pounding the podium. So Spike Lee came out and said, I just want him to get furious. I want him to just go off. And isn't it weird, just a few hours later, he goes off on Larry King.

PINKERTON: Bill Maher said he wanted Obama to pull out a gun, just to make a point.


I have to say though, just on the BP issue, Hayward has a nice voice. He said some really, really stupid things. And for BP to put him in their TV ad as the face of BP, I would say is poor taste.

WILLIAMS: Ridiculous.

PINKERTON: But nobody asked me.


WILLIAMS: I don't understand why BP is putting — they have ads in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal. They've got ads everywhere. They've got an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal. And it is all under Hayward's byline. And if I was the P.R. consultant, I would say, you know what, let's hide this guy.


He's an oil spill for the company. He's driving down our ratings, our numbers, our share profits. And the idea that it is a public relations campaign is exactly wrong. And it should be about actual accomplishments that show up and help people.

TANTAROS: Right. Sandra Bullock's ex-husband was the most hated man. And now it is BP's chief executive.


I'm sure Jesse James is thankful. And typically, in P.R. settings, yes, you would think, the most hated man, why put him out there. But think about it, if he's not out there, then who is? Could you imagine that? We'd be hearing nothing?

SCOTT: It has been more than a week since the president says, hold me responsible, you know, basically the buck stops with me.

MILLER: Yes. He's saying hold me responsible, but his people are rapidly distancing himself and his presidency from BP as fast as they can operate. And I would do that, too, if I were the White House. You've got to push them away.

PINKERTON: And even Keith Olbermann shifted from saying, this is day whatever of mission accomplished, to now it is day whatever of oil spill. So, when you lose Keith Olbermann, man, you are in trouble.


SCOTT: The Wall Street Journal had an interesting editorial, suggesting that this is the president who has not only campaigned but, you know, in his time in office, has maneuvered the leverage of power to suggest that government can do everything. It can fix health care. It can run an auto company. It can, you know, fix the economy. But it can't plug a leak in an oil well.

TANTAROS: Yes, it undermines his whole political philosophy. I mean, Barack Obama billed himself as the guy that Spiderman comes to for answers.


And now, it just seems, you know, that is not the case with him. And he really has to turn the ship around. I think what we are seeing in the media is this general recognition that this is not the team you want in a crisis. This stroking of the beard and putting on the tweed jackets and talking about solutions, that is what his administration is good about, with the intellectual stuff, not the crisis.

WILLIAMS: Well, you know, I agree with you about that latter point, that when it comes to him being cold and analytical, it doesn't play well, and it especially doesn't play well on TV. But I will say this, I think it is unfair — I don't care who the president is, to expect them to know how to plug an oil leak in the gulf coast, a mile, you know...

SCOTT: Unfair, but when he took responsibility, essentially he said...

WILLIAMS: No, but here's this thing. I think what he was trying to say, especially in the press conference that was held a week ago now, was that his administration was engaged from day one. They had meetings initially. When the nine people or 11 people died out there, the Coast Guard was sent. But the consequence of that logic — Jon, I think you are exactly right — was then, if you are in charge, you mean you are in charge of all the lives BP has stole. You're in charge of putting out this poisonous dispersant. You're in charge of the failure to put up the barriers to stop the oil from killing wildlife.

MILLER: The administration gave the permits for that drill to be there.

TANTAROS: And an award for the safest rig.


MILLER: Exactly.

SCOTT: Time for a break.

But first, for some behind-the-scenes discussions, conversations you won't see on TV, check out our web site after the show, Foxnews.com/Foxnewswatch.

Up next, images of Israeli forces confronting activists at sea. Who shot the pictures, and how have the media used them?

ANNOUNCER: Israeli forces converge on an activist flotilla attempting to break the Gaza blockade. Both sides defend their actions. And both sides release video for proof. But do the images give clarity or add to confusion in the media's coverage?


OLBERMANN: Oh, and happy 30th birthday, CNN.


ANNOUNCER: Cable news turns 30. Once a pioneer, now past its prime? Answer is next, on "News Watch."


SCOTT: Images from Monday, when Israeli forces intercepted a six-ship flotilla attempting to run a blockade. A blockade in place to try to prevent weapons from reaching the Gaza Strip. When Israeli commandos boarded one of these ships, dropping down from helicopters, a confrontation ensued, leaving nine activists dead. One of the dead, a 19-year-old dual citizen of the U.S. and Turkey. This video was provided by the Israelis.

And this video provided, by the activists on the ship, showing a very different point of view.

Two sets of video, obviously, two conclusions that you are supposed to reach, Judy. Which side has the stronger argument, the stronger case here?

MILLER: Well, look, when this thing — when this international commission is finally assembled and — we'll get some facts. Right now, we have competing videos. What we do have is a fierce debate within the press. And I would urge everybody to kind of not read the American press and try and read the Israeli press, in English, online, because the Israelis are having a really interesting debate about their own country's competence.

What really bothers Israelis about this raid was not the fact that they didn't have the right to do it, but the fact that it reflected Israeli incompetence. They said, this is the country, we are the country who, in six days, in 1967, tripled the size of our country. We're the country that did Entebbe and rescued all of those hostages. We're the country who has done humanitarian raids. We did Haiti. And we can't land some people on a ship?

Look at the record of this year. We've had the United Arab Emirates fiasco with the assassination of the Hamas person. We've had Operation Casteland in Gaza, which, even though it was a military success, actually turned the world against Israel. It is one disaster after another. Netanyahu is being held responsible.

SCOTT: There has been a lot of anti-Israeli reaction. Helen Thomas had this exchange with presidential spokesman, Robert Gibbs. Take a listen.


HELEN THOMAS, VETERAN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Our initial reaction to this flotilla massacre, deliberate massacre and international claim was pitiful. What do you mean you regret with something should be so strongly condemned? And if any other nation in the world had done it, we would have been up in arms.


SCOTT: What about it, Juan, is that the opinion generally of the media in the country?

WILLIAMS: No, in fact, I was shocked. When I was reading the New York Times this week, I thought, did they understand what happened here? The basic facts seem to be absent. You know, I don't even understand, because I have a high regard for the paper. I just didn't understand it.

And it wasn't much better. It seemed like everybody rushed to take sides to be clear about their political sympathies, that either you are pro-Israel or not. And what gets lost here is the American public's ability to say, what happened? Exactly what happened? What happened in this operation?

This comes back to what Judy was talking about. Why is it that this operation became such a fiasco...

SCOTT: And — and...

WILLIAMS: ...for the supposedly expert spy and military people involved with the Israeli military.

SCOTT: And the video almost clouds the issue, it seems, because it is partisan.

TANTAROS: Yes, that's right. And the conflict general, from Israel, who is in New York, told Foxnews.com on Monday, there are two wars out there that Israel can — that we're focusing, the P.R. war, war with the press, and the war in the country. And it is difficult to win both.

SCOTT: Time for another break.

When we come back, an inconvenient truth, the Gores give the press some sad news.

ANNOUNCER: Once the media's happy, loving couple, now Al and Tipper's fairytale marriage comes to an end. And guess who is getting the blame?

CNN at 30, once the only game in town, now not a contender. All next, on "News Watch."



OLBERMANN: CNN's 8:00 news programs haven't failed because they're competing with opinion and interpretive news programs. They failed because CNN hasn't figured out that everything it puts on the air is available to everybody who watches all day on the Internet. And if you don't bring something else to the table, they are not going to watch. Let's hope they don't figure it out. Oh, and happy 30th birthday, CNN.


SCOTT: Ouch! A 30th birthday wish there kind of from the competition. The network, launched by Ted Turner, pioneered 24/7 news programming on cable. But like everything else, times changed. The competition has increased. News viewers have better places, you might say, to go get their news and information.

They were the only game in town, and then that changed in 1996. Did they adapt?

TANTAROS: Not really, if the ratings tell you anything. And I think it is kind of amusing to hear Keith Olbermann talk about CNN when he's not exactly setting any records ratings.


And O'Reilly crushes him every evening, and has done so for the last couple of year.

Look, I think Fox News has set a new standard. I mean, Fox evolved. You have unique programming now on Foxnews.com on "The Strategy Room," which you can watch for people who love cable news or maybe lost their job and can't afford cable.


So you've got to keep reinventing the wheel. And I think Fox News has done that. That is why they are number one.

WILLIAMS: CNN was really innovative. I remember when they came around and it has gone through various phases. You think about things like Bernie Shaw covering the Gulf War, the first Gulf War, right?

MILLER: Right. It was great coverage.

WILLIAMS: And the smart bombs and all that stuff. And, boy, CNN had America's attention at that juncture. Today, I think CNN is basically a snooze. I think you could twiddle your thumbs.


WILLIAMS: It's the same-old, same-old, same-old every dang day. And there is nothing compelling about it. And when I saw this week, for the — some anniversary of Larry King, they had President Obama interviewed by Larry King. I thought, oh, my gosh, what happened to Larry King? This is really tragic. I mean, I'm not being mean spirited.


TANTAROS: Lady Gaga is more interesting when he was on...


WILLIAMS: I mean, did you see Larry King?


WILLIAMS: I mean, the guy looked like an anachronism sitting there for the interview. What was going on?

SCOTT: And for that, he gets paid millions of dollars a year.

What about the next ten years?

PINKERTON: Well, I think the next 10 years, you're going to see social networking take off as the vehicle by which people consume news, trading it with their friends and so on. But at all times, Olbermann was right, what he said. You know the news by the — through the Internet, through Twitter. You need an edge. And CNN doesn't have an edge.

SCOTT: All right, our next topic, a favorite here on "News Watch, the New York Times and its lack of balance. David Brooks has been writing an op-ed column for the paper since 2003. The Times touts him as a conservative voice. And he has been known to echo the conservative point of view. But some of the right, like Rush Limbaugh, say Brooks runs too much to the left. Can he bring Times readers a conservative viewpoint?

Juan, you said you are a big fan of the New York Times. What about David Brooks as a conservative voice?

WILLIAMS: You know, I don't regard him as a conservative voice. I think, at times, he has to make — sort of kowtow in that direction, but I feel as if it is obligatory. He's a really smart, good columnist, though. That I will say. I'll read him and I find him fascinating.

SCOTT: Judy's agreeing with you.

MILLER: I agree. I think that the Times hired Ross Douthat — I think that's the way the name is pronounced — to fill the kind of conservative slot, because they realize that David Brooks is an independent, original voice. And you can't tell where he's going to come out. So, David Welsh is the independent...



WILLIAMS: And they had Bill Kristol for a while, right?


WILLIAMS: But I think they have never successfully replaced Safire. And Safire was not sort of orthodox in his conservative views, but revealing.

PINKERTON: Juan, maybe the Times doesn't have its heart in the issue of getting a strong conservative voice.


WILLIAMS: No, I think they decided that their audience doesn't want a conservative columnist.

MILLER: Are they going to be the MSNBC of newspapers?


SCOTT: Let's get to this one, while we ponder that.


Under the heading "Slippery Slope, the Federal Trade Commission, an arm of the U.S. government, has initiated a draft to reinvent journalism, their response to some of the challenges this industry faces in the digital age. among the proposals, the creation of a journalism division of AmeriCorps, assigning volunteers to work for selected news outlets; and establishing citizenship news vouchers, which would allow taxpayers to allocate some amount of government funds to the nonprofit media organization of theirs choice; increased funding for public radio and television. Juan likes that.


Government subsidies for the failing print news media; and permitting government-run "Voice of America" to broadcast within the U.S. The complete draft can be seen at Foxnews.com.

Jim? What do you think?

PINKERTON: Well, it is a staff draft. It's not the FTC doing these things. But what is interesting though is that the traditional regulator has been the FCC for anything electronic. And the FCC is being dealt out of the process. And the FTC, the Federal Trade Commission, is jumping in, mostly in the name of privacy in this crazy draft, which won't get very far. But I do predict that the FTC will be bigger in the media world in the future.

TANTAROS: Bottom line is the government should not sponsor speech. The Constitution talks about this government not abridging speech. It should not get in the business of sponsoring it either.

SCOTT: All right.

MILLER: We love — we love public broadcasting, Juan.

TANTAROS: We love Juan.


WILLIAMS: By every account, I agree with you. I don't think the government should be in this game.

SCOTT: All right, we have to take one more break.

When we come back, a happy, loving couple of the media share an inconvenient truth.

ANNOUNCER: Al and Tipper calling it quits. Is the media gushing over the break-up? Find out next, on "News Watch."


SCOTT: A surprising announcement this week. Al and Tipper Gore separating after 40 years of marriage. The very publicly affectionate couple decided to call it quits. CBS somehow linked the breakup to Gore losing the election to George W. Bush. Others in the media used the news to show the awkwardly long kiss, seen at the 2000 Democratic National Convention.

We have done some research though and that is not the only awkward kiss out there in the media. There are this now divorced couple, Liza Minnelli and David Gest in 2004. Kind of looks like Liza is laying her lips on a wax figure. Lisa Maria Presley and Michael Jackson during their brief marriage at the MTV Awards in 1994; and perhaps the weirdest, between Angelina Jolie and her brother, James, at the Oscars in 2000.

We are not kissing anyone here on "News Watch."


That's a wrap on our program this week.

Thanks to Judy Miller, Jim Pinkerton, Andrea Tantaros and Juan Williams. 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.