Transcript: 'FOX News Watch,' April 18, 2009

This is a rush transcript from "FOX News Watch," April 18, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

JON SCOTT, FOX HOST: This week on "FOX News Watch," tea time all across the USA. As some in the mainstream mock the movement, Americans turn out and talk back.

Our Homeland Security secretary is forced to explain why vets and others could be potential terrorists. Did most of the media miss the story?

Plus, Captain Phillips is safe at home. Is a big-bucks media deal in his future?

Is a reality show in his future?

Could Broadway be in her future?

And the first dog gets a "good boy" from the press.

On the panel this week, Jane Hall of the American University; Jonah Goldberg of the National Review; Jim Pinkerton, fellow at the New America Foundation and "FOX Forum" contributor; and writer and FOX News contributor, Judith Miller.

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




SCOTT: Just some of the sights and sounds there of the anti-tax tea parties that were held all over the country on Wednesday.

In the mainstream media, it seemed many didn't seem to know what to make of them. Take a look.


SUSAN ROESGEN, CNN NEW CORRESPONDENT: OK. Let's see, you're here with your 2-year-old. And you're already in debt. Why are you here today, sir?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because I hear a president say that he believed in what Lincoln stood for. Lincoln's primary thing was he believed that people had the right to liberty and had...

ROESGEN: Sir, what does it have to do with taxes? What does it have to do with taxes?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let me finish speaking...

ROESGEN: Do you realize that you're eligible for $400 credit...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let me finish my point.

ROESGEN: I think you get the general tenor of this. It's anti- government, anti-CNN since this is highly promoted by the right wing consecutive network FOX.


SCOTT: All right.


Jonah, you're first up.


What is your reaction to what we just saw there?

JONAH GOLDBERG, NATIONAL REVIEW: This is a family show, right?


SCOTT: Yes, it is.

GOLDBERG: I thought this was a refreshing and wonderful moment of honesty from CNN where you actually got to see the mindset that is commonplace around places like CNN, where I used to be a contributor. And I think it shows the sort of general disdain of a lot of people in the mainstream media for these things. You would never see something like this at a massive immigration rally, with someone making fun for someone butchering the language or anything like that.

SCOTT: You used to cover, Jane, L.A. Times, you used to cover the media business. MSNBC and CNN, some of their hosts were using a very derogatory term, a slang term for oral sex in discussing the parties. Can you explain why?

JANE HALL, AMERICAN UNIVERSITY: Let me see if I can be academic about that. I think that they were reacting to what they perceived as FOX — I think we're talking about the niching of the news. FOX covered this extensively. And I think they decided that it was a FOX thing. You know, you can debate whether FOX promoted it or whether FOX covered it extensively. They decided it was a FOX thing. I think it was embarrassing for that woman to say it was anti-CNN. But I think that many of these people feel as if they're under attack and FOX is promoting this. And that's where they were coming from. Neither one is subjective. That's not objective reporting that woman was doing.


JIM PINKERTON, FELLOW, NEW AMERICA FOUNDATION & FOX FORUM CONTRIBUTOR: Let's clarify this. As the New York Post reported, General Electric gave the order to CNBC to knock off the popular — the Rick Santelli-style populism. And I'm sure MSNBC was perfectly happy to join it. CNN and MSNBC are on the government payroll. Of course, they'll trash an anti-government pro-tea party thing.

But let's talk about the mindset of the mainstream media here. There has never been a poor minority that the mainstream media didn't gush over. They increasingly identify with Wall Street. What is left out is the white, middle and working class. To them, they're a bunch of Archie Bunkers.

SCOTT: Judy, the press eagerly covered the Proposition 8 protests in California, the gay marriage — the protests in support of gay marriage.


SCOTT: Would they have gotten — I mean, did they get the same kind of press? Was it equal?

MILLER: Well, not all protests are equal, as we've seen. Part of the problem, I think the frustration I felt as a reader, and as a viewer, was looking out and seeing it was either tea for not two, but tea for 200, 2,000, 200,000, depending on which station you were watching or which newspaper you were reading. And an effort to step back and look at what was going on here, the fact that the Republicans finally have gotten a sense of how to use Internet network grassroots or Astroturf, depending on what...

GOLDBERG: It was the Republicans?

MILLER: Yes, it was. It was a Republican event and they've mastered it. And very few commentators covered that.

GOLDBERG: How do we know it's a Republican event? What is the actual reporting that says it was a Republican event? Republican officials were not allowed to speak at this. The people who were the main organizers...

HALL: Dick Army's Web site was involved in it.

MILLER: Absolutely.

HALL: Various conservative Web sites. I think it's actually showing a vacuum in the Republican Party.


PINKERTON: I didn't quite hear you answering Jonah's question. Was at it Republican event?

HALL: I think Judy is making the point you wouldn't know — first, I disagree...


HALL: Wait.

PINKERTON: I thought I heard Judy say it was a Republican event.

MILLER: I'm assuming it was.


MILLER: This is a media...


HALL: Republican Web site — it was never clearly — Dick Army's Web site, I gather, was involved. I think it actually shows a vacuum in the Republican Party because I think it came from other places. And I think the Republican Party is thinking how can they access that.

PINKERTON: So Jonah is right.

SCOTT: Jonah raises...


GOLDBERG: ... trash a lot of these events.


HALL: We don't know the answer.

GOLDBERG: I know that Glenn Beck, on this network, trashed Republicans at the one at Alamo and there was huge cheering from the crowd. I think it was much more of conservative movement event, much less a Republican event.

SCOTT: Judy raises a point, Jonah. If this had come about in the age prior to cable news, would it have gotten the same coverage? Would it have gotten any coverage?

GOLDBERG: Probably not. But that's a good thing about cable news is that it's democratized news coverage?

HALL: But the point is — I mean, I do think that we have to say that the FOX host being there and talking about was it a factor.

SCOTT: True.

HALL: I mean, that is a factor in how this got played.

SCOTT: Did the FOX coverage and promotion of the coverage, did it force the other networks to pay attention to it?

HALL: I think it did because the other TV networks ended up leading with it. Here is why I think the New York Times and the Washington Post buried it inside as a metro story. I think that's a mistake. I really do.

MILLER: I agree. It was a mistake to underplay it.

PINKERTON: The real driver here was the Internet. Again, when you — if you wanted to watch all of the Susan Roesgen thing, which is the least professional cable news performance I've seen in the history of cable news, if you want to see her ranting and raving against conservatives and call them every possible name, you could watch it on YouTube. You didn't need any of these cable networks.

GOLDBERG: I'd like to make one point. I think that there is a perfectly legitimate criticism against FOX for, not so much the coverage but commercials promoting the coverage, which was, in effect, advertisements for these things. This is all transparent. People knew that was FOX was doing.

Let's splash back to G.E. and pick up a point that Jim made. G.E issued a fatwa to NBC for green week where they did hundred of hours of environmental messaging, and all of their dramas, news coverage, "Today Show" throughout the network and it was all hailed as a wonderful progressive thing. That's more pernicious promotion than anything that FOX did.

SCOTT: Time for a break.

First, if you want to hear what we're talking about during out commercials go to the Web site, But you don't have to do it right now. It's there for you anytime. Our advertisers would appreciate it if you'd check out their wares.

We'll be back in two minutes with this.

ANNOUNCER: Veterans as terrorists? A leaked report from Homeland Security causes major controversy. But what about the coverage? Plus, a star is born on YouTube. All next, on "News Watch."




JANET NAPOLITANO, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: To the extent veterans read it as an accusation, it is — an apology is — I'm meeting with the leaders of some of the veterans groups, the one that raised a problem with this particular assessment. I reached out to him yesterday and said the last thing we want to do is offend or castigate all veterans. To the contrary. Let's meet and clear the air.


SCOTT: That's Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano speaking on "FOX and Friends." The secretary had to apologize this week for a leaked memo from her department that warned law enforcement officials to be on the look-out for veterans returning from war and others who could potentially pose a terrorist threat to the United States.

Jonah, she appeared on six morning news programs on Thursday, essentially saying that same thing. Did she help or hurt her department?

GOLDBERG: I think she helped, but I don't know that she did the job. I think that this report is going to be used by people like me and other people on the right as a cudgel against the administration for a very long time. I think concentrating solely on the military angle is important and necessary, but it's not the only problem with this report.

Napolitano brags about how she doesn't use the word "terrorism" to describe people who conducted the 9/11 attacks but she has no problem describing vast swaths of people, because of their ideological views, who happen to be American citizens, as potential terrorists.

SCOTT: You are getting a nod of agreement from Judy.

But let me go to Jane, first.

HALL: There was a report that was released, I believe in January or February, that talked about the left-wing extremist groups, they named animal rights groups and environmental groups. So there was some precedent for this. But I agree it seems to be raising a lot of speculation because we have the first African-American president, because we have a bad economy, the people on the right are going to be led into terrorism. The veterans I believe were a footnote, but that is what a lot of people are...

PINKERTON: Jane, you just did it again.


PINKERTON: You said they'll be led into terrorism.


HALL: I was faulting the report for saying it.

PINKERTON: OK, maybe we should play the tape back, but I thought I heard you say...

HALL: No, no.


PINKERTON: ... say there is concern — I though I heard you say that there's concern that they will be led into terrorism.

HALL: No. I was disagreeing with that, but I was also saying that there was a similar report that is something of a...


PINKERTON: The left wing report went out of its way to say they weren't violent.

SCOTT: Judy, she raised an interesting point. If the report had said that animal activists or environmental activists or left-handed people were at grave risk for becoming terrorists...

GOLDBERG: And they are.


SCOTT: ... would there have been a different reaction?


HALL: An environmentalist pet lover, right over here.

GOLDBERG: I rest my case.

SCOTT: Would there have been a different reaction in the mainstream media?

MILLER: Yes, of course, there would have been from some parts of the media. What is interesting is the fact that Department of Homeland Security study had no statistics in it, whereas the Washington Times pointed out just in an editorial today that they should have just looked at an FBI study that was done in 2008 that pointed out that only 203 — and that figure may have been exaggerated — veterans had joined extremist movements, out of 23.8 million veterans. So you've got to raise some questions about the kind of homework that's being done at this department.

SCOTT: The legacy of Timothy McVeigh perhaps?

PINKERTON: John Wilkes Booth was an actor. Are we profiling actors as assassins?


Look, you can't profile 20-year-old Muslim males carrying Korans when they get on an airplane. But apparently, according to the government, you can profile a veteran.

Grover Norquist, who was a conservative activist, was quoted on the "FOX Forum" this week as saying that people responsible for this report should be fired. Anything less than that is just some mumble-mouth apology that will not send a message that the government shouldn't be snooping in on people.

By the way, it's not just the federal government. It's also the state of Missouri that had its own version of this report a little while ago.

SCOTT: Next time the Department of Homeland Security wants a little help from the National Guard, what should the answer be?


Time for another break. First, we'd like you to send in your story ideas, especially you come across any examples of what smells to you like media bias. E-mail us at We'll be back with this.

ANNOUNCER: A hero on the high seas with a story that could bring in big bucks. Will Captain Phillips leave the sea for a new career on shore? And from governor to reality show star? Should NBC put Rod Blagojevich on the air? All next, on "News Watch."



ALLISON MCCALL, PHILLIPS' FAMILY SPOKESPERSON: Andrea wants you all to remember that they're just one family that's been impacted. There are many more families going through what the Phillips have endured presently and those families are in the prayers of the Phillips' family.


SCOTT: The Phillips' family spokesperson with Captain Phillips now back at home.

Judy, you covered this case and wrote about it on the "FOX Forum." You mentioned that Sully Sullenberger, the hero pilot of the U.S. airplane that splashed down in the Hudson, he has a book deal for $3 million. Could that kind of good fortune lie ahead for Captain Phillips?

MILLER: I'd like to be Captain Phillips' agent at this moment. I mean, of course, there is enormous media attention. Why not? He's as close as we've come to a genuine hero. His crew salutes him and everyone thinks he's wonderful. He's going to come back. He's here. He is what America has been looking for. And I understand the outpouring of the media support and interest in him.

PINKERTON: I would beg to differ just a little tiny bit. The real heroes are the Navy SEALs, the ones that plugged all those pirates. And to their credit, they're staying anonymous so they can continue to do their good work.

GOLDBERG: I think there is room for saying they're both heroes. I mean there's plenty of room.


HALL: I thought it was interesting that the SEALs rightfully, correctly let people see their training for what is a rare — they knew they had something that was very positive. Most Americans were looking for neat resolutions and we ain't getting many of them. This was a happy ending. People like that.

SCOTT: It's interesting. Captain Sullenberger an Air Force Academy graduate, very articulate, he does well on camera. He did well on "60 Minutes." If Captain Phillips is not as articulate, the experts say he doesn't have much of a future as a spokesperson.

GOLDBERG: Well, that's life, right?

SCOTT: That's capitalism.

GOLDBERG: That's exactly right.

HALL: At least he's not a criminal making millions, unlike some people we've talked about.

GOLDBERG: Joey Buttafucco or something. I mean, this guy did a wonderful, important, dangerous thing and if he gets compensated for it, that's wonderful.

SCOTT: You mentioned, that America loves a good news story, but Jim, some anchors were actually voicing sympathy for the pirates.

PINKERTON: There had been a weird undertone of, of course, we have to address the underlying social conditions in Somalia. We have to fight poverty there. Again, it's like the liberal argument about crime. You can't actually throw criminals in jail or worse. You have to go fight poverty somewhere. They can't help themselves, whether it's in New York City or Somalia.

MILLER: No, but Jim, I think that that was sparked by Secretary Gates' statement that these were teenagers, that this great victory were over guys between 16 and 19. And I think that gave the liberal media the opening that they were looking for. It's a temptation they did not refuse.

SCOTT: Another topic we've been following this week, NBC says former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich signed up for the summer reality show called "I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here!" The disgraced governor, who pleaded not guilty to federal corruption charges this week, has to get court approval to travel for the show, which is to be shot if Costa Rica. Celebrities on the program raise money for their favorite charities. Should NBC be offering him that opportunity even if it doesn't go into his own pocket?

HALL: Well, that is a differentiation I was trying to make. Although I realize Blagojevich is innocent until proven guilty, and he has great hair, which counts for a lot in television, I think rewarding achievement is a good thing. Rewarding somebody's notoriety is not necessarily a good thing.

SCOTT: You're an Illinois native, as we love to remind people, Jim.


Would people watch? He'd probably be great for ratings, right?

PINKERTON: He is clearly entertaining. However, society has an interest in not, as Jane says, seeing people profit from crimes or I should say alleged crimes. Although I'm from Chicago and I know darn well what is going on there.


I would say the judge should say no.

MILLER: He may have to figure out how to spend the $80,000, if he gets it, in jail.

GOLDBERG: Is the charity the Rod Blagojevich legal defense fund?


He shouldn't do it. It's embarrassing. NBC should do it. It's just that reality shows are cheap and profitable.

SCOTT: Will somebody take away his passport when he gets to Costa Rica? That's another question.

MILLER: If he gets to Costa Rica.

HALL: Maybe he'll be voted off of Costa Rica.


SCOTT: We'll see.

All right. It is time now for our "Caught in the Web" segment.

Here is what is hot on the It is the Obama effect. First, Notre Dame, now Georgetown. When the president delivered a policy speech at the Catholic university recently, the school was asked to cover up a monogram that features "IHS," one of Christianity's ancient symbols for Jesus. The White House wanted a simple backdrop, according to the school, quote, "consistent with other policy speeches." One Catholic activist is condemning the school's decision to go along with that request.

The media Web site TV Newser is reporting this month when Americans between ages of 25 and 54 tuned in to their favorite news networks in primetime, FOX News channel was the top choice. CNN? It fell to fourth place. That's last place, behind FOX News, MSNBC, and even its kid sister Headline News. FOX News, far and away, the leader of the pack. As always, we report. You decide.

And now for the feel-good story of the week straight from YouTube. The video of British singing sensation Susan Boyle. It is now beyond 18 million hits on YouTube. Boyle shocked the pants off Simon Cowell and all the judges after belting out "I Dream the Dream" on the show "Britain's Got Talent." For her performance, she got standing ovation, brought some people to tears. Could Broadway and a host of other options be next? We'll keep you posted.

Great song. Great singer.

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

ANNOUNCER: A media feeding frenzy over the first dog, as Bo meets the press. That's next on "News Watch."


SCOTT: This week, President Obama finally made his promise for a dog for his daughters come true. Bo, the presidential pooch, made a smashing debut before the White House photographers. He is a 6-month-old Portuguese water dog, already a hit with press. In fact, he has already cut a book deal, a children's book "Bo, America's Commander-in-Leash," is expected in stores by the end of the month. And that is just the beginning. Bo has his own blog on the Web site of the British paper the "Telegraph" where you can read about his humiliation outside the White House.

But is Bo the cutest first pet ever? George W. Bush's Scottish terrier, Barney, had his own official Web page on the White House site. Clinton's cat, Socks, was the subject of a "Murphy Brown" TV episode. Bush 41's English springer spaniel, Millie, wrote a best seller and it outsold the president's book. We'll have to see how many books Bo can sell.

That is going to be a wrap on "News Watch" this week.

I want to thank our panelists, Jane Hall, Jim Pinkerton, Jonah Goldberg and Judy Miller.

I'm Jon Scott. Thanks for watching. Keep it right here on FOX News channel for fair and balanced coverage of the day's, the week's and the weekend's events. We'll see you next week.

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