Transcript: 'FOX News Watch,' November 10, 2007

This is a rush transcript from "FOX News Watch," November 10, 2007. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

ERIC BURNS, FOX HOST: This week on "FOX News Watch", Hillary claims sexism and Rudy gets a key Christian vote.

Chaos in Pakistan. Are the media telling you the whole story?

Stop it. You're not allowed to hug in school.

Oprah speaks out after a scandal in her school.

"The Dog" asked for forgiveness on TV.

And "FOX News Watch" media challenge.

First, the headlines, then us.



PAT ROBERTSON, TELEVANGELIST: For months I have contemplated our future and the outstanding group of men who are offering themselves to the Republican Party to be its standard bearer in the 2008 presidential election. Today, it is my pleasure to announce my support for America's mayor, Rudy Giuliani and—


BURNS: I'm Eric Burns. That was televangelist and former Republican presidential candidate Pat Robertson, an opponent of gay rights and abortion rights, announcing his support for present Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani, a supporter of gay rights and abortion rights.

Cal Thomas, does this have the press muddled or have they got this figured out?

CAL THOMAS, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Well, it's got it muddled because Robertson was part of this group, this new right, moral majority, these religious voters in the '80s, who were the great monolith who were going to take over America, force their values down your throat, hit your head with a Bible and run the Republican Party. Now you have all of these people who are split. You've got Robertson, Paul Weyrich, Gary Bauer, various others endorsing separate candidates. They don't know what to make of this. Frankly, I don't either.

BURNS: You haven't touched it with your column.

Jim, have you done anything with this in your column and, if you had to, what would you say?

JIM PINKERTON, NEWSWEEK: I actually have been more preoccupied with the Democrats in my column, but we can come back to them later in the remaining two minutes, after the first two minutes.

I think, look, as Cal said, the field is wide open. This is the most open Republican contest in my lifetime that I can remember. And the press has every right to chase after every funny little thread, including putting the Pat Robertson endorsement up with the Bernie Kerik indictment. Which is a bigger deal? Who knows? One of the reasons you watch the news is because you want to find out the answer.

BURNS: You mentioned talking about Democratic candidates later. We're going to do it now, but you'll probably be last because were you just talking.

NEAL GABLER, MEDIA WRITER: Can I just say a word about the Robertson coverage?

BURNS: Well, apparently so.

GABLER: Well, if you allow me. What I found interesting, everyone looked at it only in a political context in the media. No one bothered to say, I won't say no one, few — Gail Collins was one of the ones I attacked last week, and will again in future weeks. But very few people said Robertson is a lunatic who said all sorts of outrageous things. Who would want his endorsement? That wasn't included in the story.

JANE HALL, AMERICAN UNIVERSITY: That's what struck me, too.

BURNS: Are you done?

HALL: I'm not...


BURNS: We have to move for the sake of fairness and balance to the Democrats.

In news of Democratic — put your hand down, Jim — candidates, the noted abortion rights activist Kate Michelman, now an advisor to presidential candidate John Edwards, blasted Edwards's opponent Hillary Clinton this week saying, "It's outrageous to suggest that it's sexist for the other candidates to ask tough questions or criticize her. To call it sexist is to play the gender card." Is it?

HALL: I think so. I think she's trying to have it both ways. You know, she wanted to prove she could be a top commander-in-chief and took a tough stance on the Iraq War. And now when she's asked tough questions and the guys beat up on her, they beat up on because she is the front-runner.

I do think that Bill Clinton is a wild card in this. He's out there obviously defending his wife and his comments implied this was Swift Boating her also seemed over the top to me.

BURNS: With Bill Clinton's presence, helping or hurting his wife in the media?

THOMAS: The media are conflicted just as they're conflicted how to treat a woman. They're not quite sure. I agree with Jane. They want it one way and then want it the other way. After the Swift Boat comment, Clinton beat a retreat, which is unusual for him, saying basically, well, I shouldn't have said that. She's the candidate and she ought to have the opinions.

BURNS: Jim, there is, whether it's played or not, we must admit, mustn't we, such a thing as a race card in this election?

PINKERTON: There's a race card, a gender card, all sorts of cards, but one astute columnist, that would be me, did note during that debate — it's amazing, a week and a half now, that the Chris Dodd nailing Hillary on the driver's license issue, her not having an answer. It's taken Hillary ten days to come up with an answer on that. And I wrote that I think that the damage done to Hillary by Dodd, by raising the driver's license issue, Democrats don't care, but Independents or Republicans do. This reminds me a lot of the 1988 campaign with the prison furlough issue, which ultimately wounded Michael Dukakis. Time for a break and we will be back with this.

BURNS: It is time for a break. We'll be back with this.

ANNOUNCER: Chaos in Pakistan forces our war on terror ally to take drastic action. Are we getting the real story or is this a Musharraf meltdown? Details next on "News Watch".



GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I spoke to President Musharraf right before I came over here to visit with President Sarkozy. And my message was that we believe strongly that in elections, and that you ought to have elections soon and you need to take off your uniform.

BURNS: Military uniform, the president means. A day later former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, before she was put under house arrest, spoke with FOX News channel's Scott Heidler at her home.


BENAZIR BHUTTO, FORMER PAKISTAN PRIME MINISTER: I believe only democracy can save Pakistan. It's a nuclear armed nation and it's in threat of imploding from within.


BURNS: Neal Gabler, is this the most important story in the world now that is being insufficiently covered?

GABLER: Unquestionably. We talk about the front line of terror, this is the front line of the war of terror because, guess what? Unlike Iran, they actually have nuclear weapons. And there's been a surprising lack of curiosity by the American media in covering Pakistan.

One exception, I might add, is "Newsweek" two weeks ago, actually, anticipating the story, but there's been a surprising lack of curiosity.

And also, there's another thing going on and that is the American media, taking its cue from the Bush administration, doesn't seem to want to take on Musharraf and criticize him because he's our friend.

BURNS: Why is there a surprising lack of curiosity, Jane? Might part of it be is that there's an actual war going on in Iraq, there's no war in Pakistan right now, and therefore, the war has it, as far as journalists are concerned, over the potential for war?

HALL: Well, I think so. You know, I think that the government has been focused on Iraq. I mean, that's one of the criticisms of how we've been so focused on this, we're not noticing the rest of it. "Newsweek" has been doing god coverage on it.

There's a cynical feeling of the American media, Americans only care if we have, quote, unquote, "boots on the ground." And that means we go from war to war, and this is huge. I remember when Daniel Pearl, the "Wall Street Journal" reporter, was killed there. He was looking into it years ago and the American media seems to focus on one thing, and can't seem to focus on three things. We've got ten things to worry about today.

THOMAS: I'm amazed at how things have changed, from a media perspective, in the recent years. Even in the solidarity movement uprising in Poland, there was basically fax machines. You couldn't get the uprisings in real time, certainly not going back to the Hungarian resolution in 1956.

Now you get Benazir Bhutto interviewed in her home. You get Burma. You get instant pictures out of there. As Jim always says, information longs to be free. The dictators may be able to suppress the people to a point, but they are decreasingly able to suppress the information from getting out to the rest of the world. And that's a good thing.

PINKERTON: They are increasingly unable to stop the information flow, but they still seem kind of powerful. The Burma...

THOMAS: Sure. They're powerful, yeah.


PINKERTON: Fine, take pictures of us beating up the Buddhist monks, we'll still do it. Benazir Bhutto, they'll eventually figure out how to unplug our cell phones and cable links and so on and so on.

Look, the American media are not paying adequate attention to a country with 75 A-bombs. We all agree. The day we wake and realize there's 74 in Pakistan because there's one somewhere else, including maybe Time Square...

BURNS: I'm sorry, Jim. But we're raising much more of a question than we're answering here, because it just doesn't seem to make sense. The threat of Pakistan is immense. Why would it not attract...

PINKERTON: I'll quote Neal Gabler here and say we have a lousy Press Corps.


BURNS: That's a little simple-minded.

HALL: People...

THOMAS: It's a complicated issue, I think, for most for most people in the Press Corps to the get their minds around, so they don't.

BURNS: But is it too simple-minded of an issue to say Pakistan has this many weapons?

HALL: It's not simple-minded, but the news organizations have to support somebody being in Pakistan reporting it. And we're all too busy reporting on Anna Nicole Smith.

PINKERTON: Look, there's plenty to — even if you can afford to go — I can't afford to go to Pakistan. But you can still talk about it here. Major figures inside the Republican Party close to the Bush administration, Jim Baker and John Bolton, two different wings of the Republican Party, have both said, point blank, we ought to support Musharraf. Maybe they're right, maybe they're wrong, but let's discuss that as to whether that's a good idea or not to put our chips on him, whether we think Bhutto is better or whether we think some unknown colonel floating around the...

GABLER: And the media has a horse in the race. Bhutto is their horse because they're giving her so much coverage. They clearly embraced her.

BURNS: She's good looking and that's what we want. It's sugar over vegetables.



BURNS: No, I'm not asking you to repeat that.

It's time for another break. We'll be back with this.

ANNOUNCER: No dodge ball, no tag and now no hugs? Are we losing our minds?

And what do the queen of chat and a socially inept bounty hunter have in common? Answers next on "News Watch".



DUANE, "DOG" CHAPMAN, HOST, "DOG THE BOUNTY HUNTER": We never realized that, that's like stabbing a black person in the heart. I would never do that to any kind of person. I've always taken pride to be the white guy that can talk to the black people, that can refer to them truly as a brother from a different mother. But this is America. And this is entertainment. And that doesn't fly there.


BURNS: Bounty hunter, Duane "Dog" Chapman, who hosts his own show on the A&E cable network. There he was speaking out about the controversy that erupted last week over an audiotape that featured heavy use of the N- word in a private conversation with his son.

Jim Pinkerton, my question is, since that did happen in a private conversation, not on the air, Michael Kramer said what he said in front of an audience, does he have some rights here that are not being granted?

PINKERTON: Oh, not really. Look you live in the reality TV world, you know the whole thing is gotcha, gotcha, gotcha. Duane "Dog" Chapman has the best male hair-do since Mr. T. He rose to the top of the cable firmament for a while and has this spectacular plunge. He'll apologize for a while, do some penance, and be back on a new show in a couple of years.

HALL: I think we're hard up for personalities. That's my read on it.

GABLER: I mean, I had to wipe away my tears from that Sean Hannity interview. It's so sensitive. Look it, you're entitled to say anything you want, but A&E, which sponsors the show, which broadcasts the show, is not entitled — he's not entitled to have a program on that network.

BURNS: And doesn't now.

GABLER: And doesn't now.

PINKERTON: What does A&E stand for?

GABLER: Arts and entertainment.



THOMAS: There's still certain groups you cannot offend. What A&E ought to publish a list of words...

HALL: (Inaudible).

THOMAS: Yes. Well, fine, if he had taken out, for example, after conservative Christians, Roman Catholics, some other group, wouldn't be a problem.

BURNS: Duane "Dog" Chapman wasn't the only celebrity who was rattled last week, so was another one for an entirely different reason.


OPRAH WINFREY, HOST, "OPRAH": I was, needless to say, devastated and really shaken to my core when I first heard this news.


BURNS: Jane Hall, that's, I have heard it said by some people in the media consulting business, the perfect way to handle this situation. Don't deny it, come forth with your true feelings about it, and say we're going to make it better.

HALL: I think she — you know, she is the person who, if I remember correctly, was the victim of abuse herself. I would believe she feels strongly about it. She tried to do a good thing; it back fired.

BURNS: Yes, this was about, excuse me, seven cases reported abuse.

HALL: Abuse at a school.

BURNS: At a school in Africa that she founded.

HALL: That she founded. Yes. It was her dream and she's taken bad press and she's saying she's cleaning house. There's nothing else she can do.

BURNS: Except she isn't taking bad press personally, is she, Cal?

THOMAS: No, she is in that firmament where she's almost untouchable. She's an under god. But she did the right thing. But, look, those who live by celebrity — and clearly that helped her found the school — also can die by celebrity.

GABLER: The best P.R. strategy, be Oprah Winfrey. No better strategy than that.

PINKERTON: And if you are Oprah Winfrey, the media will play along. The entire conversation about the story was Oprah's reputation. The answer was, of course, no, the answer is no, because people love her. The actual kids themselves were not a factor. And the consideration was all will it hurt Oprah's Q rating.

BURNS: And everybody came up with the answer.

PINKERTON: No, because we love her so much.

BURNS: Speaking of behavior in schools, in this country, a hug made headlines this week when a girl at a middle school in Illinois, 13-year-old Megan Colter, landed in detention after giving her friends a hug. Why? Because the hug was a violation of the school's ban on public displays of affection. Meaning, that this is the kind of story the media just loves.

GABLER: They love it because...

BURNS: It seems so I will logical.

GABLER: What the conservative press does, it lumps everything into one bucket. There are legitimate reasons, not this case, but other cases that have been lumped with this, for school districts not allow things like tag and somebody get hurt and they'd be sued. What this does, it blurs the lines and that's exactly what the conservative media want to have happen.

PINKERTON: What's happened here is a combination of the loutish society. People who behave badly and the litigation society, the people who sue all the time, so the school districts do have to defend themselves against getting annihilated by John Edwards' type trial lawyers. But it does look stupid in public display. And hopefully, we can have a better reckoning down the road somewhere.

BURNS: But they shouldn't be annihilated by people who have no sense.

THOMAS: Isn't it amazing that we did all these things, including tag, including hugging and holding hands?

BURNS: Kick ball.

THOMAS: Kick ball. And we actually lost games and learned more. And nobody in the media or anywhere else thought that was a bad thing. How did we survive?

BURNS: It's a question to the degree to which we've survived.

THOMAS: Oh, you speak properly.

GABLER: Look at the country.


BURNS: Look at the country? It's just Cal and me.


HALL: I think this is one where the media did a good job. There was a fine column in the "Wall Street Journal" about are we ridiculously overprotecting our kids. Obviously, there's a fear of being sued, but there's also — kids are not even outdoors in free play anymore and that's a serious problem.

BURNS: Finally, in the segment, we have these quick news bites from the media world this week.

On Sunday, NBC's public affairs program "Meet the Press" celebrates its 60th anniversary. It is the longest running show in TV history. Contrary to rumors earlier in the week, Rosie O'Donnell will not be hosting a one-hour nightly public affairs program on MSNBC.

And PBS's Jim Lehrer thinks there's too much show business and not enough journalism in the news. You want to be entertained, he recently said to college students, go to the circus, please. Do not watch "The News Hour with Jim Lehrer."

Jim, would you bring me back one of those, you know, fake ring master whips? 'Cause I just...

PINKERTON: I'll bring a clown nose.

BURNS: My kids could play with that stuff.

We have to take one more break, then this.

ANNOUNCER: Heather Mills slamming ex-hubby Paul McCartney, taking that song on the road. And the media laugh it up. But one news veteran says, "Stop." Our "News Watch" media challenge up next.


BURNS: We'll close our program today with something we call the "FOX News Watch" media challenge. This week, the challenge is provided by Sir Paul McCartney's estranged wife, Heather Mills, who has been blasting, not only her soon-to-be ex, but the media, as well.

She said, "The media will carry on abusing me as they did Linda." — Paul's previous wife. Mills has also compared herself to Princess Diana whom she said was hounded to death by the paparazzi. And Mills says she has had worse press since the announcement of her divorce from McCartney, than, quote, "a murderer or pedophile." More than 4,000 newspaper articles have printed lies about her.

Says Barbara Walters, about Mills, whom she once interviewed, "Mills was extremely difficult. All we thought was, 'This isn't a very nice person.' "

We're commenting on this, Cal, because it's so unusual for an interviewer, a star, to insult a guest.

THOMAS: She is clearly toast. Besides, she doesn't have the music.

BURNS: Do you mean the rights to the music?

THOMAS: No. I mean the whole persona that surrounds Paul McCartney. He is almost untouchable, but he's cutting her loose and Barbara has also cut her lose.

BURNS: And Heather is touchable — figuratively speaking.

HALL: I saw this. And I didn't know there was a history of this. She also compared herself to Mother Theresa, who suffered bad press, according to her. When you hear that she's done this 12 times, it's less appealing than the first time you hear her blasting everybody.

PINKERTON: And the cliche around television is the conversations in the Green Room are more entertaining than the people, including us, say on TV. So you want to see what's going on in the Green Room.

Oprah now has set up web cams in the backstage area, and hopefully the fans will get to see more of what these people are really like as opposed to what they present themselves on TV.

BURNS: I think I get the connection.


BURNS: Neal?

GABLER: I don't think Barbara is starting a trend here. For one thing, everybody reviles Heather Mills, so it's pretty easy for Barbara to revile her. And for another thing, Barbara Walters is the 800-pound gorilla, so when you take the 800-pound gorilla and someone that everybody hates, you get this.

BURNS: Nice. First you insult Heather Mills. Then you insult Barbara Walters for being five times the weight she is.

THOMAS: An overweight gorilla is...


THOMAS: There you go.

BURNS: Fortunately, that's all the time we have left this week. It was a little too much, wasn't it?

Thanks to Jane Hall, Jim Pinkerton, Cal Thomas, Neal Gabler.

And I'm Eric Burns, thank you for watching.

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