Transcript: 'Fox News Watch,' November 28, 2009

This is a rush transcript from "Fox News Watch," November 28, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

JON SCOTT, HOST: On "Fox News Watch," Senate Democrats push forward on their version of health care.


SEN. HARRY REID, D-NEV., SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: We're really happy with this bill. We welcome a debate on this bill.


SCOTT: But have Republicans been locked out of the debate? And do the media hold the keys?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They plan to use this as a platform to mock us, to mock the American people.


SCOTT: Anger and concern over the plan to hold the trials in New York City. Has the press forgotten the pain of 9/11?

President Obama, finally set to reveals his big plan for U.S. troops in Afghanistan. How will the media react?

A Catholic congressman feuds with the Catholic Church over his views on abortion.


THOMAS TOBIN, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF PROVIDENCE, R.I.: If you're Catholic, live up to your faith.


SCOTT: Guess which side the mainstream media support?

A former "Idol" wannabe gives a sexually charged performance on ABC. Then the Disney-owned network cuts the creepy scenes for half the country. Is that the right thing to do?

And charges of a global warming hoax surface after scientist's secret e-mails suggest collusion, but most of the media ignore the controversy.

(on camera): On the panel this week, writer and Fox contributor, Judy Miller; syndicated columnist, Cal Thomas; Jim Pinkerton, fellow, New America Foundation; and Newsday columnist, Ellis Henican.

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


REID: Our plan save lives, saves money and saves Medicare. And they'll see the Republican alternative, which I'm sorry to say is nonexistent. So obviously, it keeps our broken system just the way it is and lets it get even worse.


SCOTT: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid last week after Democrats voted to allow debate on health care reform to go forward in the full Senate.

Jim, you have been following the debate on health care all year. This was a party-line vote. Harry Reid is blaming Republicans there. But is it, in fact, his own party that's having the problems? And are the press paying attention to that?

JIM PINKERTON, FELLOW, NEW AMERICA FOUNDATION: The press is giving heavy to Ben Nelson and Mary Landrieu and Joe Lieberman and others, mostly negative, because I think that they're obstructing what the mainstream media sees as a central narrative of this, which is this is not a very good bill and it won't do any good, but we should be for it anyway. And as Ed Thomas of Newsweek said. And that, I think, is sustaining them. And what they're trying to do now is crush these renegade blue dog Democrats who they think might get in the way of this happening.

SCOTT: Ellis, there has been little coverage of the Republican health care reform proposal. Is that because the media think it won't pass?

ELLIS HENICAN, COLUMNIST, NEWSDAY: And the media is right about that.

SCOTT: They know it won't pass.

HENICAN: It's not going to pass. To me, I think the media has done a great job covering the politics of this. It's the fact-checking function to me that has been woefully inadequate. There's been wild claims, yes, on both sides. The media has the responsibility to say, you know what, this is true, this isn't true, now make your judgments.

SCOTT: Katie Couric, for one, made some pronouncements of her own. She did a little parody of "The Night Before Christmas." She wrote a poem. I guess she wrote it. I wouldn't take credit for it if I were her.


Here is one of the lines.


KATIE COURIC, CBS NEWS ANCHOR: "The Republican votes right now total zero, but a trigger could make one woman a hero."


Cal, what do you think?

CAL THOMAS, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: I would say, 'twas the night before Christmas and all through the press, not a creature was stirring and that's why I'm depressed.


Look, the media have...


THOMAS: Hey, that was pretty good. That was just right off the top of my head.

SCOTT: Yes, right.


THOMAS: The media have a social agenda and a political agenda that they use to advance their social agenda, whether it's nationalized health care for everybody, whether it works or not, same-sex marriage, abortion on demand, higher taxes, more spending and no war. And if you understand that going in then you can filter the information you're getting through that prism.

SCOTT: Judy, do you agree, first of all, that the mainstream media are sort of cheerleading health care reform?

JUDY MILLER, WRITER & FOX CONTRIBUTOR: I think some of them are, some of them aren't. But I agree with Ellis in that it's really something when you need to look to Michael Steele and the GOP advertisement to find out how much money is being afforded and awarded in earmarks to people who are on the fence about this bill in Congress. I mean, there was an allegation in Michael Steele's ad that Louisiana...

PINKERTON: Mary Landrieu.

MILLER: ... was going to get...

SCOTT: The Louisiana Purchase.

MILLER: ... $200 million. The new Louisiana Purchase, exactly. So is that true? Is it not? I want to see more fact checking.

PINKERTON: It's not only true, Mary Landrieu, in the spirit of Louisiana, and Ellis knows this well...


... they're proud of how much they can extract out of Washington. She says it wasn't $100 million, it was $300 million.

HENICAN: Is it corruption if you deserve the money in the first place?


HENICAN: That's a philosophical question...


THOMAS: We'd be in jail if we did this.


MILLER: It's payback for not getting paid for Katrina.

HENICAN: We deserve that money. We did deserve that money.


MILLER: Exactly.


SCOTT: There are Rasmussen polls shows support for health care reform as has it's been trumpeted in the U.S. Senate, that support is dropping. 56 percent there oppose it. Why, if they've got so much media backing, if this idea has so much media backing, are the numbers dropping?

MILLER: Because I don't think they have it. I disagree, I agree with Ellis. I think some people have been very, very objective and others haven't, but everybody is remiss in not doing all we can to find out how much this bill is going to cost, what are the provisions in it, and why they're there.

SCOTT: And Ellis is so grateful for the support. He rarely gets people agreeing with him.


HENICAN: And can I praise Katie Couric honestly? She's not a great poet. But as a TV anchor, she is a pretty good wire service reporter. She really summarized the politics of this thing pretty effectively in about 12 lines, Cal.

PINKERTON: And for that they pay her about $15 million a year. Wow!


HENICAN: It's tough to boil down in just a few lines.

THOMAS: The leadership on Capitol Hill promised this was going to be an open process as they developed a health care bill. Harry Reid promised it would be on C-Span, it would be full disclosure. This was all about the Obama administration, no more behind closed doors. The media haven't followed up on that if the same way they would if a Republican had made that promise and broke it.

PINKERTON: With one Nobel — several exceptions. one remarkable is most remarkable, is David Broder, 80, 8-0 years old, and still working and still calling them as he sees them, and has gotten himself in a minor war with Harry Reid over Broder talking the language that Judy and Ellis, and Cal, are talking about — hey, this thing is going to cost way more than they anyone realizes. Broder is willing to say it.

SCOTT: Is this thing going to be covered when Thanksgiving break is over and everybody comes back to Washington?

HENICAN: Oh, yeah.

MILLER: Yes, yes.


MILLER: Certainly, certainly.

THOMAS: It's one-sixth of the economy. It better be.

MILLER: In fact, the polls may show a drop in public support because people just want this thing over by now. They're tired of this story, right now.

HENICAN: They support the recovery. They like the idea.

MILLER: That's right.

SCOTT: It is time for a break.

But first, do you want to know what our panelists really think? During the breaks, we keep the cameras rolling here in the studio. You can catch some of the spirited discussions that erupt among our four after the program. Check out

Back in two minutes to talk about the terror trials coming to the media capital of the world.

ANNOUNCER: 9/11 terror trials headed for New York City and concerns growing over the terrorists getting the media spotlight.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're going to hear a lot of (INAUDIBLE) propaganda.


ANNOUNCER: And Congressman Kennedy's feud with the Catholic Church gets some press. Who do you think the media is siding with? Details next, on "News Watch."



DEBRA BURLINGAME, SISTER OF 9/11 VICTIM: This trial will be lawyer- assisted jihad. This trial will be lawyer-assisted jihad in the courtroom.


SCOTT: Debra Burlingame, her brother was the pilots of American Airlines flight 77 which terrorists crashed into the Pentagon on September 11th. She's one of many furious over the Obama administration's decision to put five of the September 11th terror suspects on trial in New York City in a civilian federal court. Among other points, critics of the idea say the trials surely will become a media circus and provide a chance for terrorists to mock our country.

A defense attorney close to the case admits the accused will use the opportunity to their benefit.


SCOTT FENSTERMAKER, ATTORNEY FOR ACCUSED TERRORIST: To say that he is trying to get out his political views or his platform is, I think, a little bit misleading, because the government is doing the same thing and it's been doing it for eight years now. They've used their political platform to justify wars in Iraq, in Afghanistan, attacks of civilians in Pakistan. And I think it's hard to say that, oh, these guys might get up for a couple of days and say things that we disagree with in a federal courthouse in New York and somehow condemn that, when we've been doing it for eight years now.


SCOTT: A couple days?

Judy, you cover terrorism, national security issues. You've talked to 9/11 families. Are we looking at the prospect of the media helping these guys sort of spout their propaganda?

MILLER: On this, I disagree. I really do not believe that these guys, defending themselves in a civilian court, is going to make anyone, anyone think that what they did was justified or appropriate or acceptable in a civilized society anywhere in the world. I'm not afraid of what they have to say. I think a lot of what they're planning to say will be ruled irrelevant and immaterial. I think this is a lot of very severe angst for nothing.

SCOTT: You may have stolen Ellis' line there.

Because you wrote a column in which you say New Yorkers aren't afraid of these trials. Really, doesn't it have the potential to become a circus?

HENICAN: There will be people expressing opinions. But don't forget, the judges in the southern district of New York are not known for lax court room. This is not going to turn into the Chicago Seven. These guys are a little — they're littler fuehrers inside those courtrooms. They'll keep things flowing very well-focused I suspect.

PINKERTON: Ellis, every minute of courtroom time will be about ten hours of cable news time where these lawyers say, the judge should me down inside the courtroom, now, three feet away, outside the steps, I'm having a press conference in which we talk about jihad, talk...


THOMAS: And speaking of the Chicago Seven, let's remember a chant from that era — the whole world is watching, and it's not about us. And it's not about our system. It's about what the rest of the world is going to see, especially jihadists in training. It's going to be a political disaster for the president. I'm shocked that he signed off on this, because there's no way he's going to benefit from it politically.

HENICAN: We've gotten through a lot of show trials already. And I bet you we're going to get through this.

MILLER: I think so too.

SCOTT: What about the argument though, Jim, that what it's going to show is American jurisprudence in action and the fairness of the American system.


PINKERTON: Look, we saw how the American jurisprudence system collapsed in the O.J. Simpson trial where buffoons on both sides made a farce of it. And it was on Jay Leno and every other talk show every night. This is a farcical process in a completely tragic context where, as Cal says, there's hundreds of millions of people, who do think the 9/11 hijackers were the good guys, who tell pollsters in Saudi Arabia and Yemen, Iran and Pakistan and wherever else, that they want more of this, not less. now they're going to get to see them on international television, including al-Jazeera.


MILLER: Should we not let them have their say?


PINKERTON: You do war crimes trials and after you win your wars.

HENICAN: There you go. You know what, it's a messy business and some of this will be messy. But come on, give me a better system. This makes us look great to the world.


HENICAN: We have a right to be proud.

THOMAS: We look pretty good anywhere or they wouldn't be coming here.

PINKERTON: Fortunately, the American people get a vote on this. The polls are 2-1 against it. And I'll predict these trials never happen.



HENICAN: We'll let them plead guilty.



HENICAN: Let them plead guilty.

SCOTT: We'll check on that prediction in ten years or so, whenever they bang the gavel.


It's time for another break. We'll be back with more on how the press is covering a Kennedy and his church when it relates to the battle over abortion. Whose side are they on?

ANNOUNCER: ABC let this former "Idol" contestant strut his stuff and more on live TV. Then, they edited it out for the west coast. Why the double standard? All next, on "News Watch."



TOBIN: Oh all I am trying to say to Congressman Kennedy, and others who might be involved, is to say, if you're a Catholic, live up to your faith. Understand what the church teaches. Accept those teachings and live that faith.


SCOTT: Rhode Island's Roman Catholic Bishop Thomas Tobin talking with Bill O'Reilly Tuesday about his request to Congressman Patrick Kennedy. It was revealed this week that the bishop asked the congressman to abstain from taking communion because of Kennedy's support for abortion rights, something that Roman Catholic doctrine, obviously, condemns.

You wrote about this controversy for the Fox Forum this week, Judy. Do you think that the press are using it as an opportunity to beat up on the Catholic Church?

MILLER: Once again some are, some aren't.


However, I do think we have to salute the Christian Science Monitor for pointing out that this is an old debate and one that Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict, had — took up this issue with then-Senator John Kerry when he was running for president over his support for abortion rights. So this keeps coming back and back and back.

SCOTT: Are the press taking sides?

THOMAS: Of course, they always do. The media love the Catholic Church when it supports the political and social agenda of the media. And they trash it when it doesn't. The Washington Times had a great lead editorial this week on Wednesday, on this very issue, and it noted that Patrick Kennedy wants the approval of the Roman Catholic Church of which he is a member when it comes to other issues that the church may agree with, poverty, war, all of these other things. But you don't get the approval or he doesn't want the approval if it comes to the abortion issue, the most innocent of people.

This came up also during the Mario Cuomo administration when he was governor of New York. Cuomo accepted the churches teachings on the death penalty. He was against it. But he rejected it on abortion. Well, can you have it both ways?



SCOTT: Ellis? Ellis?

He went to Catholic school and he's also a member of the press.

HENICAN: Well...

THOMAS: What a conflict.


HENICAN: And I see no conflict there at all as a matter of fact.

First of all, you've got to note that Bishop Tobin is in the minority among the bishops. Most of the bishops don't follow this rigid line. They understand that your duties to your religion and faith, while hugely important, are somewhat different from a civil politician's duty to his constituents. I mean, I believe you should go to Mass on Sunday, but I don't think you should pass a law requiring people to do it. That's the difficult line the Catholic politicians walk today.

THOMAS: Cafeteria theology, Ellis, cafeteria theology.



SCOTT: Here's another story we've been watching closely for weeks, actually months now, will the president increase the number of troops sent to Afghanistan? When will he do it?

Here is what happened when the president was asked about his decision on Tuesday.


MARK KNOLLER, CBS NEWS CORRESPONDENT: ... more troops you will be sending to Afghanistan? How you'll be paying for them? And whether you'll be announcing a timetable and/or exit strategy for them?

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I will be making an announcement to the American people about how we intend to move forward. I will be doing so shortly.

SCOTT: We know now that the president will address the nation this coming Tuesday.

So, what about it, Jim? Have we gotten enough from the media about this decision making process and how this — how much this is going to cost?

PINKERTON: I mean, if you stretch it out over, really, six months, it's fair to say that every player in the contest will have an opinion and get it into the media. I think they've terribly mishandled this. And they've let it been just bounced around from all sides on this. and they're coming up with a solution that isn't really going to solve anybody's problem and that they don't even really think is going to work, because in the same breath they say surge, they say, by the way, we're leaving.

SCOTT: What happened to the necessary war as described by the president, Judy?

MILLER: Well, I think the president now understands the problem with becoming a prisoner of your own campaign rhetoric. and the reason you're seeing some of these leaks, I believe, is that he's trying to inoculate his own party against what will be a decision to give more troops, add more troops to a war which many in his own party doesn't think is a good war, a necessary war at all.

SCOTT: A pretty outrageous story came out, in my view, this week. Three Navy SEALs who were involved in capturing one of the most wanted bad guys in Iraq, the guy supposedly responsible for planning the execution of four Blackwater contractors. The SEALs are now facing charges because the guy somehow wound up with a bloody lip. Is the media paying attention?

THOMAS: It's an interesting contrast here with Abu Ghraib. That's when George Bush was president and Republicans were pretty much running things in Washington. This was a horrible violation of human rights. People should be brought up on charges. We put the pictures all over the place. Now you've got a couple of Navy SEALs, who allegedly give a bloody lip to one of the scumbags, and where is the outrage? You're only seeing it on Fox and The New York Post. I haven't discovered it anywhere else.

SCOTT: All right, another story making headlines this week, the controversy around a sexually suggestive performance at Sunday's American Music Awards by former "American Idol" contestant, Adam Lambert. Lambert is openly gay. He performed live on ABC. Parts of his live performance were edited out by the network for the feed that it sends to the west coast a couple of hours later. Lambert criticized the network and his Wednesday appearance on ABC's "Good Morning America," suddenly canceled. He was then quickly booked by CBS's "The Early Show."

Ellis, that was a pretty provocative show that he put on there. Did it belong on network television, first of all, or did ABC make the right decision in editing it for the west coast feed?

HENICAN: Jon, I don't shock too easily on these things.


But let's remember, this is just hype all-around. He did it for the attention. ABC tried to deal with his P.R. thing. The media's covered it. It's a dumb story that doesn't mean much.



SCOTT: It makes Janet Jackson's Super Bowl act look pretty tame, doesn't it.


HENICAN: Who cares? Who cares?

MILLER: God bless Rolling Stone Online, which called it crotch rock.


THOMAS: Yes, well, we've come a long way from Paul Anka's "Put Your Head on My Shoulder," to Adam Lambert, put your head in my hoo-ha. And you were against the first one...


HENICAN: I was against them both.


THOMAS: And you're forgetting Elvis and Michael Jackson and all of this other stuff.

SCOTT: All right, we have to take another break. When we come back, secret e-mails about climate change, how is that story playing in the press?

ANNOUNCER: The global warming debate gets the big chill after secret e-mails reveal a possible farce. But the press seem to be giving the story the cold shoulder. More next, on "News Watch."


SCOTT: The White House confirmed this week that President Obama will travel to Copenhagen for the United Nations conference on climate change. The announcement came a day after a report, called "The Copenhagen Diagnosis," was warning of quickly melting ice in Polar Regions, carbon dioxide emissions and more. The report featured some of the scientists that were caught in what the press has dubbed climategate.

Last week, someone gained access to more than 1,000 e-mails exchanged between prominent scientists involved in the global warming debate. Whether they were hacked or released by a whistle-blower inside is still unclear. Either way, the e-mails hit the Internet, heating up more skepticism and accusations of collusion.

Here is sample from Kevin Trenberth, a climate scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado. He wrote, "The fact is we can't account for the warming at the moment. And it's a travesty that we can't." This is from Phil Jones, who runs the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, "I just completed Mike's nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years, i.e., from 1981 onwards, and from 1961 for Keith's to hide the decline."

Most in the media pretty much ignored this story. Why?

What do you think, Jim?

PINKERTON: I think that environmentalism is the great faith of the secular liberal media. This is just a matter of doctrine to them that we have global warming. So hats off to Mark Morano at, a new player in this media environment, who did more than anybody else to get these 1,000 e-mails out to a public before we pass this idiotic bill.

SCOTT: So when the media see these e-mails, which show pretty big schisms among scientists about global warming, is there a predisposition to ignore that?

HENICAN: Jon, I have nothing for you to climate change, but I would say please change your login password, and stop those nasty habits, OK?


SCOTT: Branded a whistleblower.

THOMAS: This, once again, exposes the problem with this entire debate, which hasn't been a debate. There hasn't been a debate despite numerous changes to Al Gore, who is the apostle of climate change. He won't debate anybody on it. Much of the media searched this, as if it is a religious doctrine. Now, when these e-mails are exposed, we find there's even more and more scientists who don't agree with it.

SCOTT: Quick thought?

MILLER: As long as the people, who are against climate change and in favor of conserving energy, have the polar bears, they are going to win. Endangered polar bears sell every time.


SCOTT: That's a wrap on "New Watch" this week.

Thanks to Judy, Jim, Cal and Ellis.

I'm Jon Scott. We'll see you back here next week.

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