Not a Real News Organization? Oh Really?

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," October 19, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: This is getting really hot or really silly. You pick. The White House attacks Fox News again. White House senior adviser David Axelrod.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you worried that your strategy is fortifying your enemy?

DAVID AXELROD, WHITE HOUSE SENIOR ADVISER: Well, I don't -- you know, I'm not concerned -- Mr. Murdoch has a -- has a talent for making money, and I understand that their programming is geared toward making money. The only argument Anita was making is that they're not really a news station. If you watch even -- it's not just their commentators, but a lot of their news programming. It's really not news, it's pushing a point of view. And the bigger thing is that other news organizations like yours ought not to treat them that way and we're not going to treat them that way. We're going to appear on their shows. We're going to participate, but understanding that they represent a point of view.


VAN SUSTEREN: Well, that seems a bit odd. Fox News is not really news? Well, what is it then? Maybe all this time, "On the Record" at 10:00 PM has been doing an entertainment show and we didn't even know it? What do you think? Now, take a peek.


HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, you and I were just talking before the cameras started rolling because you're one of the few people I know who've actually been there and who understand that it is a -- you know, it's a different environment.

VAN SUSTEREN: Iran. Who is dealing, supplying, helping Iran in their nuclear program? Do we know which country is helping them? Or are they doing this themselves?

HENRY KISSINGER, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: It depends what program we're talking about.

VAN SUSTEREN: Not the civilian one. I'm not worried about the civilian one, if, indeed, it's truly civilian, but there's so much suspicion that it's far more than a civilian nuclear power program.

KISSINGER: I'm convinced that it's a nuclear weapons program.

VAN SUSTEREN: Sir, does Israel intend to freeze settlements? I know that this is a big issue on the table for you.

EHUD BARAK, ISRAELI DEFENSE MINISTER: It's a part of a much wider issue, whether together with the United States and our Palestinian, Arab neighbors, we can launch a regional peace initiative led by -- to be led by the president of the United States.

VAN SUSTEREN: What's your thought on strategy? Should we send 40,000 more or some number less than 40,00 or should we pull out?

SEN. EVAN BAYH, D - IND.: If we believe there's a chance that the central government there can be strengthened sufficiently with more troops, more police, more intelligence services, then I think it's worth making that investment.

ROBERTO MICHELETTI, HONDURAS INTERIM LEADER: I want to thank you and (INAUDIBLE) to let me say in my bad English, everything you are saying is the first time we've got the chance to say somebody what happened in this country before the 28th.

VAN SUSTEREN: Senator, the Congressional Budget Office has come out with their number. And they say that this Senate Finance bill is $820 billion over 10 years. What do you think?

SEN. CHARLES GRASSLEY, R-IA, FINANCE COMMITTEE: Well, I think it's going to be closer to a trillion dollars.

VAN SUSTEREN: Why should they care in the States, not on the big moral picture about helping India, but on a -- on a personal level (INAUDIBLE) trying to put food on the table, why should they care -- why should people in America care about India?

CLINTON: Well, people in America should care about India, number one, because they are a great and growing nation with more and more not just regional but global power. Decisions that are made here in India are going to affect the bread-and-butter issues that are important to Americans.


VAN SUSTEREN: All right, so wait. That was not news? Well, maybe what you're about to hear explains why the White House does not like Fox News. White House communications director Anita Dunn in January.


ANITA DUNN, WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: A huge part of our press strategy was focused on making the media cover what Obama was actually saying, as opposed to, you know, why the campaign was saying it, what the tactic was. One of the reasons we did so many of the David Plouffe videos was not just for our supporters, but also because it was a way for us to get our message out without having to actually talk to reporters. It was very much we controlled it, as opposed to the press controlled it.


VAN SUSTEREN: Fox News contributor Tucker Carlson joins us live right here in Washington. Could this be a more fun fight or what?

TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, it's monumentally stupid on the part of White House, obviously. It's...

VAN SUSTEREN: It's -- I mean...


CARLSON: Well, it's counterproductive. Of course, it doesn't help them in the long run. They're whining, and no executive branch, no president looks good whining. But it's also infuriating. I was sitting here watching those tapes, getting madder and madder, the idea that the press, any news outlet, would be lectured by people who lie for a living about what qualifies as news is infuriating!

VAN SUSTEREN: See, I'm actually not infuriated because, for some reason, it struck me as -- I mean, funny isn't really the right word, but it's, like -- it's so silly. I mean, it's so patently absurd to -- if you don't like what some news organization is doing, I mean, or a person on a news organization...


VAN SUSTEREN: ... then you attack the entire news organization! It's like if I didn't like what one person was doing at the White House, do I take the whole White House down?

CARLSON: I just -- I just spent too many years interviewing people in positions of authority in this and other White Houses, including Republican ones, and getting lies in response to my questions, that the idea that someone like that would be telling us what is and what is not news is over the top, that if you dissent from the cult of personality built around this president, that you somehow are illegitimate and don't have a right to broadcast your news station?

And then to go a step farther and suggest that other news organizations somehow boycott this one because this -- this news organization is asking tough questions that others won't -- that's really outrageous! And beyond that, having worked at a number of other networks and watched them suck up to Barack Obama, watch network correspondents weep with joy on the air when he was elected -- and that actually happened, I was there -- that somehow this is this illegitimate news network? That didn't happen on Fox!

VAN SUSTEREN: I guess, I mean, you know, you're right. I mean, I should take this more seriously. But the fact is, we can still do our work. We can still, you know, get questions answered, maybe not from the White House, but there are plenty of newsmakers on Capitol Hill. I think they look bad. We don't look bad. I mean, when you've got -- when you've got David Axelrod saying to George Stephanopoulos that we're not really a news station and asking (INAUDIBLE) and the bigger thing is that other news organizations like yours, meaning ABC, ought not to treat them that way...

CARLSON: But you know...

VAN SUSTEREN: That -- that -- that is trying to -- trying to get -- to silence a news organization!

CARLSON: Well, it's creepy, actually. And look, if -- I'm -- Fox makes mistakes. Everybody makes mistakes. And if you have a specific concern about a specific story or treatment of a story, then bring it up. But to write off an entire organization because they're the only ones asking difficult questions is so transparently an attempt to silence someone that every other media organization ought to be up in arms!

VAN SUSTEREN: It's never going to last.

CARLSON: Of course it's not going to last!

VAN SUSTEREN: It's not going to last.

CARLSON: You know what? What bothers me is that there hasn't been a greater uproar. I mean, I know plenty of liberals who are offended, Obama supporters who are offended by this tactic because they see it as an attack on a free press and they see it as also counterproductive, which it absolutely is, but not enough! Not enough people are outraged by this!

VAN SUSTEREN: There was one -- Newsweek has a headline where it says that Fox News is un-American!

CARLSON: That was a disgusting piece written by someone who...

VAN SUSTEREN: The guy's an idiot! I mean...


CARLSON: ... apart from that, written by someone who is...


VAN SUSTEREN: ... you give them more credit than I do.

CARLSON: ... sucking up to power, sucking up to this president. And, I mean, that's the -- - here's the macro story, is that the press -- there are a lot of things wrong with the press. One of the main things wrong with the press is they have sucked up to this president in a way future generations will find embarrassing and inexplicable. The behavior of the press corps during this last election -- I was there and watched it firsthand -- was inexcusable. They ought to be embarrassed. And the smart ones are embarrassed, even the ones who voted for Obama. Again, I know a lot of Obama-voting liberal journalists who have said to me personally, You know what? We went way too far.

VAN SUSTEREN: The thing that I think is disturbing is that you may have a beef with a person in an organization, whether it's a news organization, whatever, but you don't -- you don't indict the entire organization, the entire group. That really is...

CARLSON: That's right.

VAN SUSTEREN: That is really the problem here. You know, they may have a beef with Glenn Beck, but you know, you don't -- you don't attack Bret Baier!

CARLSON: But it's a tactic.


CARLSON: Obviously, it's a tactic, but again, there's a moral component here. Politicians have a different goal from journalists. Even bad journalists have to pay lip service to the idea that they're trying to seek the truth. Politicians don't. They don't even pretend. And the people who work for them, the operatives who work for them make no pretense at all. Their job is to say whatever it is necessary the need to say in order to help their boss, period.

VAN SUSTEREN: See, I guess that if I thought this were serious, in the sense I thought this were long-lasting and not just sort of something - - I see this as sort of a stunt. I think it's sort of an effort to try to chill some news organizations, maybe chill Fox. I see it as inartfully drawn by indicting the whole news organization. If I thought this were going to last, you know, a long time, I'd take it, you know, much more seriously.

CARLSON: Well, it just really offends me because the bottom-line mission of the press, in Washington anyway, is to question those wielding power.


CARLSON: And I don't think the press is doing a good job of that at all.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, I think the more telling thing is the freedom of the press, and are other news organizations going to be offended or not? Are they going to take the cue from David Axelrod...

CARLSON: Can you imagine allowing David Axelrod, who is a political hack, to set your news agenda? I mean, it's -- you know, 15 years ago -- let's say someone in the Bush administration said this. Ari Fleischer said something stupid years ago about, You need to watch what you say, and the press, correctly I thought, landed on him. No one is landing on David Axelrod, and they ought to.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, I think it -- you know, we'll see. You know, I think it'll be interesting to see, you know, who -- who stands up for the 1st Amendment and who is offended by trying to chill...

CARLSON: David Axelrod lecturing us on honesty? Can you imagine!


VAN SUSTEREN: I got to go.


VAN SUSTEREN: I guess you're mad!

CARLSON: I am mad!

VAN SUSTEREN: Tucker's mad! Tucker, thank you.


VAN SUSTEREN: Yes, of course.

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