Ellis Henican is frequently a member of the ‘Fox News Watch’ panel of media analysts who cover the coverage of the week’s biggest stories. (Saturday 2:30 and 11:30 PM on the Fox News Channel)   On the May 29, 2010 edition of Fox News Watch, the panel debated the media’s coverage of the Joe Sestak…



Ellis Henican is frequently a member of the ‘Fox News Watch’ panel of media analysts who cover the coverage of the week’s biggest stories. (Saturday 2:30 and 11:30 PM on the Fox News Channel)   On the May 15, 2010 edition of Fox News Watch, the panel debated the story of  the Northern California  students who were…



Ellis Henican is frequently a member of the ‘Fox News Watch’ panel of media analysts who cover the coverage of the week’s biggest stories. (Saturday 2:30 and 11:30 PM on the Fox News Channel)  On the May 8, 2010 edition of Fox News Watch, the panel debated the media’s seemingly sympathetic coverage of the Times Square bomber. Ellis felt…




(Saturday 2:30 and 11:30 PM on the Fox News Channel)


On May 1, 2010,  the show was interrupted at both the beginning and end by the unfolding Times Square bomb scare story.

(a transcript of the Fox News Channel broadcast)




JON SCOTT, HOST: And criticism in the mainstream media. Is the press focused on the controversy or the context?


PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I’m Barack Obama. Most of you have covered me. All of you voted for me.



SCOTT: The media’s love affair with the president was alive and strong a year ago. But after 15 months of restricted access and side-stepping the press, where has all the affection gone.


SEN. CARL LEVIN, D-MICH.: You don’t think (EXPLETIVE DELETED)? Trying to sell (EXPLETIVE DELETED). You knew it was a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) deal.


SCOTT: Congressional cursing added to the drama when Goldman Sachs titans came face to face with some bitter lawmakers. Did the media get caught in the hype or was the coverage fact filled and fair?

A computer hacker breaks into the GOP candidate’s personal e-mail, searching for secrets to expose. Did the media expose the wrong doing or ignore the threat?

And this year’s Masters winner takes a spin with his kids, and gets caught on camera with sticky fingers.

On the panel this week, writer and Fox News contributor Judy Miller, Fox Washington managing editor Bill Sammon; Jim Pinkerton, fellow, New America Foundation; and Newsday columnist, Ellis Henican.

I’m Jon Scott. Fox News Watch is on now.


RUDY GIULIANI, R-FORMER MAYOR OF NEW YORK: The American people are angry that the federal government has failed to protect and secure our borders.

ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER, R-GOVERNOR OF CALIFORNIA: Secure our borders while at the same time recognize the economic and social reality.

MITT ROMNEY, R-FORMER GOVERNOR OF MASSACHUSSETS: Of course, we need to secure the border. We need to have an employment verification system with a card to identify who is here legally and not legally.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: And I’ll make it a top priority in my first year as president, not only because we have an obligation to secure our borders and get control of who comes in and out of our country, not only because we have to crack down on employers who are abusing undocumented immigrants instead of hiring citizens, but because we have to finally bring undocumented immigrants out of the shadows.


SCOTT: Well, sealing our nation’s borders and stopping illegal immigration has been a contentious issue for quite a while now, both in politics and in the press. This week, the issue heated up in Arizona after lawmakers in that state passed the nation’s toughest law against illegal immigration, making Arizona ground zero in the debate over how to deal with the millions who sneak into this country every year.

Opponents took to the streets in protests, attracting media attention, and reports like these.


REPORTER: Riot police called in to try to control demonstrators protesting outside of the capitol. Most were peaceful. A handful threw bottles at police and were arrested.

KATIE COURIC, ANCHOR, CBS EVENING NEWS: Anger in Arizona against a new law allowing police to make you prove you’re in the country legally.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They’re just focusing on us because we’re brown.


SCOTT: All right. So the question is, after watching parts of those two reports, where is the context?

Bill? I mean, there seems to be this drumbeat in the media of sympathy for the illegals coming across and the affect of the law on them. And no sympathy for the people of Arizona who are putting up with — well, the governor says 87 percent of the illegals in that state have criminal records.

BILL SAMMON, FOX WASHINGTON MANAGING EDITOR: You noticed when, on the national stage, we talk about immigration, it’s called comprehensive immigration reform, which, of course, is a loaded word, which means betterment. When Arizona passes an immigration law, it’s called the controversial Arizona immigration law. And the press described this from everything from Nazi Germany to Soviet Russia to apartheid in South Africa. They’ve talked about a police state.

I think the coverage has been over the top. It’s been over heated. And I think it’s because the — the Democrats, first of all, never really thought they were going to pass immigration reform on a national level. But they’ve suddenly seized on this controversy in Arizona to rile up their base, turn them out for the mid-term elections, maybe help Harry Reid who is in trouble, the Senate majority leader, but they really don’t — they want the issue. They don’t want legislation actually.

SCOTT: What about some of the language, Judy? I mean, people like Joy Behar are calling it fascist and Nazi-like, using words like that. When that gets printed and reprinted in the media, I mean, how responsible was that?

JUDY MILLER, WRITER & FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Linda Greenhouse says — my former newspaper, the New York Times, said that it showed that had America was working a police state and comparative to the worst aspects — some of the worst aspects of the Soviet Union. Look, I think the debate in the media, and there is a debate in the media, mirrors the passionate debate that Americans have about this issue. And if — all I know is that, for Democrats, it’s a godsend. If you want every Hispanic voter in America to line up with the Democratic Party, you just look at Arizona and say, this way, ladies and gentlemen.

JIM PINKERTON, FELLOW, NEW AMERICA FOUNDATION: Judy, the debate in the media doesn’t mirror the country. The debate in the media — there is no debate in the media.

I started looking through all the columnists who were denouncing the Arizona law. And there are so many, I lost track. I went instead and counted the ones that were in favor of it. I counted George Will and that was about it. The country supports this bill, according to Gallup and Rasmussen. The media are 50 to 1 against it. That is not a mirroring. That is a funhouse mirror of public opinion.

MILLER: I saw lots of conservative pollsters. I saw lots of conservatives quoted on the web.

PINKERTON: Did you see them on CBS? Did you see them in the New York Times?

MILLER: No, but I saw them on cable news.


SCOTT: Ellis, I’m from Colorado originally and I remember growing up there. Washington seemed like such a foreign place. And you just get the sense that a bunch of people in Washington are saying, oh, those crazy cowboys in Arizona, they’re making life so difficult for these poor cooks and dishwashers who want to come across the border and work. I mean, is there any balance here?

ELLIS HENICAN, COLUMNIST, NEWSDAY: Well, that is part of the story. What is interesting and what really propels the debate here is that there is conflicting values. You saw in opening bite, all of those people who want to secure the borders. That has become a buzz word that anyone can sign on to.

Yet, at the same time, guys, there really is a huge story from the Latino perspective on this thing, the immigrant perspective. What we have is a clashing set of values here. There is no easy answer to it. And we’ve all failed in dealing with it. That’s why it’s such a great story.

SCOTT: But does anyone want to say atta’ boy to the Arizona lawmakers?

HENICAN: Some people. Some people…


HENICAN: How many profiles do you need to see, Jim, before remembering one of a poor rancher with people running across his lawn?


PINKERTON: A rancher…

HENICAN: I’ve seen that story written a hundred times in…

PINKERTON: That rancher got murdered.

Yes. I hadn’t — I didn’t see a lot of coverage about him.

HENICAN: Well, I’ll send some to you.


There have been a lot of poor rancher stories.


SAMMON: The press went wild when someone drew a little Hitler mustache on a poster of Obama at a Tea Party rally. But when we have an immigration rally where leftists were protesting and smeared refried beans in the shape of swastikas on the Arizona state capitol building, there was much less coverage of that. I mean, think of how wrong that is on so many levels. They’re using refried beans. Talk about stereotyping Mexicans.

HENICAN: And a waste of good food.


SAMMON: And swastikas. And it was sort of like, well, it shows their anger.


SCOTT: And these protests are described as mostly peaceful…


…when police are getting hit in the back of the head with water bottles. You compare that to the Tea Party coverage…



PINKERTON: Look, everything you need to know about this is, if — some of the protestors are calling themselves the tequila party. Get it? It’s a play on Tea Parties. And the media? Oh, that is fine. If the Tea Parties had called themselves the whiskey party, every media story would have said, these drunken idiots are out there…


PINKERTON: The bias is so thick, you can’t believe it. Except with one glorious exception. Mark Stevenson, from AP, went to the trouble in Mexico of covering how Mexico treats illegal immigrants coming in from Central America, and he says they are robbed, raped and killed in great numbers. Good for him.

HENICAN: One of the reasons they’re coming — can’t we agree? There is a lot of harsh and angry rhetoric on both sides of this. Don’t just give half of it.

SCOTT: All right, time for a break.

But first, there is more on these topics on our web site, and an insider’s view of what we say in here during the breaks. After the show, log on to foxnews.com/foxnewswatch.

When we come back, new concerns from the White House Press Corps over lack of access to the president.

ANNOUNCER: Access denied, once admirers, now shunned. Reporters covering the president ask, where has all the love gone?

And drama on Capitol Hill when foul-mouthed lawmakers clash with Goldman Sachs titans. Who is the media rooting for? All next on, “News Watch.”



PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I’m Barack Obama. Most of you have covered me. All of you voted for me.



SCOTT: That was just about a year ago. Most members of the media still enthusiastic over the president, some would say, gaga. But in a year’s time, that enthusiasm is not so strong anymore. This week, Politico.com had this: Why reporters are down on President Obama, citing a relationship between the administration and the White House Press Corps that grows more contentious by the day there. There have been a number of articles like that, the Politico article just the most recent.

Is the love affair really over?

HENICAN: Well, the love affair never really was quite as big as some people suggest. These are institutional relationships. I have covered politicians of every party and I’ve never felt like I got enough access. I will never feel like I do. And I bet you that everyone at this table who covers those folks feels the same way always.

SCOTT: You’re at our Washington bureau for Fox. Is the lack of access to the president a real concern?

SAMMON: I spent 10 years as a White House correspondent, so I know something about this topic. I think Politico has it wrong. They say there is a surprisingly hostile relationship now between the White House — between President Obama and the press. This is the same Politico, by the way, a couple of weeks ago, which wrote, in response to something I said, that the mainstream media loves Sarah Palin. So now Politico is on record as saying that the mainstream media loves Sarah Palin and is hostile to Barack Obama.

There is something wrong with that picture. Here’s what’s happening: They’re not making the distinction. The press, the overall Washington Press Corps loves President Obama, continues to love him. the subset, which is the White House correspondents, the people who are actually in the West Wing in their little tiny cubicles, and have to be spoon fed information and grouse about how they never get an interview with the president, they are complaining about logistical access to the president, which is a legitimate complaint. But it’s an old complaint that we have in every administration. Ideologically, the press is still very much in the tank with Barack Obama.

SCOTT: That Politico article, Jim, notes a concern over gauzy video features the White House staff photographer cranks out, taking advantage of behind-the-scenes access to Obama and his aids. Ann Compton, from ABC, is quoted as saying, “Someone out there might mistake them for news as opposed to slick publicity handouts from the White House to me. They’re mocking what we do,” she says. Are they?

PINKERTON: I think they completely are mocking what they do. I mean, I think the essential view of Obama, you all voted for me, and he’s giving a big sort of arrogant look at them and then they all cheered for him. That boils it down. When you have that relationship with the press, when they — yes, they’re mad at — they’re mad at Robert Gibbs. They adore Obama. And the fact that the White House then can create its own parallel media operation with their own news releases and still have the press loving him just shows how much fun it is to have your cake and eat it too.

SCOTT: Well, and even Gibbs, they’re mad at Gibbs because he’s supposed to be their conduit and they can’t get to him, they say.

MILLER: All right, look, despite the talk of transparency, this administration is doing what every administration does. And what Jim did when he was in the White House. You try and manage the news by singling out reporters who are friendly to you and news organizations that are friendly to you, and you give them access. That’s the old game. It hasn’t changed. They White House is just…

SAMMON: But they’ve gone a little further. They’ve actually built on what George W. Bush did, which was, he began to marginalize the White House Press Corps He began to basically treat them as irrelevant. I think Obama has gone even further. And I think you’re right. They’ve actually — Obama has now sort of started this little parallel, almost news service where they put out these tweets. And they put out these only White House photos and they put out these White House videos. One of them, they actually said, “exclusive.”


Well, you know, of course, it’s exclusive. You’re the White House. You’re exclusive.


PINKERTON: An exclusive, paid for by the taxpayers.


SCOTT: Jim has something to say, as does Ellis, but you’re going to have to go to the Web site to catch that because it’s time for another break.

If you come across a story chock full of media bias, send it to us at newswatch@foxnews.com.

We’ll be back with a review of how the media covered drama on Capitol Hill this week.


LEVIN: You don’t think it’s junk? You don’t think it’s crap. You don’t think it’s (EXPLETIVE DELETED)?


ANNOUNCER: Potty-mouthed Senators take on honchos of Goldman Sachs. Was it a made-for-TV skirmish?

And a Republican candidate’s e-mail gets hacked and the case goes to trial. But has the mainstream media ignored the threat? Answers next, on “News Watch.”



LEVIN: Boy, that timber wolf was one (EXPLETIVE DELETED) deal. How much of that (EXPLETIVE DELETED) deal did you sell to your clients? You knew it was a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) deal and that is what your e-mail showed. Should Goldman Sachs be trying to sell this (EXPLETIVE DELETED) deal? (EXPLETIVE DELETED) deal? You don’t think it’s junk? You don’t think it’s crap? You think it’s (EXPLETIVE DELETED)? You think that Goldman Sachs ought to be selling that to customers?


SCOTT: Thank goodness for the beep. That was just a sampling. In total, Senator Levin said that word 18 times during his grilling of Goldman Sachs giants during hearings on Capitol Hill this week. And the session lasted 10 hours as Goldman executives tried to explain that, in their view, this business of theirs, known as market-making, operates outside any ethical or moral universe. It seemed like political theater, staged for the media, as many of the Capitol Hill hearings are.

What about the media coverage?

MILLER: I think the media coverage, once again, reflected the general outrage that most people feel towards Goldman Sachs. I started watching that in the morning. And don’t stop watching this train wreck of the not-so-fabulous four. I only find it — it’s very interesting as, I think it was Media Watch said, fetch my smelling salts. What’s the difference between crap and that other word that we can’t say on the airwaves? I mean, come on, guys. It was a perfect moment, once again, for a great Democratic hearing. And it was delivered with equal outrage by Republicans and Democrats alike.

SCOTT: But it seemed like some questions could have been written by Rahm Emmanuel in the White House. Nobody wants to love a Wall Street bank right now. But at the same time, Congress likes to take advantage of people when they’re down.

SAMMON: It’s the oldest trick in the book: Beat up on the evil corporate greed mongers. I mean, it’s class warfare. What they didn’t do — what this — what happens when you focus on Goldman Sachs, the big, bad…



E-mail ellis@henican.com. Follow him at twitter.com/henican.


“Home Team” debuted on DeGeneres – April 28, 2010 New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton  appeared on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.”  The coach talked with Ellen about winning Super Bowl XLIV and Home Team — the book he and Ellis Henican wrote.  Check out the video where Ellen shows the book, making its national tv debut,  to…