FNC's Douglas Kennedy to Judy Miller: 'You Went to Jail to Protect Cheney!'
On Saturday’s Fox News Watch, as FNC correspondent Douglas Kennedy appeared as a member of the show’s panel, after host Jon Scott’s introduction to the show’s first segment – which involved President Obama’s response to the underwear bomber – Kennedy characterized Scott’s introduction as sounding "like it's written by Dick Cheney in his bunker." Complaining that he was ideologically outnumbered on the panel after left-leaning panel member Judith Miller – formerly of the New York Times – was critical of Obama, Miller declared, "Now, wait a minute. I am very, very liberal on a lot of issues," prompting Kennedy to exclaim, "You went to jail to protect Dick Cheney! Come on!":
DOUGLAS KENNEDY: Jon, I'm stuck on your intro. We're supposed to be doing media bias. This intro sounds like it's written by Dick Cheney in his bunker. Come on, we got three against one. ... I need help from you, Jon. These guys are like --
JUDITH MILLER: Now, wait a minute. I am very, very liberal on a lot of issues. And I --
KENNEDY: Judy, you went to jail to protect Dick Cheney! Come on!
MILLER: I did not go to jail to protect Dick Cheney.
KENNEDY: Well, somebody. I don't know who it was, but --
Kennedy also went on to claim that attempts at terrorism against the United States were being inspired by the existence of the prison at Guantanamo Bay which he argued "created this problem," again awakening Miller’s less liberal side as she reminded him that two attacks on the World Trade Center had already happened before the prison at Guantanamo Bay ever existed.
Below is a complete transcript of the segment from the Saturday, January 9, Fox News Watch on FNC, with critical portions in bold:
JON SCOTT: On Fox News Watch, a near Christmas Day disaster.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: We have to do better, and we will do better.
SCOTT: U.S. intelligence failures at all levels.
OBAMA: The system has failed in a potentially disastrous way.
SCOTT: As concern about our security grows, is the press pushing for answers and results? Key Democrats call it quits.
SENATOR CHRIS DODD (D-CT): I will not be a candidate for reelection.
SCOTT: As reporters begin to question the strength of the party, are the liberal media showing signs of an Obama hangover? Despite the President's promises, the media have been locked out of the backroom negotiations on health care. Does anyone notice?
ROBERT GIBBS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We covered this yesterday, and I refer you to yesterday's transfer.
SCOTT: The Tea Party movement grows stronger, and most of the media don't like it. A respected journalist offers Tiger some advice – how did the liberal press react?
KEITH OLBERMANN, MSNBC HOST: Is it not in the interest of people of faith to avoid this kind of public proselytizing?
SCOTT: And the model-in-chief becomes a big shot in Time Square. Was that a big mistake? On the panel this week, writer and Fox News contributor Judy Miller; editor of the National Review, Rich Lowry; Jim Pinkerton, fellow, New America Foundation; and Fox News correspondent Douglas Kennedy. I'm Jon Scott. Fox News Watch is on right now.
SCOTT: The new face of terror, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, accused of trying to blow up a plane over Detroit on Christmas Day, an event which forced the terror threat back into the headlines. A wakeup call to the press. And a wake-up call to the officials responsible for protecting us, who seemed caught off guard, and issued responses that didn't sit well with the media or the American public.
JANET NAPOLITANO, SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY: What we're focused on is making sure that the air environment remains safe, that people are confident when they travel. And one thing I'd like to point out is that the system worked.
SCOTT: President Obama remained in Hawaii on vacation after the botched bombing. He waited three days to speak to the press and address the American people. On Sunday, White House counterterrorism advisor, John Brennan, told Chris Wallace, despite all the Monday morning quarterbacking that’s been going on, there was no smoking gun that would have sent the suspect hurdling onto everybody's radar screens. Then, Thursday, after releasing a report that his own national security advisor promised would shock the average American, President Obama vowed to defeat al-Qaeda.
OBAMA: I am less interested in passing out blame than I am in learning from and correcting these mistakes to make us safer. For ultimately, the buck stops with me. As President, I have a solemn responsibility to protect our nation and our people. And when the system fails, it is my responsibility.
SCOTT: Well, not missing a beat, the New York Post summed up Mr. Obama’s message in a headline that screams, "They Want to Kill Us! President Finally Connects the Dots." So what about this headline, Judy? Does the New York Post have it right?
JUDITH MILLER: I think they do have it right. And I think the media played a large role in pushing this White House into more aggressive statements and a greater response. I mean, the beginning response, what we saw from Napolitano's lame comments, were quickly retracted, but it took them almost a week to get their story straight. And we still haven't heard from Dennis Blair. The media have not asked about Dennis Blair, the Director of National Intelligence, whose job it was to connect those dots that are on the New York Post cover.
DOUGLAS KENNEDY: Jon, I'm stuck on your intro. We're supposed to be doing media bias. This intro sounds like it's written by Dick Cheney in his bunker. Come on, we got three against one. I need at least-
SCOTT, HOLDING UP NEW YORK POST: You don't like this headline?
KENNEDY: No, I need help from you, Jon. These guys are like-
MILLER: Now, wait a minute. I am very, very liberal on a lot of issues. And I-
KENNEDY: Judy, you went to jail to protect Dick Cheney, come one.
MILLER: I did not go to jail to protect Dick Cheney.
KENNEDY: Well, somebody. I don't know who it was but-
MILLER: I went to jail to protect my source. And that's something that you, as a journalist, should be proud of.
KENNEDY: No, hey, I think you did the greatest thing. I'm just saying I'm a little outnumbered here, and I need a little help from Jon.
SCOTT: All right, let's get back to the point. Jim, do you think that the change in tone of the administration was, in any way, driven by headlines like this?
JIM PINKERTON, NEW AMERICA FOUNDATION: I think there was a lot of pressure on the administration to get with the program, as it were, and get serious about terrorism. However, they had a few loyalists in the media who were sticking up for them. I mean, Matt Lauer on the Today show said, you know, look, we've got to get rid of this idea, that was a quote, that President Obama is not tough on terrorism. And Diane Sawyer, in one of the most remarkable leaps I've ever seen on a primetime show, compared Obama's mistake on the underwear bomber to John F. Kennedy at the Bay of Pigs without bothering to inform her viewers – the dwindling number that they are – that Kennedy, what made Kennedy's handling of the Bay of Pigs so remarkable was that he brought in President Eisenhower to help him afterwards, to counsel him on how to do things. Obama, to my knowledge, has not yet reached out to George W. Bush.
KENNEDY: I mean, but isn't this exactly what al-Qaeda wants us to do, is fight with each other and be critical of each other?
PINKERTON: No, they want us to die.
KENNEDY: Well, I think they want us to be terrorized, and they want us to, and they want us to be fighting with each other and doing stuff that's against our values.
SCOTT: What about, though, the changing tone from the administration itself? They said essentially we screwed up and did that, did that get reflected?
KENNEDY: If I have one criticism of Obama, it's that he did cave in and say, and now has to say it is a war. Warfare will, would not have stopped this bomber. Warfare, bombs and soldiers would not have stopped this guy. What we need now is analysis. We need to connect the dots. This is the stuff that Obama is actually, could be very good at and could be better at than our previous President.
RICH LOWRY, NATIONAL REVIEW: Well, if he had been in a training facility in Yemen that got hit by a missile from a drone, warfare would have taken care of this problem.
KENNEDY: But if he had been in an apartment where they had blown up the whole block, then you create 2000 other terrorists who have lost their brothers and sisters.
SCOTT: The question, though, is, is the change in tone coming as a result of the change in the headline?
KENNEDY: I think it is.
LOWRY: Well, it's a sign that spin has to have some connection to reality. And Janet Napolitano, when she went out there and said the system worked, everyone in America, including even journalists, knew that was ridiculous. And it was like waving a red flag, just daring them to find all the ways in which the system didn't work. And they actually, with some exceptions, as Jim points out, and there are others, they went out and they did that, and it was a service to the nation, and it dragged President Obama along.
PINKERTON: And there has been a good, drip, drip, drip on this case, and that's what the Obama people have to worry about. The New York Daily News, for example, broke the story about Michael Leiter being on a ski vacation during all this. That's the kind of disclosures that, if they were smart, they'd get in front of them instead of waiting for the press to discover that.
SCOTT: Michael Leiter, the head of the National Counterterrorism-
KENNEDY: Which they got it a little bit wrong. he wasn't on vacation when it happened.
PINKERTON: He was on vacation after it happened.
MILLER: He went on vacation after it happened as part of-
KENNEDY: I'm not defending it, but let's-
MILLER: -the kind of lame response.
KENNEDY: But let's be truthful about what they got wrong and what happened.
LOWRY: The one thing I would have liked to see, I'm still hoping it will happen, is more of a rehabilitation of Gitmo in the press because the premature release of dangerous people to Saudi Arabia and Yemen helped create this problem because the leadership-
KENNEDY: Gitmo was what was creating this-
LOWRY: -hold on, let me finish, Doug.
MILLER: No, no, no, there was no Gitmo when this-
LOWRY: The leadership of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is made up of Gitmo releasees.
KENNEDY: Gitmo is what created this problem. You know this, Judith.
LOWRY: Was there a Gitmo on 9/11? Was there a Gitmo on 9/11?
MILLER: There was no Gitmo-
KENNEDY: National security in 2006 under President Bush says Gitmo and the war in Iraq is what is creating terrorism-
KENNEDY: -and terrorists and an al-Qaeda recruiting tool around the country.
MILLER: There was an attack on the World Trade Center in 1993. There was a second attack on the World Trade Center in 2001, you know, long before we had Gitmo or a war on terror.
KENNEDY: -(UNINTELLIGIBLE) -us with box knives in 2001, and now they're-
LOWRY: And there wasn't a Gitmo or a war in Iraq.
KENNEDY: And there wasn’t an international organization called (UNINTELLIGIBLE)
LOWRY: They hate us. I refer you to the dots. Connect them. They want to kill us.
SCOTT: Let's do ask about this though, the President has changed his tone, it would seem, going away from that war on terror. He didn't like that, didn't use that-
KENNEDY: Which he mentioned in his, he said it in his-
SCOTT: Well, now it's war on al-Qaeda. Is there a difference?
KENNEDY: He said it in his inaugural address. He did say a war on terror in his inaugural address. And to say he didn't is wrong.
PINKERTON: I think Peggy Noonan put it well, though, look, in her column in the Wall Street Journal, President Obama spent the last year working on health care and cap-and-trade. and it would appear that counterterrorism was a lower priority.
KENNEDY: And he's also sent more predator drones to Pakistan than George Bush did in the previous five years.
MILLER: Yes. That was, that was David Corn’s. There is a gap between-
KENNEDY: I mean, help me out, Judith, a little bit with some facts, come on.
MILLER: David Corn got it right in Politics Daily when he said that there's a gap between what the President is actually doing and his rhetoric. At least there has been until now, because there were 404 predator attacks under President Obama versus 286 under President Bush in the last year.
KENNEDY: Thank you, thank you.
MILLER: But that's a curious thing. Why is there this gap? Why is he actually waging a war-
KENNEDY: Because he's not a war monger.
MILLER: -wait a minute – why is he waging a war he won’t talk about?
SCOTT: We've got to get a commercial break in here. Douglas, you're standing up for yourself in very fine fashion. We have to take a break. When our discussion on this topic continues, it can get a bit more spirited, and I think it's about to. You can hear them after the show at foxnews.com/foxnewswatch.