• With: Judy Miller, Richard Grenell, Jim Pinkerton, Juan Williams

    RICE: When I went on the Sunday shows on September 16th, I was doing just as I have always done, providing the best information available to me and available to our government at the time. I was very careful to explain that the information was preliminary and it could change. And yet I think it was misconstrued and contorted into something much more nefarious. That was never indeed the case nor my intention.


    SCOTT: Having worked at the U.N., Rick, what do you think of that explanation?

    GRENELL: I have seen the U.S. ambassador to the U.N.'s desk. I know there is a classified computer on that desk. And I know that she has entire staff that are geared towards intelligence gathering.

    To suggest that she was handed talking points at the end of the process and said, just repeat these, is a bold-faced lie. She watches on the classified system how these points are developed. She knows what is supposed to be fact or what we're thinking is fact. So to suggest at the end of the day that this was about the Youtube video is a flat out lie, and she wasn't held accountable for it for weeks.

    SCOTT: Next on "News Watch," tragic shootings and how the media reacted.


    UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Sandy Hook school massacre, Aurora, Colorado theater shootings, the killing of Trayvon Martin. Three horrible tragedies making headlines, all three getting major media attention. But was the coverage guided by a liberal agenda? That is next on "News Watch."





    PAUL VANCE, CONNECTICUT STATE POLICE: We will make sure that if there is anything that's emergent, that we get it out immediately, and then it's -- through you folks. I want to thank you for everything that you've done, you've (INAUDIBLE) professional, and we do definitely appreciate that.


    SCOTT: Connecticut State Police Lieutenant Paul Vance talking to the media in Newtown, the scene of the tragic school massacre in which 20 children and six adults were murdered by a 20-year-old. The killer committed suicide as police closed in on him. One of many tragedies which received major media attention this year.

    It's a challenge for the media in covering a story like Newtown. Juan, as you know well know, I mean, just talking about it is so tough for any parent?

    WILLIAMS: It's one of the great difficulties. From the media perspective, you want to be responsible, because you are aware that "Fox News Watch" exists, Jon. And if you act in a way that is rude, that is our normal behavior, you know, get it first, get that interview first, be most aggressive in covering a story, you risk a deep offense to the public, and you will be held accountable. You know, you will notice here that the rules with regard to interviewing children, the rules with regard to pursuing families of victims really were held in check in this instance. I think it's because there is a new set of rules with regard to media behavior.

    SCOTT: There were a lot of mistakes made, especially in the early minutes of the coverage here, and I think a lot of it has to do with this new social media atmosphere, in which everybody's Facebook page and so forth are acceptable.

    PINKERTON: And the feeling that reporters think they are in competition with Twitter and so on, so they got the fellow's age wrong, and they got his identity wrong, they named the wrong guy, his brother. They got whether the mother worked at the school or not, they got that wrong.

    Look, this was not a good occasion for the press. And I thought it -- it to me symbolized what (INAUDIBLE) was talking about, was the church services on Sunday had big signs out in front, "no press, no media." They just didn't want them. I mean, at their best, reporters are sort of a necessary evil, and I think in many cases, the public viewed them as evil on this story.

    SCOTT: Should the media, should -- some say should not even pay attention to the people who commit these atrocities, in hopes of preventing emulation the next time around?

    MILLER: Yes, I think that is just an impossible dream. It's not going to happen in modern journalism.

    But this, I have to say about the early mistakes that were made, a lot of them were made by reporters who were quoting the police. For example, the identity mishap was the result of the fact that the perpetrator was carrying his brother's driver's license, so the name that was released was the name of the brother. It was quickly corrected as soon as the police figured out what had happened.

    But we can't be better than the police. We are depending on information that the police have, or other sources who were trying to make sense of it at that point. I don't think that a lot of the criticism is fair at this point.

    GRENELL: But if -- journalists don't fact check anymore. What they do is they take what someone says and they just regurgitate it. So it's now become a form of gossip in many ways, because it's this is what someone told me, I am going to tweet it, I'm going to say it. So maybe in situations like this, a journalist should say the police are saying...

    MILLER: But they did, they did quote the police as being the source.

    SCOTT: Talk about fact checking. One of big crime stories of the year was the shooting of Trayvon Martin back in late February. That was a story that got widespread media attention when it first happened. But as more facts came out, it seemed to disappear.

    PINKERTON: And as more photographs of Zimmerman come out showing him beaten up, the story has completely disappeared. That was supposed to be the Rodney King case for this year, and it didn't work out that way.

    WILLIAMS: I disagree. You know, I think that in fact, that story has continued in the American press. And now, Zimmerman is suing NBC because they edited a tape that made him look like he was a racist. And I think he might have a case here.

    But I will say to you that that case on two counts I think is worthy of the media attention it received. One, we -- it is one of these line of gun cases that we have seen now I think risen to a higher level by what happened in Connecticut. Even recently, another black person was shot for playing his music too loud in a parking lot. That story continues.

    The second thing I would say about that case is, you know, there are so many shootings in the black community in this country on a daily basis that get no attention, and yet in that case, the media found it convenient because they thought mistakenly that Zimmerman was a white male who had shot this black kid wearing a hoodie, but who had been simply out to get Skittles and had an iced tea in his hand. And it made for a caricature of the story rather than the reality.

    MILLER: It was also the social media, by the way, Juan, which picked up this story first, and made it a national story. That is a positive side of the social --

    WILLIAMS: Yes. It took about a month before the story hit the national press.

    MILLER: That's the positive side of the social media. The negative side we know all too well.

    SCOTT: And we'll let you know what happens with that lawsuit that Zimmerman has filed against NBC News.

    Next on "News Watch," the challenge for journalists covering conflict.


    UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mideast conflicts heated up, tensions between Israel and its neighbors. A civil war in Syria and nuclear threats from Iran. All big stories. Did the media pass or fail in the coverage? And are journalists on the ground becoming real targets? Details next on "News Watch."