• With: Judy Miller, Jim Pinkerton, Rick Grenell, Justin Duckham

    SCOTT: We'll be talking about it more in a couple of months, I'm sure of it. Next on "News Watch", the liberal media versus gun owners.


    DAVID GREGORY, NBC NEWS: Here is a magazine for ammunition that carries 30 bullets.


    UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: NBC's David Gregory takes mainstream media arrogance to a new level, showing off a large-capacity gun clip on air.

    And a New York newspaper publishes the names and addresses of gun owners. Is that their job? All next on "News Watch."



    DENNIS SANT, PUTNAM COUNTY CLERK: I'm a man who follows the rule of law. We're not talking about the rule of law anymore, we're talking about endangering our citizens. These laws were written almost 30 years ago. Thirty years ago, we didn't have computers, we didn't have Facebook, we didn't have social media, and we certainly didn't have Google Maps. I think that's what really broke the camel's back on this request.


    SCOTT: Dennis Sant, the clerk for New York's Putnam County, standing firm on his position to not release the names and addresses of residents in his county who have legal pistol permits. He's denying the request from a local newspaper, the Journal News, a paper which already published and put on its interactive website a map showing the names and addresses and locations of permit owners in other counties.

    Now, the action that that paper pulled has gotten quite a bit of reaction. Why did they do it, Jim, first of all? Is it their job or is it just to make some headlines?

    PINKERTON: I think it's possible they could be liberal crusaders and for gun control, or they could be desperate for attention, in which case we've completely served theirs purposes here by making them famous.

    Look, these are unbelievably complicated issues, because as Mr. Sant was saying, the notion of public records changes enormously when it now translates into the worldwide web and social media and tweeting. These are things that every issue of who votes and who pays taxes and who has guns and who is mentally ill are all going to have to be rethought through now that we know that it can go from one to the many instantly.

    SCOTT: These are all people who have legal permits to possess weapons. It's not really a gun rights debate, in my view, it's a privacy debate. Isn't it? Do the media know the difference?

    GRENELL: I don't think they know the difference, and I think there's also a double-edged sword here. Look, I live in Palm Springs. I'm nervous that if the Palm Springs paper prints the fact that I don't own a gun, I'm putting myself in jeopardy. I need to go get a gun permit just so that I show up as my house is armed, because there are people who now want to go target the houses of those who do not have guns.

    SCOTT: And Judy, your thoughts.

    MILLER: I think the newspaper was right to do what it did. It can be faulted on not providing the context, which is what Pointer said that it needed, was lacking, why were they doing this, what were they hoping to show, were they trying to show the number of school teachers who had guns, the number of ordinary citizens who had guns, it wasn't clear. So what Pointer was saying is we need more information, not less. But you cannot argue that something that's public information and that a newspaper doesn't have the right to publish it. They do.

    SCOTT: Here is an interesting take. Back in 2008, a Memphis newspaper published the names and zip codes, zip codes only of gun owners, and two researchers then did a study, a follow-up on the impact of what happened there. The results, they noted, "crimes more likely to be affected by knowledge of gun ownership, such as burglaries, increased more significantly after the database was published in zip codes with fewer gun permits." Does that surprise you?

    DUCKHAM: Well, I mean, going back to this, if it's public record, the paper has a right to look at it. But this isn't a public records issue. This is about responsibility. This is needlessly antagonistic, and at the end of the day, this is sort of reminiscent of the European newspapers who had published the cartoons of Muhammad and then are sort of surprised when there would be a public outcry, and that's at the heart of this.

    SCOTT: Speaking of public outcry, the Des Moines Register published a column by a guy named Donald Kaul. He called it his madder than hell and I'm not going to take it anymore program for ending gun violence in America. He proposes repealing the Second Amendment and suggested, quote, "tying our esteemed Republican leaders to the back of a Chevy pickup truck and drag them around the parking lot until they saw the light on gun control." Did you see any media outrage over that?

    PINKERTON: I didn't, and he also said in that piece, that if you have a gun illegally, then they should experiment with that Charlton Heston quote with the cold dead hands. In other words, he was effectively saying we're going to murder all gun owners who don't register their guns according to his satisfaction.

    I'm astonished, that was one of the most heinous pieces of journalism I've read in my lifetime, let alone in this fresh new year, and where are the media gatekeepers? Where are all the Columbia journalism review people and so on, denouncing this, quote, coarsening of the culture? Imagine if Rush Limbaugh had said that.

    SCOTT: And then there was NBC's "Meet the Press" host David Gregory. He's gotten more than a little bit of attention over this. Look.


    GREGORY: Let's stipulate that you're right. Let's say armed guards might work. Let's widen the argument out a little bit. So here is a magazine for ammunition that carries 30 bullets. Now, isn't it possible that if we got rid of these, if we replaced them and said we could only have a magazine that carries five bullets or ten bullets, isn't it just possible that we could reduce the carnage in a situation like Newtown?

    WAYNE LAPIERRE, NRA CEO: I don't believe that's going to make one difference.


    SCOTT: Seung-Hui Cho, for the record, shot up Virginia Tech with magazines using ten round clips, which is ten rounds, I should say, which is fairly standard.

    You have a little problem with what Gregory did.

    GRENELL: Yes, I mean, the hypocrisy in the media is just too much here. Emily Miller at the Washington Times has done a really good job of pointing out how David Gregory is just getting off -- nobody, they're still investigating after three weeks even though he did this on live television, it's illegal what he did. But she points to a guy named Adam Mekler, who is a U.S. vet, who stumbled into the VFW with some ammunition in his backpack and ended up going to jail, having to give a plea bargain and register with the D.C. offenders registry.

    SCOTT: You think it was appropriate?

    MILLER: I think it was appropriate. I'm much more angry about David Gregory's softball interview of the president than I am him holding up an empty magazine clip.

    GRENELL: It's illegal.

    SCOTT: All right, more NEWS WATCH ahead. If you see something that you feel shows evidence of media bias, tweet us. "Fox News Watch" on Twitter.

    Next, which is getting more media attention, a controversial film about the War on Terror, or the real war?


    UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You really believe this story? Usama bin Laden?


    UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Despite the controversy, a new film about the capture of bin Laden getting big media attention. But the ongoing war against al Qaeda in Afghanistan, not so much. Why the lack of interest? Details next on "News Watch."