• With: Judy Miller, Monica Crowley, Jim Pinkerton, Richard Grenell

    SCOTT: A new report from the Department of Justice shows that from 1993 to 2011 firearm-related homicides have been on a steady decline in this country, down 39 percent. Now, that's good news. But that news may not be reaching most Americans. At least according to the Pew Research Center. A new poll asking, compared with 20 years have gun crimes gone up, down, or stayed the same, 56 percent think they've gone up. 12 percent say they've gone down. 26 percent say they have stayed the same. Rick, to you first. Is -- should the media be doing a better job of illuminating people here?

    GRENELL: Yeah. I mean, of course we all know that, you know, gun violence, even one time is a tragedy. But it's clearly gone down in the media. They just don't want us to know. My favorite is, MSNBC immediately jumped on the story to say, well, that doesn't necessarily mean the problem is solved. We still have the problem, even though the deaths start decreasing. And so, they just can't admit that this is advocacy journalism at its best.

    SCOTT: Or is it another case maybe like the Benghazi scandal of the media trying to ignore the facts?

    PINKERTON: Well, it could be the case that the media has a gun control agenda that leaves them to trumpet school shootings and so on that pushed the country in a certain direction. I'm going to consider that possibility while (inaudible)

    MILLER: Now, these are -- but these are facts that have to be put in context. And Rachel Maddow of MSNBC, yes, I know she's not a "news person," she's a commentator. But she did point out that there's still 11,000 deaths a year because of gun violence and that -- too, gun violence in America is worse than in any other Western industrialized country in the world. And three, that -- and I think this is the sad part, is that part of the reason people are living is that doctors are getting better at patching up those who are the victims of gun violence.

    SCOTT: But it is more than that, Judy. The DOJ report also said that nonfatal firearm crimes declined 69 percent during that same period, '93 to 2011.

    MILLER: That is also true.

    SCOTT: And that didn't get much coverage.

    POWERS: No. But I mean, I'm in the camp of -- one gun death is too many gun deaths. So, you know, and that's what the president has come out to say - so why they're not covering -- I don't know, they should inform people, but honestly, it doesn't really in my mind change anything. I don't think it was just the liberal media that was, you know, covering the Newtown shooting, Fox News spent a lot of time covering it. I think it was a national tragedy and something that we're all concerned about.

    So, you know, on this one, I have to say I think that, you know, they should cover it. And it doesn't disprove that we need gun control.

    CROWLEY: Right. But I do think that with the proliferation of so many media sources and the competition to cover stories like this, that are very tragic, you get an impression that there is a massive gun crime wave happening, and the statistics just don't bear that out. I do think mass shootings weigh more heavily on the national psyche, especially when you see children as victims or in a theater shooting kind of context because you can picture yourself there. And so, it has more reverberations, I think, among the media. But that doesn't mean that we're in the middle of some sort of crime wave, which is what the gun control advocates in the media want you to believe.

    PINKERTON: Yeah, let's just keep in mind just outright advocacy here. For example, whenever there's a tornado, the media there to jump on it and say, that's global warming. That's global warming. The Atlantic on July 8, 2011, an era of tornadoes, how global warming causes wild winds. Now just -- the (inaudible) report linked to a story also from USA Today saying that tornadoes hit 60-year low. So, again, one goes from enormous wave of trend of what hurricanes tornadoes have done even nothing. Media bias.

    SCOTT: And then there's Rick Grenell and there's Piers Morgan, the anti- gun host on CNN, who got an award from the Brady Campaign to Reduce Gun Violence. Is there a bit of a conflict of interests there or ...

    GRENELL: Well, he's being an advocate and they're happy that he's there. And every night pounding on his desk for this policy decision. You know, it's one thing to report the news when we have a tragedy like in Newtown. It's quite another then to shift the news debate into a policy debate that just shouldn't be there. I mean the evidence shows that gun violence is -- homicides are going down. So why are we then having a policy debate that we must fix this tragedy that's developing when we're doing a good job, we just need to enforce the laws that we have because it's working.

    SCOTT: Coming up next on "News Watch," the New Jersey governor's big secret.


    GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE, R-N.J.: It's not anybody else's business but mine.

    ANNOUNCER: The big secret gets out, New Jersey's governor is slimming down. Was this real news or another chance for the press to make his weight a weighty issue? That's next on "News Watch."



    CHRISTIE: For this kind of attention to be drawn to the fact that I'm pursuing a weight loss measure is, I think, shows just how really shallow a lot of this coverage has become and why a lot of people ignore it.



    SCOTT: Taking his usual tone with the press, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie reacting to the big story about his efforts to get smaller. He had a lap band installed to help shrink the stomach or control the stretching of it. Why?

    CROWLEY: Well, I think a lot of media, they're just fascinated by Chris Christie. He's sort of a bombastic, charismatic personality. And I think a lot of people are already starting to look into the tea leaves for 2016. And if he is going to run, if he's serious about a run for the presidency, he's got to lose some weight. So a lot of people taking this as some sort of a political indicator that he is serious about running.

    SCOTT: Rick, I don't know if this story made it out there to the West Coast, but everybody here seems to think this is all about him running for president.

    GRENELL: Yeah. It's a ridiculous story. I hate even commenting on. I mean, the media are just so shallow here. I totally agree with Governor Christie. This is the buzzfeed politicking of our system and of our society. It's just ridiculous. And we shouldn't even be talking about it. Who cares if he's overweight?

    SCOTT: He said he did it for his children and his wife. He wants to be there for them. And frankly, his weight was unhealthy and he knew it.

    MILLER: Yeah. And he turned 50. And that's always a good time to reflect. But come on, if a guy like this takes a decision like that, I'm sure he's doing it for his wife and his children, but it may have political implications. And if you don't believe that, I've got a bridge I want to sell you or a tunnel I'm not going to build for you.

    SCOTT: Are you saying you think the coverage was OK?

    MILLER: I think the coverage is appropriate, yes.

    SCOTT: Kirsten?

    POWERS: No, I think it's stupid and shallow.


    PINKERTON: I think he's having his doughnut and eating it, too. That is he's getting the full Oprah treatment on the weight loss issue, and then meanwhile he's still into his usual shtick, blasting the media. He's having it both ways.

    MILLER: Exactly.

    SCOTT: Let's talk about another story making headlines this week. In a special election for a congressional seat, former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford made a political comeback, beating Democratic rival Elizabeth Colbert Busch. Sanford, no stranger to media scrutiny, was a hot topic in 2009 because of his uniquely strange extramarital affair. So the media did an awful lot to pile on Sanford. And his opponent, Colbert Busch, was something of a media darling. Are they going to be disappointed now that he's won?

    CROWLEY: Oh, I think they're extremely disappointed, because they just went in a giant stampede to try to support the Democratic candidate here, despite the fact that she was ignorant on so many issues. She couldn't answer basic questions. And she was a bad retail candidate. On the day of the election, Sanford had ten events, she had zero. She voted and she went home. Yet they were out there cheerleading, because I think the bigger picture, they would have loved to have had a Democratic win here so they could hand Pelosi and the Democrats some momentum for next year, 2014.

    SCOTT: We had Stephen Colbert up there on the screen because he is the sister of -- the brother of Elizabeth Colbert Busch. Rick, you know the governor fairly well.

    GRENELL: I do. I was his first spokesman when he was congressman --