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Gun control: Is David Gregory’s on-air stunt proof of media bias?

Washington police are investigating ‘Meet the Press’ host David Gregory for holding up a rifle clip on air. Gun control opponents see the incident as proof the media are biased against them.

By Staff Writer / December 27, 2012

'Meet the Press' host David Gregory holds what he described as a high-capacity ammunition magazine during Sunday's program. Washington police say they are investigating an incident in which Gregory displayed the magazine on "Meet the Press."

Meet the Press/AP



When NBC News reporter David Gregory held up a high-capacity rifle magazine during a “Meet the Press” interview with National Rifle Association chief lobbyist Wayne LaPierre on Sunday, he not only got himself in trouble with Washington, D.C., police, he ignited a firestorm of criticism from gun owners decrying what they see as a double standard, even bias.

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Mr. Gregory displayed the clip on air even though laws in Washington, where the interview took place, expressly forbid the carry and transport of such firearm accessories.

Washington police have opened an investigation into Gregory’s decision. The matter should be more bureaucratic than shoe leather since the evidence is there for all to see, but there is apparently confusion about whether NBC got permission for the stunt.

The ATF says it OK’d it, while local police say they declined the request.

“NBC was informed that possession of a high capacity magazine is not permissible, and their request was denied,” according to a police statement.

But whether or not Gregory is charged with a crime, opponents of gun control see the episode as further evidence that the cards are stacked against them in the US media, which they see as part of an urban power elite.

In addition to the Gregory incident, a New York newspaper stirred outrage this week by publishing the names and addresses of local gun owners, while a petition on a White House website is calling for deportation proceedings to begin against CNN’s British talk show host Piers Morgan, who has made gun-control activism a cause célèbre in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., shootings.

On Gregory’s behalf, many say he was simply committing “an act of journalism” protected by the First Amendment: providing viewers with a powerful and relevant image.

Yet the idea that a reporter could potentially get away with something that could land an average American in jail for the night, at least, plays into what gun owners say has become a one-sided, and thus largely unproductive, debate.

It is also fueling the perception by some gun owners of a divide between them and an urban elite, which has become all the more pointed in the wake of the Newtown school massacre of 20 small children and six staff, the result of which has been renewed calls to ban assault rifles and high-capacity magazines of the kind Gregory displayed on air.


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