The editor of the Iowa newspaper that published an interactive map detailing the security levels of schools in the state admitted Thursday he wishes it had been handled “a little bit differently.”
But Des Moines Register editor Rick Green told Fox News’ Megyn Kelly the map “isn’t anywhere on our site” anymore and accused Fox of being “the only one that’s out there showing it and talking about it.” The map gained widespread attention after TheBlaze reported on it Wednesday, which Kelly noted.
“I’m not showing it, TheBlaze, to its credit, TheBlaze.com broke this and that’s where we found it and that’s a very popular website,” she said.
“And it’s still on [TheBlaze] site in a PDF form which is incredibly unfortunate,” Green said.
“Well it’s not their fault, Rick, it’s your fault, don’t you see that? This is your fault sir,” Kelly said.
Green said that following the Newtown, Conn. elementary school massacre in December, questions were raised throughout Iowa about the presence of resource officers in schools.
“We heard from residents, from taxpayers and, most importantly, from parents around Iowa asking three really simple questions,” he said. “Does my school have resource officers? What kind of security system is in my child’s school? And…is our district taking seriously any potential public safety threats that could be averted by the presence of the school resource officer?”
Green called those “incredibly legitimate questions” worth examining, but “to be as sensitive and to do it as accurately and as thoughtfully as we can.”
“And you admit Rick, you didn’t do that,” Kelly pressed.
“No, I’m the not admitting that,” he said, before saying Fox News was misleading viewers because the map didn’t indicate there was “no security” in the schools whatsoever — there were caveats that campuses could have deputy sheriffs or other officers walk through periodically.
Kelly asked why the paper might not have just published a list of school districts and contact information for parent to inquire directly about security levels, which Green said was “a very good idea.”
“Um, that’s a very good idea, very good idea and with how we try to proceed with this whole thing…the tricky part out of all this, Megyn is when taxpayers and residents are calling us to ask how safe their kids are, we have to investigate,” he said.
Green said he began receiving phone calls “immediately” after the map was posted and that the newspaper took it down quickly.
“Do I wish we would have handled it a little bit differently Megyn? Obviously I wish we would have,” he said. “But again it’s that whole notion of trying to balance the needs of taxpayers and parents who are asking very legitimate questions, turning to us to try to answer that.”