Katie Couric interviewed gun rights activists for the Under the Gun documentary, and now questions are now being raised about violation of journalistic standards. The interview was allegedly edited to make it appear that a question Couric posed to members of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, a gun rights organization, leaves the participants searching for an answer, but this wasn’t the case. The clip was purposely spliced in from a prior time in the interview when VCDL members were not speaking.
Couric’s question is on how felons and terrorists can be stopped from making gun purchases.
“If there are no background checks, how do you prevent? I know how you all are going to answer this, but I’m asking anyway. If there are no background checks for gun purchasers, how do you prevent felons or terrorists from purchasing a gun?”
When the query is posed, the camera pans members of the group from different angles, and for nine seconds, it appears that they are left speechless. The moment can be viewed on the below video clip.
In real-time, the panelists responded quickly and had answers that Katie, apparently, didn’t agree with, but everyone is entitled to a stance on the issue. This, however, doesn’t give someone who holds the opposite view to edit the length of time between a question and an answer.
— michelekirkBPR (@michelekirkBPR) May 26, 2016
Raw audio, which was released to the Washington Free Beacon, reveals that there was no pause. Instead, members responded and continued speaking for approximately four minutes — almost non-stop.
When something is made to appear different from what it is, this is deception. It doesn’t matter whether a liberal or a conservative journalist performed the act, it remains what it is. People who are for gun control may not have an issue with what was done, but of course, those who are against it care deeply. Everyone should care because documentary viewers and news readers should be on a search for truth. Few need nine seconds to consider an issue, and if so, everyone knows how to stop the video.
Stephanie Soechtig, the film director, said the pause was inserted so that viewers could reflect on the question, and she didn’t mean to make anyone “look bad.” Meanwhile, Couric has stated that she backs Soechtig’s statement and is “very proud of the film,” per the Washington Post.
The statement is astounding in light of Katie’s experience and stature in the media. It would seem that an apology is in order and just as the pause was inserted, it can be removed. But this isn’t likely to happen. The film aired on Epix on May 15 and premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January. It will be viewed, possibly millions of times, in its current state.
— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) May 26, 2016
President of the VCDL, Philip Van Cleave, said the pause in the film is “unbelievable and extremely unprofessional,” according to the Washington Free Beacon.
“Katie Couric asked a key question during an interview of some members of our organization. She then intentionally removed their answers and spliced in nine seconds of some prior video of our members sitting quietly and not responding. Viewers are left with the misunderstanding that the members had no answer to her question.”
Some were outraged at the pregnant pause in the video, and Julie Gunlock, the director of the Culture of Alarmism Project, at the Independent Women’s Forum, released a statement, noted Fox News.
“Katie Couric should be ashamed of herself for her dishonest and distorted reporting on this issue. She has gone from respected journalist to propagandist for gun control groups … Like serial fabricator Brian Williams, Couric should be fired. Her tactics have been exposed and Americans should never again trust her to report on these important issues.”
Katie Couric shouldn’t be proud. Instead, she should admit wrongdoing. A balanced conversation, even on a controversial issue like gun control, mandates an accurate depiction of both sides. Let viewers judge and think for themselves. Telling untruths is how Brian Williams ended up at MSNBC.
[Photo by Mike Windle/Getty]