Katie Couric’s Gun Documentary ‘Pulled’ From EPIX, Slammed For Misleading Edit
Veteran journalist Katie Couric has come under fire recently for the “creative editing” used in her recent documentary, Under the Gun, which sought to explore the connection between gun deaths and American gun culture. Couric was dealt another blow this morning, as EPIX, the streaming service which published documentary, has reportedly pulled Under the Gun from their website.
According to Mediaite, the Couric gun documentary was pulled this morning after allegations that Under the Gun unfairly edited an interview with a gun rights advocate. EPIX claims that the documentary was always scheduled to be removed from the site after this weekend, but critics aren’t so sure. Couric herself admitted to the “creative editing,” which added a pause during an interview between Couric and a gun rights advocate, making the pro-gun activist appear “dumbstruck.”
“When I screened an early version of the film with the director, Stephanie Soechtig, I questioned her and the editor about the pause and was told that a ‘beat’ was added for, as she described it, ‘dramatic effect,’ to give the audience a moment to consider the question,” said Katie Couric, responding to the controversy.
Couric went on to defend the gun documentary, but made it clear that the “creative editing” was a mistake, and did not accurately represent the truth of that interview exchange.
“When VCDL members recently pointed out that they had in fact immediately answered this question, I went back and reviewed it and agree that those eight seconds do not accurately represent their response,” Couric continued, admitting the mistake.
Katie Couric’s gun documentary, Under the Gun, has received no end of criticism as a result of the editing misstep, and Couric has come under fire from both gun-rights advocates and gun control advocates, who had previously supported the gun documentary.
“As executive producer of Under the Gun, a documentary film that explores the epidemic of gun violence, I take responsibility for a decision that misrepresented an exchange I had with members of the Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL),” said Katie Couric.
After the withering storm of criticism, Couric’s gun documentary has been removed from host EPIX‘s streaming website. However, EPIX claims the removal was part of the original deal to publish the gun documentary.
“As of today, the doc moves out of the premium window – and off of EPIX – and into a transactional window. This is part of the original agreement we struck when we acquired the doc coming out of Sundance Film Festival,” said a spokeswoman for EPIX.
In the press release announcing the deal between Katie Couric and EPIX to distribute the gun documentary, EPIX does mention a transactional “video on demand” deal, but doesn’t mention any kind of exclusivity, stating only that Under the Gun will premiere on EPIX.
Couric’s gun documentary has been heavily criticized by conservative blogs like the Daily Caller and Bearing Arms, but also by traditionally left-leaning media outlets like NPR and individual journalists who have sharply criticized Couric’s decision to keep the edited version of the interview in the film.
“This manipulation, and that’s what it was, wouldn’t pass muster at NPR under its principles for fairness,” said NPR reporter David Folkenflik.
The Washington Post went further, calling Couric’s decision to keep the edited interview “weaselly” and stated that Couric and the Under the Gun director owe an apology to viewers and gun-rights advocates.
“An apology, retraction, re-editing, whatever it is that filmmakers do to make amends – all of it needs to happen here,” said Erik Wemple of the Washington Post.
Further, the massive gun-rights lobby has gotten in on the fight. The National Rifle Association is calling for Couric to be fired from her job as global news anchor for Yahoo.
According to the Guardian, EPIX has stood by Couric and director Stephanie Soechtig.
“We encourage people to watch the film and decide for themselves,” EPIX said in a statement.
[Photo by Rabbani and Solimene Photography/Getty Images]