Katie Couric is taking serious flak over the edited version of an interview with gun supporters in a documentary. In Under the Gun, Couric asks the group, "If there are no background checks for gun purchasers, how do you prevent felons or terrorists from purchasing a gun?" As this video shows, the question is met by dumbfounded silence. But the Washington Free Beacon obtained audio of the interview, and it shows that people responded immediately to the question, including one man who said, "One, if you're not in jail, you should still have your basic rights." The people being interviewed belong to the Virginia Citizens Defense League, a gun-rights group that supplied the audio to the Free Beacon. "Why put the question and not put an answer?" its leader asks the New York Times. Criticism of the edit is gaining traction, prompting filmmaker Stephanie Soechtig and Couric to try to clarify.
Their statements, along with samples of reactions:
- Soechtig: "There are a wide range of views expressed in the film. My intention was to provide a pause for the viewer to have a moment to consider this important question before presenting the facts on Americans' opinions on background checks. I never intended to make anyone look bad and I apologize if anyone felt that way."
- Couric: "I support Stephanie's statement and am very proud of the film."
- Erik Wemple, media writer at the Washington Post: "We've scarcely seen a thinner, more weaselly excuse than the one in the block above. ... The statements from Soechtig and Couric will surely intensify the backlash, as well they should. An apology, retraction, re-editing, whatever it is that filmmakers do to make amends—all of it needs to happen here."
- Allahpundit, Hot Air: "What they were actually up to here is something 'The Daily Show' has been accused of for years, truncating long exchanges from interviews to make it seem as though the subject is an imbecile who hasn't anticipated the most basic challenges to his position."
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