Katie Couric was caught red-handed deceptively editing an interview with members of the Virginia Citizens Defense League in her new anti-gun documentary Under The Gun. Pavlich wrote about this appalling exercise in liberal media bias. Couric questioned the group by asking “if there are no background checks for gun purchasers, how do you prevent felons, or terrorists, from walking into a licensed gun dealer and purchasing a gun?” It was followed by an eight-second pause, which was aimed to make gun owners look like idiots.
The director of the film, Stephanie Soechtig, responded last week by saying:
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’s statement soon followed: I support Stephanie’s statement and am very proud of the film.”
Yet, even Erik Wemple of The Washington Post noted that the pause only gave “viewers a moment to lower their estimation of gun owners,” and labeled the moment to consider portion of the statement as a “weaselly excuse.” Even National Public Radio tore into the deceptive editing, saying that it would never pass muster with the new organization's protocols regarding interviews.
Now, Couric says she “takes responsibility” for the exchange with the VCDL, and provided the transcript of the audio that was left on the cutting room floor.
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). My question to the VCDL regarding the ability of convicted felons and those on the terror watch list to legally obtain a gun, was followed by an extended pause, making the participants appear to be speechless.
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. 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.
VCDL members have a right for their answers to be shared and so we have posted a transcript of their responses here. I regret that those eight seconds were misleading and that I did not raise my initial concerns more vigorously.
I hope we can continue to have an important conversation about reducing gun deaths in America, a goal I believe we can all agree on.
Even with this act of contrition, Epix, which broadcasted the documentary, appears to have yanked it from circulation. Bob Owens wrote over at our sister site Bearing Arms that if you search for the documentary on Epix’s website it reads, “This movie is not currently playing on Epix.”
UPDATE: Epix says the removal of Under the Gun from their catalog was planned per an agreement that dated back to its premier at Sundance in March. Stephen Gutowski, who first reported on the editing, obtained this statement from their press office.
As of today, the doc moves out of the premium window - off of EPIX - and into a transactional VOD [video on demand] and EST [electronic sell through] window. This is part of the original agreement struck when we acquired the doc coming out of Sundance. The distribution strategy allowed us to premiere the doc on the network and also preserve maximum value for the transactional VOD and EST windows that follow. We did not pull the doc and there is nothing going on other than the distribution plan negotiated in January. The doc is now available in transactional VOD and EST."
Epix has finally gotten back to me with a statement pic.twitter.com/UNb40LciOI— Stephen Gutowski (@StephenGutowski) May 31, 2016
Then again, the press release from Epix when they acquired the documentary in February makes no mention of the exclusivity agreement as indicated in a statement given to the Free Beacon today.