EPIX has removed the documentary from their website.
Katie Couric has changed her mind and finally decided to take responsibility for an edit in her “Under the Gun” documentary that made a pro-gun rights group look idiotic.
She released this statement last night:
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.
EPIX, which hosted the original movie, has pulled the movie from their website without an explanation. The company originally said it “stands behind Katie Couric, director Stephanie Soechtig, and their creative and editorial judgment. We encourage people to watch the film and decide for themselves.”
Couric received more criticism than director Stephanie Soechtig, even though the director admitted she made the edit:
“I never intended to make anyone look bad and I apologize if anyone felt that way,” director Stephanie Soechtig said after conservative blogs and media outlets exposed the editing.
“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.”
In the documentary, Couric asked members of the VCDL “If there are no background checks for gun purchasers, how do you prevent felons or terrorists from purchasing a gun?”
The clip shows the members sitting silently for around nine seconds, but audio provided to the Washington Free Beacon‘s Stephen Gutowski shows the group provided an answer.
Here is the video, which contradicts Soechtig’s statement:
Here is the audio:
The actual interaction lasted for four minutes:
“If you’re a felon and you’ve done your time, you should have your rights,” one of the Virginians responded.
“Well the fact is, you do have statutes both at the federal and state level that prohibit classes of people from being in possession of firearms…” another man responds. “What we’re really asking about is a question of prior restraint, how can we prevent future crime by identifying bad guys before they do anything bad. And the simple answer is, you can’t.”
Philip Van Cleave, the president of the organization, said “[V]iewers are left with the misunderstanding that the members had no answer to her question” due to the deception.
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