Accuracy in Media

Katie Couric, who came under heavy criticism last week after it was revealed that her documentary, “Under the Gun,” had been selectively edited to make gun rights activists look stupid, posted a statement on the film’s website last night apologizing for the “misleading” edit:

“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.”

This was an about-face for Couric, who had initially stood behind director Stephanie Soechtig’s decision to add a pause for “dramatic effect.”

Despite the apology, there is no indication from Couric that the documentary will be re-edited to accurately reflect what the VCDL members said after she asked her question.

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