TALK SHOW GUEST
A writer for National Review today called on Yahoo to fire Katie Couric, the latest chapter in an unfolding saga that found a Fox News media analyst asserting that Couric’s controversial “Under the Gun,” was edited to misrepresent responses of gun owners to a question she asked about preventing terrorists or felons from acquiring firearms.
UPDATE: The Wrap is reporting that Couric has indicated “regret” for the edit, which resulted in an eight-second pause after her question. An unidentified source is quoted as suggesting the pause was “an unnecessary mistake.” The story quotes director Stephanie Soechtig, who said about the pause, “I would never misrepresent someone’s point of view and I don’t think I did by doing this. I don’t think I misrepresented gun owners or the people featured in the film.”
The Washington Free Beacon quoted Philip Van Cleave with the Virginia Citizens Defense League asserting that Couric “intentionally removed their answers and spliced in nine seconds of some prior video of our members sitting quietly and not responding. Viewers are left with the misunderstanding that the members had no answer to her question.”
Couric is described as “a person Yahoo employs to be the face of its news division.” The gun rights activists shown in the piece are members of the Virginia Citizens Defense League. They recorded the session, too, and the audio is damning.
Fox News media analyst Howie Kurtz said in an interview with anchor Bill Hemmer, “That kind of distorted editing would be against the rules in any network news division.” He added that this editing is “backfiring big time.”
That much seems clear to David French, an attorney and staff writer at National Review. He called on Yahoo to fire Couric in a blistering critique of a program that appears more like a gun control propaganda film.
“The case is clear,” he writes. “Katie Couric, a person Yahoo employs to be the face of its news division, was caught in a grotesque deception. Then, when she was publicly exposed, rather than apologizing, she doubled down — defending the choice to cast innocent Americans as ignorant rubes rather than allowing them to speak for themselves. She has lost her credibility. Any news organization that continues to employ her loses its credibility as well.”
“It is clear that the intent (of the film) was never to be unbiased.”—Alan Gottlieb, CCRKBA
Later in his assessment, French suggests suspending Couric “immediately.” He advises Yahoo to “launch a thorough and comprehensive investigation of the VCDL’s allegations, and then — if the investigation confirms the facts stated above without revealing any material mitigating circumstances — fire her.”
And Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Bellevue-based Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, told Examiner this afternoon, “It is clear that the intent (of the film) was never to be unbiased.”
The film, which aired in Epix back on May 15, is the subject of some scathing criticism this week. But one look at the website for this film might explain a great deal by clicking on the “Partners” link. There, one finds the following groups listed: Everytown for Gun Safety, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, Americans for Responsible Solutions, Sandy Hook Promise, the Violence Policy Center, States United Against Gun Violence, Purpose Over Pain, the San Antonio Area Foundation and the Seattle-based Alliance for Gun Responsibility.
There are no gun rights organizations on the list. In the film’s closing credits, a “Very Special Thanks” is extended to Everytown, which is anti-gun billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s creation, philanthropist Sean Parker and The Ballmer Group.
Among other complaints about the film is the one from author John Lott, president of the Crime Prevention Research Center. He is quoted on Ammoland that nothing from a nearly four-hour interview with Couric ended up in the film. Writing at The American Conservative, Robert Verbruggen pans the film for inaccuracy
“But as an attempt to grapple with the political debate,” he wrote on May 14, “the movie mostly fails. As it flits from issue to issue, it says too much that is untrue or misleading in the service of promoting gun control. Pro-gun viewers will find it hard to be convinced by something that tries so little to understand, much less represent, their point of view.”
In addition to the questionable list of “Partners,” the Under the Gun website also has a link under “Take Action” that is directed at gun owners. Among the suggestions: “Reject the NRA.”
The Second Amendment community has long considered the mainstream press and the broader media to be adversaries. Couric’s film only reinforces that perception, and considering who it chooses to call “partners,” the perception becomes the reality.