Film’s director: ‘I never intended to make anyone look bad’
The makers of a new Katie Couric documentary on gun violence deceptively edited an interview between Couric and a group of gun rights activists in an apparent attempt to embarrass the activists, an audio recording of the full interview shows.
At the 21:48 mark of Under the Gun a scene of Katie Couric interviewing members of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, a gun rights organization, is shown.
Couric can be heard in the interview asking activists from the group, “If there are no background checks for gun purchasers, how do you prevent felons or terrorists from purchasing a gun?”
The documentary then shows the activists sitting silently for nine awkward seconds, unable to provide an answer. It then cuts to the next scene. The moment can be watched here:
However, raw audio of the interview between Katie Couric and the activists provided to the Washington Free Beacon shows the scene was deceptively edited. Instead of silence, Couric’s question is met immediately with answers from the activists. A back and forth between a number of the league’s members and Couric over the issue of background checks proceeds for more than four minutes after the original question is asked.
Under the Gun bills itself as a documentary that “examines the events and people who have kept the gun debate fierce and the progress slow, even as gun deaths and mass shootings continue to increase.”
It follows a number of gun violence victims and those who have lost family members to gun violence as they advocate for stricter gun control laws. The 1 hour and 45 minute film was executive produced and narrated by Katie Couric.
Under the Gun has been labeled “dishonest politicking in the guise of media coverage,” “loose with the facts,” and “a full-length assault on guns and the Second Amendment” by those in the gun community since its debut on May 15.
The Virginia Citizens Defense League labeled the deceptively edited segment featured in the film “unbelievable and extremely unprofessional.” Philip Van Cleave, the organization’s president, said the editing was done deliberately to make it appear that league members didn’t have a response to Couric’s question.
“Katie Couric asked a key question during an interview of some members of our organization,” he said. “She then 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.”
Nora Ryan, the chief of staff for EPIX, the cable channel that is airing the documentary, told the Free Beacon in an email, “Under the Gun is a critically-acclaimed documentary that looks at the polarizing and politicized issue of gun violence, a subject that elicits strong reactions from people on both sides. EPIX stands behind Katie Couric, director Stephanie Soechtig, and their creative and editorial judgment. We encourage people to watch the film and decide for themselves.”
Requests for comment from Couric and the film’s director, Stephanie Soechtig, have not been returned, though they did speak to The Washington Post.