English, Spanish Networks Refuse to Cover Katie Couric Gun Control Editing Scandal

After some great work on Wednesday by the Free Beacon’s Stephen Gutowski and others to uncover Katie Couric’s deceptive editing of an interview in her gun control documentary, the major broadcast networks and cable partners CNN and MSNBC have yet to say a word about this embarrassing development for the liberal journalist. 

As of Thursday evening, English-language networks ABC, CBS, and NBC were not the only ones to stay silent and protect one of their own but were joined by CNN, MSNBC, and top Spanish-language networks Telemundo and Univision. 

The Fox News Channel has covered it extensively over the past two days with one of the more recent segments coming on Thusday’s Special Report thanks to host Bret Baier and MediaBuzz host Howard Kurtz.

“The makers of a new documentary on gun control are dealing with fallout over what a appears to be a deliberate attempt to make gun rights activists look bad or confused or even stupid, but anchor Katie Couric is standing by it,” Baier explained in the lead-in to Kurtz.

Kurtz started with a pun about the documentary “backfiring” for Couric before playing the edited clip from the Epix Network documentary of Couric speaking to members of the pro-Second Amendment Virginia Citizens Defense League:

COURIC [TO GUN RIGHTS ACTIVISTS]: If there were no background checks for gun purchasers, how do you prevent felons or terrorists from purchasing a gun? [LONG PAUSE]

Very quickly, Kurtz noted that the “eight seconds of stunned silence was edited in a misleading way” and provided the real audio of how the conversation went:

COURIC [TO GUN RIGHTS ACTIVISTS]: How do you prevent felons or terrorists from walking into, say, a licensed gun dealer and purchasing a gun? 

VA CITIZENS DEFENSE LEAGUE MEMBER #1: Well one, if you're not in jail, you should still have your basic rights.

KURTZ: And the conversation quickly continued. 

VA CITIZENS DEFENSE LEAGUE MEMBER #2: The fact is we do have statutes, both at the federal and state level.

Reacting to the slimy editing job, Virginia Citizens Defense League President Philip Van Cleave blasted Couric for making “our members look like they were idiots” and “[l]ike they couldn't answer a basic straightforward question.”

Kurtz added that director Stephanie Soechtig spun the pause as intentional to give “the viewer to have a moment” to ponder Couric’s “important question” and apologized “if anyone felt” that she and Couric were trying to skewer the group that ran counter to their narrative.

According to a review of Nexis records, there have been zero hits for Couric on networks not named the Fox News Channel (FNC) or Fox Business Network (FBN) having to do with the editing scandal or since her fawning appearance promoting the documentary on Tuesday’s Daily Show.

This network blackout comes days after a near shutout on ABC, CBS, and NBC as there’s been only one network newscast piece on the revelation that the FBI is investigating Democratic Virginia Governor and Clinton friend Terry McAuliffe for possible illegal campaign donations. 

The relevant portions of the transcript from FNC’s Special Report with Bret Baier on May 26 can be found below.

FNC’s Special Report with Bret Baier
May 26, 2016
6:24 p.m. Eastern [TEASE]

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Coming Up; Pick Your Poison]

BRET BAIER: When we come back, a documentary on gun violence under fire. Willful deception or just sloppiness? 

(....)

6:28 p.m. Eastern

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE CAPTION: Under the Gun]

BAIER: The makers of a new documentary on gun control are dealing with fallout over what a appears to be a deliberate attempt to make gun rights activists look bad or confused or even stupid, but anchor Katie Couric is standing by it. Fox News media analyst and host of Fox's MediaBuzz, Howard Kurtz show us what the fuss is about. 

HOWARD KURTZ: Katie Couric is venturing into the gun control controversy with a documentary called Under the Gun, but it’s backfiring. 

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Katie Couric Gun Documentary Controversy]

KATIE COURIC [on NBC’s Today, 05/13/16]: I wanted to understand the psyche of gun owners in this country and what they were afraid of. 

KURTZ: The Epix network film shows Couric interviewing members of a gun rights group, the Virginia Citizens Defense League.

COURIC [TO GUN RIGHTS ACTIVISTS]: If there were no background checks for gun purchasers, how do you prevent felons or terrorists from purchasing a gun? [LONG PAUSE]

KURTZ: But that sequence with its eight seconds of stunned silence was edited in a misleading way. Here's what's actually happened. 

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Katie Couric Misleads Viewers in Gun Documentary With Deceptive Edit]

COURIC [TO GUN RIGHTS ACTIVISTS]: How do you prevent felons or terrorists from walking into, say, a licensed gun dealer and purchasing a gun? 

VA CITIZENS DEFENSE LEAGUE MEMBER #1: Well one, if you're not in jail, you should still have your basic rights.

KURTZ: And the conversation quickly continued. 

VA CITIZENS DEFENSE LEAGUE MEMBER #2: The fact is we do have statutes, both at the federal and state level. 

KURTZ: Virginia League President Philip Van Cleave, who was at the taping, said he was shocked. 

PHILIP VAN CLEAVE: The problem was it made our members look like they were idiots. Like they couldn't answer a basic straightforward question. Their eyes were diverted in the video, they were looking down, almost looking ashamed. 

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: VA Citizens Defense League Says Couric Should Apologize for Misleading Documentary]

KURTZ: Director Stephanie Soechtig, who told The Guardian this month that “gun owners are being duped” and sold a bill of goods “by the NRA,” now says: “My intention was to provide a pause for the viewer to have a moment to consider this important question. I never intended to make anyone look bad and I apologize if anyone felt that way.” Couric, the executive producer backs her director and says she's very proud of the film, but Van Cleave remains angry. 

VAN CLEAVE: Katie Couric does indeed owe us an apology for what she did. It's the least she could do. 

KURTZ: A source familiar with Couric's role said she questioned the edited silence but deferred to the director's judgment. Her side believes the film was balanced by the mistake gives her critics a big target. Bret?

BAIER: Howie, thank you. 


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