Couric's Director Responds to Accusations of Gun-Interview Doctoring

Katie Couric
Katie Couric and the director of "Under the Gun," Stephanie Soechtig.Getty Images

Earlier this week we reported that Katie Couric and director Stephanie Soechtig came under fire for the editing in the recently released anti-gun documentary, Under the Gun, which many are calling misleading.

They have been accused of inserting a pause of silence from members of the Virginia Citizens Defense League in response to a question about background checks in the documentary. Audio recordings of the interview later revealed that the group members did, in fact, readily answer Couric’s question, and that the footage of the silent group was taken from an earlier moment between questions during the two-hour interview, of which only four minutes ended up in the final film, which is being billed as a fair and balanced documentary.

According to this story from NPR.com, Couric and Soechtig are apologizing, to a degree, for switching around the footage.

"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," Soechtig said in a statement. She, apparently, was the one who made the editing decision. "I never intended to make anyone look bad and I apologize if anyone felt that way."

The statement was issued after president of the Virginia Citizens' Defense League, Philip Van Cleave, posted the unedited audio from the interview on Ammoland.com. He observed the interview in person.

"That was not a tough question," he said in the NPR story. "That was not a question that our members would not know the answer to. It's kind of like sins of omission."

You can watch the clip in question here and decide for yourself:

In the audio recording of the interview, Couric’s question: "If there are no background checks for gun purchasers, how do you prevent felons or terrorists from purchasing a gun?" was actually longer and worded differently. It was met immediately with answers.

“One, if you’re not in jail, you should still have your basic rights, and you should go buy a gun.”

“So if you’re a terrorist or a felon?” Couric asks.

“If you’re a felon, and you’ve done your time, you should have your rights.”

A second person chimes in, and a third. There is no stunned silence.

When asked how Couric reacted when she saw that portion of the film before its release, a spokesperson for the project said, "Katie questioned the pause, but the director made the decision to use it to lead into the discussion of the hole in background checks," according to the NPR story.

In this story on TheWrap.com, Soechtig said, "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."

“This manipulation—and that’s what it was—would not pass muster at NPR under its principles for fairness in handling interviews.”

"Katie Couric should be ashamed of herself for her dishonest and distorted reporting on this issue," said Julie Gunlock, the director of Culture of Alarmism, in TheWrap.com story.