Katie Couric and director Stephanie Soechtig are under fire for their anti-gun propaganda film “Under The Gun.” The pair stand accused of deceptively editing interviews with at least one subject, the Virginia Citizens Defense League (compare the audio in the link). In the final product Couric asks the group a question on background checks and the camera cuts to their reaction: nine seconds of silence and confused looks. Unfortunately for Couric, the group is savvy, anticipated unprofessional behavior, and recorded their entire interview. In the audio (raw audio available here) Couric asks her question and the group promptly responds with polite, concise answers, none of which made it into the film. It was a deceptive tactic used by Couric and Soechtig to manipulate the viewer into thinking badly of the pro 2-A group. The Washington Post panned the edit and in a statement from earlier today Soechtig refused to apologize*, stating:
“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.”
Don't expect an apology from Couric, either:
Couric also issued a statement on Wednesday afternoon. She said, “I support Stephanie's statement and am very proud of the film.”
Soechtig also conducted a four hour interview with researcher John Lott, none of which was used for the film, likely because Lott countered their questions too well. Epix, the new network already rocked by accusations of deception, released this statement:
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.
Give them your views so they can sell advertising, first. Couric promoted the anti-gun film on “The Daily” show yesterday, repeating talking points from the gun control lobby, such as “74% of NRA members want [universal] background checks.” Seeing as NRA membership isn't public, it's truly a feat of movie magic for that to have been credibly surveyed. The number comes from a push poll ordered by Michael Bloomberg which asked vague questions on criminals and guns and gave no information on current gun laws. The NRA did its own survey of actual NRA members which yielded opposite results. Couric also parroted the long-disproven gun control talking point that “40% of gun purchases are done without a background check.” This was exactly what Soechtig told The Guardian in an earlier interview:
The first thing I learned that – you’ve got to be kidding me – is that 40% of guns in this country are bought without a background check.
Soechtig goes on to say that the “NRA is duping its members,” but really Soechtig is duping viewers: The number she's reciting as Gospel is from a pre-Brady Law survey of barely 250 gun owners who were asked how they obtained their firearm. Hardly accurate in 2016 or representative of the millions of gun owners in America. Parroting lines from Bloomberg's gun control groups may not be the only collusion between the “Under The Gun” director and Bloomberg; Bloomberg also financed Soechtig's previous film:
He was also there to support “Fed Up,” from Atlas Films, a production company he started in 2008 so a friend, Stephanie Soechtig, could make documentaries. Along with Ms. Couric and his wife, it was produced by the environmental activist Laurie David. Ms. David’s former husband, Larry David, helped with the financing, as did the New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning and the former New York mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who is interviewed in the film along with Bill Clinton.
It's only natural to ask whether or not Bloomberg funded Soechtig's anti-gun “documentary,” too. Bottom line: This isn't a “documentary.” It's an anti-gun propaganda film presented as one. Also, both Soechtig and Couric should apologize for the deceptive editing.
*UPDATE: In a statement apparently released only to Howard Kurtz, Soechtig admits that it was a film on gun control and states:
As a director, she didn't realized editing out a thoughtful, thorough answer to Couric's question on background checks by replacing it with awkward silence from her interviewees would make them look bad?