Katie Couric Regrets "Misleading" Editing on Gun Doc

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Katie Couric

Gun rights activists took issue with the selective editing on 'Under the Gun,' which aired May 14 on Epix.

Katie Couric on Monday released a statement saying she regrets the "misleading" editing on the documentary Under the Gun following a storm of criticism from gun rights activists.

Pro-gun blogs and pundits took issue with selective editing by director Stephanie Soechtig on the doc, which premiered at Sundance earlier this year and focuses on the effects of gun violence in the U.S.

The specific controversy arose in a section where Couric interviews members of the pro-gun Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL). In the film, Couric asks the members about background checks on gun ownership, specifically related to convicted felons and people on the terror watch list. There follows a long pause, implying the members were stuck for an answer, but in reality the transcript shows they responded right away.

Couric, who narrates Under the Gun and also executive produced the doc, tweeted a link to her statement on the issue as well as posting the full transcript of the interview after speaking to Soechtig about the editing process.

Couric revealed that Soechtig and the film's editor added the pause for dramatic effect, but after complaints from the VCDL that they misrepresented, she reviewed the section in question and agreed that the film did "not accurately represent their response."

Couric added: "I regret that those eight seconds were misleading and that I did not raise my initial concerns more vigorously."

Couric's full statement:

As Executive Producer of “Under the Gun,” a documentary film that explores the epidemic of gun violence, I take responsibility for a decision that misrepresented an exchange I had with members of the Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL). My question to the VCDL regarding the ability of convicted felons and those on the terror watch list to legally obtain a gun, was followed by an extended pause, making the participants appear to be speechless.

When I screened an early version of the film with the director, Stephanie Soechtig, I questioned her and the editor about the pause and was told that a "beat" was added for, as she described it, “dramatic effect," to give the audience a moment to consider the question. When VCDL members recently pointed out that they had in fact immediately answered this question, I went back and reviewed it and agree that those eight seconds do not accurately represent their response.

VCDL members have a right for their answers to be shared and so we have posted a transcript of their responses here. I regret that those eight seconds were misleading and that I did not raise my initial concerns more vigorously.

I hope we can continue to have an important conversation about reducing gun deaths in America, a goal I believe we can all agree on.