Americans have come to expect shenanigans from Michael Moore when he crafts his “documentaries.” While all documentarians must edit their footage, what separates documentarians from propagandists is intent and context.
If I write, “Adolf Hitler was great at public speaking,” I am stating a generally-accepted fact devoid of agreement with regards to moral or political considerations.
If someone edits my work and include my quote to read, “Adolf Hitler was great,” that takes on an entirely different meaning, doesn’t it? Such editing is unscrupulous and the kind of thing that separates documentarians and propagandists.
The mainstream media often lies somewhere in between the two classifications. Dan Rather had his career shattered after he improperly refused to vet sources in his heedless enthusiasm to smear George W. Bush.
Now, Rather’s successor is under fire for her recent efforts to provide an intentionally-distorted “documentary” regarding gun ownership in America and gun violence that the film hints is the byproduct of such behavior.
Couric’s film “Under the Gun” examines the issue of gun violence with an erroneous premise that gun owners should be forced to explain and justify their constitutional right to gun ownership.
However, as obnoxious as the central premise is, audio reveals that Couric’s “documentary” was selectively-edited so as to offer a false impression that gun owners are befuddled buffoons unable to adequately explain their position.
At the 21:48 mark of her propaganda, Couric is interviewing members of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, a group dedicated to the preservation of the Second Amendment.
Couric asks the group, “If there are no background checks for gun purchasers, how do you prevent felons or terrorists from purchasing a gun?”
The film then shows the group sitting for nine seconds without being able to answer. After the awkward silence, Couric then moves on with other questions.
The problem? It didn’t happen.
The viewer is supposed to believe that these oh-so-backwards-thinking “gun nuts” were easily bested by a question supporting “commonsense” gun control measures.
In reality, thanks to audio obtained by the Washington Free Beacon, one can hear that the activists were able to promptly answer Couric’s question and an exchange regarding background checks occurred for over four minutes.
Though Couric was not obliged to offer the entirety of the interview or any of it at all, what made it into the film was a selectively-edited interview where Couric asked a question, but which left the viewer with the understanding that the group was unable to answer the question and thereby lending credibility to the validity of Couric’s argument that background checks are unquestionably good ideas.
Philip Van Cleave, the organization’s president, was outraged over Couric’s journalistic dishonesty, calling it “unbelievable and extremely unprofessional.”
“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.”
Though the obvious lapse of anything even approaching ethical behavior should cause Couric and those involved in the film to cower in shame, the makers of the film in addition to Couric herself have stood by the film and have maintained that they “never intended to make anyone look bad,” and that the pause was to allow viewers to reflect on the question.
While liberal bias is nothing new in the mainstream media, Couric’s unapologetic dishonesty should brand her with the same shameful label affixed to Dan Rather and expel her from the pantheon of revered American journalists.
Further, it should be noted that Couric’s film maintains a central premise that is precisely the inverse of our Second Amendment: that citizens should justify why they should be allowed to own certain firearms or should otherwise justify their opposition to unconstitutional limitations.
In reality, the Second Amendment is remarkably clear. Our rights exist and the onus is upon the government to explain what constitutional provision allows them to undermine our rights with restrictions. By inverting this burden, Couric and others who are similarly constitutionally-ignorant place gun owners in a position to defend what they need not defend, justify or explain.
Similarly, it would be wrong to ask Couric to obtain licensing to be a journalist in the free press. The First Amendment requires no such justification for free expression and neither does the Second Amendment.