The Virginia Citizens Defense League called the documentary "deliberate deception"

By Lindsay Kimble
Updated May 31, 2016 09:40 AM
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Credit: Noam Galai/WireImage

Katie Couric has issued an official statement apologizing for what she calls an instance of “misleading” editing in her new documentary Under the Gun.

“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),” Couric, responding to uproar from several pro-gun organizations, said in a statement on the documentary’s website.

Couric said that the moment in question was a lengthy pause following a question to the group regarding “the ability of convicted felons and those on the terror watch list to legally obtain a gun.”

The “beat,” as Couric called it, was added for “dramatic effect” by Under the Gun‘s director Stephanie Soechtig. Couric wrote that although she questioned the pause, she allowed it to be included in the film’s final cut – something she regrets.

“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,” she said in the statement. “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.”

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Under the Gun

explores the gun control debate across political aisles and features interviews with both parents of those who’ve lost children due to gun violence, as well as pro-gun activist groups.

The VCDL slammed Couric earlier this month over the documentary’s editing, calling the journalist’s work on the film “deliberate deception” in a Facebook post, and released an unedited audiotape of the group’s session.

VCDL President Philip Van Cleave told The Washington Post that he emailed one of the film’s producers about his concerns over the interview’s portrayal but was met with defensiveness.

“The 8 seconds of silence from gun owners shown after the question about felons is inexcusable,” Van Cleave said. “Within 1 or 2 seconds members responded to that question – like I said I have the proof. That edit actually changed the answer members gave to the question. Worse, that deception was intentional.”