Even though she admitted that her anti-gun control documentary, Under the Gun, was intentionally edited to make pro-gun advocates look bad, Katie Couric, Stephanie Soechtig and her associates involved in the film have now been cleared from a $12 million lawsuit.
The lawsuit, filed by the Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL), along with two gun-rights activists included in the film, Daniel Hawes and Patricia Webb, alleged that the films’ footage was manipulated to insert additional moments of silence between questions, making it appear that the people being interviewed hesitated in responding to the questions.
When Couric asked the question during the interview, “If there are no background checks for gun purchasers, how do you prevent felons or terrorists from purchasing a gun?” the documentary was edited to make it appear that the activists being interviewed had no answer, as they sit in silence for several seconds.
Unedited video later proved that the activists provided immediate answers, and actually debated the matter for up to four minutes.
Wednesday the lawsuit was dismissed by U.S. District Court Judge John Gibney Jr, who said the edits “didn’t rise to the level of defamation.”
Gibney wrote in his opinion of the matter,
“The plaintiffs’ defamation claims fail because the interview scene is not false. Under the Gun portrays members of the VCDL not answering the question posed by Couric. In reality, members of the VCDL did not answer the question posed by Couric. They talked about background checks and gun laws generally, but did not answer the question of how to prevent felons or terrorists from purchasing guns without background checks. The editing simply dramatizes the sophistry of the VCDL members.
“At worst, this shows artistically that they either cannot or will not answer the question. Their verbal responses during the interview showed the same thing. Either way, not having an answer to a question on a difficult and complex issue is not defamatory. It does not lower these plaintiffs in the estimation of the community to the extent and with the sting required.”
Below is a video of the edited documentary:
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