Couric Admits Awareness of Fraud Before "Under The Gun" Aired

Director Stephanie Soechtig and Producer/Yahoo!News Anchor Katie Couric were caught red-handed fabricating gun owner responses in the anti-gun propaganda film, Under the Gun.
Director Stephanie Soechtig and Producer/Yahoo!News Anchor Katie Couric were caught red-handed fabricating gun owner responses in the anti-gun propaganda film, Under the Gun.

Embattled Yahoo! News anchor Katie Couric is simultaneously accepting and attempting to downplay responsibility for fraudulent editing in her anti-Second Amendment propaganda film, Under the Gun.

In a statement posted on the film’s web site, Couric admits seeing director Stephanie Soechtig’s fraudulent substitution of eight seconds of “B roll” film apparently taken during a break in more than two hours of filming with the Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL) instead of their immediate and thoughtful responses.

Couric’s admission that she was aware of the fraud during an early rough cut of the film, and did not have Soechtig replace the fraudulent response with the actual answers of VCDL members should be career enders.

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.

Stephanie Soechtig’s Goebbelization of even the early cuts of Under the Gun should have led Couric to terminating the intentionally dishonest director. At the very least, Couric should have blasted Soechtig for a clear breach of journalistic ethics (Soechtig is a graduate of the NYU School of Journalism) in the early stages of editing the film, and ensure that she did not perpetuate this fraud—which Couric admits to being well well aware of—in the final version of the film.

I frankly suspect that Couric has a lot of “regret” for the fraud perpetuated in Under the Gun.

She regrets that she and Soetchtig were caught committing fraud, certainly. Couric no doubt regrets being exposed as a fantasist on part with Jayson Blair and Stephen Glass. She has to regret that Yahoo! News—which has not responded to inquiries from other journalists about the scandal—must be considering terminating her for betraying a complete lack of journalistic ethics. She must regret that Philip Van Cleave, president of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, taped their interview and proved she was dishonest beyond the shadow of a doubt. Couric and Soechtig most both regret that they have opened themselves up to the possibility of a libel lawsuit by VCDL that could cost them both millions.

Was it worth destroying your career to dishonestly attempt to make gun owners look foolish, Ms. Couric?

Jun 25, 2022 12:30 PM ET