Katie Couric Spent almost 4 hours interviewing John Lott on film for her new Gun-Control Movie But Didn’t include Any of Lott’s Interview in the Movie

20 May , 2016  

Katie Couric

UPDATED: Post by John Lott: After over two hours of pre-interviews with Kristin Lazure, a Producer at Atlas Films, I was asked to travel to New York City to do an interview with Katie Couric for her new movie.  As Kristin put it on July 14, 2015: “we are still very much interested in interviewing you to give the film greater balance.”  During the pre-interviews, multiple times Kristin told me how much she appreciated my research and how important it was.  Our interview in New York City was only supposed to last an hour, but ended up lasting almost 4 hours.  Yet, none of the interview that I did was included in the movie.

Reviews of movie, such as one by Robert VerBruggen, noted the imbalance. The subheading of VerBruggen’s piece read: “documentary crosses the line from raising questions to avoiding dissent.”  Lois Beckett with the Guardian (UK) newspaper raised this question:

Beckett: Most of the experts in your film are very strongly tilted towards gun control. Did you try to hear from researchers or experts who aren’t gun control advocates, who are more on the gun rights side?

Director Stephanie Soechtig: We spoke to Richard Feldman, who is a former lobbyist for the NRA.

We spoke to John Lott; he will be featured in a digital companion that we have. We did a great piece on him. He’s the originator of the idea that more guns equal less crime. His research has been criticized and largely discredited, and when we went to include it in the film, it felt like unnecessary real estate to put in the film, because we know his research has been debunked many times. We kept going back to the idea that we wanted to reserve the real estate in the film for the responsible gun owners. . . .

Richard Feldman is listed as the one person who supports gun rights, but he is a strong gun control advocate.  Calling him a “former lobbyist for the NRA” doesn’t mean that in the current discussion he provides balance.

UPDATE: It is clear that in the film Couric deceptively edited scenes to completely change the meaning of what happened.  Evidence is provided here.  Erik Wemple at the Washington Post takes Couric to task here.  Wemple concludes his piece: “Many of those who sampled the discrepancy between the video and the audiotape were already enraged by the depiction of these gun owners. The statements from Soechtig and Couric will surely intensify the backlash, as well they should. An apology, retraction, re-editing, whatever it is that filmmakers do to make amends — all of it needs to happen here.”  Even NPR has this headline: “Manipulative Editing Reflects Poorly On Katie Couric, Gun Documentary.”

UPDATE (May 31, 2016): Katie Couric finally posted a statement taking responsibility for the misleading editing.  See also here.

Screen Shot 2016-05-31 at Tuesday, May 31, 4.01 PM 1

Here is an interview that I did that explains in detail what happened. Wednesday, May, 18, 2016 from 6:00 to 6:08 PM.

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at Thursday, May 19, 1.00 PM
Here is a somewhat humorous take on the scandal.

Here is what Apple iTunes page for the movie looked like as of May 31, 2016.

Katie Couric on iTunes


22 Responses

  1. Tom Campbell says:

    Perhaps with known anti-gun TV personalities (I can’t credit her with journalism.) agree to interviews if and only if they agree to include one minute for every 15 of your time and you participate in the editing or approval of selection. What she has done is to allow them to say that you were consulted, but allows you only not to say that you were not consulted.
    You have more than debunked your supposed debunkers, not a one of whom is anywhere near as skilled and diligent a statistician as you. What she has done is discouraging, even disgusting, but, par for the course.

    • Michael Fallon says:

      Since these anti-Second Amendment filmmakers can’t be trusted to be balanced and fair, I would suggest to Dr. Lott to make sure he has at least one video camera person, to also record his interviews at the scene, letting people like Couric and the filmmakers know, thanks if they pull anything, Dr. Lott can visually expose their bias, in any future interviews.

  2. Tom Campbell says:

    Also, is there any way to get the footage of your interview so that we all can benefit?

  3. ThinkLonger says:

    According to the details it sounds like they knew before hand that they would not use any of John Lott’s input. They intentionally wasted your time, money and the money of those who donate. I’m assuming they gave no guarantee to use any of it so they can get away with this? Otherwise it seems like that is bordering on illegal.

    How would they like it if you claimed to have changed your position to be pro gun control, had them fly out to meet you for an interview and you say “I was just joking, I have not changed my position”.

    Now when someone is “Discredited” who gets to decide this? I would assume all of their sources have been “discredited” by someone.

  4. Sean says:

    But they have 3 members of the Bloomberg brigade plus the VPC? No thanks won’t watch it. I can already tell it will a antigun emotional tirade.

  5. John Lott has never been discredited – indeed he has offered many times to debate those who accuse him of cooking his stats – but to date none of the accusers have taken him up on it. One might think if he were so easy to debunk that folks would be standing in line to show off their debunking skills – but so far, nobody has stepped up.

  6. Billc says:

    The only people who have claimed Lott’s work is “debunked” are gun control advocates who have neither read his work nor attempted undertake the appropriate reviews of his work.

    One may quibble with Mr. Lott’s work over whether some variable was accounted for or used appropriately. But the burden is on the reviewer/challenger to show their accusation would make a significant difference is the results or conclusions.

    I’m hoping to see a slander lawsuit against Stephanie Soechtig, the director for her comments. It’s one thing to say someone’s work has been “discredited” because one opposing voice gets some coverage — it’s quite another to say someone’s work has been “debunked many times” or “widely discredited” without attribution by whom and when.

  7. Colt Lending says:

    Couric and the hack that produced this piece stand by it. Typical.

    The editing is reprehensible.

    They can’t convience people on the facts so they manipulate people.

    1) Bans don’t work. We tried alcohol prohibitiion and created a crime syndicate bigger then U.S. Steel. People will always find a way to profit from illegal materials and services.

    2) People who murder people don’t care about laws.

    3) The closest thing to a universal law against a killer or killers obtaining the means of killing a lot of people was the UN weapons ban inacted against Saddam Husseins Iraq. Remeber what that resulted in? Weapons-for-Oil. Russia, France and other countries looking to make a buck selling banned weapons to Iraq.

    4) I have a god given and constitutional right to protect myself and my family. No government anywhere has a right to take that away from me. The Founders of our Nation understood that and put it in writing. They did not give any state or the federal government the right to render the 2nd Amendment impotent by virtue of patchwork jurisdictions and laws prohibiting where you can and cannont protect yourself. Some of the restrictions in some states restrict citizens from carrying a weapons where they most need them, like in subways and parks.

    Nobody in their right mind should give this woman the time of day.

    Couric was paid big bucks for years at CBS as her ratings were in the gutter, year after year.

    As the late George Carlin put it, “It’s a big club and we’re not in it.”

  8. Bill Lawry says:

    Lott’s work is the ‘gold standard’ of research. If the data had bolstered the arguments for gun control he’d be the darling of the VPC instead of the NRA. Lott’s conclusions FOLLOWED the data and his methodology, data, and conclusions have been peer reviewed. Version 1.0 of his book was written as a scholarly treatise while he was a professor of Economics at the U of Chicago. 1.0 was easily found and available free on www under a long scholarly sounding title in the 1990‘s.

  9. […] John Lott for 2 hours, but didn't use any of that footage, as it didn't fit their anti gun agenda.Katie Couric Spent almost 4 hours interviewing John Lott on film for her new Gun-Control Movie But D… When I was crossing the border into Canada, they asked if I had any firearms with me. I […]

  10. Anyone who intentionally slants a story to deliberately distort the facts is not worthy of the title of “journalist.” Couric must apologize and set the record straight. Anything less simply shows that she is dishonorable and deserving of our contempt.

  11. James says:

    “……His research has been criticized and largely discredited, and when we went to include it in the film, it felt like unnecessary real estate to put in the film, because we know his research has been debunked many times……….. ”

    So why did you perform the interview with him at all?

  12. […] more on the Katie Couric issue, you’ll also want to read about John Lott’s experience being interviewed for the same […]

  13. DeeDee Atoz says:

    Total manipulation for cause and effect …
    A very one-sided story, created by the entire production team.
    Quickest way to lose respect as a journalist, sell the public misinformation to endorse an agenda. Shameful.
    * Guns are not the problem… ignorance in mainstream society is…

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