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.”
Here is an interview that I did that explains in detail what happened. Wednesday, May, 18, 2016 from 6:00 to 6:08 PM.
Here is what Apple iTunes page for the movie looked like as of May 31, 2016.