A 2014 documentary directed by Stephanie Soechtig and produced by Katie Couric is the duo’s second film to face allegations of deceptive editing.
The women have faced a wave of backlash after it was revealed that an interview between Ms. Couric and a group of gun rights activists wasn’t accurately portrayed in their newest documentary “Under the Gun.” Ms. Couric has since apologized for the misleading editing, but Ms. Soechtig has defiantly stood by her artistic license.
“Fed Up,” their 2014 film that focused on obesity and the food industry, included two interviews with individuals who disagreed with the narrative of the film, the Washington Free Beacon reported. Sources told the news outlet that both interviews included at least one misleading edit intended to embarrass the interview subject.
“What she did to me is antithetical to not only just human decency and civility but it is antithetical to the spirit of science and democratic dialogue,” Dr. David Allison, director of the Nutrition Obesity Research Center, told the Free Beacon.
“Ms. Couric had said to me at the beginning of our interview ‘You know, Dr. Allison, if at any point you need to go over an answer, you stumble on your words, just let me know, we’ll stop, and you can go back over it,’” he recalled.
Dr. Allison said that’s exactly what happened when Ms. Couric asked him to use basic terminology for the sake of the viewers.
In the film, Dr. Allison explains that all calories are contributing to the obesity problem in the U.S., not just sugary beverages. Asked to give a scientific explanation, Dr. Allison stumbles with his words before asking Ms. Couric if he can pause to “get his thoughts together.”
Ms. Couric says “OK” and the camera shows Dr. Allison sitting in silence for seven seconds before cutting to another interview. He is not shown again in the film, the Free Beacon reported.
Dr. Allison said that in reality, he gave what he thought “was a very cogent answer.”
“I gave an answer to every question she asked me in a 90-minute interview that was a barrage of questions,” he said. “And out of a 90-minute interview she chose to show the approximately 10 seconds when I paused and said, ‘Let me collect my thoughts.’”
A second accusation came from an interview between Ms. Soechtig and Lisa Gable, a spokesperson for the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation, the Free Beacon reported. Sources told the website that audio of Ms. Soechtig’s voice was edited into an interview in an effort to embarrass Ms. Gable.
Their new documentary “Under the Gun” has faced very similar allegations. In one scene, Ms. Couric asks members of the Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL), a pro-gun organization, “If there are no background checks for gun purchasers, how do you prevent felons or terrorists from purchasing a gun?”
The film shows the activists sitting in silence for eight seconds, apparently unable to come up with an answer, before it cuts to a different scene. Raw audio of the interview revealed that the activists responded immediately and debated for more than four minutes. Second Amendment supporters expressed outrage over the edit, saying it was done deliberately to embarrass the activists.
Ms. Soechtig responded, “If I wanted to make them look bad, I would have focused exclusively on their radical ideology. But I didn’t do that. I wanted to allow them an opportunity to explain their beliefs. In hindsight, had I known that the NRA would focus on eight seconds of a two-hour film, I might have done things differently. But I made the creative decision and I stand by it.”