Yesterday TheBlaze reported that ABC chose to edit an interview with First Lady Michelle Obama that aired Tuesday morning on Good Morning America. While selective editing is nothing new (NBC is a pro at the tactic), this situation is more nuanced.
During a question about the shooting of 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton, Mrs. Obama said that Pendleton was tragically shot and killed in Chicago by an “automatic weapon.” According to the ABC News website, the First Lady said:
OBAMA: She was standing out in a park with her friends in a neighborhood blocks away from where my kids…grew up, where our house is. She had just taken a chemistry test. And she was caught in the line of fire because some kids had some automatic weapons they didn’t need. I just don’t want to keep disappointing our kids in this country. I want them to know that we put them first.
Despite that transcript being posted on ABC’s website, what aired on Tuesday’s Good Morning America was a slightly different version of this quote:
OBAMA: She was standing out in a park with her friends in a neighborhood blocks away from where my kids…grew up, where our house is. She had just taken a chemistry test. And she was caught in the line of fire. I just don’t want to keep disappointing our kids in this country. I want them to know that we put them first.
Notice the difference? The video aired on Good Morning America did not contain the words “because some kids had some automatic weapons they didn’t need.”
ABC News responded to the controversy saying, “The full story was posted to our website in advance of the interview being broadcast. The edits made to Robin’s interview with the First Lady were made solely for time.”
“So that took about a second and a half to say,” Pat said in regards to how much time it took the First Lady to say the automatic weapons claim, “and they are claiming they edited it for time? Come on!”
It has been determined that an automatic weapon was not involved in the death of Pendleton, meaning Mrs. Obama misspoke during the interview. With that information in mind, it becomes harder to believe that ABC chose to edit the two second comment for the purpose of time.
“Now, let me tell you what happened,” Glenn said. “This is just speculation, but I think it is reasonable speculation. Is it reasonable that they edited a second and a half out, and they just said, ‘You know what, that’s redundant, we don’t need that,’ and they didn’t know. No, not reasonable. Is it reasonable that they said, ‘Let’s make this tighter, and also, she’s wrong on that, and no need to make her look like a fool. Just take that out’? Semi-reasonable.”
But what ultimately caused the edit, in Glenn’s opinion, has nothing to do with time. Glenn, speaking from experience, explained that it is common for people of this stature to have handlers and other people with them on set to keep track of what is being said. When Glenn makes a mistake during an interview, his team will usually tell him on the way out that he misspoke, and it becomes pretty obvious that the press will have a field day with the gaffe.
The First Lady, however, is extended a different courtesy. “Instead, if you’re the first lady… Here’s what happens,” Glenn said. “Your people who stand around go to the producer and say, ‘The First Lady, she said this, but she didn’t mean to say that. That’s not what she means. That’s wrong. Can you do me a favor, and can you just pull that out?’” Needless to say, the eager-to-please media complies.
“They wouldn’t give you the opportunity to edit out your bad points because that is all they want in an interview with you,” Stu said. “This particular Michelle we are speaking of, they want to have positive moments with her. They don’t want the story of their wonderful, glorious interview with her to be this horrible moment where she screws up the entire gun debate.”
“And when [her people] ask, of course they are going to cave because they want further interviews with the First Lady,” Pat continued. “They want access to her.”
“So much for transparency,” Glenn concluded. “Will the press wake up. Nope. We are wide awake however.”