BREAKING: VA Judge Rules Katie Couric Changing Pro-Gun Answer in Documentary “Neither False nor Harmful”


Katie Couric produced an anti-gun documentary titled Under the Gun which was released last year. The biggest reaction may have been from the pro-gun voices featured in the film.

Couric assembled a pro-gun panel in studio. She asked them “how do you prevent felons from purchasing firearms?” The former CNN PA edited their answer. She removed their response and substituted a long period of silence, filmed before the interview. It made the pro-gun side seem both literally and figuratively dumb. As if they didn’t have an answer.

And yet, a judge in Virginia has thrown out a defamation lawsuit against Katie Couric saying that the act was neither false nor harmful. From the Hollywood Reporter:

The film, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January, provoked controversy because of one scene in particular. In it, Couric asks gun rights advocates, “If there are no background checks for gun purchasers, how do you prevent felons or terrorists from purchasing a gun?”

Under the Gun shows those being interviewed in nine seconds of silence.

In response, the Virginia Citizens Defense League attempted to make the case that this pregnant pause was defamatory. In a complaint filed in federal court, the group and its members alleged that the “manipulated footage falsely informed viewers that the VCDL members had been stumped and had no basis for their position on background checks.

On Wednesday, U.S. District Court judge John Gibney, Jr. shredded the complaint and granted a motion to dismiss.

“The plaintiffs’ defamation claims fail because the interview scene is not false,” Gibney writes. “Under the Gun portrays members of the VCDL not answering the question posed by Couric. In reality, members of the VCDL did not answer the question posed by Couric. They talked about background checks and gun laws generally, but did not answer the question of how to prevent felons or terrorists from purchasing guns without background checks. The editing simply dramatizes the sophistry of the VCDL members.”

Let me translate the judge’s decision: “I didn’t like the VCDL member’s answer. I think they are dumb. The documentary makes them look dumb. Therefore I’m going to allow it.”

The fact of the matter: Katie Couric asked a question, and then edited a completely different response from her subject. That’s the exact opposite of what a proper journalist with any shred of credibility would do.

If the VCDL’s response doesn’t make sense then let the audience see that for themselves and come to their own conclusions. If we apply this judge’s opinion to the rest of the movie then the judge seems to have been perfectly happy to have Katie Couric replace every single pro-gun answer they didn’t like with pure silence.

That’s not a documentary. That’s something Leni Riefenstahl would have been proud to produce.


  1. avatar Kyle says:

    Not an unexpected result.

  2. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

    darn. none of the rich famous people i would like to see punished ever are.

  3. avatar Button Gwinnet says:

    “Let me restate the judge’s decision: “I didn’t like the VCDL member’s answer. I think they are dumb. The documentary makes them look dumb. Therefore I’m going to allow it.””

    Ever heard that the process is the punishment? Being sued is no fun. The defendants may not have been granted legal relief – a fiction, anyway – but they got an ounce of flesh.

    1. avatar Big Bill says:

      Not from Couric.
      The producers’ insurance rates might go up a little, but that’s it.

  4. avatar Rick in NH says:

    From Wikipedia:

    On September 30, 2009, Virginia Senators Jim Webb and Mark Warner recommended Gibney for a seat on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.[3] On April 14, 2010, President Obama nominated Gibney to the seat that had been created by the retirement of Judge Robert E. Payne, who had taken senior status in May 2007.[4] Gibney’s nomination was approved by the Senate on December 16, 2010, during the lame duck session of the 111th Congress.[5] He received his commission on December 17, 2010.[2]

    If you can’t win in the legislature, you appoint judges who will do your dirty work with no chance of reprisal.

    1. avatar TFred says:

      And this is all they have left. I sure hope VCDL appeals, but within the Fourth Circuit, any hope of relief will require a trip to SCOTUS.

    2. avatar DDay says:

      The judge went to law school at UVA in the late 1970’s, Couric was an undergrad at UVA during that time. Do you think they’ve met at Alumni events over the years at UVA? I bet there is some direct or indirect connection between Couric and the judge.

      1. avatar GP35 says:

        only really likely if Couric was also in Law. It’s not like UVA was a tiny school even back then.

    3. avatar Missouri Mule says:

      That’s what they get for going to Federal Court. Lifetime appointed anti-gun judges who wipe their butt with the Bill of Rights.

    4. avatar Norincojay says:

      Jim Webb wouldn’t deliberately nominate an anti gun judge. Jim is a pro second amendment democrat and the only dem I like.

      1. avatar TFred says:

        Hogwash. Jim Webb voted to CONFIRM both Supreme Court justices Kagan and Sotomayor. Both of those justices would repeal and/or completely gut the Second Amendment in a heartbeat if they were ever given the opportunity. I’m sorry, there is no credible argument that Webb did not know this when he voted to confirm these gun-hating judges.

        1. avatar Pwinky says:

          Good memory. Don’t give people like Jim Webb a pass. Kagan and Sotomayor are activist judges and will rule against our founders’ documents & ideas for many years to come. Anyone that could vote for them is an enemy.

  5. avatar racenutz says:


  6. avatar FedUp says:

    And remember, a court determined that NBC did no wrong in editing a recording to make George Zimmerman sound racist, then falsely stating the call proved he was racist.

    1. avatar Hank says:

      Right. He’s quite the kkk white supramicist for a Mexican guy.

      1. avatar Button Gwinnet says:


        1. I ain’t got to parove shit! I think he’s Mexican!

  7. avatar TFred says:

    From the linked news report is the link to the opinion:

  8. avatar Geoff PR says:

    I hope some organization funds the appeal of that decision all the way to SCOTUS, if need be…

  9. avatar pieslapper says:

    Well of course not. The ‘Beast did not intend to commit treason either.

  10. avatar samuraichatter says:

    They talked about background checks and gun laws generally, but did not answer the question of how to prevent felons or terrorists from purchasing guns without background checks.

    Sounds like they did answer the question. Anyone have footage or a transcript of what was actually said?

  11. avatar former water walker says:

    I would never talk to the be-otch.

    1. avatar Chris T in KY says:


  12. avatar No one of consequence says:

    And the news media wonder why they’re losing trust and reader/viewership.

    1. avatar neiowa says:

      No they don’t

    2. avatar Big Bill says:

      No they don’t
      They figure as they always do: The Great Unwashed are just too stupid to understand the “truth” when it’s told to them.
      Just like Hillary’s team can’t figure out why they lost.

  13. avatar Omer Baker says:

    Perhaps someone should film an interview with this judge and ask a very simple question. Then edit in a pregnant pause and then a stupid response from another part of the interview and post it on the internet. I’m sure the judge would not find that degrading or defamatory at all.

    1. avatar Boba Fett says:

      THAT would be awesome.

  14. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

    South Park had Katie pegged…

  15. avatar barnbwt says:

    The judge isn’t wrong; no one gave a shit about that documentatry

  16. avatar Adub says:

    I’m not surprised. After all, Michael Moore was granted an interview with Roger Smith when he did his first documentary Roger and Me about the evil stupidity of GM, but made it seem as if the guy always ducked him. And he lied to sneak his way into Charlton Heston’s house.

  17. avatar SAMUEL LEE says:

    I call B.S.
    Who’s pocket is that judge in?

    1. avatar Tim says:

      Virginians voted for Barack O’Bama – twice. O”Bama filled the courts with activists like Gibney. Elections have consequences.

      1. avatar million says:

        HRC too.

      2. avatar Chris says:

        That’s a little unfair. But, unless you have actually had a state next to Washington, District of Columbia, you wouldn’t understand.

        The most bipolar state in the Union, Virginia votes neon blue in the DC overflow area and votes redder than Stalin’s blood in the huge, less populated rest of the state.

    2. avatar Charlie Kilo says:

      Who’s pocket? Obama, that’s who appointed him.

  18. avatar William Wallace says:

    Most “Reporters” and “journalists” are scum. They don’t report the news. They spew lies and propagandize to further their communist agenda. Most “Reporters” and “journalists” should be ranked with meth heads and pedophiles. They are not to be trusted. They shouldn’t be granted interviews. Take the left’s “resist” mantra and jam it down these filthy “reporter” throats. Refuse to comment on any “story.” Refuse to participate in any “poll.” Refuse to take part in any “interview.” Remember, they are part of a cabal designed to overthrow the Constitution. Don’t help them in any way.

    1. avatar Serpent Vision says:

      As if they have any interest in interviewing the average TTAG reader. Only gun owners worthy of having an opinion are those who are strong supporters of the 2nd Amendment, BUT….

  19. avatar Michael says:

    Jefferson was right, the tree of liberty must be refreshed. …

  20. avatar ActionPhysicalMan says:

    Riefenstahl was too talented to be proud claim any of Couric’s work.

    1. avatar NoozeSnooze says:

      ^ ^ ^
      This, right here. Couric is a Six Million Dollar Dumbass, and not worthy to have her name associated with journalism, much less anyone with actual talent.

  21. avatar Hannibal says:

    Wow, that judge completely ignored the actual legal claim and obviously substituted his own pet opinion. To the point where it should be actionable (i.e. appealable). But do they want to keep going?

  22. avatar TruthTellers says:

    What’s the point of the Judicial Branch again?

    1. avatar GobbleGobble says:

      Orally servicing those who appointed them.

  23. avatar DaveL says:

    Let me restate the judge’s decision: “I didn’t like the VCDL member’s answer. I think they are dumb. The documentary makes them look dumb. Therefore I’m going to allow it.”

    In their appeal, they should quote that as if it were the judge’s actual decision, then add a footnote to the effect that they were merely “dramatizing his sophistry”.

  24. avatar Dave says:

    She may have survived the case, but she lost in the court of public opinion.

    During the 2016 NRA convention, only about 3 dozen people from MDA watched her stupid documentary, and the NRA had over 50,000 people at the convention.

    I don’t think we have to worry about Katie Couric very much.

    1. avatar Hannibal says:

      Meh. People at an NRA convention aren’t going to buy her story anyway. Very few people pay attention to the details, which is how they get this stuff by.

      I was hoping for a legal victory to try and prevent the same BS in the future. Figures.

  25. avatar Ardent says:

    It sounds like someone needs to beat feet to the judges jurisdiction and start filming pro gun rights documentaries. Since we can now edit in silence when we don’t like what anti gunners say, let’s have fun with it.

  26. avatar tinHat says:

    if you did that to the Judge he would have you in jail for life

  27. avatar Burley says:

    …And the left continues to reject logic, truth and the actual meaning of words. However, since words no longer mean what are intended to mean: no, this is not a gun…

  28. avatar Jomo says:

    Let the lesson be learned: Never trust a journo. Never. Don’t do interviews. Don’t give statements. Don’t appear in their shows. VCDL, like many libertarian/conservative orgs thought the other side was just like them, only misinformed. They’re not. They know exactly what they’re doing, and they’re not interested in rational discourse. These are the people behind the End of Discussion movement. They don’t want to talk TO you. They are going to talk AT you. And if they don’t get their way, they will destroy you.

    1. avatar Burley says:

      This is what I have been trying to explain to people for at least a decade.

  29. avatar Ralph says:

    In any civilized country, Gibney wouldn’t be a judge. He’d be cleaning toilets and loving his job.

    1. avatar Burley says:

      Please point me to the nearest “civilized” country. I’m convinced there are none remaining.

  30. avatar kap says:

    Another pocket filling judge, is he elected if so vote him out!

    1. avatar Charlie Kilo says:

      Not elected, he was appointed by Obama. Judges can be impeached, and most of the impeachments in the US have been members of the Judicial branch (at various levels).

  31. avatar Jim Bullock says:

    Well, in fiction the producers get to create events to make the point they’d like. (Sorkin, I’m lookin at you.)

    In documentaries, events as they happened are assembled so a pattern or system already present can be seen.

    Journalism presents exactly what happened, as it happened so people can confront teality they wouldn’t otherwise.

    This makes Caty-not-Perry a (bad) fabulist, and the judge a hack, idiot. Blair Witch was better, and what it claimed to be.

  32. avatar siudogs says:

    These folks just learned a valuable lesson about dealing with the media. Unless you retain editorial rights you should refuse to speak to uber liberal “journalists” with an agenda like Couric.

  33. avatar Dirty Davey DownEast says:

    The problem with the anti-gun crowd including; non-journalist Couric and non-prudence Gibney is they are all Paranoid Delusional.

    There is no answer to the background checks question. The most stringent background check will not keep criminals and terrorists from acquiring firearms illegally. This is why we have laws to punish this criminal activity.

    For Couric to be a true journalist, she should ask why do judges such as Gibney not punish criminals to the fullest extent of the law?


  34. avatar TFred says:

    While reading other coverage of this, I was reminded that Couric went on the record admitting that the clip was misleading, and that she regretted it.

    Sadly, this even more clearly illustrates the sad state of our judiciary where the defendant can go on the record admitting to the claims of the plaintiff, and still be found to have not committed the offense.

    It’s hard to imagine they could not prevail upon appeal, IF they can get in front of an honest court.

  35. avatar Danny says:

    The interviewees gave dumb-azzed replies and Couric did them a huge favor by not including them, and then did them an even bigger favor by editing the film in a way that made her manipulation of footage the story.

  36. avatar Jim Macklin says:

    The nation will be suffering for years because of the lower court judges appointed by Obama.
    Every election matters, whether it is the local school board or the President. The Primary Election may matter the most because that is where and when you can select the best candidate, when your vote counts most strongly.

  37. avatar VCDL Member says:

    Liberal reporter’s careers are like zombies. Nothing kills them. Once things cool down they start getting awards so they can start bragging about themselves. Since their failures were kept quiet, the lemmings just think they were working on their next Global Warming Expose.

    From: Katie wins “Best Journalist” from the 8th Annual Shorty Awards.

    “Katie Couric’s career spans decades, with shows on ALL three BIG networks.”

  38. avatar Appeal says:

    This will be appealed.

  39. avatar GS650G says:

    That’s ok Your Honor we already rendered our verdict and her career reflects that.

  40. avatar Richard Cutie says:

    Wow!! So it’s ok to misrepresent people in a way that tells a completely different story then they portrayed and it’s ok. I watched that stupid documentary and was sitting there saying “say something” just to find out they edited out thier answers. They should take it to another judge and not give up. Fake news, fake documentary same people same liers.

  41. avatar Beau jest says:

    One hopes they appeal the matter. . . Then one prays the Supreme court takes it. . .

  42. avatar Fred says:

    This country is lost. The civil war the left has been pushing for is inevitable. Remember who the enemy is when the SHTF, then take care of business.

    I truely hate the left and the way they have made me feel. But they are bringing this on themselves. The left hates what this country traditionaly stands for and have been doing all they can to destroy it. The USA was never going to be taken over by outside forces, but we can and are being destroyed from within. If our children and grandchildren are to have any chance at living in a free society, decisive action must be taken, NOW! Already this country is barely recognizable to anyone over 50. A sad state of affairs.

    Trivia Question: remember back in the late sixties – early seventies, when the antigunners said all they were interested in doing was eliminating “Saturday Night Specials”? They said they had no desire to restict/remove anything else. It was a lie then and their “Common Sense Gun Legislation” is a lie now.

  43. avatar Mike says:

    I’m not a gun owner, never even fired a gun but this opinion is not just elitist but shockingly bad legal precedent. I doubt this judge would have ruled the same way if a documentarian asked planned parenthood members if they ever considered the possibility that abortion was murder and then dubbed in silence in place of the response.

    1. Good analogy.
      Are you interested in guns?

Write a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

button to share on facebook
button to tweet
button to share via email