Katie Couric Defamation Lawsuit Update – The Ruling Is In

Stephanie Soechtig and Katie Couric
Stephanie Soechtig and Katie Couric

Virginia – -(AmmoLand.com)- HISTORY

On June 18, 2015, eight Virginia Citizens Defense League members sat down with Katie Couric for an interview to be used in a “documentary.”

In mid-January, 2016, the “documentary” was shown at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah.

The television release was on May 16, 2016. That's when Virginia Citizens Defense League learned that the interview with the eight VCDL members had been edited in such a way as to make it look like the VCDL members had no answers to a basic question: “If we don’t do background checks, how can we stop felons and terrorists from getting guns?” We had over six minutes of answers, none of which was shown. Instead some video was inserted showing everyone just siting around, looking down or away from the camera. That footage was taken toward the end of the interview when everyone was told to sit quietly for eight seconds so the background noises could be recorded for later removal from the audio. (BTW, the slanted “documentary” give 15 minutes to the gun-rigts side and 1-1/2 hours to the gun-controllers.)

On May 19, 2016, Virginia Citizens Defense League sent a VA-ALERT out on what happened, along with the actual unedited audio.

On May 23, 2016, AmmoLand News picked up on the alert and wrote a story about the deception in the film. The article included both the unedited audio and a clip showing the actual deceptive footage.

A FIRESTORM ENSUED. Katie Couric was thrown under the bus by almost all the media. If they backed Couric, they knew it would reflect negatively on themselves. What had been done defied a basic journalistic ethic. The news spread nationwide and, eventually, worldwide! The coverage was all virtually negative for the film.

On May 31, 2016 and under relentless pressure, Katie Couric finally acknowledged the edit publicly and admitted that it was wrong. However her apology left much to be desired and the fraud perpetrated on VCDL and the public had not been rectified.

On September 13, 2016, VCDL filed a suit against Katie Court and the studio that produced the film.

On May 31, 2017, an Obama appointed federal judge dismissed the case, with a clear *political* bias. The judge actually attacked the answers that the VCDL members offered to Couric's question. He then concluded that since he didn't think that the answers were any good, the editing didn't actually hurt VCDL! Every attorney that I spoke with was shocked by the way the judge made his ruling.

On June 6, 2017, VCDL began the process of appealing the judge's ruling to the Federal Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond.

FEDERAL FOURTH CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS RULING

Appeals are heard initially by a three-judge panel whose names are drawn at random.

We lost that drawing big time, ending up with the three judges being appointed by either Bill Clinton or Barack Obama. 🙁

The judges reviewed the case and said that the silence inserted instead of the actual answers did not rise to the level of defamation. That was a really bad and disappointing ruling. Their ruling seemed to hinge on the fact that words weren't substituted for other words, only silence was substituted for words.

The judges didn't condone Couric's actions, though. The judges acknowledged in their opinion that “the twelve-second clip [at issue] did not transpire as depicted,” and that “[i]n the unedited footage, Couric’s background check question prompted approximately six minutes of responses from the VCDL members” and “approximately three minutes of related discussion between Couric and the panel,” and that “[r]ather than use these responses, the filmmakers spliced in b-roll footage taken prior to the interview in which Couric asked the VCDL interviewees to sit in silence while technicians calibrated the recording equipment.”

Unlike the federal judge's original ruling, the Panel did not try to insert their political beliefs about whether the answers given by the VCDL members were correct or not.

SO WHAT NOW?

While obviously disappointed in the outcome, the Virginia Citizens Defense League Board of directors considers the lawsuit to have been successful because it put the media's deceptive editing practices in the public spotlight. The lawsuit also showcased the media's overall bias against gun owners and the various tricks that the media uses to send subliminal messages – from editing what is said to change the meaning of the responses to putting gun owners in a dimly lit, shadowy room, while advocates for gun control are shown in a brightly lit room.

VCDL will not be appealing the case further and will now move on. Hopefully for others in the media, this affair will remind them why it is not smart to poke at a rattlesnake with a stick, lest they get bit.


Virginia Citizens Defense LeagueAbout Virginia Citizens Defense League, Inc. (VCDL):

Virginia Citizens Defense League, Inc. (VCDL). VCDL is an all-volunteer, non-partisan grassroots organization dedicated to defending the human rights of all Virginians. The Right to Keep and Bear Arms is a fundamental human right.

For more information, visit: www.vcdl.org.

  • 17 thoughts on “Katie Couric Defamation Lawsuit Update – The Ruling Is In

    1. These cases remind me of a doctor and hospital visits. Theses lawyers are just as bad charging as doctors and hospitals.As with health care nobody wants to talk about the real problem,prices.What does a lawyer do for all that money.

    2. The saddest part of all this effort and expense is that the general public will never hear about the incident or principles.

    3. I want to make a correction. In my first post, which doesn’t seem to have appeared yet, I stated that the Couric law suit had likely cost VCDL $500,000. That figure should have been “approximately $250,000 or 10,000 member’s dues”. That is still greater than the annual number of members that VCDL has.

      I regret that mistake.

    4. Nice spin Philip on a suit that was doomed from the beginning. Not that Couric didn’t do what you claimed but a number of factors were in play here that you and the Board of VCDL never really explained:
      1. One of the plaintiffs was a Board Member and thus prohibited by State Law from receiving any awards IF you prevailed in the case. Neither you, the Board nor this plaintiff has ever addressed that point.
      2. You and the Board NEVER consulted with nor explained to the Executive Members, to this day, how costly this suit was going to be, somewhere in the neighborhood of $500,000.
      3. That $500,000 is is 20,000 member’s dues which is more than the total number of VCDL members.

      Bringing Katie Couric’s deception into the public light and pounding her on it was the right thing to do. The smarter move would have been to never have agreed to the show in the first place, they never turn out well. Suing her was a fools errand.

    5. If you lost the case because the judges drawn were Clinton and Obama judges – just appeal to the full court (in bank), that is the next logical step.

      Otherwise, you lost AND you established a precedent…

      1. E.Bryan Hoover, true, those judges ruled against defamation, but they clearly stated the deceptive practice was wrong, just not defamation of character, which we know that it was and was clearly the intent. The problem is that lawsuits cost money and the VCDL isn’t the NRA, it doesn’t have the vast resources to continue to a long drawn-out, costly suit. Due to the cost of the suit, the VCDL had issued a very rare request to its members for additional funds.

        1. Even though VCDL is sitting on more than $2.7 million in the bank. If this suit hadn’t wasted so much money think what the bank total would have been!

          (Figures publicly available through 990 Forms)

    6. Although I don’t agree with the way sentiments regarding this have been expressed, I agree whole haeartedly with the intent. However I’m not so sure I agree with the idea that by getting a little press on the subject of press bias is enough. I truly think that there is so much press bias against anyone who even thinks owning a gun is okay that this should have been pressed forward. I do believe the VACDL left themselves wide open to having to pay legal fees etc. etc. by dropping the case and I also believe that the MSM can spin the dropping of the case as the VACDL coming to the realization that they weren’t going to win. Maybe there is so much juris bias that the case can’t be won, and maybe it would cost way too much to press the action. But in reality those of use who do stand on the front lines and who have done so in the past for real need to stand up and be counted. It’s not enough to cry bitch and complain on social media or on sites like this. We all need to start putting our money where our mouths are. This fight is not going to be won with sticks and stones, not going to be won with a fire fight, this fight will be won with cash money bottom line. Put up or shut up! Donate to NRA, donate to VACDL or any other group with legal fees. It takes money to make things happen.

    7. Won’t Couric & her fellow criminal safety advocates, as the winning party, now be able to collect from VCDL?

    8. This article looks exactly the same from the email I got from VACDL. With the exception of “On May 25, 2016, the Washington Free Beacon picked up on the alert and wrote a story about the deception in the film. The article included both the unedited audio and a clip showing the actual deceptive footage.”

      Why is this?

    9. ALWAYS record any interview with the idiots in the MSM so that you have YOUR video of what was asked and answered. Ted Nugent and his wife learned this years ago and Mrs. Nugent sets up her own camera to record any interviews with her husband so that there is no question about questions/answers.

    10. No surprise about Katie ‘CUNTFACED’ Couric!
      That CUNT between her lips and chin STANK worse than the other one, if she really has another one between her legs!
      The media is all out to destroy ALL RIGHTS OF GUN OWNERS, no matter what it takes!
      Truth is something the FAKE NEWS forgot starting in the mid 1960’s!
      They’ll continue to try and destroy us like Karl Marx did in Russia!
      No GUNS =’s NO FREEDOOMS!

      1. WHY are you so obsessed with Katie Couric’s lady parts?

        Grow up and clean up. Not appropriate. And you want to whinge about HER misuse of language? Yes, she was wrong, but so are you. Same reason. Misuse of words.

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