WASHINGTON - July 23 - Media Matters for America
today criticized the CBS Evening News and anchor Katie Couric for airing an
interview with Sen. John McCain that excised a false statement the Arizona
Republican made regarding events in Iraq by splicing the video to
include an answer he gave to a different question in place of his original
"It goes without saying
that this violates the most basic tenets of journalism, and CBS should be
ashamed," said J. Jioni Palmer,
spokesman for Media Matters.
"This is an appalling breach of the public's trust, for which there is no
excuse. CBS has yet to substantively address its decision to mix and match
their questions with McCain's answers letting the Senator off the hook for his
false statements on an issue as important as Iraq."
"CBS and Couric have a responsibility to correct this serious error in judgment immediately -- they owe the American people an apology and an explanation. They need to explain why they covered up Sen. McCain's falsehood by leaving it on the cutting room floor. They should also broadcast that portion of the interview in its entirety, while noting for the American people that his answer is false," Palmer said.
In response to
CBS' statement released today about the controversy, Palmer said: "Now CBS
claims they edited the interview 'to give viewers a fair expression of the
candidates' major differences.' But there's nothing fair about deceptively
editing an interview to change McCain's answer to a question -- particularly
when doing so hides the fact that his original answer contained a glaring
falsehood. This incident should serve as the final nail in the coffin of the myth
that the media are out to get McCain -- if anything, this serious lapse of
journalistic integrity only underscores the decades-long love affair McCain has enjoyed with the press."
On the July 22
edition of the CBS Evening News,
while airing portions of an interview she conducted that day with Sen. John
McCain, anchor Katie Couric removed a part of his response in which he falsely
asserted that the 2007 U.S.
troop surge "began the Anbar awakening." In fact, the so-called Anbar
awakening reportedly began in September 2006, months before the surge was even
announced. Couric had asked McCain, "Senator [Barack] Obama says while the
increased number of U.S.
troops contributed to increased security in Iraq, he also credits the Sunni
awakening and the Shia government going after militias, and says that there
might have been improved security even without the surge. What's your response
to that?" But rather than airing McCain's direct reply, including the
false claim that the surge "began the Anbar awakening" -- an
agreement by some tribal leaders in western Iraq to accept U.S. aid and
cooperate with anti-Al Qaeda operations -- Couric aired comments by McCain
spliced together from three separate statements he gave during the interview,
one of which responded to a different question. Couric gave no indication that
these comments had been edited in any manner, nor did she otherwise note
** For Video &