Custom Search

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

NBC's Media Bias- Distorting An Interview With The President By Editing His Answers

Richard Engel from NBC interviewed President George Bush this past weekend while on a trip to Israel and Egypt.

The controversy which is rapidly spreading online seems to be how NBC edited the footage of that interview, which has many, including the White House Counselor to the President, saying that NBC deliberately tried to distort the Presidents answers by not showing the full exchanges between the interviewer and the person interviewed, who was Bush.

Below are both versions of the interview... first the unedited version and directly under that is the edited version.


Edited by NBC to show on NBC Nightly News and The Today Show:

They are both provided for readers to decide whether the editing was a deliberate attempt to distort by NBC.

Ed Gillespie, Counselor to the President, went as far as to write a letter to NBC News President Steve Capus, in which he requested that "NBC Nightly News and The Today Show air for their viewers President Bush's actual answer to correspondent Richard Engel's question about Iran policy and "appeasement," rather than the deceptively edited version of the President's answer that was aired last night on the Nightly News and this morning on The Today Show."

NBC's selective editing of the President's response is clearly intended to give viewers the impression that he agreed with Engel's characterization of his remarks when he explicitly challenged it. Furthermore, omitted the references to al Qaeda, Hezbollah and Hamas and ignored the clarifying point in the President's follow-up response that U.S. policy is to require Iran to suspend its nuclear enrichment program before coming to the table, not that "negotiating with Iran is pointless" and amounts to "appeasement."

This deceitful editing to further a media-manufactured storyline is utterly misleading and irresponsible and I hereby request in the interest of fairness and accuracy that the network air the President's responses to both initial questions in full on the two programs that used the excerpts.

One of the portions in question, for those that did not want to watch and compare the two interviews was when Engels asked, "Good morning, Meredith. I started by asking the President about his controversial comments he made in Israel, which Democratic candidates interpreted as a political attack. You said that negotiating with Iran is pointless and then you went further. You’re saying, you said that it was appeasement. Were you referring to Senator Barack Obama? He certainly thought you were."

In the edited version shown on NBC Nightly News and The Today Show, showed the President's answer as, "You know, my policies haven’t changed, but evidently, the political calendar has."

That is where they ended the answer. What they edited out and did not show their viewers was the rest of the answer which was, " People need to read the speech. You didn’t get it exactly right, either. What I said was is that we need to take the words of people seriously. And when, you know, a leader of Iran says that they want to destroy Israel, you’ve got to take those words seriously. And if you don’t take them seriously, then it harkens back to a day when we didn’t take other words seriously. It was fitting that I talked about not taking the words of Adolph Hitler seriously on the floor of the Knesset. But I also talked about the need to defend Israel, the need to not negotiate with the likes of al Qaeda, Hezbollah and Hamas. And the need to make sure Iran doesn’t get a nuclear weapon.

But I also talked about a vision of what’s possible in the Middle East. "

You can read the full letter to the President of NBC from Gillespiehere.

NBC maintains that although they showed the edited version of the interview on NBC Nightly News and The Today Show, they did post the whole interview unedited on their website and their editing decisions are not subject to interference because o f "free press in a free society".

Their official response is:

Richard Engel's interview with President Bush has been available, unedited, in its entirety, for the past day, on our website. Our reporting accurately reflects the interview. Just as the White House does not participate in the editorial process at the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal or USA Today, NBC News, as part of a free press in a free society, makes its own editorial decisions.

The LA Times mentions another portion of Gillespie's objections to the editing when they point out where he said, "It's simply absurd for people to have to log onto the Internet and stream video to get accurate information from NBC News."

Other media outlets are jumping on this controversy and it leaves the same unanswered questions of whether NBC deliberately distorted the President's answers, via how they edited the interview to show on their programs, or whether it was simply edited in a time saving manner?

Last but not least is the question of, is it fair to their viewers to expect them to get the full story from the website while only a portion of the interview was shown to their viewers on national television?