CBS and McCain

By Alicia Long

On Tuesday, July 22, McCain was interviewed by Katie Couric on the CBS Evening News:

Couric Senator McCain, Sen. Obama says, while the increased number of U.S. troops contributed to increased security in Iraq, he also credits the Sunni awakening and the Shiite government going after militias. And says that there might have been improved security even without the surge. What’s your response to that?

McCain: I don’t know how you respond to something that is such a false depiction of what actually happened. Colonel McFarlane (phonetic) was contacted by one of the major Sunni sheiks. Because of the surge we were able to go out and protect that sheik and others. And it began the Anbar awakening. I mean, that’s just a matter of history.

You can watch the entire interview on CBS’s website HERE (this particular question is at about 3:15).

There is one major problem with McCain’s statement. The Anbar awakening took place months before there were even rumors about a troop surge in Iraq. The problem here is that McCain is staking his campaign on his ability to understand foreign affairs and win the war in Iraq. But McCain’s gaffe aside, there is perhaps a bigger issue here.

On Tuesday, on the CBS Evening News, CBS didn’t air the interview the way it really happened. McCain’s original answer to Couric’s question got cut out, and replaced with an answer that he gave to ANOTHER question. CBS answered by saying:

The report was edited under extreme time constraints and one piece of tape was put in the wrong order. Fortunately, this did not in any way distort what Senator McCain was saying.

This “cutting and pasting” of the interview absolutely did “distort” what Senator McCain was saying. In fact, it simply changed what he was saying. That is why this sort of out-of-order splicing of interviews is generally not allowed by news organizations.

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