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No stranger to selectively edited video clips, MSNBC on Monday aired a misleading and incomplete clip of testimony given by the father of a Sandy Hook victim at a hearing before the Connecticut Legislature. The edited version of his remarks, aired on Martin Bashir’s show, make it appear as if pro-gun advocates maliciously interrupted (or “heckled” as many have said) the dad for no reason as he calmly argued against civilians owning semi-automatic rifles and high-capacity magazines. In fact, the edit was so subtle not even we picked up on it in our original story.
“It’s not a good feeling to look at your child laying in a casket. Or looking at your child with a bullet wound to the forehead. It’s a real sad day,” Neil Heslin, father of Sandy Hook victim Jesse Lewis, said during Monday’s hearing.
“I ask if there is anyone who is in this room that can give me one reason or challenge this question: Why anybody in this room needs to have done of these assault-style weapons or military weapons or high capacity clips?” he asked rhetorically. He paused and then said, “Not one person can answer the question.”
It was at this point that a few members of the audience voiced their support for the Second Amendment. “The Second Amendment shall not be infringed,” one man yelled, appearing to try and answer Heslin’s question.
As the presiding official pointed out, comments were not permitted during the testimony, however. And Bashir was quick to hop on that point.
Here is how he presented it in his selectively edited clip on Monday:
But on Tuesday afternoon, more complete footage of Heslin’s remarks began circulating. In those remarks, it appears the “hecklers” were responding to his rhetorical question.
Watch the unedited footage below, courtesy of the ever-vigilant team over at Twitchy (the clip will start at the relevant point):
As you can see, MSNBC decided to completely remove the portion of the video where Heslin asks his rhetorical question. Does that mean no one would have spoke up had Heslin not posed the question? That’s impossible to say. But what is clear is that by removing the full remarks, MSNBC cheated its audience of making up its mind about what the video shows. And although a relatively small edit, the absence of the question changes the context drastically.
MSNBC has been caught selectively editing video in the past, too. In June, host Andrea Mitchell aired a doctored clip of Mitt Romney talking about WaWa convenience stores to make him look “out of touch.” In reality, he was explaining the difference between innovation in the private and public sectors.
Then of course in March, NBC was busted selectively editing the George Zimmerman police tapes to make it appear as if he voluntarily proclaimed Trayvon Martin “looks black” when he was actually asked by a police dispatcher.
Finally, MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough in September aired edited video of a Romney rally in which he argued supporters were chanting “Ryan! Ryan!” as Romney spoke, insinuating that he was being overshadowed by his running mate Paul Ryan. Romney then attempted to get the crowd to chant “Romney-Ryan! Romney-Ryan!” — Scarborough mocked Romney incessantly for his “failed” chant.
However, upon closer review of the tape, it became evident that the crowd was actually chanting “Romney! Romney!” and the former GOP presidential candidate was attempting to get the crowd to include Ryan. A Blaze reader who was present at the event also confirmed that to be the case.
UPDATE 9:10 p.m. ET: CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Slate and even (kind of) Piers Morgan have conceded that Heslin was not really “heckled” during the hearing. Our friends at Twitchy have the details.
MSNBC, on the other hand, had yet to issue a correction as of Tuesday night. The network did later post the full video of Heslin’s testimony but did not clarify as to why it allowed such a deceptively edited clip to air on Bashir’s show.
UPDATE II: MSNBC is now reportedly “reviewing” the “heckling” tape aired on the network Monday, The Washington Post reports.
“We’re reviewing the video in question,” an MSNBC source said.