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Katie Couric, dogged by deceptive editing allegations, parts ways with Yahoo News

Katie Couric parted ways with Yahoo News after a $4.5 billion merger with Verizon. Couric was dogged by allegations of deceptive editing, following two independent documentaries. (Image source: Mike Windle/Getty Images For EPIX)

Katie Couric is out as global news anchor at Yahoo News after four years.

The New York Post's "Page Six" reported that Couric resigned her post Friday, following Yahoo's $4.5 billion merger with Verizon. The merger resulted in more than 2,100 Yahoo and Verizon employees being laid off, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Under the merger, internet and digital acquisitions, such as Yahoo, were placed under a newly created division called Oath.

"Over the last four years, Katie has created a vast portfolio of work that has been equal parts inspiring, thought-provoking and fun to watch," a representative for Oath told the technology site Recode.

"We're proud of everything she has accomplished and look forward to exploring ways to work together in the future," the representative added.

The Post reported that Oath offered Couric a multimillion dollar deal, which she turned down. Since joining Yahoo in 2013, Couric made $10 million per year. That contract, however, ended earlier this year, but “the two sides agreed on a few months extension.”

Couric formally resigned Friday.

“I’m very proud of my time at Yahoo, anchoring live events, political coverage and breaking news with a team of very talented journalists. ... I learned some valuable lessons during my tenure, which I will take with me," Couric told the Post.

But Couric's tenure at Yahoo was not without controversy. In 2016, the former NBC "Today" anchor came under fire for what critics said was a deceptively edited gun control documentary, which aired on Epix. In the documentary, Couric asked the pro-Second Amendment group Virginia Citizens Defense League "if there are no background checks for gun purchasers, how do you prevent felons or terrorists from purchasing a gun?"

The documentary showed several seconds of silence from members of the pro-gun group, suggesting they were unable to answer the question.

Raw audio from the interview, however, captured at least two people answering the question.

One group member responded by saying that “if you’re a felon and you’ve done your time, you should have your rights."

Another man said made the point that "you do have statutes both at the federal and state level that prohibit classes of people from being in possession of firearms."

"What we’re really asking about is a question of prior restraint, how can we prevent future crime by identifying bad guys before they do anything bad. And the simple answer is, you can’t," the man said.

The VCDL brought a $12 million defamation suit against Couric following the documentary, which a federal district later dismissed. The VCDL, however, appealed the judge's decision in June, the Washington Free Beacon reported.

Couric was also mired by a second deceptive editing allegation during her four years at Yahoo.

The second instance reportedly occurred during an interview with Dr. David Allison, director of the Nutrition Obesity Research Center, for a documentary titled "Fed Up." Couric asked Allison about the science behind his position that sugary drinks — which some activists have sought to ban at the local level — are no more harmful to victims of obesity than any other food or beverage that is high in sugar content.

Allison said that Couric told him before the interview "if at any point you need to go over an answer, you stumble on your words, just let me know, we'll stop, and you can go back over it."

So that's exactly what Allison did when Couric asked him the question — but it wasn't how Couric portrayed the pause in the actual film.

After Allison said in the documentary that he needed to gather his thoughts, Couric responded by saying "OK." Seven seconds of silence followed the exchange, and Allison was not seen again for the remainder of the documentary. According to the Free Beacon, Allison did provide an answer.

"Of course, I gave an answer. I gave an answer to every question she asked me in a 90-minute interview that was a barrage of questions. And out of a 90-minute interview, she chose to show the approximately 10 seconds when I paused and said, ‘Let me collect my thoughts,'" Allison said.

Yahoo, for its part, distanced itself from both of Couric's documentary interviews, which drew widespread scrutiny.

"Yahoo was not involved in the creation and production of the independent documentaries, 'Under the Gun' and 'Fed Up,"' a Yahoo representative told the Washington Free Beacon in June 2016.

"We're confident in the work of the Yahoo News team, which adheres to the highest standards of journalism," the representative added at the time.

(H/T: Washington Free Beacon)

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