Liberal news outlets were quick to run an edited video of Senator John McCain (R., Ariz.) at a recent town hall meeting, alleging it shows the senator's insensitivity towards a grieving mother who lost her son in the 2012 Aurora shooting.
The edited video first appeared on Phoenix’s KTVK during a news package of the town hall meetings McCain has held during his most recent trip through Arizona.
The video shows Caren Teves, whose son was killed when spree killer James Holmes attacked a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises, asking the senator about assault weapons. "These weapons don’t belong on our streets," she says.
The video then cuts to McCain responding by saying, "I can tell you right now you need some straight talk. That assault weapons’ ban will not pass the congress of the United States."
However, a simple YouTube search finds the full video, uploaded by user "PoliticoMafioso," of Senator McCain’s town hall meeting, including his entire response to Caren Teves’s question:
Well, first of all can I say thank you and God bless … our hearts and our prayers go out to you and your family. I just had a town hall meeting yesterday in Tucson and the people who were affected by the terrible, tragic shooting there. I met with Mark Kelly and Gabby Giffords in my office last week on this issue – as you know they are becoming, understandably. Great advocates on this issue, and I will continue that conversation. I can tell you right now, you need some straight talk, that assault weapons ban will not pass the Congress of the United States. It won't. Now I owe it to you to give you my opinion. All I can tell you is what I told this young lady and this lady here: I will continue to work with the bipartisan group on both sides of the aisle representing all of America, not just California, and we will try to come up with ways to prevent this from happening again. That means increased background checks, closing loopholes, other things like that – that's fine. But you know again, you didn't like some of my response, I didn't like the response to Chicago. Those murders in Chicago – there's no assault weapon-using. There's no large clip that's being used. It's a handgun where people go out an kill people. So to somehow think that an assault weapons ban will have the slightest effect on the murders in Chicago and other metropolitan areas obviously is not an accurate depiction of the facts on the ground. But I appreciate your opinion – I promise you that you have my commitment to work with every member of Congress no matter where they are in the political arena to try and prevent this from happening again.
McCain does, in fact, use the term "straight talk," but only after first expressing his condolences and sympathy for Teves and his desire to find a solution to prevent future shootings.
However, despite the video’s availability, the media has discussed only KTVK’s edited version.
MSNBC's Rachel Maddow ran with KTVK’s segment during her show Thursday night, sarcastically saying that McCain’s use of the phrase "straight talk" led to "boisterous" applause from the senator’s constituents.
Maddow admits, "Obviously there was an edit between the end of the woman’s question and the part where John McCain sneers the straight talk line at her. So maybe that edit was cut in a way that’s not fair to John McCain. Maybe he wasn’t in real time so insensitive and abrasive, to a woman who probably deserves some sensitivity when she is talked to about these matters."
Maddow is right. The edit was "cut in a way that’s not fair to John McCain." In "real time" McCain was not "so insensitive and abrasive to a woman who deserves" as much.
Unfortunately, Maddow did not feel it was necessary to play the full video for her viewers.
Talking Points Memo is also pushing the story with two separate posts featuring the edited video.
The first, posted Thursday, only discusses the cheering audience following McCain’s supposed insensitive response.
The second is a follow up interview with Teves, who admits that the cheering at the town hall was two-sided and that the video is edited.
"What they did not show you in that clip was after I did say that the military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines don’t belong on our streets, there was also some huge support and applause," Teves told TPM.
As the full video shows, the cheers after both Teves and McCain’s comments suggest a representative body who feel passionately on both sides of the gun control debate.
TPM has not provided an update for the videos it has posted on its website.
McCain communications director Brian Rogers provided this statement to the Washington Free Beacon on Friday:
This is an obvious case of selective editing to distort what Senator McCain actually said at Wednesday's town hall meeting. As Senator McCain clearly said, his heart goes out to Mrs. Teves and her family and he is committed to working with members of both parties to try and prevent another senseless tragedy. And as he also said, Arizonans who come to his town hall meetings deserve to hear Senator McCain's honest opinion about this or any other issue, and the truth is that an assault weapons ban won't pass this Congress because of opposition from both political parties.