Issues

Katie Couric to Guest Host ‘Today Show’ Despite Deceptive Editing Controversy

Couric embroiled in $12 million lawsuit over documentary edit

Katie Couric
Katie Couric / AP

NBC News will install Katie Couric as a guest co-host on the "Today Show" beginning in January despite controversy surrounding deceptive editing in her recent gun documentary, according to a report published on Wednesday.

Couric will fill in for host Savannah Guthrie while she is on maternity leave, the Los Angeles Times reported. It's the first time Couric will return to the show as a host since ending her 15 year stint as host in 2006. It is also the first time Couric will host the "Today Show" since being sued as part of a $12 million suit stemming from a deceptive edit of an interview with gun rights activists in her 2016 film Under the Gun.

The documentary appeared to show Couric stumping several members of the Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL) with a question about background checks and terrorism.

"If there are no background checks for gun purchasers, how do you prevent felons or terrorists from purchasing a gun?" Couric asked. The film then showed the group sitting in silence for nine seconds before cutting to a different scene.

As the Washington Free Beacon reported in May, raw audio of the exchange shows the gun rights activists responding immediately to Couric's question.

The VCDL filed suit against Couric and others involved in the production and distribution of Under the Gun in September. Couric and her co-defendants have asked for the suit to be thrown out.

In June, the Free Beacon reported on allegations that Couric's previous documentary, Fed Up, also had been edited deceptively. In the wake of that report, the Weinstein Company, which distributes Fed Up, attempted to have clips of the interviews removed from the internet. The videos were temporarily removed, but have since been reinstated.

NBC News and the "Today Show" did not return a request for comment on why they picked Couric to guest host or what their position is on the controversy about her reporting. The VCDL did not wish to comment on the situation.

The gun rights community, which has criticized Couric since news broke of the deceptive editing, expressed distaste for NBC's decision to bring her on as a guest host.

"If NBC had any credibility with America's 80 plus million gun owners they sure have lost it now," said Alan Gottlieb of the Second Amendment Foundation. "Having discredited Katie Couric who is being sued by gun rights activists for defamation host the ‘Today Show' only reinforces the bias against the Second Amendment the network has shown."