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Friday, January 21, 2022

ABC under fire for editing CDC director’s remarks

by David Bouder | The Associated Press

NEW YORK — ABC News is under criticism for editing a “Good Morning America” ​​interview with CDC Director Rochelle Valensky, which created uncertainty that is being exploited by vaccine critics.

In the interview, Valensky discussed a study that showed that most people who died from the coronavirus were sick from other causes as well. But the way the interview was edited, it was unclear whether she was talking about vaccinated people – and references spread widely online, implying she was talking about all COVID-19 victims. was talking

The interview was confiscated by figures such as Donald Trump Jr., Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham, implying that the Biden administration is lying to the public about the importance of vaccines.

The network remained silent on Thursday over the controversy. However, experts say ABC News has a responsibility to talk to viewers about what happened and why, to prevent further spread of misinformation.

In the interview Friday, Cecilia Vega asked Valensky about the “encouraging headlines” surrounding a study showing how well vaccines worked to prevent serious disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention directors began by summarizing some of the findings.

But ABC edited out the summary about 20 seconds after his answer. From this it appears that Valensky began by saying: “The overwhelming majority of deaths, over 75%, occurred in people who had at least four comorbidities, so in fact these were people who were initially unwell. “

In addition to making it unclear what she was saying, the edit made it easier for people to distribute the exchange to make it appear that Valensky was talking about all those COVID-19 patients who died. , not just the vaccinated.

ABC’s editing was a mistake, said Carol Marin, a veteran broadcast journalist and director of the Center for Journalism Integrity and Excellence at DePaul University.

In such a situation, the network should make a quick fix and clearly explain to the audience why this is being done, Marin said on Wednesday.

“It happens,” she said. “Sometimes we edit so fast that we’re not mindful enough of the context.”

“Without taking control of the situation, people are going to write the narrative for you,” said Kelly McBride, president of the Craig Newmark Center for Ethics and Leadership at the Poynter Institute, a journalism think tank.

“I guess you can’t spend every single minute in the defensive crouch, but people are asking more and more for transparency,” McBride said.

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Via a spokesperson, Valensky had no comment on the edit.

Carlson and Ingraham both broadcast Valensky’s quote on Fox News Channel, without making it clear that she was talking about vaccinated people, as government officials suggested were lying about the importance of the vaccine. .

Political commentator and Outkick founder Clay Travis wrote on Twitter: “CDC Director just said that over 75% of ‘Covid deaths’ occurred in people with at least four comorbidities. Because Biden can’t stop Covid, all of a sudden this data is being shared publicly.”

Twitter termed the message out of context and blocked it from being shared.

Donald Trump Jr. tweeted Valensky’s quote, “How many people had 2/3 of things that would possibly kill them or were in end-stage terminal cancer?” His tweet was shared over 1,600 times before it was deleted.

It’s possible that ABC News believes there was nothing wrong with its editing. When asked, the network would not comment on Thursday.

On Monday, ABC posted a version of Vega’s interview on the “GMA” website that reinstated the truncated part. The only indication that there was a difference was a note at the end of the nearly four-minute clip, stating that the video had been updated.

“A shortened version edited for the time being was broadcast on Friday, January 7th,” the note said.

The network has not said anything about the issue over the air.

Many television news producers hate the reforms, said Tom Bettag, a longtime ABC “Nightline” producer who now teaches journalism at the University of Maryland. While newspapers usually put a correction inside the newspaper when a newscaster has to discuss it, for television that is effectively on the front page.

Yotam Ofir, a University at Buffalo professor who studies misinformation in health and science, said that in this case, ABC News did not spread misinformation, but that they were allowed to capture a false image because of their own editing mistake or judgment. Was.

World Nation News Deskhttps://www.worldnationnews.com
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