In this age of soundbites, it is becoming easier and easier to take things out of context. And with the popularity of YouTube, it’s becoming even easier to selectively edit video clips to suit your specific message. Though the practice is far from an issue of partisan politics (both sides use selective editing), this time, a Republican candidate for President became the target of selective editing.
MSNBC’s Ed Schultz used a clip this week of Texas Governor Rick Perry giving a speech to supporters about the economic situation. In that clip, Perry refers to a “black cloud” hanging over America. On his show, The Ed Show, Schultz chose to stop the clip after that Perry utterance. He then went on to accuse the Governor of racism, saying that the “black cloud” he was referring to was President Obama.
A couple seconds later in the clip, Perry says that the “black cloud” he is referring to is the national debt.
Schultz later apologized for the error, saying “we did not present the full context of those statement, and we should have.”
But the selective editing incident caught the attention of Jon Stewart, who on last night’s Daily Show tore into Schultz about his misuse of the video clip. The relevant part begins at about the 2:15 mark.
Stewart then brings in correspondents John Oliver and Wyatt Cenac to discuss racially charged language in the American political landscape.
This instance of selective editing reminded me of a video that went viral concerning a local news station taking a young boy’s comments out of context. CBS affiliate WBBM in Chicago showed a clip of a young African-American boy saying that he wants to have a gun when he grows up in order to frame a story about gun violence. They news station failed to play the follow comment from the child, that specified the reason for owning a gun in the future: because he wanted to be a police officer.