ABC News is facing a widespread backlash with people accusing the network of misleadingly editing the response President Joe Biden gave to a question about whether or not the Taliban have changed when it quoted his response in a tweet.
In an interview with the channel’s George Stephanopoulos, Mr Biden was asked about the Taliban’s future strategy for governing Afghanistan.
Stephanopoulos asked: “What happens now in Afghanistan? Do you believe the Taliban have changed?”
“No.” responded the President. “I think– let me put it this way. I think they’re going through sort of an existential crisis about do they want to be recognized by the international community as being a legitimate government. I’m not sure they do.”
However, in a post on Twitter, the news channel published an edited “exclusive” version of the exchange, and removed both “No” and “I’m not sure they do” from Biden’s answer, which some observers said removed crucial context as to the meaning of the response.
The edited clip sparked debate on Twitter and some commentators accused ABC News, and the wider media, of being disingenuous.
@AlbertDSergeC1 said the edit “changes the precise meaning and context of the rest of his answer,” while @TylerFe5082 wrote: “The problem with the current media in one tweet. There’s no appetite for honesty and substance. It’s all click based.”
Here are some other responses:
A politician answered a yes or no question with a "no" followed by a frank explanation, and the news org removed the "no" https://t.co/r32NPYX4ps
— Will Jordan (@williamjordann) August 19, 2021
— George Conway (@gtconway3d) August 19, 2021
Biden will have to stipulate that if you edit an interview in a way that misrepresents what he said, that will be the the last interview with that reporter and/or network.
— Itt speaks (@JennRooney1) August 19, 2021
— Linda M (@popstarsmam_mc) August 20, 2021
There's a clear pattern and it's deliberate. The media outlets have already decided on a narrative to push about Afghanistan, and are doing selective editing to make things fit that narrative. It's all about stories they intend to push.
— Tada no Tamago 🥚💉💉 (@tada_no_tamago) August 19, 2021
This is painful. I, too, am losing faith in the MSM. Why don't they see how important it is to bring back proper journalism, real reporting, unbiased analysis. All the things I thought we learned in j-school in the '70s. WTH happened to these people? It's the big bucks, right?
— Soon Be to Nothing (@cajay82) August 20, 2021
Bullshit. His answer, paraphrased:
They will be pressured to change.
But I don’t think they will.
ABC cut out the beginning *and* the end, creating fake ambiguity that doesn’t exist in context.
— Way way out in the desert🐌 (@TheOtherSimo) August 19, 2021
This is also on us. His answer was thoughtful, with substance, and in which he concluded even with the issues at play he did not think they would change. We can’t blame a clickbait media when we are a society that doesn’t have the attention span to read or watch past the headline
— Judy Abraham (@JudyAbraham925) August 19, 2021
The extent to which the media is in the tank for perpetuating a forever war is disgusting.
— BlindWillieJohnson88 (@BlindWillie88) August 19, 2021
@ABC lost all credibility today when they put off talking about all domestic news to start their show with Afghanistan this evening. At the start of the broadcast they even said as much. Apparently reporting the news is secondary to stirring the pot for ABC these days.
— willow810 (@TammyWi60303900) August 19, 2021
I think that was a great answer by Biden. He’s a good president; a very normal guy without strange accomplices and you see that in those answers he’s being frank
— sergio (@sergio59380974) August 20, 2021
I'm a journalist, investigative reporter and news anchor – from Europe. I would not work for most networks here in the U.S. – especially not for a person like George St. and abc.
— Conny #EndTheFilibuster NOW (@ConnyWolfram) August 20, 2021
The problem with the current media in one tweet. There’s no appetite for honesty and substance. It’s all click based.
— Tyler Daniels (@TylerFe5082) August 19, 2021