Selective Editing of Christie Confronting Critic Misleads Viewers

Matthew Sheffield
By Matthew Sheffield | March 11, 2012 | 1:06 PM EDT

The latest video of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie confronting a detractor head-on is going viral on the political web, and popping up on various news sites. It shows him calling a constituent an "idiot" during a town hall meeting.

Oddly, though, the video isn't showing the whole encounter - just the part where Gov. Christie calls the constituent an idiot. And it isn't just mainstream media websites that have the edited video, or liberal-leaning blogs. Even has only a brief, edited, video clip. Most news websites carry this clip, or an even shorter version.

The edited video makes it easier for news accounts to portray Gov. Christie as a hot head who treated a constituent disrespectfully. Identifying the constituent as a former Navy Seal is part of that effort to downplay the questioner's role in exchange, in order to depict Gov. Christie as out-of-control.

The selectively edited video omits virtually all of the constituent's part of the exchange, and just leaves in Gov. Christie's part, a disservice to Christie and to the readers and viewers who see those reports.

It also edits out the applause Gov. Christie received for confronting the rude questioner.

While the full, unedited video, is difficult to find online, this story from at least tells the whole story of what happened - and notes that the constituent, William Brown, a former Navy SEAL and currently a law student, interrupted Gov. Christie several times:

The exchange continued with Christie’s amplified voice booming from the speakers and Brown yelling up at him from his seat in the back row of the fire hall. "Do you want to hear the answer or no? Do you want to hear me answer or don’t you? Because I’m not going to — I’ve heard you," Christie said, still with Brown interrupting. "OK, next question." An audience clinging to every word dissolved into applause, following by a quintessential Christie sendoff: "Let me tell you something after you graduate from law school you conduct yourself like that in a courtroom, your rear end is going to be thrown in jail, idiot."

The most comprehensive news reports make it clear Brown repeatedly and rudely interrupted Christie. Unfortunately, most news reports aren't that comprehensive - another example of how the mainstream media fails to provide its readers and viewers with the kind of information they need and deserve.