The Washington Post

Obama campaign defends editing Cory Booker’s video

President Obama’s reelection campaign is defending a selectively edited video that stems from Newark Mayor Cory Booker’s appearance Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” In that high-profile forum, Booker took aim at the Obama campaign’s recent ad attacking Mitt Romney’s work at Bain Capital.

“If you look at the totality of Bain Capital’s record, they’ve done a lot to support businesses, to grow businesses,” Booker said on the program. “And this, to me, I’m very uncomfortable with.”

He attacked both sides of the presidential contest for negative campaigning, which he called “nauseating.”

Perhaps in an effort to expound on those comments, or perhaps in an effort to soften his criticism of the Obama campaign, Booker yesterday made a somewhat rambling, nearly four-minute video in which he explained his take on all this stuff. Watching the video in its entirety, you get the feeling that Booker was sticking with his position and just wanted more time in the spotlight:

Yet Obama for America Press Secretary Ben LaBolt tweeted out a tightly edited version of that video. Running for 35 seconds, it hammers away at Mitt Romney:

Politico’s Dylan Byers says that the 35-second shortening is a “reverse from the original argument.”

So did the Obama campaign promote a shorter clip to shroud the meaning of the fuller video? When queried on the matter, LaBolt responded via e-mail:

Mayor Booker released the full video which was widely distributed — we highlighted the portion of the video in which he addressed whether or not a discussion of Mitt Romney’s private sector record was appropriate. He made clear that it is — that it’s the central premise of Romney’s candidacy and that Romney had not accurately represented that record.

LaBolt is on solid factual terrain here: Booker did release the full video, and it’s not as if people cannot view it and compare it to the shorter version tweeted out by LaBolt. In fact, they have. And further, Booker did state that a discussion of Romney’s private-sector work is a fine topic.

Yet hold on a second: Didn’t President Obama last week inveigh against the media? Didn’t he say, “Every day, you receive a steady stream of sensationalism and scandal”? Given that standard, what would he say about an edited video that wasn’t representative of the unedited version?

Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.


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