October 23, 2021

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ABC accused of misleading edit in Biden interview on Afghanistan

ABC News have been accused of misleadingly editing the response President Joe Biden gave to a question about whether or not the Taliban have changed.

In an interview with the channel’s George Stephanopoulos, Mr Biden was asked about the Taliban’s future strategy for governing Afghanistan.

Mr 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 version of the exchange, labelling it as an “exclusive.”

The edited version removed both “No” and “I’m not sure they do” from Mr Biden’s answer, which some observers said removed crucial context as to the meaning of the response.

Let’s try this again. “No. I think they’re going …..” Kinda important context, that “no,” no?

— Austidog (@Austidog) August 19, 2021

ABC News’s tweet sparked debate on Twitter over whether or not the edit of Mr Biden’s remarks had misled the public. Some Twitter 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.”

Others were less convinced the edit made a significant change to the meaning of Mr Biden’s comments.
@PoorPig debated: “I’m not sure that the “no” makes much of a difference here.”

@ActivistMMT responded: “That may be true, but it’s up to the viewer to decide. By permanently editing out the DIRECT ANSWER TO THE QUESTION, the network has made that decision for EVERYONE.”

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