Published June 19, 2012
NBC is taking heat again for selective editing a day after presenting video of Mitt Romney seemingly awestruck by the process of ordering a sandwich at a convenience store.
During an afternoon broadcast of "Andrea Mitchell Reports," video of the GOP presidential candidate seemed to show a politician out of touch as he discussed ordering a hoagie at Wawa.
The video clip went viral after the blogsite SooperMexican.com pointed out in a post that it appeared doctored.
“It’s amazing," Romney said, as the Pennsylvania crowd appeared to laugh. Then viewers saw Romney say, "You have a touchtone keypad, and you touch that, touch this, go pay the cashier, there’s your sandwich.”
What viewers didn't see or hear was nearly three minutes of Romney discussing the nightmare of paperwork faced by an optometrist he'd talked to in trying to get the post office to change his address. He expressed mock amazement at Wawa's efficiency to underscore how the private sector often runs circles around the clumsy bureaucracy.
"We went to Wawas and it was instructive to me, because I saw the difference between the private sector and the governmental sector. People who work in government are good people and I respect what they do, but you see, the challenge with government is that it doesn’t have competition,” Romney said in a portion edited out of the segment.
But Mitchell invoked an old perceived campaign stumble by George Bush, who supposedly marveled at a supermarket scanner at a grocers' convention during his failed 1992 re-election bid. Even though Bush was actually impressed not by an ordinary scanner, but by a then state-of-the-art device that could weigh food and read damaged bar codes, the anecdote was reported by The New York Times and offered as evidence that Bush was out of touch with everyday Americans.
Representatives for the Romney campaign declined to comment, but officials from the Romney camp had reached out to the Peacock Network, which promised they would correct the issue.
At the opening of Tuesday’s show, Mitchell addressed criticism over the misleading edits.
“There’s been a lot of discussion about a conversation you and I had yesterday, Mitchell said to MSNBC contributor Chris Cillizza, “We ran clips of Mitt Romney in Cornwall, Pa., talking about his trip to a Wawa.”
“The RNC and the campaign both reached out to us saying that Romney had more to say about that visit, about federal bureaucracy and innovation in the private sector,” she added before playing the unedited clip from the rally.
Lauren Skowronski, a spokeswoman for NBC, which owns MSNBC, denied that any deceptive editing took place.
"MSNBC did not edit anything out of order or out of sequence and at no time did we intend to deceive our viewers," Skowronski said.
Last August, Ed Schultz of MSNBC played an edited clip in which then-presidential candidate Rick Perry described the national debt as a “big black cloud that hangs over America” to make it sound like a racial dig at President Obama. Schultz later apologized.
And in March, NBC was caught editing the audio of George Zimmerman's 911 call as he watched Trayvon Martin in the minutes before he fatally shot the Florida teen. On a tape edited and played on the “Today” show, Zimmerman was heard calling Martin “suspicious” and volunteering that he was “black.” But the full, unedited tape showed that Zimmerman only mentioned Martin’s race when asked by the dispatcher. The result made it sound like Zimmerman was racially profiling Martin. The network fired three people after getting widespread criticism.
Fox News’ Chris Liable contributed reporting for this story.