Racism Accusations laid open
March 31, 2012
NBC Fires Producer of Misleading Today Segment About Trayvon Martin
This didn’t help anyone.
NBC fired the producer of the deceptively edited call from George Zimmerman to 911 on Thursday. NBC News would not name the long-time Miami-based producer, citing “internal company matters” to the New York Times. The firing followed NBC’s review of the Today Show segment about the Feb. 26, 2012 shooting of Trayvon Martin. The report aired March 27 and featured audio from George Zimmerman’s 911 call edited in a manner that seemed to point to a distinctly racist motivation for the shooting. However, as Brian Stelter reported late Friday for the Times:
…Mr. Zimmerman’s comments had been taken grossly out of context by NBC. On the phone with a 911 dispatcher, he actually said of Mr. Martin, “This guy looks like he’s up to no good. Or he’s on drugs or something. It’s raining and he’s just walking around, looking about.” Then the dispatcher asked, “O.K., and this guy — is he white, black or Hispanic?” Only then did Mr. Zimmerman say, “He looks black.”
Conservative media watchdog NewsBusters.org first noticed the sketchy edits and by the end of March NBC had launched an investigation into the report.
In spite of the rampant suspicion among conservative bloggers and pundits that the tapes were intentionally pieced together to paint George Zimmerman as a racist, sources insisted to the Times that the “misleading edit” was “a mistake, not a purposeful act.”
NBC issued a statement April 4 stating that they will take steps to stop any future repeats of such a mistake.
MSNBC Fixes False Report Which Made Zimmerman Look Racist, Doesn’t Acknowledge Error
Following in line with their broadcast television colleagues who deliberately edited the audio of a 9-1-1 call of George Zimmerman, the Florida community watch volunteer who shot teenager Trayvon Martin, to falsely impute racist motives to him, MSNBC.com, in an unbylined piece did the exact same thing in text form, stripping out vital information which made Zimmerman appear to be racially motivated against Martin, who is black.
After being criticized, MSNBC.com restored the proper context but never posted a retraction, correction notice, or an apology for doing so. Originally, the story quoted from Zimmerman’s call to 9-1-1 and edited the text to say the following: “‘This guy looks like he’s up to no good … he looks black,’ Zimmerman told a police dispatcher from his car.”
But here is what MSNBC/NBC News left out thanks to “a convenient ellipses” (as first noted by Breitbart.com blogger Dan Riehl):
ZIMMERMAN: This guy looks like he’s up to no good, [begin ellipsis] or he’s on drugs or something. It’s raining, and he’s just walking around, looking about.
911 DISPATCHER: Okay, is this guy, is he white, black, or Hispanic? [end ellipsis]
ZIMMERMAN: He looks black.
With this in mind, Riehl stated:
Not only did Zimmerman not equate Martin’s skin color with his looking suspicious; he didn’t even initiate the comment. It was simply a response to the police dispatcher.
Instead, the community watch leader was speculating based upon what he could determine at night in the rain to answer the police dispatcher.
Since then, the news channel has changed that paragraph of the story on its website so it reads as follows:
This guy looks like he’s up to no good,” Zimmerman said in a 911 call. Asked by a dispatcher if he was white, Hispanic or black, he replied, “He looks black.” (Italics supplied)
However, no one from MSNBC or NBC News has issued an apology regarding the error.