On March 22, CNN touted a “major development” in the Trayvon Martin case when it released a report including enhanced audio techniques that alleged George Zimmerman used a racial slur before shooting and killing the unarmed Martin. Now, the network is not so sure.CNN’s Gary Tuchman explored the audio, working with the network’s audio design specialist to determine whether Zimmerman said the word “coons” before he shot Martin.
“It sounds like this allegation could be accurate,” Tuchman said. “I wouldn’t swear to it in court. But that’s what it sounds like to me.”
“It certainly sounds like that word to me,” he later added.
On Wednesday, the network took a different tone when it released “new enhanced 911 audio.” Zimmerman’s attorneys told CNN that the word in question was “punks,” not the racial slur. CNN checked this out with forensic audio expert Tom Owen, who agreed with Zimmerman’s lawyers.
Later on Wednesday, Tuchman checked it out again for himself, working this time with one of CNN’s “senior audio engineers.”
“Some are accusing George Zimmerman of using the racial slur ‘coons’ in his 911 call,” Tuchman says in his report. This is absurd, because CNN pretty much started the controversy in the first place.
In the end, Tuchman, the audio expert and special guest host Wolf Blitzer — who was filling in for Anderson Cooper — all agreed that the word in question was “cold,” not the racial slur.
“It does sound less like that racial slur,” Tuchman said after listening to the enhanced-enhanced audio. “Last time, I acknowledged the possibility that it could have been that racial slur.”
No. Last time you said it “certainly sounds like that word to me.”
“It sounds like … we’re hearing the swear word at first and then the word ‘cold,'” Tuchman said. “And the reason some say that would be relevant, is because it was unseasonably cold in Florida that night and raining.”
CNN’s gaffe hasn’t been as highly publicized as NBC, which admitted to selectively editing a video in a way that made Zimmerman sound like he was racial profiling. The edited conversation makes it sound like Zimmerman thinks Martin is “up to no good” because he is black. But in reality, he said Martin was black in response to a question from the 911 dispatcher.
Meanwhile, a new Gallup poll shows the astounding racial divide in the Trayvon Martin case.
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.