Photo: (AP Photo/Sanford Police Department)
During the Today Show, NBC aired a segment about the 911 calls surrounding the Trayvon Martin case.But the segment edited the call to make Zimmerman sound like he was engaged in racial profiling.
Now NBC is launching an investigation according to Erik Wemple of the Washington Post.
In the edited audio that went on the air, George Zimmerman sounds like he thinks Martin is up to no good because Martin is black.
Zimmerman: This guy looks like he’s up to no good. He looks black.
One thought seems to flow into the next. Martin looks like he is up to no good, presumably, because he is black.
But the actual transcript of the 911 call is this:
Zimmerman: 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.
Dispatcher: OK, and this guy — is he black, white or Hispanic?
Zimmerman: He looks black.
So in the actual version, Zimmerman says he “looks black” when he is asked to describe Martin’s race, not when he is trying to justify why he thinks Martin is “up to no good.”
Now of course, Zimmerman may have all sorts of heinous attitudes about race. But NBC seemed to be stacking the deck with its viewers.
Much of the public discussion over the past week has settled on how conflicting facts and interpretations call into question whether Zimmerman acted justifiably or criminally. That’s a process that’ll continue. But one set of facts is ironclad, and that’s the back-and-forth between Zimmerman and the dispatcher. To portray that exchange in a way that wrongs Zimmerman is high editorial malpractice well worthy of the investigation that NBC is now mounting.
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