April 7, 2012

AP, UPI Finally Note NBC’s Firing of Producer Over Zimmerman 911 Call Editing

Filed under: MSM Biz/Other Bias,MSM Biz/Other Ignorance,Scams — Tom @ 2:26 pm

Breitbart.com has noted that it took about 17 hours before the dam broke, but now the Associated Press and United Press International both have stories on NBC’s decision to fire a Miami-based producer over the editing of George Zimmerman’s 911 call.

The AP story, which has a time stamp of 12:03 p.m. at the Wall Street Journal, plays it pretty straight (posted in full because of it relative brevity; the item’s author, as shown here, is Television Writer Frazier Moore):

NBC News has fired a producer for editing a recording of George Zimmerman’s call to police the night he shot Trayvon Martin, a person with direct knowledge of the matter said Saturday.

The person was not authorized to talk about the situation publicly and spoke on the condition of anonymity. The identity of the producer was not disclosed.

An NBC spokeswoman declined to comment.

The producer’s dismissal followed an internal investigation that led to NBC apologizing for having aired the misleading audio.

NBC’s “Today” show first aired the edited version of Zimmerman’s call on March 27. The recording viewers heard was trimmed to suggest that Zimmerman volunteered to police, with no prompting, that Martin was black: “This guy looks like he’s up to no good. He looks black.”

But the portion of the tape that was deleted had the 911 dispatcher asking Zimmerman if the person who had raised his suspicion was “black, white or Hispanic,” to which Zimmerman responded, “He looks black.”

Later that night of Feb. 26, the 17-year-old Martin was fatally shot by Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer in Sanford, Fla. Though Martin was unarmed, Zimmerman told police he fired in self-defense after Martin attacked him.

Questions subsequently have arisen over whether Zimmerman was racially profiling the teen, a theory the edited version of the tape seemed to support.

On Tuesday, NBC said its investigation turned up “an error made in the production process that we deeply regret.” It promised that “necessary steps” would be taken “to prevent this from happening in the future” and apologized to viewers.

UPI’s coverage as carried at Breitbart’s Big Journalism (but mislabeled as an AP report in its breaking news post) is a bit less than perfect (also posted in full; bold is mine):

NBC has fired the Miami-based producer deemed most responsible for editing the 911 call George Zimmerman made the night he killed Trayvon Martin.

A source, whose name was not reported, also refused to tell The Hollywood Reporter the former employee’s name.

NBC’s “Today Show” aired the 911 call March 27, but critics said the network’s choice to edit out elements of the script make it appear as though Zimmerman’s motivation for shooting Martin was based on his skin color, the Reporter said Friday.

In the original call, Zimmerman says, “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.”

The dispatcher asks, “OK, and this guy — is he white, black or Hispanic?”

Zimmerman tells the dispatcher, “He looks black.”

The NBC version omitted the dispatcher’s question and Zimmerman is heard saying, “This guy looks like he’s up to no good. He looks black.”

NBC said March 31 it had launched an investigation into the matter.

“We will be taking the necessary steps to prevent this from happening in the future and apologize to our viewers,” NBC said Tuesday.

“Critics said”? It’s not just “critics”; it’s anyone with an ounce of sense, which I guess makes everyone, at least with an ounce of sense, a critic. The tone of this all too frequently used journalistic tactic is “Gosh, if it weren’t for those darned critics, there wouldn’t have been a problem.”

MRC/NB management tells me that “we were the first to find the edited audio and the tv report.” MRC/NB’s doggedness in pursuing this odious case of media malpractice is commendable and a thoroughly justified point of pride for all involved.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

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