NBC has apologized after being criticized for an editing of the tape of George Zimmerman’s 911 call — an editing that made his comments sound more incriminating and racist. The editing was substantial and the network has said that it is investigating the matter, which constitutes a serious journalist ethical question.
The “Today” Show segment played this version of the call:
Zimmerman: This guy looks like he’s up to no good. He looks black.
However, here is the actual conversation:
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.
That is a considerable difference in how race was referenced in the call. One makes it sound like Zimmerman raised race when it was the dispatcher who raised race as an identification element in the call.
This does not mean that race was not a motivation or critical element in the shooting. However, as we have previously discussed, there is a growing concern over the objective reporting of the case. The NBC editing has served to reaffirm that concern for some. However, we do not know how or why the tape was edited. NBC should commit to the fullest possible disclosure on the progress of its investigation. With tensions so high, it is important for the media to present an objective and accurate account of such underlying evidence in the case.
Source: Washington Post