Merely an 'error'?

NBC's editing of controversial 9-1-1 tape reeks of unethical dishonesty

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What NBC’s Today show did was dishonest. Their explanation of it is disingenuous.

The network recently broadcast a portion of the 9-1-1 call in the Trayvon Martin shooting case that made shooter George Zimmerman look blatantly racist.

In the call, as aired by the Today show, Zimmerman told the dispatcher while observing the teen-age Martin, “This guy looks like he’s up to no good. He looks black.”

Well, that’s not exactly how it went down – and NBC knew it. The missing audio is clearly germane.

This is what Zimmerman actually said: “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 then asks Zimmerman for the person’s race. That is when he says “he looks black.”

It’s a significant, incendiary difference. In a racial climate that is combustible, someone at NBC chose to edit the 9-1-1 call to make things look worse than they were. And things were already pretty bad.

After being exposed, NBC issued a milquetoast apology: “During our investigation it became evident that there was an error made in the production process that we deeply regret. We will be taking the necessary steps to prevent this from happening in the future and apologize to our viewers.” The newtork wouldn’t say if anyone has been disciplined or fired.

There was an “error” made? Does that sound like a mere slip-up to you? That the already-short 9-1-1 conversation was edited to exclude the reason for Zimmerman’s suspicions and the reason why he mentioned Martin’s race?

The network’s explanation is dubious at best. It seems to us someone went out of his or her way to present Zimmerman – already a villain in many people’s minds – in the worst light possible. Even unethically changing the nature and meaning of the conversation in order to do it, which is dishonest.

What a sad, ominous chapter in the history of journalism.

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allhans
22970
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allhans 04/06/12 - 01:17 am
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1
The *newtork wouldn’t say if

The *newtork wouldn’t say if anyone has been disciplined or fired.

*oops!

Craig Spinks
817
Points
Craig Spinks 04/06/12 - 01:49 am
1
0
There is a chasm between

There is a chasm between journalism and sensationalism? Unfortunately, much of our purported journalists frequently have no problem negotiating it.

Riverman1
78433
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Riverman1 04/06/12 - 04:06 am
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Allhans, that's in honor of

Allhans, that's in honor of all our visitors from NewTork.

copperhead
1035
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copperhead 04/06/12 - 04:25 am
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Isn't this the very thing

Isn't this the very thing that the hussein worshippers are constantly accusing fox news of doing?

Techfan
6461
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Techfan 04/06/12 - 04:25 am
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8
If the AC wasn't just as

If the AC wasn't just as guilty of using partial quotes and taking quotes out of context, maybe we could take this editorial seriously.

copperhead
1035
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copperhead 04/06/12 - 04:30 am
4
3
But mommy,billy did it too!

But mommy,billy did it too!

Riverman1
78433
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Riverman1 04/06/12 - 06:24 am
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0
It's pretty obvious where the

It's pretty obvious where the mindset of NBC is with the president of the company being an official Obama advisor. I saw the Ed Show the other day and they do this weird thing. They run commercial like spots with Ed talking about how the wealth disparity in this country is wrong and things like that. I mean it's like a paid ad for some kind of political view. NBC pays for their own commercials?

The amusing thing about the commercial with Ed downing the country and capitalism, is it sounds like something right out of the Propaganda Ministry of the old Soviet Union or Red China. Remember how they used to cricitize capitalism? It's eerily similar.

agustinian
666
Points
agustinian 04/06/12 - 06:45 am
6
1
NBC -- No Bloody Conscience!

NBC -- No Bloody Conscience!

Truth Matters
6013
Points
Truth Matters 04/06/12 - 06:47 am
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3
It is true that FoxNews gets

It is true that FoxNews gets called out for editing info to suit their ideological view. It's not okay when Fox does it, nor is it okay for NBC to do it. Now in fairness, I expect the AC to be an equal opportunity "caller-outer."

In an editorial earlier this week, AC quoted referenced Juan Williams questioning why there is not as much outrage when Blacks kill other Blacks. You missed an opportunity to state that in Augusta there is outrage and there have been numerous occasions when meetings and other focus groups convened to address this matter. The Rev. Larry Fryer is a great example; he has held meetings, and I know of other ministers who address the matter in very strategic ways with their congregations as part of their overall ministry and youth ministry more specifically, and as part of their community outreach. I also know that some groups do not bother to broadcast their meetings through established media because the media does not always show up when proactive events occur, but are too happy to be there after the fact. That's not to blame the media, but to just make the observation that the media can't be everywhere at once.

Thank God for social media.

Unfortunately, a kid is still dead. Had Zimmerman stayed in his vehicle as ordered to do, perhaps Martin would be alive and Zimmerman would not be living this nightmare.

Only time will tell. But I do not blame Martin’s parents one bit for advocating for justice. They live in that state and they know better than we do what the law enforcement agency in that town capable of doing.
They also know the effect of the "stand your ground" law, which is the real elephant in the room.

Rhetor
978
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Rhetor 04/06/12 - 10:03 am
4
4
Well, yes. But given the

Well, yes. But given the ACES' sometimes careless disregard for facts, kindly be careful about throwing mud at other journalists. Remember that you good people quoted the Fed chairman about the "fiscal cliff" our country is facing--you cut & pasted the quote to make it sound as if he were worried about the deficit, when he was actually warning about the deficit reduction package--the opposite of what you implied. You talked for months about a "government takeover of health care" until Politico.com named that the "lie of the year." You then quit repeating it, but never, that I can recall, retracted. At least NBC owned up to what they did. Have you ever owned up to your own practices? ACES, there is a saying about people who live in glass houses.

DuhJudge
206
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DuhJudge 04/06/12 - 07:14 am
3
1
I thought "readability" was

I thought "readability" was the mantra when a writer is tasked with a story? Pots and kettles.

TParty
6003
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TParty 04/06/12 - 07:24 am
2
1
NBC News has a pattern of

NBC News has a pattern of editing and modifying the news to fit it's editorial position for decades now.

From blowing up a GM truck to show how dangerous the fuel tanks are to this.

All of these things, the stuff Fox News pulls, NY Times reporters fabricating stories, Time photoshopping O.J Simpson, CBS and the George W. Bush documents all show that we can't trust big media news. No matter whose "side" they are on.

TParty
6003
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TParty 04/06/12 - 07:30 am
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3
And those complaining about

And those complaining about AC and their ability to twist words, and ignores facts- I assume you are only speaking of the editorial section which does it all the time- and not the reporting section which seems to be pretty good overall.

While I do not agree with how ACES does ignore reality for the most part to fit their agenda- there is a difference when some nameless person at ACES writes these opinion pieces versus a reporter on AC.

Retired Army
17512
Points
Retired Army 04/06/12 - 07:52 am
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6
I was thinking of staying out

I was thinking of staying out of this dog fight, but when even my detractors on many issues also see the hypocrisy of this editorial it is amusing to say the least.

I especially love the part about "nameless person" at ACES.(tip o' the hat tparty) If I were responsible for many of the half baked fact manipulating so called opinion pieces that emanate from the Comical editorial staff, I would want to remain nameless too.

The irony here of course is that most of the participants also prefer to remain incognito. The difference is that we are by and large concerned individuals with opinions and not a paid staff of "professionals".

justthefacts
20014
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justthefacts 04/06/12 - 07:56 am
1
0
Again, as has been pointed

Again, as has been pointed out, the Editorial page is different from the Front page. When reading the NYT Editorial page one should expect the information will be slanted. The front page, no.

allhans
22970
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allhans 04/06/12 - 08:25 am
0
1
Why can't they all be like us

Why can't they all be like us and "nothing but the truth..."

Bruno
780
Points
Bruno 04/06/12 - 08:39 am
3
0
TParty's 7:24 post is right

TParty's 7:24 post is right on this one. Justthefacts is also correct in pointing out the difference between the opinion or editorial page and the "real news" section.
That being said, news has always been slanted.

Jon Lester
2261
Points
Jon Lester 04/06/12 - 09:50 am
2
1
You guys have been all for

You guys have been all for enabling corporations to make all the mergers and acquisitions they can, particularly media conglomerates. Now you complain because these behemoths no longer see their news departments as a public service, but yet another revenue stream.

Rhetor
978
Points
Rhetor 04/06/12 - 10:02 am
3
1
If some of the above posts

If some of the above posts imply that it is somehow acceptable to stretch the truth on the opinion page, I strongly disagree. Journalistic ethics require journalists to be careful with the facts, even on the opinion page. The Society of Professional Journalists code of ethics clearly states: "Analysis and commentary should be labeled and not misrepresent fact or context." The link may be found in: http://www.spj.org/ethicscode.asp. The practice of some journalists to think that they can lie, distort, or misrepresent in the presentation of their opinions is a violation of journalistic ethics, and if done in a careless or deliberate manner it is completely inexcusable.

avidreader
2935
Points
avidreader 04/06/12 - 10:03 am
3
2
I miss Walter Cronkite.

I miss Walter Cronkite.

TParty
6003
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TParty 04/06/12 - 10:20 am
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0
Rhetor: Acceptable to stretch

Rhetor:

Acceptable to stretch the truth? No... not acceptable. It should be called out on, and if the writer has any integrity and honor, they should admit mistakes and correct them promptly. But the opinion page/side is different than journalistic side.

It's dangerous though when you mix the two while everything is under the guise of "news". Fox News does this well, putting opinion shows during prime morning hours, and opinions shows during prime evening hours- and some how the channel is called Fox News, fair and balanced.

There needs to be a clear distinction between opinion/editorial side, and the reporting side.

Bizkit
28358
Points
Bizkit 04/06/12 - 10:50 am
3
0
Remember Cable News outlets

Remember Cable News outlets like lots of businesses (from music stores to newspapers) are competing with the internet. Tough competition has them taking risks and grabbing at straws (creating some strawmen withthem too-how punny). Must be some of that social darwinism the Prez was fussin about. I think journalism died a few years back didn't it? Remember it was few years after the New York Times headline "God is Dead". Maybe it was the Washington Post "Journalism is Dead" headline. hee,hee,hee. I only use the purest internet "unbiased" sources like the Daily KOS and Media Matters. cough, cough, cough

Gopher
34
Points
Gopher 04/06/12 - 10:17 pm
1
0
The new American way,

The new American way, lie,cheat,steel it's all ok as long as you say i'm sorry when you get cought.

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