Skip to main content

Don't Trust NBC? Wonder Why

Don't Trust NBC? Wonder Why

NBC News got caught with its hand in the cookie jar thanks to a segment on the "Today" show that exercised a little creative editing of a call between neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman and a Sanford, Fla., police dispatcher. Let's let Washington Post blogger Eric Wemple take up the tale:

NBC told this blog today that it would investigate its handling of a piece on the "Today" show that ham-handedly abridged the conversation between George Zimmerman and a dispatcher in the moments before the death of Trayvon Martin. A statement from NBC:

"We have launched an internal investigation into the editorial process surrounding this particular story."

Great news right there. As exposed by Fox News and media watchdog site NewsBusters, the "Today" segment took this approach to a key part of the dispatcher call:


Zimmerman: This guy looks like he's up to no good. He looks black.


Here's how the actual conversation went down:

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.




The difference between what "Today" put on its air and the actual tape? Complete: In the "Today" version, Zimmerman volunteered that this person "looks black," a sequence of events that would more readily paint Zimmerman as a racial profiler. In reality's version, Zimmerman simply answered a question about the race of the person whom he was reporting to the police. Nothing prejudicial at all in responding to such an inquiry.

In an appearance on Fox News's "Hannity," Brent Bozell, president of the conservative Media Research Center, called this elision on the part of "Today" an "all-out falsehood" — not just a distortion or misrepresentation.

And it's a falsehood with repercussions. 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.


"High editorial malpractice" at least: "tainting the jury pool" would also be a fair characterization, I would say.

So far, the gun community has not rushed to give Zimmerman some sort of martyr status. Most think he was guilty, at the very least, of very poor judgment and tactics that reflected badly on the rest of us.

But this sort of media manipulation reeks of what Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, in another context, called a "high tech lynching." If you're looking for a single incident that sums up why gun owners don't trust the national media, this is it.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Citadel Boss 25 Magazine Adapter

Citadel Boss 25 Magazine Adapter

Will Dabbs gives a rundown on how to limit the magazine capacity in your Citadel Boss 25 to stay in compliance with hunting laws.

Pulsar Thermion Thermal Scope

Pulsar Thermion Thermal Scope

Want to hit a target in the dark? Patrick Sweeney will tell you how to use the Pulsar Thermion thermal scope.

3 Ring Silencers

3 Ring Silencers

Patrick Sweeney heads to the range to look at suppressors from 3 Ring Silencer Corporation.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

We go behind closed doors at the factory to see how SIG Sauer's ammo is developed and manufactured!SIG Sauer Ammunition — How Good Is It? Ammo

SIG Sauer Ammunition — How Good Is It?

Tom Beckstrand - August 20, 2020

We go behind closed doors at the factory to see how SIG Sauer's ammo is developed and...

For the first time in its 35-year-history, the annual Gun Rights Policy Conference hosted by the Second Amendment Foundation and Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms will be a virtual online event, due to the current COVID-19 situation.2020 Gun Rights Policy Conference Is Online Event Due to COVID-19 Industry

2020 Gun Rights Policy Conference Is Online Event Due to COVID-19

Second Amendment Foundation - July 16, 2020

For the first time in its 35-year-history, the annual Gun Rights Policy Conference hosted by...

Mark and Patricia McCloskey, the targets of an unwarranted prosecution by an overzealous Soros-backed St. Louis prosecutor, are slated to speak at next week's Republican National Convention.McCloskey's In the Limelight: Speaking at Next Week's RNC 2nd Amendment

McCloskey's In the Limelight: Speaking at Next Week's RNC

Mark Chesnut - August 21, 2020

Mark and Patricia McCloskey, the targets of an unwarranted prosecution by an overzealous...

Anarchy Outdoors has introduced a series of upgrades for the T/C Compass and Venture rifles.Anarchy Outdoors Introduces Upgrades For T/C Compass and Venture Rifles Rifles

Anarchy Outdoors Introduces Upgrades For T/C Compass and Venture Rifles

Firearms News Staff - August 22, 2020

Anarchy Outdoors has introduced a series of upgrades for the T/C Compass and Venture rifles.

See More Trending Articles

More 2nd Amendment

Lawmakers in some red states are taking preemptive actions to protect the Second Amendment for their constituents.States Bracing for Biden Gun Bans 2nd Amendment

States Bracing for Biden Gun Bans

Mark Chesnut - January 26, 2021

Lawmakers in some red states are taking preemptive actions to protect the Second Amendment for...

If you're not living under a rock, you've likely heard of House Resolution 127 introduced by U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas.What's the Worst Part of Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee's HR 127? 2nd Amendment

What's the Worst Part of Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee's HR 127?

Mark Chesnut - February 03, 2021

If you're not living under a rock, you've likely heard of House Resolution 127 introduced by...

While politicians who change their priorities every other year just to stay in office are an excellent reason why so many gun owners have become cynical about their supposed “life-saving” proposals, the fact that they continue to be reelected doesn't speak highly for voters' memories.Yet Another Reason Gun Owners Are Cynical About Politicians 2nd Amendment

Yet Another Reason Gun Owners Are Cynical About Politicians

Mark Chesnut - January 04, 2021

While politicians who change their priorities every other year just to stay in office are an...

See More 2nd Amendment

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW OUR CURRENT ISSUE Arrow

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Firearms News App

Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Firearms News subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now