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That ‘Inadvertent’ Editing at NBC

Why should we believe a network that commits serial transgressions against decent journalism?

by
Rand Simberg

Bio

April 8, 2012 - 10:07 am
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NBC News continues to claim that editing the 911 call to make it sound as though George Zimmerman was focused on Trayvon Martin’s race was an innocent mistake:

Sources inside the network have told Reuters that NBC News brass interviewed more than a dozen staffers during its investigation of the matter.

As part of the investigation, the producer who edited the call was questioned extensively about motivation, and it was determined that the person had cut the video clip down to meet a maximum time requirement for the length of the segment – a common pressure in morning television – and inadvertently edited the call in a way that proved misleading.

NBC News has apologized for the incident, saying in a statement to Reuters earlier this week that there was “an editing error in the production process,” but insisting the results of the internal investigation would not be announced publicly.

Capus said that the network “takes its responsibility seriously” and has undertaken rigorous efforts to formalize the editorial safeguards in place at the network.

Emphasis mine, and back to that last sentence in a minute.

It would be easy to forgive this trespass, particularly on the day that millions celebrate the resurrection of the man whose prayer implores us to do so to those who trespass against us, had it occurred in isolation. But as the piece points out, even ignoring the entire biased history over decades of not just NBC, but the mainstream media in general, in which these “mistakes” and misses by the “layers of fact checkers and editors” almost always somehow manage to advance rather than to undermine the selected (leftist) media narrative, NBC had another problem in this very case:

Externally, media critics including Howard Kurtz, host of CNN’s “Reliable Sources” and a columnist for The Daily Beast, have criticized the network for allowing Sharpton to play a dual role as both activist and commentator.

“Even commentators have to abide by certain rules,” Kurtz wrote last month. “And in this case, by playing both sides of the camera, Rev. Al has obliterated them.”

Internally, some NBC news staffers have complained that Sharpton’s unique role in the case has compounded the damage to NBC News’ reputation that the edited tape caused, and contributed to an impression among its critics that the network as a whole is biased against Zimmerman, according to sources.

That NBC even has a known and unreformed and unrepentant (as recently as a year ago, and a quarter of a century later, he still continues to refuse to acknowledge or apologize for his despicable and deceitful actions in the Tawana Brawley case) continuing race baiter like Al Sharpton as a programming host is worthy of ongoing condemnation in itself, even divorced from this particular conflict of interest, which the network executives continue to refuse to acknowledge:

MSNBC chief executive Phil Griffin has defended Sharpton’s dual role as well, saying that as long as the longtime civil rights activist is upfront about his advocacy activity, he would be allowed on a “case by case basis” to both participate in and comment for MSNBC on issues and stories that interest him. Griffin has credited Sharpton with turning the Martin case into a national news story.

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