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That 'Inadvertent' Editing at NBC

That it (unjustifiably, as it turns out) turned into a national news story about race, rather than a national news story about an overzealous neighborhood watch captain, which may or may not have been properly investigated, and has inflamed tensions over the former always-inflammatory issue, with the aid of the president, is apparently fine with Mr. Griffin. A cynic might speculate that this is perhaps because, like contraception and the faux Republican “war on women,” it serves to distract the voting populace from the major barrier to the president’s reelection -- the continuing weak economy, which, according to a report on Friday, and “unexpectedly” and “disappointingly,” generated a little over half the expected jobs last month.

So was it really “inadvertent"? NBC asks us to take its word for it, but given its record, it is hard to do. They refuse to provide the name of the perpetrator or his or her history so that we can judge for ourselves.

Was such a blatant and misleading editing a first offense? If so, firing seems a little harsh, but because we don’t know who it is, we don’t know.

Does the person have a history of doing stories that seem to advance a Democratic/”liberal” agenda, and a paucity of such stories otherwise? We don’t know.

Was no one else aware of the misleading edit? We’re told that the execs didn’t know, but little else, because of the lack of the transparency of the “investigation.”

Do we really even know that the person was fired? Absent an identification, no. There is no way to know. We just have to trust NBC, a network (particularly when considering all of the crimes against journalism committed on an almost daily basis by its low-rated, now explicitly leftist sister organization, MSNBC) that has shown itself to be unworthy of such trust.

What NBC News needs is not “rigorous efforts to formalize the editorial safeguards in place at the network.” What it needs is to hire people (and not just editors) who are not reflexively in the tank for a narrative that advances the “liberal” cause, but will be properly skeptical of a story that paints a man as a racist based on a distorted 911 tape, as many bloggers in the dextrasphere were. This is how the duplicity was uncovered. It needs to hire people as hosts who want to promote racial harmony rather than divisiveness. It needs to hire executives who understand the need to apologize -- not just to its viewers for such egregious mistakes, but to the man whom it potentially libeled (something that, as far as I and the Washington Post know, has not yet occurred).

Here’s the problem for NBC. And ABC and CBS and CNN. It’s not the editorial process -- it’s the culture. And it’s a problem that may well not be fixed until those institutions have been replaced in toto. Because given their hiring proclivities, there is no sign that staff turnover will ever solve the problem.