But other than that, they’re not saying much.
NBC News said Tuesday it has concluded an investigation into its repeated broadcast of an edited version of a 911 call placed by George Zimmerman that made it appear he was racially profiling Trayvon Martin the night he killed him.
“During our investigation it became evident that there was an error made in the production process that we deeply regret,” NBC News said in a statement e-mailed to The Hollywood Reporter on Tuesday. “We will be taking the necessary steps to prevent this from happening in the future and apologize to our viewers.”
When asked if anyone at Today had lost their job or had been reassigned as a result of the investigation, an NBC spokeswoman said: “We will not be commenting on our course of action.”
NBC should apologize to George Zimmerman, along with the apology to its viewers. That network deliberately smeared him. NBC would not accept such a non-answer about the remedies it claims it is implementing from any target of their own investigative reporting. Why should anyone expect such a non-answer from them? They investigated themselves and claim it was an “error” when — as a professional video and audio editor for more years than I care to admit, I can authoritatively say this — no “error” would result in the edit that they broadcast. To refresh our memories, here’s what transpired during the call and is recorded on the audio:
ZIMMERMAN: This guy looks like he’s up to no good, [begin ellipsis] or he’s on drugs or something. It’s raining and he’s just walking around, looking about.
911 DISPATCHER: Okay, is this guy, is he white, black, or Hispanic? [end ellipsis]
ZIMMERMAN: He looks black.
And here’s how NBC’s “error” rendered that sequence:
“This guy looks like he’s up to no good … he looks black,” Zimmerman told a police dispatcher from his car.
Honest error does not cut out the middle part of that sequence. Deliberate editing to cast Zimmerman as a racist would, and that is obviously what happened here. NBC aired that edit as audio and rendered it that way on their web sites. Honest “error” does not explain that.
NBC’s investigation is a whitewash.
Update: Yes, Kevin Drum, this episode will become one of many examples of media bias and distortion. Because that’s exactly what it is. This wasn’t a “cockup.” It was deliberate.