After it became known that NBC News selectively edited a 911 call from Trayvon Martin shooter George Zimmerman, the network delivered a vague apology and promised it wouldn’t happen again. Now, Reuters reports that a “seasoned” producer is to blame, but sources at NBC refused to name the person, and said NBC will not be firing the responsible party. The network continues to decline further comment on their internal investigation.
Zimmerman, according to the tape aired on Today, said to the dispatcher about Martin, “This guy looks like he’s up to no good. He looks black.” In actuality, he was asked by the 911 operator, “OK, and this guy — is he black, white or Hispanic?” but that part was edited out.
The Today show’s editorial control policies — which include a script editor, senior producer oversight, and in most cases legal and standards department reviews of material to be broadcast — missed the selective editing of the call, said the NBC executive.
Executives have vowed to take rigorous steps to formalize editorial safeguards in the news division following the incident, one of the sources said.
NBC News staffers who have been working on the Trayvon Martin story for several weeks in Florida were at first “in shock” over the incident, and later furious, another source, who is an NBC producer, told Reuters.
And yet the network is remaining tight-lipped about any and all specifics. For a case in which racial tensions are already running extremely high, and have even been politicized, this was quite a loaded “oops,” and it doesn’t appear that NBC News’ fellow journalists are going to stop asking questions. Getting real answers is, apparently, another story.