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Conservative new-media types are having a field day picking apart CNN for its report claiming George Zimmerman called Trayvon Martin a “f—ing coon” the night he killed him, then later saying that it might have erred: What the news network thought was a racial slur might actually have been the word “cold.”
The video of CNN’s latest report was added to its website Wednesday but didn’t circulate wide around the Internet until Thursday. The piece, which is fronted by anchor Wolf Blitzer, features reporter Gary Tuckman and an expert who enhanced a 911 call placed by Zimmerman. The recording, while scratchy, has Zimmerman seemingly complaining about an unusually cold night in Florida the night he gunned down the 17-year-old black youth.
The same reporter with a different expert, though, previously reported that the enhanced 911 call indicated that what Zimmerman, who is Hispanic, said that night proved that he was a racist who may have been motivated to shoot Martin because of his skin color.
“I should warn you right now you’re going to hear some strong language,” Blitzer says in the segment posted Wednesday. “You might want to send your kids out of the room.”
Blitzer then cuts to an older report that has Tuckman listening to the enhanced 911 call with the single word isolated and played over and over, then he exclaims: “That sounds even more like the word (‘coon’ or ‘coons’) than using it with the F-word before that.”
“It seemed pretty clear, then,” Blitzer says, before shifting back to Tuckman and a different expert who, this time around, agrees that the word they thought was a racial slur was, in fact, “cold.”
“It doesn’t sound like that slur anymore,” Tuckman says. “It sounds like — and we wanted to leave it up to the viewer — but it sounds like we’re hearing the swear word at first and the word ‘cold.’ ”
Similar to when NBC selectively edited Zimmerman’s 911 call to make it appear he racially profiled Martin, the CNN episode is being used by conservatives on the Internet as proof of bias in the “mainstream media.”
“After being enhanced again … it says … the walrus is Paul … wait … what?” joked one writer. More typical, though, were complaints such as this: “So, after trying and judging Zimmerman in the media, and being called on it, the media is now saying, ‘Well, maybe we were wrong’? I truly believe that at this point the media has done irreparable damage to itself.”
Rush Limbaugh also weighed in Thursday, throwing ABC into the mix for first reporting Zimmerman had no injuries the night he killed Martin, then reporting that he may have had a gash on the back of his head.
“George Zimmerman doesn’t have a microphone, can’t fight back. He was just singled out and destroyed,” Limbaugh said.
“Folks, do you realize that the entire foundation of this story has now been blown up across three networks, by their own admission, after the fact, long after all the damage was done?” Limbaugh said.
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