NBC News Accused of Editing 911 Call in Trayvon Martin Controversy (Video)
Critics say the "Today" show attempted to incite racial anger when it cut crucial seconds from audio of a phone call placed by George Zimmerman just before he killed the teenager.
NBC News is being excoriated in some circles – with competitor Fox News Channel leading the charge – for selectively editing audio of the 911 call placed by George Zimmerman just before he killed Trayvon Martin.
The NBC segment in question featured anchor Ron Allen and ran on the Today show on Tuesday. On Thursday, Sean Hannity and guest Brent Bozell played the NBC version of the 911 call and compared it with the unedited version.
In the NBC segment, Zimmerman says: “This guy looks like he’s up to no good. He looks black.”
The full version, though, unfolds like this:
Zimmerman: “This guy looks like he’s up to no good, or he’s on drugs or something. It’s raining and he’s just walking around, looking about.”
911 operator: “Okay. And this guy, is he white, black or Hispanic?”
Zimmerman: “He looks black.”
After playing both versions, Hannity said: “They forgot the dispatcher’s question! How could NBC, in good conscience, do that?”
“This isn’t bias, this isn’t distortion, this is an all-out falsehood by NBC News,” answers Bozell, who runs a conservative watchdog group called the Media Research Center.
“When you hear him say, ‘He looks black,’ anyone watching that believes that there are racial overtones to what this man did,” Bozell says. “How could you not believe that? It goes with the narrative of the profiling. The only problem is, they edited out the dispatcher asking him, ‘What does he look like?’”
NBC News declined to comment.
Zimmerman, a volunteer community-watch participant, shot and killed Martin on Feb. 26 in Florida, and some Democratic lawmakers and civil rights activists have called it a hate crime, accusing Zimmerman, who is Hispanic, of racially profiling Martin, who was a 17-year-old African American male.
“This is NBC News, Brent, and this is what they did at a time when emotions are running very high in this country,” Hannity said during his Thursday night TV show.
“Tom Brokaw, Matt Lauer, I wonder if they’re proud tonight?” Hannity asked.