Wednesday, April 04, 2012

NBC Distorts Zimmerman 911 Call; Turns Non-Racist Utterances Into Racist Ones


This was not a mistake.

This was intentional.

Or, rather: it is very, very unlikely that anyone could possibly make such edits accidentally, and without realizing that they had taken non-racist utterances and turned them into racist ones.

 Here is what Zimmerman said:
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.
Dispatcher: OK, and this guy — is he black, white or Hispanic?
Zimmerman: He looks black.

Here is what NBC made him say with editing:
Zimmerman: This guy looks like he’s up to no good. He looks black.
There is simply no way that you can plead mistake here. The odds of this being intentional distortion are very high, the odds of this being an honest error are very low. People do not make mistakes of that kind. If you edit the tape to say that, you almost certainly know what you are doing.

Why would they do this? I'm at a loss. To sensationalize it? But the case is already sensational. It's possible that Zimmerman does make a racist remark at a different point in the tape, though it's not clear.

Is this some "liberal media" thing? Honestly, it's loony enough that it makes me wonder. I normally think of network and cable news as largely just stupid, vapid and bad. But this case makes me wonder whether there might not actually be a slant there that I've been ignoring.

It still seems hard to fit the pieces of the puzzle together in a way in which Zimmerman did not murder Martin. But the above is a cautionary tale about the reliability of the news--though, of course, it's NBC in particular that should be the main target of our suspicion.


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