Friday, April 06, 2012

How About Them Layers Of Editorial Oversight

Yahoo! News: NBC probe centers on staffer in shooting story error

An internal NBC News probe has determined a "seasoned" producer was to blame for a misleading clip of a 911 call that the network broadcast during its coverage of the Trayvon Martin shooting, according to two sources at the network.

NBC News brass interviewed more than half a dozen staffers during its investigation of the misleadingly edited 911 call placed by George Zimmerman just before he shot the unarmed Florida teenager, said the sources, one of whom is an executive at the network.

The clip aired on the network's flagship "Today" morning show last week.

The edit made it appear that Zimmerman immediately told police that Martin was black, when, in fact, the full tape reveals that the neighborhood watch captain only did so when responding to a question posed by a dispatcher.
It is even worse than this article relates. It wasn't just that he told them he looked black in the false MSNBC release, the selective editing made it sound like Zimmerman thought he was suspicious because he was black. The selective stitching together of two different sentences to make the quote seriously inflamed the situation by depicting Zimmerman as a racist.

Here's the before and after:

Before the "Seasoned Producer's" edit:

"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."


"Zimmerman: This guy looks like he’s up to no good. He looks black."

Television news veterans in New York said they were baffled over how the error came to be broadcast given the intense vetting such a sensitive story would normally get at a major network such as NBC.
One reason might be that not only did the quote lovingly fit the narrative the media have been crafting - "racist big white guy guns down innocent little black kid" (that narrative is now showing cracks in terms of race, size and who may or may not have started the altercation). In addition to perfectly fitting the narrative, the quote also fit the "vetters" preconceptions and biases, thus allowing it to slip through more easily than a fact pattern that would have run against their worldview.

1 comment:

Scott said...

Seasoned as in "marinated for a decade (at least) in marxism" in High School and then J-School and then at NBC.