NBC is busy taking down the evidence of its repeated usage of its bogus edit of the George Zimmerman 911 call. This follows the firing of a producer for the use of the same bad edit on the March 27 Today Show. Left unanswered - what about the March 22 use on the Today Show? [LATE ADD: a third usage of "He looks black" has been found and edited out of existence (but not Google Cache!) at NBC 6 Miami, as described below. When will the Elite Media sniff a cover-up?]
Twelve days ago Dan Riehl found this at MSNBC:
“This guy looks like he’s up to no good … he looks black,” Zimmerman told a police dispatcher from his car. His father has said that Zimmerman is Hispanic, grew up in a multiracial family, and is not racist.
The use of ellipsis clearly indicate that the conversation was clipped. This version has since been re-edited (without any explanation) to include the complete exchange.
Yesterday the discovery by Les Jones of two similar bad edits at NBC 6 Miami for stories from March 19 and March 20 was widely broadcast by the InstaPundit. As of this writing, those stories have been "fixed" by the web editors to eliminate the troublesome passages (and are marked as updated April 9; the specific update is unexplained). Fortunately, the original versions live on in Google Caches and screen shots taken by Les Jones, shown below.
[And let me add - in the updates I discover at least one, possibly two new NBC 6 Miami stories from Mar 17 and Mar 19 that were re-edited on April 9 and *may have* contained the bad edit]
So, it seems to be a bit of a race - can NBC sweep this down the memory hole before the crowd notices?
They just might succeed - the firing of a producer for one bad edit on the March 27 Today Show got a lot of attention and the Daily Caller knows the score but I have seen no Elite Media mention of the scope of this problem: twice on the Today Show plus twice at NBC 6 Miami plus once at MSNBC (which was their version of an NBC 6 Miami story) makes five appearances of the bad edit, yet the media coverage is of a producer fired for one March 27 use. Three usages have been airbrushed away with no notice; Lexis will preserve the March 22 Today Show, but that won't matter if no one looks.
Just to duplicate Les Jones, here are the NBC 6 Miami originals:
Trayvon Martin's Shooter Defended By Fellow Neighborhood Watch Captain
The "He looks black" portion was dropped with no obvious replacement in the latest version.
White House Monitoring Trayvon Martin Case as Protests Mount
A state stand your ground law might prevent any prosecution
Christina Hernandez, Jeff Burnside and Edward B. Colby
Lets see if NBC can be prodded into an even more comprehensive investigation and report. They can explain again how time constraints led to a mistake on the air twice and in print three times.
WHICH CAME FIRST, THE VIDEO OR THE TEXT? One theory is that NBC 6 Miami posted this truncated Zimmerman quote on their website as text. A few days later, a harried Today Show team grabbed the text story and cut the 911 audio to match it for the Mar 22 broadcast; a few days later, they re-ran the tape for the Mar 27 broadcast.
But why match audio to a text report that way? Surely Today is big enough to do their own editing their own way. So, my guess is this - the Mar 19 text matches a Mar 19 (or earlier) broadcast by NBC 6 Miami, which originated the fateful edit. A few days later a harried NBC Today producer grabbed the NBC 6 tape and clipped what he/she needed, including the bum edit.
This kinda/sort exonerates the "Today" team, which is guilty of brain lock and failure to listen critically because they recycled a bad decision by NBC 6 Miami.
It also suggests that the extensive, intensive NBC investigation ought to have turned up the original offense in a NBC 6 Miami broadcast. Did they? Can anyone find such a broadcast? Does Lexis immortalize every word uttered at every local news outlet?
My *GUESS* as to the chain of events: A March 19 (or earlier) broadcast by NBC 6 Miami creates the bad edit. The script is matched at the Mar 19 website story. The NBC 6 website recycles the edit in their follow-up story, which is mirrored at MSNBC. Finally, the Today Show picks up the bad tape from NBC 6 and airs it on Mar 22 and again on Mar 27.
That results in the five uses we have seen and suggests there is a broadcast usage yet to surface.
SEEK AND YE SHALL FIND... CONFUSION: Why did NBC 6 Miami update these stories from March 17 and March 19 on April 9, after editing the two we have already flagged? If someone could work some GoogleCache magic that would be lovely. Meanwhile, a fairly convincing clue is in the comments to the Mar 19 story, from 18 hours ago:
This article contains an extremely misleading "quote" of the 911 call and needs to be corrected! What he said was, "Hey we've had some break-ins in my neighborhood, and there's a real suspicious guy...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." The "he looks black" the response to a direct question asked by the dispatcher about whether Martin was "white, black, or Hispanic."
Oh, and my Kung Fu is unexpectedly adequate - here is a screen shot of the Google Cache as of April 6, complete with the phrase NBC 6 is trying to bury:
The March 17 story has a byline for Mike Schneider, an AP reporter, and a version of his story is widespread. However, I find this in the national version but *not* in the current version shown by NBC 6 Miami:
The teen had gone to a convenience store to buy candy and was walking back to his family’s home in the neighborhood.
“This guy looks like he is up to no good. He is on drugs or something,” Zimmerman told the dispatcher from his SUV. He added that the black teen had his hand in his waistband and was walking around looking at homes.
He has said he acted in self-defense, but Martin’s family said they are now more convinced than ever that Zimmerman should be charged in the shooting.
The NBC 6 version now omits the italicized paragraph. Do note that what the AP used is fair, but on March 19 NBC 6 extends it to "This guy looks like he is up to no good. He is on drugs or something. He looks black".
Is it possible they originally enhanced the AP story the same way and have now buried it? The Google Cache version I find at the NBC 6 website was saved on Apr 10, 2012 08:02:20 GMT, so it succeeds their April 9 re-edit. Irk me. However, this suggestive but hardly conclusive comment from March 17 provokes my suspicions:
I find it odd that in his 911 call he keeps pointing out the boy is black and makes speculations: "He looks like he was on drugs", "His hand is in his waistband". He's the captain of a neighborhood WATCH not a neighborhood ACT.
The current version makes no mention of Zimmerman saying the boy was black; the AP version distributed elsewhere does not quote Zimmerman saying that, although it includes "He added that the black teen had his hand in his waistband", so maybe that is what this reader had in mind. Well, the NBC cover-up is holding on this one.
TO BE FAIR: NBC might want to segue to the old "Cut and Paste ate my brain" defense. A mistake made once just rumbled through their echo chamber, with multiple editors at multiple sites noticing nothing. Rodeo clowns without malice. Might work. But did they ever give Bush a break when he rolled with the "I'm too stupid to be evil" defense? They did not.
AND ON THE BRIGHT SIDE: We can't get Howard Kurtz and the Bigfoot media watchers to take on NBC, but at least NBC is reading their critics. Let me check to see if they hit the tipjar. (There is no tipjar.)
FOR THE LAUGH TRACK: Lawrence O'Donnell of MSNBC lectured the Orlando Sentinel on journalistic practice and ethics:
In our first ever web exclusive Rewrite, MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell weighed in on how The Orlando Sentinel has been rewriting itself in the Trayvon Martin investigation.
"Let's hope The Orlando Sentinel does not have to rewrite itself again, and let's hope that The Orlando Sentinel learns how to answer simple press questions about routine editorial procedures at the newspaper," Lawrence said in the Rewrite.
Though an editor still refused to answer the specifics of exactly when and why they added the attributions to the article.
Lawrence ended with a warning message. He said, "If editors at The Orlando Sentinel go into "no comment" mode when asked about procedures that should be public, then journalism in Florida is in serious trouble when, more than ever, we need the best journalism they can deliver."
So say we all.
IF I COULD SAVE A TWITTER STREAM... NBC 6 Miami reporter Christine Hernandez is generous with her tweets and explains to R Crawford that the NY operation had the 911 tapes and her group just relied on those for their stories. So rather than listening to the raw 911 calls, the Miami reporters listened to the enhanced, edited versions provided by NY to squeeze out the news; hence, the bad edits for the website text. Here we go:
Later, the Today Show uses the same bad edits twice, and gets busted the second time.
That is similar to my notion of one common source producing all the errors, although I would have guessed Miami would take the lead on the 911 tapes. But the internet trumps mere geography, so maybe NYC has the coolest tech.
And by way of comparison, NBC Chicago has at its website the news it generated, which is Chicago-oriented stuff such as Oprah's reaction. There is no "He looks black" version stored in Chicago, but why would there be? NBC Miami would get the lead on all sorts of reporting for the Trayvon case. (Since you ask, Miami is one of the ten NBC-owned stations, as is Chicago.
This would all be more persuasive if NBC admitted to using the bad edit repeatedly and explained why, contra Mr. O'Donnell, they toss problems down the memory hole.
IF THIS IS WRONG I DON'T WANT TO BE RIGHT: Now Ms. Hernandez, who was generous with her time, has me singing country and western. My question - if the bum edit was the primary source for NBC reporters, how come they got the quote and context right so often? (Cites needed, but I came up empty plenty of times looking for bogus Zimmerman quotes).
And having gotten it right, how come no one fixed the primary source weeks ago? How come the March 19/20 stories were only flagged on April 9?
I have participated in ongoing institutional FUBARs, so the notion that Miami pointed out an error to New York which then ignored it is surely plausible. Still, where is the investigation and apology?