Zimmerman Sues NBC

Good for him!  George Zimmerman is suing NBC over their reporting of the incident between Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin. Whatever may be said about that incident, and I am not commenting on that here, it is obvious that their reporting was slipshod and perhaps intentionally deceptive. Here is the story I read at the Washington Post.

Lawyers for George Zimmerman filed suit today against NBC Universal Media over a well-publicized editing error that portrayed their client in racist terms in his pursuit of Trayvon Martin on a drizzly evening in February.

“NBC saw the death of Trayvon Martin not as a tragedy but as an opportunity to increase ratings, and so to set about the myth that George Zimmerman was a racist and predatory villain,” states the civil complaint in its opening salvo against NBC.

This is the part to pay attention to.

NBC’s editing of the 911 audiotape in the Martin case became a public fixation after the media-monitoring Web site NewsBusters.org noted editing oddities on a “Today” show broadcast March 27. Here’s how NBC News portrayed the audiotape:

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

The full tape went 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.
Dispatcher: OK, and this guy — is he black, white or Hispanic?
Zimmerman: He looks black.

Zimmerman thus didn’t volunteer a racial profile of Martin; he was asked to provide it, a point that the lawsuit makes in colorful fashion: “NBC created this false and defamatory misimpression using the oldest form of yellow journalism: manipulating Zimmerman’s own words, splicing together disparate parts of the recording to create illusions of statements that Zimmerman never actually made.”

The suit contends that this and other examples were no innocent mistakes but a deliberate attempt to stir up racial trouble for the sake of higher ratings. I wouldn’t care to speculate on anyone’s motives but I think that the media has to be held accountable. If it turns out that NBC’s reporting of this case was intentionally deceitful, I hope Zimmerman wins the suit and I hope he cleans up.

By the way, I read some of the comments below the article. There is nothing quite so depressing as seeing how stupid many of these people are, on both sides of the issue.

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