‘He Looks Black’: NBC Launches Internal Investigation into Selective Editing of Zimmerman Police Tape

NBC has revealed that it is launching an internal investigation into the “editing process” surrounding the conversation between George Zimmerman and a police dispatcher (shortly before Trayvon Martin was shot), where Zimmerman appears to volunteer racial information.

Exposed by Fox News and Newsbusters, NBC played the conversation on the “Today Show” as: “This guy looks like he’s up to no good.  He looks black.”

The unabridged version is:

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.

Erik Wemple of the Washington Post noted:

The difference between what ‘Today’ put on its air and the actual tape?  Complete: In the ‘Today’ version, Zimmerman volunteered that this person ‘looks black,’ a sequence of events that would more readily paint Zimmerman as a racial profiler.  In reality’s version, Zimmerman simply answered a question about the race of the person whom he was reporting to the police.  Nothing prejudicial at all in responding to such an inquiry.

[…]

And it’s a falsehood with repercussions.  Much of the public discussion over the past week has settled on how conflicting facts and interpretations call into question whether Zimmerman acted justifiably or criminally.  That’s a process that’ll continue.  But one set of facts in the is ironclad, and that’s the back-and-forth between Zimmerman and the dispatcher.  To portray that exchange in a way that wrongs Zimmerman is high editorial malpractice well worthy of the investigation that NBC is now mounting.

Watch Sean Hannity discuss NBC’s decision, and the ramifications, below:

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