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: