As Expected, NBC News Sweeps Edit-Gate Under the Rug
You would think NBC News, of all outlets, would know that the cover up is worse than the crime.
Here are the key points in today's Reuters story (pasted in full below) about an internal NBC News probe (is that the same as an investigation?) that found that a "seasoned" producer was responsible for editing the infamous George Zimmerman 911 tape -- or as I like to put it, intentionally and maliciously editing audio to make a private citizen with a bounty on his head and hiding in fear for his life look like a racist.
Yes, a "seasoned" producer did this, and yet...
1. The sources described the producer's actions as a very bad mistake, but not deliberate.
Are you kidding me? How can this not be deliberate? How can moving one piece of dialogue from here and placing it over there ... not be deliberate?
Anyone who has ever done any kind of editing -- audio or video -- knows that nothing even close to an "oops" produced that maliciously edited 911 tape.
2. The network said on Tuesday it would not release names of the employees involved. It has apologized for the incident.
Apology not accepted.
And, yes, let's make sure that no one in the world of media knows the name of the "seasoned" producer responsible for the media scandal of the year. That way he or she can get a job anywhere, maybe even a promotion!
3. There was no clear indication on Thursday of what, if any, disciplinary actions would be taken against the producer or other staff involved in the incident.
If no disciplinary action is taken, the standards at NBC News can only be described in one way: there are none.
If NBC News is willing to tolerate a "seasoned" producer willfully editing audio to make a private citizen with a price on his head look racist, then there are no standards at NBC News. Actually, this will only confirm to those of us who have watched the slide of NBC News over the past decade that there are no standards at NBC News.
4. Executives have vowed to take rigorous steps to formalize editorial safeguards in the news division following the incident, one of the sources said.
You can take all the "rigorous steps" you want, but if you keep on staff a "seasoned" producer willing to violate those safeguards, it doesn't matter. There is a bad apple in the NBC News family and the fact that this person still has a job proves that there are a bunch of bad apples.
5. The Today [S]how's editorial control policies - which include a script editor, senior producer oversight, and in most cases legal and standards department reviews of material to be broadcast - missed the selective editing of the call, said the NBC executive.
Translation: Blah, blah, blah.
For obvious partisan reasons, what NBC News did was to intentionally inflame racial divisions in this country by targeting a private citizen. For those reasons alone (more on that here), this scandal is much, much worse than Rathergate. The only question that remains is what's going to be done about it?
We all expected NBC News to attempt to sweep this under the rug. But will the rest of the news media and our so-called media watchdogs let them get away with it?
There are many questions surrounding the shooting of Trayvon Martin that need to be fully investigated and answered, but that doesn't change the fact that, in this country, George Zimmerman is innocent until proven guilty, has not been charged with any kind of crime, and is not a public figure. What NBC News did to this private citizen in order to aid and abet Barack Obama's cynical re-election campaign to divide this country is unforgivable.
People need to be fired and people who refuse to fire people need to be fired.
Someone also needs to explain to NBC News that "no justice no peace" cuts more than one way.
And don't think for a second, ABC and CNN, that we've forgotten about your disgraceful behavior in this matter.
(Reuters) - 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.
There was no clear indication on Thursday of what, if any, disciplinary actions would be taken against the producer or other staff involved in the incident.
The sources at the network, who declined to identify the producer, said NBC News executives did not know the 911 call was misleadingly edited until news reports surfaced days later on right-leaning blogs including Newsbusters.org and Breitbart.com.
The sources described the producer's actions as a very bad mistake, but not deliberate.
NBC News declined to comment on Thursday. The network said on Tuesday it would not release names of the employees involved. It has apologized for the incident.
One of the sources said that NBC News President Steve Capus would not lose his job over the incident.
The Today show's editorial control policies - which include a script editor, senior producer oversight, and in most cases legal and standards department reviews of material to be broadcast - missed the selective editing of the call, said the NBC executive.
Executives have vowed to take rigorous steps to formalize editorial safeguards in the news division following the incident, one of the sources said.
NBC News staffers who have been working on the Trayvon Martin story for several weeks in Florida were at first "in shock" over the incident, and later furious, another source, who is an NBC producer, told Reuters.
Public pressure has been building on the network to fully explain the incident - which critics charge has inflamed racial tensions in an already volatile situation.
On Thursday, a New York Post editorial characterized the edited 911 call as "pretty damning evidence of willful misconduct by NBC News" and suggested that racial violence could ensue over irresponsible news coverage.
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.
Executives from parent company Comcast Corp, including Chief Executive Brian Roberts and Chief Operating Officer Steve Burke, who doubles as the CEO of NBC Universal, are not involved in the investigation, two sources inside the network said.
NBC's Today - which has dominated the U.S. morning landscape for more than a decade - is currently in a ratings war with ABC's Good Morning America, which has been picking up viewers.
(Reporting By Christopher Francescani and Peter Lauria; Editing by Paul Thomasch and Martin Howell; Desking by Jackie Frank)