Antoine Sanfuentes, chief of NBC News’ Washington bureau, has only glowing terms to describe his employer’s coverage of the Trayvon Martin case.
On an Aspen Institute Panel on race and the 2012 elections on Monday, Sanfuentes joined a discussion about how the mainstream media inaccurately reported on George Zimmerman’s race in the Trayvon Martin case. “On the NBC News side, we stick to the facts,” he boasted. “We try to get them right as often as we can … in this business, we have to be right 100 percent of the time.”
Those comments from a top NBC News official ring hollow in light “Editgate,” in which NBC deliberately edited 911 tapes to falsely make George Zimmerman look like a racist. This incident was but one example of NBC and MSNBC’s history of editing clips to make conservatives look like racists.
Last weekend, NBC president Steve Capus laughably said the 911 tape edits were not deliberate and merely a “mistake.”
Sanfuentes also remarked that the “journalistic community is so much larger today when you add Twitter, the blogs, and the power of social networking,” crediting “new media” for bringing the Trayvon Martin story to national attention. Yet he failed to note that new media organizations like Breitbart News exposed the many instances in which mainstream media organizations like his tried to manipulate, edit, and omit facts to exploit the Martin tragedy to advance a liberal agenda.
Sanfuentes then implied that with the proliferation of new media organizations, mainstream media gatekeepers with the “good housekeeping seal of journalism” were still needed, and those organizations had to “have a thriving editorial discussion on the inside … with journalists who look like America” in order “to defy the stereotypes.” Sanfuentes was referring to racial diversity inside the newsroom and presumably referring to NBC News when speaking of organizations with the “the good housekeeping seal of journalism.”
To say that NBC News has a “good housekeeping seal of approval” is laughable in light of recent events. If NBC News hopes to gain some semblance of such credibility again, it should focus on increasing the diversity of viewpoints and ideology in its newsroom instead of solely focusing on racial and ethnic diversity.