NBC has once again used its flagship morning show to insinuate that George Zimmerman, a man who has already been acquitted by a jury, may have gotten away with murder.
Recall that NBC did more than any other network to convince viewers that George Zimmerman was a racist and therefore probably a murderer before his trial. It was NBC that misleadingly edited the 911 call so that it had Zimmerman saying “This guy looks like he’s up to no good … he looks black.” Last December Zimmerman filed a lawsuit accusing NBC of “journalistic crimes.”
After the trial ended with Zimmerman’s acquittal, his attorney said the lawsuit against NBC would proceed “in earnest.” That was in July. Nearly two months later, Shellie Zimmerman filed for divorce which was followed by a an altercation between the two. Police were called. The story roused all of the usual suspects to claim it was proof Zimmerman was a violent aggressor, but ultimately no charges were filed.
So this morning the Today show, which aired that misleading audio of George Zimmerman last year, interviewed Shellie Zimmerman about whether she now has doubts about her estranged husband’s guilt:
Lauer asks “Has it changed your perspective at all on what he’s told you happened the night that Trayvon Martin was shot and killed? Do you still believe the story that we have all heard from him?” To this Shellie Zimmerman replies “I’m conflicted on that.” She then adds “I believe the evidence, but this revelation in my life has really helped
me take the blinders off and start to see things differently.”
Lauer winds up the interview by quoting juror B29 saying “George
Zimmerman got away with murder but you can’t get away from God.” This
leads to Lauer’s loaded penultimate question “Did the justice system work here?” Shellie Zimmerman says she still believes the system did work and that her husband did not profile Martin.
Shows like Today don’t do interviews on the fly. Producers at Today spoke with Shellie (or her attorney) prior to sending a car for her. They had an idea where this would go. Lauer’s questions make it clear where he hoped it would go. As an observer it’s hard to separate the fact of the ongoing lawsuit from Lauer’s insinuation that George “got away with murder.” This looks a lot like score settling.
NBC claims the original misleading edit was a mistake, not an attempt to smear Zimmerman unfairly. Whether you believe that or not, it’s pretty hard to say the same about this interview. This was not an accident. This was a transparent attack on someone who currently threatens the network’s credibility and it’s bottom line. NBC should stop digging this hole.