NBC has announced that it has fired the person that was responsible for editing the 911 call of George Zimmerman to police. The call was doctored to make it sound as if Zimmerman made it a racial issue on his own. However, the dispatcher actually asked Zimmerman what the ethnicity of the person was. This part was left out of the released recording to make it appear that Zimmerman volunteered this information on his own. Zimmerman responded that “He looks black.” The person he is referring to is Trayvon Martin, of course, the seventeen-year-old that Zimmerman shot and killed while on a neighborhood watch patrol.
This is a classic example of the media trying to create a controversy to get better ratings and attention. The actual 911 call has an entirely different tone when listened it without editing. It sounds like Zimmerman is profiling, but in reality, he was asked by a representative of the police for the information. This is a fairly standard practice when someone calls into a 911 line to report a suspicious person. Obviously, police will need a description in order to investigate the incident, and knowing whether the person is black or white, like it or not, is pretty critical information when providing a description.
While this does not prove anything about whether Zimmerman’s actions were right or wrong, it does show that the media has attempted to sensationalize the incident by trying to make it sound worse than it is. As we all know, racial profiling is a hot-button issue in our country, and NBC seemed to go to great lengths to try to make this incident fit under that umbrella. It’s amazing how context can change the tone of what you hear so dramatically. That is why if the news media was reporting things as they happened and not as they want it to appear they happened, the general public would have a much better idea of what is really going on in this world. Take this one isolated incident and extrapolate it out to the dozens of news reports you hear every day.
A true journalistic story seeks to present the facts. Editing things to make it appear one way or another is trying to influence minds, and a real journalist would consider this to be taboo. Journalists with integrity routinely put their own opinions and moral standards to the side when reporting on events because their job is to report what happened, not what their opinion on a particular event is. Unfortunately, there are not enough checks and balances in the media and too many people out there take what they are reading and watching to be fact when it may not be, or at the very least, has been taken out of the context that it happened in. The real question is how many at NBC News knew this was happening? It is hard to believe that one editor took it upon himself to make these changes.