DC Trawler

“Seasoned” NBC News producer fired, still anonymous

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The New York Times, which hasn’t been reporting on NBC News editing George Zimmerman’s 911 call to make him sound like a racist, is finally doing so. Brian Stelter writes:

NBC News has fired a producer who was involved in the production of a misleading segment about the Trayvon Martin case in Florida.

The person was fired on Thursday, according to two people with direct knowledge of the disciplinary action who declined to be identified discussing internal company matters. They also declined to name the fired producer. A spokeswoman for NBC News declined to comment.

The action came in the wake of an internal investigation by NBC News into the production of the segment, which strung together audio clips in such a way that made George Zimmerman’s shooting of Mr. Martin sound racially motivated…

On April 4, the network news division said in a statement that it deeply regretted the “error made in the production process.”

“We will be taking the necessary steps to prevent this from happening in the future and apologize to our viewers,” the network said.

It did not specify what steps it would take. But one day later it dismissed a Miami-based producer who had worked at NBC for several years.

The people with direct knowledge of the firing characterized the misleading edit as a mistake, not a purposeful act.

So. For weeks, NBC News has eagerly joined in and put George Zimmerman and everyone around him on trial — even people who have nothing to do with him, like the McClain family — but now NBC is protecting the identity of whoever faked evidence against Zimmerman.

Note that this isn’t NBC officially announcing the firing. All they’ve said is that it was an “error” and it supposedly won’t happen again. They haven’t said who did it or why, or how the company is responding. Now the NYT is reporting that whoever did it has been fired, but oddly enough, this person still doesn’t have a name. And we find out about it from similarly anonymous sources, contacted by a newspaper that hasn’t even been reporting on it up until now.

I wonder how tough it is to find out the names of all the NBC News producers who were fired on April 5, 2012? Pretty tough, probably. Good job keeping a lid on this, NBC.

And these anonymous sources are actually sticking with the whoopsie defense. It was an accident. “D’oh! I seem to have edited out the three seconds of your conversation that make it clear you’re responding to a police dispatcher’s question, rather than volunteering a racist motive. Silly me!” Well, if it was an accident, why was this unnamed person fired? If it was an accident, what’s the thinking behind this clumsy attempt at a cover-up that makes people skeptical that it was an accident?

MSNBC went to battle stations when James O’Keefe committed a misdemeanor. They called it “Watergate Jr.” But when one of their own manufactures evidence in a racially charged shooting that’s become a nationwide scandal? Crickets. Guess they don’t want to step on Al Sharpton’s toes.

Nothing to see here, America. Let it be known that NBC News won’t smear you and then close ranks to cover up their wrongdoing. Unless it’ll help their ratings.

At least ABC News is breathing a sigh of relief. Their stupid irresponsibility in this case is long forgotten. Whew.

Update: John Nolte at Big Journalism thinks this is worse than the Texas Air National Guard memo scandal, AKA Rathergate, and I’m inclined to agree. Say what you want about Dan Rather and his enablers at CBS News, but at least their delusional recklessness and panicked ass-covering didn’t put any private citizens’ lives in danger. (Leaving aside any suicides at the prospect of President John Kerry.)

Update: If you say “I am not guilty” and an NBC News producer edits out the word “not,” I’m supposed to believe they were just pressed for time.

Update: My question to Tammy Delgado, Executive Producer of NBC Miami Today.


Update: Not only has the NYT failed to report on the smear against Zimmerman until now, they’ve actually participated in it.

Update: In related news, William Jacobson is cataloging the worst media behavior in the Trayvon Martin case in at least the past hour: Sanford (FL) Police deny any indication of neo-Nazis patrolling.

Update: I just want it to be known that the next time I screw up, it will be an underling’s fault, I will have fired them already, and I will not tell you who.


Tags : treacher
Jim Treacher