"A man is never more truthful than when he acknowledges himself a liar," said Mark Twain. Last week, NBC News became truthful, at least partially, when it issued an apology about altering a taped 911 conversation between George Zimmerman and a police dispatcher in the high-profile Trayvon Martin story, a case being linked to racism and profiling.
What viewers of NBC's Today show heard was this taped comment by Zimmerman, talking to a police dispatcher: "This guy looks like he's up to no good. He looks black." That conveniently fits with the assumption that Zimmerman is a racist, guilty of anti-black profiling.
Here's what actually is on the 911 tape before NBC News cut out key words and aired a reworked conversation. Zimmerman says: "This guy looks like he's up to no good, or he's on drugs or something. It's raining and he's just walking around, looking about."
Responds the dispatcher, "OK, and this guy, is he black, white or Hispanic?"
Answers Zimmerman, "He looks black."
After an internal investigation about what went wrong, NBC said "an error was made in the production process." They're saying they weren't intentionally piling on, weren't prejudging Zimmerman as a homicidal bigot.
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Ralph R. Reiland (photo)