| April 5
April 5 An internal NBC News probe has
determined a "seasoned" producer was to blame for a misleading
clip of a 911 call that the network broadcast during its
coverage of the Trayvon Martin shooting, according to two
sources at the network.
NBC News brass interviewed more than half a dozen staffers
during its investigation of the misleadingly edited 911 call
placed by George Zimmerman just before he shot the unarmed
Florida teenager, said the sources, one of whom is an executive
at the network.
The clip aired on the network's flagship "Today" morning
show last week.
The edit made it appear that Zimmerman immediately told
police that Martin was black, when, in fact, the full tape
reveals that the neighborhood watch captain only did so when
responding to a question posed by a dispatcher.
There was no clear indication on Thursday of what, if any,
disciplinary actions would be taken against the producer or
other staff involved in the incident.
The sources at the network, who declined to identify the
producer, said NBC News executives did not know the 911 call was
misleadingly edited until news reports surfaced days later on
right-leaning blogs including Newsbusters.org and Breitbart.com.
The sources described the producer's actions as a very bad
mistake, but not deliberate.
NBC News declined to comment on Thursday. The network said
on Tuesday it would not release names of the employees
involved. It has apologized for the incident.
One of the sources said that NBC News President Steve Capus
would not lose his job over the incident.
The Today show's editorial control policies - which include
a script editor, senior producer oversight, and in most cases
legal and standards department reviews of material to be
broadcast - missed the selective editing of the call, said the
Executives have vowed to take rigorous steps to formalize
editorial safeguards in the news division following the
incident, one of the sources said.
NBC News staffers who have been working on the Trayvon
Martin story for several weeks in Florida were at first "in
shock" over the incident, and later furious, another source, who
is an NBC producer, told Reuters.
Public pressure has been building on the network to fully
explain the incident - which critics charge has inflamed racial
tensions in an already volatile situation.
On Thursday, a New York Post editorial characterized the
edited 911 call as "pretty damning evidence of willful
misconduct by NBC News" and suggested that racial violence could
ensue over irresponsible news coverage.
Television news veterans in New York said they were baffled
over how the error came to be broadcast given the intense
vetting such a sensitive story would normally get at a major
network such as NBC.
Executives from parent company Comcast Corp, including Chief
Executive Brian Roberts and Chief Operating Officer Steve Burke,
who doubles as the CEO of NBC Universal, are not involved in the
investigation, two sources inside the network said.
NBC's Today - which has dominated the U.S. morning landscape
for more than a decade - is currently in a ratings war with
ABC's Good Morning America, which has been picking up viewers.