(Reuters) - NBC News apologized on Tuesday for the way it edited a broadcast of a conversation between George Zimmerman and a police dispatcher before teenager Trayvon Martin was killed by Zimmerman.
Last week Fox News did a report in which it presented “before” and “after” versions of the call. NBC had broadcast the edited exchange on its flagship “Today” morning show.
NBC News launched an investigation after the Fox report.
“During our investigation it became evident that there was an error made in the production process that we deeply regret,” NBC News representative Lauren Kapp said in a statement on Tuesday, in response to a query by Reuters. “We will be taking the necessary steps to prevent this from happening in the future and apologize to our viewers.”
Kapp declined to comment on whether further action would be taken against the producer of the segment or anyone else involved in the program.
She said NBC will not be releasing names of the producers involved or the course of action it will take internally.
The issue of the edited call in NBC and MSNBC news stories was raised on right-leaning blogs that monitor the media such as Breitbart.com and Newsbusters.org nearly a week ago. NBC News first responded to queries on Thursday, Kapp said. Over the weekend it told a Washington Post blog it would investigate its handling of the piece.
The February 26 shooting death of 17-year-old Martin by Zimmerman, 28, a neighborhood watch captain who said he acted in self-defense, has drawn international attention. The incident occurred in Sanford, Florida.
The Fox News report can be viewed on the website of the News Corp unit.
The “Today” show’s segment, which included an ellipsis on screen to indicate omitted text, ran as:
“Zimmerman: This guy looks like he’s up to no good ...”
“Zimmerman: He looks black.”
The full conversation ran as:
”Zimmerman: 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.
Dispatcher: OK, and this guy — is he black, white or Hispanic?
Zimmerman: He looks black.”
NBC’s response contrasts with ESPN’s action following the use of the phrase “Chink in the Armor” by a commentator as well as in a headline, in referring to New York Knicks basketball star Jeremy Lin in February. ESPN promptly apologized, suspended the commentator and fired the headline writer.
NBC News is owned by NBC Universal, a unit of Comcast Corp. ESPN is owned by Walt Disney Co.
Reporting By Yinka Adegoke; Editing by Richard Chang