A Win for NewsBusters: NBC Apologizes for Shoddy Editing of Zimmerman Call

On Saturday, blogger Erik Wemple at The Washington Post reported NBC would investigate its shoddy editing of a George Zimmerman 9-1-1 call "As exposed by Fox News and media watchdog site NewsBusters." On Tuesday night, NBC apologized with a brief statement.

"During our investigation it became evident that there was an error made in the production process that we deeply regret. We will be taking the necessary steps to prevent this from happening in the future and apologize to our viewers," the network said.

(The Hollywood Reporter added "When asked if anyone at Today had lost their job or had been reassigned as a result of the investigation, an NBC spokeswoman said: 'We will not be commenting on our course of action.'")

Wemple evaluated the new apology:

No matter how you feel about Zimmerman, that bit of tape editing was unfair to the truth and to Zimmerman’s reputation, such as it is. Reaction on Twitter and elsewhere to my previous post on this matter, was brutal toward NBC, with many comments suggesting the worst about the network’s motivations, reliability and so on.

Does the statement adequately address those concerns? On the good front, it acknowledges the mistake and apologizes to viewers for the bad editing. It’s a forthright correction and spares us any excuses about the faulty portrayal. On the bad front, the statement is skimpy on the details on just how the mistake unfolded. Nor does it articulate an apology directly to George Zimmerman, the “viewer” who is most aggrieved by the screw-up. In light of all that’s happened, Zimmerman may be a tough person for a news network to apologize to, but that’s just the point: Apologies are hard.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis