The Trayvon Martin shooting has gripped the nation for weeks now. In my Townhall column on the subject, nearly two weeks ago when we didn’t know as much of what we think we know now, I withheld judgment on the actual responsibility for the shooting:
We know too little about Mr. Zimmerman’s state of mind before or during this tragic clash. But whether his shooting of Trayvon Martin was spurred by race or an itchy trigger finger or a hero complex or something we know absolutely nothing about, or was actually somehow in self defense, is beside the point.
The point is that our justice system ought to get to the bottom of it.
And I concluded that public reaction and a free press were doing what is required in such cases, spurring government action.
But I need to make an amendment: Not all media are equal; some have behaved in socially irresponsible ways. NBC especially. This major news source aired George Zimmerman’s call to the police, but with a drastic editorial cut — and this sound edit pre-disposed all listeners to think Mr. Zimmerman a racist. After an “investigation,” the network apologized.
But not on air. Those poor souls relying on NBC still may think that Zimmerman was racially profiling Martin, could think nothing but.
Shame on NBC for not apologizing on air, but in a press release. And for not apologizing to Mr. Zimmerman. And for offering no explanation of what happened. The news source’s sound edit was more than a distortion, says Brent Bozell of the Media Research Center, it advanced “a falsehood.”
Poor reporting is disappointing, but the press bearing false witness is something much worse.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.