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TNC on the Zimmerman 911 Tape

I want to draw attention to the fact that Ta-Nehisi Coates, who has blogged very strong opinions about the Trayvon Martin case, comes down hard on NBC for its biased editing of the George Zimmerman 911 call just before the killing. NBC edited out the part of the 911 call in which the dispatcher asked Zimmerman the race of the guy he was following. As NBC broadcast it, one got the impression that Trayvon’s race was at the front of Zimmerman’s mind. In fact, the dispatcher prompted Zimmerman to notice it. TNC:

This is a little too cute to write off as unconscious mistake. Moreover, as my old boss Erik Wemple reports, there’s no real explanation in NBC’s apology. Unconscious or not, altering the tape in this way was incredibly unfair to Zimmerman, and incredibly stupid for NBC. How did they not think they would be caught? The real tape is out there.
Something about this case causes people to lose their heads.Wemple has it right here:

Nor does [NBC’s statement] 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.

Exactly. You don’t simply get to behave professionally toward people who are sympathetic. Professionalism isn’t a courtesy, it’s a self-interest.
Because some of my readers write off TNC’s take on the case, I thought it important to point this out.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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