The NBC producer responsible for editing George Zimmerman‘s 911 call to make it seem as if he said that he was following Trayvon Martin because he was”Black,” was fired Thursday by the network, reports the New York Times.
A spokeswoman for NBC News declined to comment and two people familiar with the disciplinary action have refused to name the producer, only revealing that it was an experienced person who made an honest mistake.
NBC News conducted an investigation into the misleading segment and determined that it did indeed bolster the argument that Zimmerman was racially motivated to kill Trayvon. The segment, which aired on the “Today” show on March 27 featured the following edited statement by Zimmerman:
This guy looks like he’s up to no good. He looks black.”
Zimmerman’s unedited statement sounded much different — though just as discriminatory:
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.” Then the dispatcher asked, “O.K., and this guy — is he white, black or Hispanic?” Only then did Mr. Zimmerman say, “He looks black.”
Though the implication that Trayvon was a Black person up to “no good” remains unchanged, the missing question by the 911 operator was enough to send the producer packing.
Conservative media watchdog, NewsBusters, noticed the misleading edits and on March 31, NBC promised to investigate.
In a statement issued April 4, the network news division said that it sincerely regretted the incident:
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.”