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Current Events & Hot Topics Current Events & Hot Topics

George Zimmerman sues NBC over Trayvon Martin reports

Posted by on Dec. 7, 2012 at 8:00 AM
  • 46 Replies


Lawyers for George Zimmerman filed suit today against NBC Universal Media over a well-publicized editing error that portrayed their client in racist terms in his pursuit of Trayvon Martin on a drizzly evening in February.

“NBC saw the death of Trayvon Martin not as a tragedy but as an opportunity to increase ratings, and so to set about the myth that George Zimmerman was a racist and predatory villain,” states the civil complaint in its opening salvo against NBC.

(Also at The Washington Post: Can Zimmerman prevail against NBC?)

NBC’s editing of the 911 audiotape in the Martin case became a public fixation after the media-monitoring Web site NewsBusters.org noted editing oddities on a “Today” show broadcast March 27. Here’s how NBC News portrayed the audiotape:

Zimmerman: This guy looks like he’s up to no good. He looks black.

The full tape went like this:

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.

Zimmerman thus didn’t volunteer a racial profile of Martin; he was asked to provide it, a point that the lawsuit makes in colorful fashion: “NBC created this false and defamatory misimpression using the oldest form of yellow journalism: manipulating Zimmerman’s own words, splicing together disparate parts of the recording to create illusions of statements that Zimmerman never actually made.”

The suit against NBC alleges four other instances in which NBC-produced shows aired false and defamatory versions of the same events. Zimmerman faces a second-degree murder charge in the case.

The botched edits, charges the suit, were far from innocent mistakes: “Defendants pounced on the Zimmerman/Martin matter because they knew this tragedy could be, with proper sensationalizing and manipulation, a racial powderkeg that would result in months, if not years, of topics for their failing news programs, particularly the plummeting ratings for their ailing “Today Show” as well as for the individual defendants to “make their mark” for reporting a [manipulated] story such as this.” Individual defendants are Lilia Luciano and Jeff Burnside, NBC employees involved in early cases of Zimmerman mis-editing.

Following a public uproar over the tape-doctoring, NBC News issued a statement on the matter saying this: “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.”

Such contrition didn’t impress the Zimmerman camp. “Only after the defendants’ malicious acts were uncovered and exposed by other media outlets … did defendant NBC ‘apologize’ and terminate some of those in its employ responsible for the yellow journalism identified in this Complaint.” Zimmerman himself never received an apology from the defendants, according to the suit.

The suit doesn’t specify a dollar amount of damages that Zimmerman is seeking. “That’s showmanship,” says James Beasley, the Philadelphia-based lawyer representing Zimmerman in the suit.

Beasley declined to comment on whether he’d already had any discussions with NBC. “I don’t want to talk about that. I can’t talk about that. But let’s just say I don’t think it’s going to get settled.”

On that question, at least, Beasley and NBC appear to agree. When asked about the complaint, NBC Universal issued this statement: “We strongly disagree with the accusations made in the complaint. There was no intent to portray Mr. Zimmerman unfairly. We intend to vigorously defend our position in court.”

source

by on Dec. 7, 2012 at 8:00 AM
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Replies (1-10):
Billiejeens
by Gold Member on Dec. 7, 2012 at 8:05 AM
1 mom liked this

Good!

PurdueMom
by Sherri on Dec. 7, 2012 at 9:06 AM
7 moms liked this

I hate this kind of journalism, whether it comes from NBC, Fox, Beitbart, etc.

Zimmerman made many mistakes that night that led to the death of an innocent young man, but he is entitled to a fair trial with an impartial jury.  This type of yellow journalism is misleading and does nothing to serve justice. 

candlegal
by Judy on Dec. 7, 2012 at 9:20 AM
2 moms liked this

I agree

Quoting PurdueMom:

I hate this kind of journalism, whether it comes from NBC, Fox, Beitbart, etc.

Zimmerman made many mistakes that night that led to the death of an innocent young man, but he is entitled to a fair trial with an impartial jury.  This type of yellow journalism is misleading and does nothing to serve justice. 


futureshock
by Ruby Member on Dec. 7, 2012 at 11:51 AM
4 moms liked this

I support him in this, what NBC did was outrageous.

pamelax3
by Gold Member on Dec. 7, 2012 at 11:59 AM
1 mom liked this

NBC should have to pay dearly for that type of reporting!

ashellbell
by shellbark on Dec. 7, 2012 at 3:26 PM
I find them at fault. I hope he wins.
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LauraKW
by "Dude!" on Dec. 7, 2012 at 3:33 PM
3 moms liked this
He should sue them, and I hope he is awarded a large sum (that he then has to pay out in a wrongful death suit to TM's parents). But seriously, he has an excellent case, what they did was unethical and just wrong.
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GLWerth
by Gina on Dec. 7, 2012 at 4:08 PM
2 moms liked this

You've hit on my one problem with this.

If he gets a huge payout, he's profited from murder.

What they did was wrong, but him making a profit from killing is also wrong.

Quoting LauraKW:

He should sue them, and I hope he is awarded a large sum (that he then has to pay out in a wrongful death suit to TM's parents). But seriously, he has an excellent case, what they did was unethical and just wrong.


LauraKW
by "Dude!" on Dec. 7, 2012 at 4:38 PM
Here's my prediction of what happens in this case. This isn't necessarily what I want, but what I think will happen. Z will get off, or will be convicted of something minor with time served. He will win this defamation (or whatever) suit against NBC. He will be sued for wrongful death by M's parents which they will almost certainly win, and any settlement Z is awarded will pass right through his hands. And Z and his family will then just fade into obscurity. The End.

Quoting GLWerth:

You've hit on my one problem with this.


If he gets a huge payout, he's profited from murder.


What they did was wrong, but him making a profit from killing is also wrong.


Quoting LauraKW:

He should sue them, and I hope he is awarded a large sum (that he then has to pay out in a wrongful death suit to TM's parents). But seriously, he has an excellent case, what they did was unethical and just wrong.


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JonJon
by Ruby Member on Dec. 7, 2012 at 4:39 PM
2 moms liked this

Wow; he's determined to "make a killing" off his killing every way he can.  I wonder how much money he's collected to date through his, "GZ Defense fund."

And they say crime doesn't pay.

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