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Arthur Louis

Arthur Louis
February 28
I was a writer and editor for more than forty years with four newspaper and magazine publishers. I am the author of two non-fiction books: "The Tycoons" and "Journalism and Other Atrocities," and one novel, "The Little Champ," all available on


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APRIL 2, 2012 2:00PM

Now Let's Boycott NBC!

Rate: 7 Flag

Maybe you had  better put your protest hoody in mothballs. It turns out that the National Broadcasting Co., which aired the tape of the Zimmerman 911 call from the confrontation with Trayvon Martin, edited it in a way that distorted its meaning, making it seem that Zimmerman was being racist, when in fact he was not.

Here is what Zimmerman told the 911 dispatcher, as aired in an edited version by NBC:

“This guy looks like he’s up to no good. He looks black.”

Here is the full, unedited recording of that exchange:

“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."

Anyone who has spent any time in journalism can recognize what NBC did as despicable and unethical. In the circumstances, it also is a threat to the public welfare. It opens the door to violence, injustice, potentially even to lynching.

But you needn’t have spent time in journalism to recognize that NBC pulled a fast one, and that it doctored the 911 tapes out of the basest motives.

I am sure that anyone who has read this so far is filled with indignation, and will immediately call the sponsors who advertise anywhere on the NBC network, and ask them to withdraw their ads. Anyone who has listened to NBC in the past will, I confidently assume, stop doing so. They also will refuse to buy the products of any company that continues to advertise on NBC.

I especially expect such a response from the people who organized or supported a boycott against Rush Limbaugh. You are all highly principled people – right? -- and will follow your principles wherever they lead you.

Let the cleansing begin.



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Nobody watches TV anymore.
thanks, baltimore.

BOKO, if that is true it is well-deserved.
First, why the hell would NBC edit a 911 call? Unless NBC received the call already edited; it is not only despicable, it should be criminal. Is not inciting hate a crime? Thank for this AL. R

The best thing that can ever happen for this country is for people not to watch TV, at least the news and its pundits.
Gotta tell ya, Arthur, I trust NBC and the mainstream media a hell of a lot more than I trust you. They may have an agenda; you definitely do.

Not sure if your depiction of what NBC supposedly did is what actually happened. You don’t have any links. I can tell you this…every news media report on the 911 call that I’ve heard in the MSM has had had the entire conversation.

I’d really like to hear the version you say was broadcast. Can you provide a link?
thanks, Thoth. I am not sure that NBC is above faking its reports.
Frank, I don't know why you mistrust me. I would never fake a news report. No agenda justifies that.

Try this link:

It is one of dozens that are cropping up. Google is brimming with them.
When I read about this, my first thought was the Dateline NBC story from 1992--

"Dateline NBC aired an investigative report on Tuesday, November 17, 1992, titled “Waiting to Explode”. The 60 minute program was about General Motors pickup trucks allegedly exploding upon impact during accidents due to the poor design of fuel tanks. Dateline's film showed a sample of a low speed accident with the fuel tank exploding. In reality, Dateline NBC producers had rigged the truck’s fuel tank with remotely controlled model rocket engines to initiate the explosion. The program did not disclose the fact that the accident was staged."
Yes, Paul, the tradition endures.
Thank you for that link, Arthur.

Apparently not very good reporting on the part of NBC at all.

But as I said…every news media report that I personally heard (and I’ve heard many) had the full conversation reported. There was no editing.

So…NBC screwed up. Apparently they have launched an internal investigation into the matter and we will all be interested to see what comes of it.

In the meantime, spin on the part of advocates is not new thing. I’ve seen and heard plenty on FOX…and in other places on other issues. The anger directed toward this situation is understandable and not inappropriate.

But if you are suggesting we all should keep our cool and wait for a fuller investigation into what happened and not judge anyone by what we read in the newspapers or see on television…I will agree with you.
racism in America is right up there with major problems that are destroying us

right up there with the banning of all birth control for women

can you say sheep?
Only idiots watch TV "news." After all, it's really about selling commercial time.)
Kathy, Nobody is going to ban birth control. Also, the election of a black president suggests that we have come a long way.
I heard the unedited version you present and I heard it on NBC. However, I credit the media for turning this into a racial issue. Race is not an issue because of Zimmerman's identity, it is an issue because of the role it plays in relation to law enforcement.

Media immediately proclaimed that an unarmed Black teenager had been killed by a white man, then turned full circle and reported that Zimmerman was in fact Hispanic, as if it made a difference and the young boy was less dead or at very least, it was less important. It had been the media that said Zimmerman was white in the first place.

The issue is the disregard shown by law enforcement and the lack of due process, even if the law finds Zimmerman to be innocent based on the "stand your ground" folly.
Great post. Rated.

If NBC does an honest job, it's investigation should take about ten minutes.

Who edited the tape? Why?
thanks, Gordon. it doesn't seem all that mysterious, does it?
CNN has issued an apology for something similar they've done in their coverage of Zimmerman, but the damage is done. I think what's needed is an new Atticus Finch in "To Kill a Zimmerman."
Given the fact that all American media depends on advertising and eyeballs, I hardly pay any attention to it anymore. I look at the NY Times about twice a week. I rarely look at the Washington Post, and I never frequent TV news or the Wall Street Journal.

Both the BBC and Al Jazeera are dependable sources of information, as is the Economist, Guardian, and Independent. But since all media sources will lie about their own country, the best way to get a true picture of what's going on in the world is with a mosaic of media sources from many different countries. I have Russia, China, France, Cuba, Iran, Germany, Israel, India, and Pakistan as other sources of news information -- better than 30 news sources in all.

And this is pretty much what it takes to get an idea of what's actually happening in the world.
lefty, sounds like a plan.
Investigated, caught, cover-up plan rejected, FIRED!
Uncle, It's surprising that he thought he could get away with it.

The pessimist asks, “How soon will it be before this producer is rehired by NBC, or an equivalent organization, into a similar position?”

The optimist asks, “How long does this producer have to apply for jobs before he finds the type of employment at which he can inquire whether his customers want fries with their order?”

Either way, sounds like a good case for a follow-up story.
Uncle, I was thinking the same thing. He probably will pop up again at NBC. He is their type of guy.