The organization perhaps most responsible for exposing the Today show's airing of a doctored 911 call placed by George Zimmerman the night he shot Trayvon Martin is calling on lawmakers to investigate NBC.
The Media Research Center said Tuesday its supporters have issued 100,000 emails, letters and phone calls to NBC's parent company, Comcast. The MRC is also encouraging the FCC to take the manipulated 911 call into account before it approves a $3.6 billion deal that would transfer a large chunk of wireless specturm to Verizon that is currently held by a partnership that includes Comcast.
MRC head Brent Bozell was among the first to get the ball rolling on what conservative bloggers are now calling "editgate" when he appeared March 29 on Sean Hannity's TV show on the Fox News Channel.
Hannity played the version of Zimmerman's 911 call where he appears to say while describing Martin: "This guy looks like he's up to no good. He looks black." Hannity also played the unedited call, where Zimmerman doesn't mention Martin's race until the 911 operator asks: "Is he white, black or Hispanic."
"This isn't bias, this isn't distortion, this is an all-out falsehood by NBC News," Bozell said during the Fox News segment, video of which is below.
NBC has since apologized to viewers and said it has fired a producer because of the manipulated audio, though it hasn't named the former employee and bloggers are beginning to question the validity of the claim that such a firing ever occurred.
NBC declined comment on Tuesday.
In its statement Tuesday, MRC informs members of Congress and the FCC that, in its view, NBC's broadcast of the doctored audio has "flamed the fires of racial hatred and animosity" because it unfairly advanced the narrative that Zimmerman, a Hispanic, killed Martin because he was black.
"The doctored audio clip was used at least five times by the Today show and NBC Nightly News," according to the MRC.
"On March 31st, NBC announced they would investigate themselves. This is like Nixon investigating Watergate," the MRC said.
In an apology last Tuesday, NBC said of the incident, "We will be taking the necessary steps to prevent this from happening in the future and apologize to our viewers."
The MRC said it rejected NBC's "ridiculous, two-sentence non-apology apology."
The MRC also accuses NBC of using various excuses to dodge blame, primarily when it said it simply edited the tape to save some time.
"This is a complete violation of the public trust," the MRC said. "Today we are contacting appropriate committees in Congress asking them to investigate Comcast/NBC's public deception in view of the proposed Comcast/Verizon business deal; and Comcast's duty to the public trust given one of their premier properties -- NBC -- has advanced this deception and arrogantly refuses to apologize to its own broadcast viewers."
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