NBC and Lester Holt, who just last month argued that presenting both sides of a story is not necessary to convey truth, have been accused of deceptively editing a 911 call prior to the police-involved shooting of Ma’Khia Bryant in Columbus, Ohio.
Media Research Center news analyst Nicholas Fondacaro accused the network of running a segment in which they left out key parts of the 911 call.
The phrase not featured in the NBC report: “It’s these grown girls over here trying to fight us, trying to stab us, get here now!”
Fondacaro also claims Holt and NBC did not “show viewers the knife in the attacker’s hand just before the shots.”
The media analyst tweeted the segment which does not include the “trying to stab us” phrase and the bodycam footage which twice is paused just before you can see Bryant swinging her arm forward with a knife clenched in her hand.
If you’ve been living under a rock, Ma’Khia Bryant is a 16-year-old Black girl who was shot and killed by a Columbus police officer wh0 arrived on the chaotic scene to find the girl lunging at multiple people with a knife in hand.
With this taking place in the backdrop of the contentious Derek Chauvin trial, Columbus police quickly tried to quell any controversy by releasing the officer’s bodycam footage.
The bodycam showed the officer appearing to shoot as a means to protect the potential stabbing victims.
And while the NBC News and Lester Holt report does mention a knife and includes a still of the weapon on the ground after the incident, their choice to leave out that portion of the 911 call is curious.
Perhaps cutting the video can be attributed to not wanting to show the attempted murder suspect being shot, but a few more frames would have clearly shown viewers the knife.
And, as Fondacaro points out, NBC’s handling of the story is curious when compared to how other networks chose to cover the incident.
“NBC Nightly News didn’t want to clearly show that part of the body camera footage,” Fondacaro accused, “and they deceptively edited the 911 call to leave out witness accounts of an attempted stabbing.”
Even when mentioning the knife, Holt’s phrasing is quite curious.
At the beginning of the segment, Holt states: “A police officer shot and killed a 16-year-old Black girl in Columbus, Ohio saying she was threatening others with a knife.”
See the wording there? As if it is only the Columbus police making the claim?
They could have added the 911 audio which provided a corroborating witness, and a still from the bodycam which showed both were accurate in their claims.
Daily Caller editor-in-chief Geoffrey Ingersoll openly wondered if the NBC report amounted to “actual malice” on the part of the network.
Perhaps NBC had a viable reason for framing the story the way it did. We’d sure love to hear that reason.
Holt was recently given an award for journalism at the 45th Murrow Symposium.
He raised eyebrows when, in his acceptance speech, Holt suggested that presenting both sides of a story is not necessary for giving the public the ‘truth.’
“I think it’s become clear that fairness is overrated … the idea that we should always give two sides equal weight and merit does not reflect the world we find ourselves in,” he said, later adding that journalists have a duty to be “fair to the truth.”
Deceptively editing a 911 call and video from a story that could put people in harm’s way, as NBC News and Lester Holt are accused of doing, seems to be a dereliction of that duty.
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