Updated 4/25 6:51pm: updating the story headline to reflect a new development. What WTVJ aired and what aired on the Today Show, while similar, were two different reports. Jeff Burnside was fired for what aired on WTVJ. The video that the Today Show aired came from NBC Southeast headquarters which is based in South Florida, according to Poyntier.org
You won’t hear it anywhere else but here – insiders have told us WTVJ reporter Jeff Burnside was fired last Friday for a Trayvon Martin report that aired on WTVJ and which included (with a full screen graphic) the edited 911 transcript from the call George Zimmerman made to 911.
allegedly editing the Trayvon Martin 911 tape, the same tape NBC aired on ‘Today’ in early April. Allegedly, his firing wasn’t announced internally and so far there is no information whether NBC made a conclusion if the edit was misleading on purpose or if it was an oversight.
The 911 tape from the night of Trayvon Martin’s shooting, as initially aired by NBC, eliminated a question from the 911 dispatcher to George Zimmerman about whether Trayvon was black, white or Hispanic.
What NBC aired was George Zimmerman saying “This guy looks like he’s up to no good. He looks black.”
However, the actual transcript from that part of the tape is this:
George 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.
911 Dispatcher: OK, and this guy — is he black, white or Hispanic?
George Zimmerman: (pauses briefly) He looks black.
NBC launched an internal investigation immediately after the incident, and I’m told several people other than Burnside were questioned, at WTVJ and NBC news, including a WTVJ editor or a news photographer who may have worked on the report. Burnside was suspended while the investigation was ongoing but NBC decided he was the producer and fired him last Friday. An NBC network producer who we’re told only took the edited tape from WTVJ, without checking it (I’m told it’s not unusual since it comes from an affiliate) and could not have known about the edit was also fired in this incident.