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George Zimmerman sues NBC for coverage of Trayvon Martin case

This news story was published on December 7, 2012.
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By Susan Jacobson, Orlando Sentinel –

ORLANDO, Fla. — George Zimmerman, the man charged with murder in the killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, on Thursday sued NBCUniversal Media over its coverage of the Sanford, Fla., shooting.

The complaint alleges that NBC News used “yellow journalism” when it edited a phone call Zimmerman made to police moments before he shot the South Florida teen on Feb. 26.

“Defendants pounced on the Zimmerman/Martin matter because they knew this tragedy could be, with proper sensationalizing and manipulation, a racial powder keg that would result in months, if not years, of topics for their failing news programs,” the lawsuit states.

The suit, filed in Seminole County by attorneys Mark O’Mara of Orlando and James Beasley of Philadelphia, accuses NBC of igniting “media arson” in March when it spliced a portion of the call between Zimmerman and a dispatcher “to juxtapose unrelated content to make it appear that Zimmerman was a racist and that he was racially profiling Trayvon Martin.”

In the edited audio, Zimmerman tells a dispatcher that Martin, who was visiting family in Zimmerman’s neighborhood, “looks like he’s up to no good. He looks black.” In fact, the dispatcher asked whether Martin was “white, black or Hispanic” and Zimmerman replied, “He looks black.”

The suit contends that NBCUniversal failed to report Zimmerman’s Hispanic heritage while emphasizing Martin’s race. Reports also used misleading photos of both, the complaint alleges.

The story sparked international protests calling for Zimmerman’s arrest — in some cases, dead or alive.

Zimmerman is claiming defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress. No dollar amount is mentioned.

The lawsuit also names NBC reporters Ron Allen, Lila Rodriguez Luciano and Jeff Burnside. Luciano and Burnside were fired because of their work on the case, according to the suit.

Representatives of NBCUniversal could not be reached. Previously, they have said the conversation between Zimmerman and the dispatcher was shortened to save air time.

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8 Responses to George Zimmerman sues NBC for coverage of Trayvon Martin case

  1. Avatar

    happyguy Reply Report comment

    December 8, 2012 at 11:29 am

    Let’s see here. He reports a suspicious man to the police the police thank him, tell him an officer is on the way, and not to follow the man. What does that gun toting idiot do? He kills the man after the police tell him not to follow him. If I was walking around a neighborhood and someone was following me (Zimmerman) I would have confronted him too. Stand your ground is nothing more than letting the gun toting fool be judge, jury, and executioner. Zimmerman should rot in jail

    • Avatar

      LVS Reply Report comment

      December 8, 2012 at 12:54 pm

      @happy guy-why doesn’t it surprise me that you would use this as a opportunity to belittle gun owners and call people names. That seems to be what you do best. Does that make you feel bigger and stronger to call names? The man defended himself when attacked which is is right under the law. It is not against the law to follow someone. It is against the law to assult someone and you do have the right to protect yourself.

      • Avatar

        happyguy Reply Report comment

        December 8, 2012 at 2:27 pm

        There is no way this should have ever happened. Zimmerman would have never followed him if it weren’t for his gun. He is a want-to-be cop but what he did should be criminal. Again he should rot in jail. This is another example of people legally carring guns where innocent people are hurt or killed. Zimmerman turned this kid into a criminal by his (Zimmermans) actions.

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        happyguy Reply Report comment

        December 8, 2012 at 2:33 pm

        Also I never belittled or called gun owners and names here. I was reffering to Zimmerman. I can’t help it that you put yourself in Zimmermans place. In other words…if the shoe fits

      • Avatar

        LVS Reply Report comment

        December 8, 2012 at 2:59 pm

        @happyguy-Ah, I guess I hurt your feelings by telling the truth. You seem to be one of those that is against legal gun owners and the LAW. You want to rewrite it to suit yourself. My experience has been those that don’t like it that we have the right to carry guns are cowards that are afraid they just might get shot when they insult or assult someone with a gun. If the shoe fits.

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      concerned Reply Report comment

      December 8, 2012 at 4:57 pm

      Hold on happyguy. We have a court system to find the facts and make judgements in this case.

      Stand your ground is not authority to be judge ,jury and executioner.

      The left wing media was ready to convict Zimmerman from day one.

  2. Avatar

    LVS Reply Report comment

    December 8, 2012 at 8:47 am

    NBC is nothing more than a Socialist, sensationalism, unprofessional media outlet who makes up story’s to suit their needs. What was done to this young man was unexcusable. All he did was defend himself aginst a thug and look what happened to him. They keep putting his “parents on T.V. trying to drum up sympathy for the thug. Good Luck George. I hope you get millions in a settlement. Enough to put them out of business.

  3. Avatar

    Free at last Reply Report comment

    December 7, 2012 at 11:26 pm

    I hope you are able to walk soon, George. You’ve had a real injustice done to you.