Jeff Burnside at NBC6 Reportedly Fired Over Misleadingly Edited George Zimmerman Audio

Categories: Media Watch
NBC's national Today show deservedly caught loads of flak last month after airing an audio clip of George Zimmerman's 911 call that had been falsely edited to sound as if Zimmerman was saying he found Martin suspicious because he was black. But where did the bogus sound clip come from?

The network launched an internal investigation and, according to SFLTV, they found the culprit was veteran NBC6 reporter Jeff Burnside. Burnside has been fired over the incident, the blog reports.

Update: A spokesman for the NBC owned stations confirms for Riptide that an NBC6 employee was fired over a bogus Zimmerman edit, though he claims the edit was separate from the national Today show incident.

burnside.jpg
Jeff Burnside
Poynter got in touch with an NBC6 spokesperson, who told them that "as a result of our investigation, an employee involved in editing the tapes is no longer with the station;" they didn't apparently confirm that Burnside was the employee fired.

(Riptide also left a message at the station; we'll update this post when we hear back.)

Update: An NBC spokesman released this statement to Riptide:

"We take this incident very seriously and apologize to our viewers. After conducting an extensive investigation, we are putting a more stringent editorial process in place to ensure this doesn't happen again."

We're still trying to get to the bottom of how the NBC6 error differs from the Today show mistake.

The portion of Zimmerman's 911 call that landed Today in hot water originally read like this (via the Washington Post):
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.

Dispatcher: OK, and this guy -- is he black, white or Hispanic?

Zimmerman: He looks black.
When the clip aired on the national show, though, Zimmerman's audio went like this:
Zimmerman: This guy looks like he's up to no good. He looks black.
Key difference! Several people at NBC6 were questioned over the bad edit, SFLTV reports, and Burnside was suspended until last Friday, when he was fired. A producer for Today was also fired, the site says.

Burnside was among the most experienced reporters at NBC6 with dozens of journalism awards and several regional Emmys.

He won New Times' Best TV News Reporter in 2007, when we wrote that "he has gone undercover to expose how puppies go from puppy mills to pet shops, and may have helped save the whales by uncovering how powerful sonar can hurt them. He's interviewed presidents, exposed white-power extremists and dangerous religious cults."

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16 comments
PiazzaRumblings
PiazzaRumblings

I live in Orlando and am unfamiliar with Burnside..that said...the editing and reporting that caused his termination caused a great deal of unjustified havoc in central Florida. The reasons for the unfortunate shooting were reported in such a way that it caused racial tensions to erupt in a way not seen since Sharpton's Tawana Brawley farce. The facts of the case are bad enough..why add fuel to the fire, NBC? I think I know why....Network ratings!

Ladydixie
Ladydixie

Bye Bye moron. Enjoy obama's unemployment checks. 

Foxy
Foxy

Jeff Burnside appears to have a future at MSNBC News in Seacacus, New Jersey.  Perhaps he will be back on the cable news and propaganda network by Labour Day and just in time for the fall political and election season.

Someone in the news media should ask Burnside the following question:  HAVE YOU NO SHAME?

David Sims
David Sims

I have a poor opinion of internal investigations generally. They always make me wonder whether the truth clashes with the interests of the corporate decision-makers or with the company's profits versus civil liability. Although NBC might have found the right man and might have done the right thing, there will always be this nagging question:

Is this a scapegoat to whom hush money was paid?

Littlepup300
Littlepup300

THis is the best news that I have heard in 15 years.. Looser   Jeff  Burnise being fired. He is a liar, looser and this is his specialty.  To lie and manipulate the facts. It is about time that he was caught.   I am happy  happy  Happy

Snchpnz
Snchpnz

Off to channel 7 it is!

Jeff deserves his many rewards
Jeff deserves his many rewards

Jeff Burnside is an excellent TV reporter. He works hard and he is accessible. We look forward to seeing him on TV.

J.J. Colagrande
J.J. Colagrande

Jeff Burnside is a hard-working veteran broadcast journalist with an eye for impropriety, an ear for a story, and in particular, a sincere heart for all things natural and the environment. Something's wrong here. Lee Majors was the Fall Guy. Bad news bears.

Drake Mallard
Drake Mallard

 Does everything have to be tied back to that? Did Zimmerman work for the TSA or are you just reaching?

Ted G
Ted G

Burnside deserves being fired. And, when Zimmerman files his civil case, NBC and Burnside will be the defendants.  Manipulating the news is deplorable, but in this case, NBC's actions could have caused innocent people to be killed or injured. The actions of Burnside and NBC  should be considered criminal as well as negligent.  The media, in general, has become a scum bucket of opportunists and liars. 

Got burned by Burnside...
Got burned by Burnside...

Burnside is a scumbag who makes up stories and sensationalizes facts to reap those rewards...He was probably a cheat in school, can't believe anything he says, good riddance...

Jim Camp
Jim Camp

Really ? Wonder how much of that urban legend was fabricated ? One thing you learn in this lifetime, what the media portrays as fact, usually isn't.

"He won New Times' Best TV News Reporter in 2007, when we wrote that "he has gone undercover to expose how puppies go from puppy mills to pet shops, and may have helped save the whales by uncovering how powerful sonar can hurt them. He's interviewed presidents, exposed white-power extremists and dangerous religious cults.""

Mtg
Mtg

Yes, maybe Channel 7 or 4 will broadcast more realistic news.  Shame on Jeff. He just encouraged and added fuel to the anger that some groups felt at that time. 

Hyperbole
Hyperbole

 "what the media portrays as fact, usually isn't."

USUALLY?  that's quite excessive.

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