BBC takes Zimmerman clip out of context to imply racial motive

A report by Rajini Vaidyanathan about the forthcoming trial of George Zimmerman for the shooting of Trayvon Martin takes a clip of Zimmerman’s phone call to the police completely out of context to give the impression his actions were racially motivated.

Here’s the relevant segment:

Vaidyanathan: He was unarmed, carrying a bag of sweets and iced tea. He’d been spotted by George Zimmerman, a neighbourhood watch volunteer. Believing the teenager was acting suspiciously, he called the police.

Clip from Zimmerman phone call: He’s got his hand in his waistband… and he’s a black male.”


Now here’s the context of that clip taken from the full transcript of the phone call:

Dispatcher: OK, and this guy is he white, black, or Hispanic?
Zimmerman: He looks black.
Dispatcher: Did you see what he was wearing?
Zimmerman: Yeah. A dark hoodie, like a grey hoodie, and either jeans or sweatpants and white tennis shoes. He’s here now, he was just staring.
Dispatcher: OK, he’s just walking around the area…
Zimmerman: Looking at all the houses.
Dispatcher: OK…
Zimmerman: Now he’s just staring at me.
Dispatcher: OK-you said it’s 1111 Retreat View? Or 111?
Zimmerman: That’s the clubhouse…
Dispatcher: That’s the clubhouse, do you know what the-he’s near the clubhouse right now?
Zimmerman: Yeah, now he’s coming towards me.
Dispatcher: OK.
Zimmerman: He’s got his hand in his waistband. And he’s a black male.

“And he’s a black male” is obviously confirmation of his earlier response to the dispatcher. “He looks black” was Zimmerman’s first answer. A short time later he gets a better view so he confirms the fact. The BBC’s report takes this clip out of context to make it seem as if Zimmerman’s reference to Martin’s skin colour was unsolicited, an off the cuff remark rather than a fact that had been requested of him. That is to say, the BBC is trying to imply a racial motive.

This is utterly disgraceful, especially given the fact that last year NBC was forced to fire a journalist for broadcasting an edited version of the above Zimmerman phone call that also made him seem racist. I don’t think the BBC’s out of context cherry-picking is any better.

I’ve already mentioned in the Open Thread that Mark Mardell has written an article about racial tensions ahead of Zimmerman’s trial in which the BBC’s North America editor contrives to ignore the fact that Zimmerman is Hispanic. To do so would muddy Mardell’s narrative, which is literally black and white. Rather than go over all that again (and the BBC’s selective use of photos for this story) here’s the link to my earlier comments.

It seems that the BBC has decided on the story it wants to tell about the Zimmerman case, and it’s going to tell it regardless.

Bookmark the permalink.

26 Responses to BBC takes Zimmerman clip out of context to imply racial motive

  1. Alex says:

    And one of the most disgraceful aspects to all of this is the fact that anti-white attacks are a frequent occurrence both in the States and across Europe, but the BBC doesn’t even raise an eyelid. There has to be certain criteria for BBC reporting, even if this criteria has to be manipulated.


  2. DB says:



  3. stuart says:

    this is the problem with biased unbalanced reporting at the bbc and other media outlets including sky news,there is no reporting mechanism set up for white people who have been victims of racial violence and racist attacks, but there are plenty of organisations set up for black and asian people to report incidents of racism,hence thats when so called far right groups like the edl highlight these injustices and double standards when it comes to reverse racism,if the police and the goverement have got nothing to hide,why dont they ever release the figures in percentage terms for white victims of racist violence including the murder,they tried to hide the sexual grooming of white girls for sex by muslim paedophiles.i know for a fact they are hiding the true extent of racist attacks on white people by ethnic minoritys in the big citys up and down the uk.prove me wrong keith vaz and the home affairs select committee


    • john in cheshire says:

      What the bbc and others do with stories such as this; and, as you say, all the other racial attacks on whites that go unreported; is a form of racism in its purest form; ie. unlike being muslim, being white is a race. It may be appropriate to preface any reference to the bbc with the the word racist.


  4. David Preiser (USA) says:

    Well said, DB. The BBC is now clearly guilty of perpetuating a known falsehood. Again. I hope people are sickened by this.

    Anyone interested in actually holding the BBC to account would do well to comment here.


    • Mo says:

      The term “Lefties,” does not describe the ideals and actions of the BBC and most of the liberal media in the Western World. It is a form of authoritarianism but without an adequate label.
      “Facism,” is laden with negative but applied to the far right wing.
      What can be used to describe the liberal equivalent?
      A name would be useful.


      • Demon says:

        Fascists or nazis are accurate terms to portray the lefties. Only they won’t admit it, despite the clear accuracy of the names when applied to them.


      • Jessica says:

        “Cultural Marxists”


  5. johnnythefish says:


    Anyone interested in defending the BBC would also do well to comment here, though no doubt you’ll need some time to finesse your verbal gymnastics.


  6. will.duncan says:

    Let the courts decide.


  7. Dave666 says:

    I was somewhat confused with the report. If they are saying Zimmerman is white then I’m the Pope. The whole tone was obviously RACISM.


    • Demon says:

      Yes Holy Father. It is clear racism from the BBC as always.


    • David Preiser (USA) says:

      Careful, Dave, Dez might call you a racist for suggesting that Zimmerman isn’t white.


  8. Cyclops says:

    What makes this worse for me – is that the edited phone call game was run in the US by their liberal media. It was blown out of the water once someone did some sniffing and the media had to hold it’s hands up to editing it.

    So having had this trick exposed once, the BBC are now running it in the UK. They can’t argue they missed the inbetween bit which exposed the con because they were all over the original story.

    Maybe they were hoping that they could get away with it because no one heard how the story got exposed in the US.

    Whatever happens they can’t pretend they’re not playing a game here (and a dangerous one at that).


  9. The PrangWizard says:

    This may be rather naïve of me but is a complaint being made, has a complaint been made directly with the BBC and the BBC Trust? There are many clear cases of bias and distortion made on this site but the BBC can, I imagine, just ignore them if they are only made here and not raised formally with them. Could anyone enlighten me?


    • The PrangWizard says:

      As a PS., could I suggest that where a complaint is made the letter is published on this site with additional comment if considered necessary?


  10. Smell the glove says:

    Tom Wolfe got it right when he wrote Bonfire of the vanities. I can see this being played out in the same way, only Zimmerman is not a Master of the universe!


    • London Calling says:

      Racist BBC obviously not expressing the Hispanic community’s fear of backlash. Funny, seems only Muslims do that.


  11. Keith Newman says:

    Didn’t Obama say – with tears in his eyes – “if I had a son he’d look like Trayvon Martin”? – Well I don’t know about that but Obama is acting like a some kind of mugger with the American people at present.


    • Jack de says:

      Obama has put his stamp on this which can only mean that Zimmerman will be found guilty…In other words it will be a Kangaroo court.. BUT if Zimmerman were to be found not guilty then expect riots by the black community!!


  12. Beeboidal says:

    For the Beeb, an extract from an open letter written by George Zimmerman’s mother in April.

    From the beginning, this case has been heavily publicized and a false narrative was developed surrounding a very real tragedy when there was little evidence available to the public. It is astounding that despite the vast amount of information and evidence now available that supports George’s self -defense claim, the majority of the media avoids its publication. It is indeed alarming that even more media outlets do not regret misinforming the public and have not taken steps to retract the fabrications they are responsible for perpetuating


  13. Stewart says:

    Here’s a voice you never likely to hear on the BBC

    Have been unable to find any more recent missives from Mr Rachel on the subject which is a shame as while Tend to disagree more than agree with him he always makes his point well