This might get lively
George Zimmerman to sue NBC over editing his 911 call audio. The network took audio where he was saying it looks like this guy is up to no good, the 911 operator asks if he's white, black, or hispanic, he replies he looks to be black, and edited it into it looks like this guy is up to no good, he looks to be black. Normally the media has a LOT of first amendment protections against suit, but this situation might get past all those. Clearly, it had knowledge of what the audio actually said, and someone changed it to make it more sensational, and negative for Zimmerman.
UPDATE: I know something of defamation law, having won what their attorney said was the only verdict a major TV station here ever lost. A news outlet cannot make a person a public figure, and then plead his public figure status in order to gain the constitutional protections associated with that. The plaintiff must himself have gained such status. But there would be a decent argument that Zimmerman became a public figure by involvement in the fight. In any event, the audio was clearly doctored, so *someone* working for NBC had actual knowledge that it was untrue.
Absence of Malice will not protect NBC on this disgusting act by them.
I believe this case will be a slam dunk and NBC will be looking to settle this case with a large cash settlement offer.
They will also want a non disclosure clause.
I hope and pray their offer is turned down and this goes to a jury with a public verdict.
Paul in Texas
Posted by: Paul Kanesky at October 6, 2012 11:57 AM
As a retired tax lawyer with no libel litigation experience whatever, I ask . . .
Can the press make an otherwise anonymous citizen into a "public figure" just by printing sensational fabrications about them, and then claim immunity from liability under the public figure doctrine? Sounds like the ultimate bootstrap to me, but that's why I ask.
Posted by: wrangler5 at October 6, 2012 01:18 PM
Another tax lawyer here.
Isn't the doctoring in order to "create" a false story evidence of malice sufficient to get by Times v. Sullivan (which I last read in 1968)? If not, can the malice standard EVER be violated?
A half truth is a full lie. SEC rule 10b-5?
Posted by: 30YearProf at October 8, 2012 07:31 PM
Zimmerman's suing NBC? He needs to take care that he doesn't accidentally "suddenly burst into flames."
Posted by: Henry Bowman at October 11, 2012 04:14 PM