The Friends of George Zimmerman

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
April 27 2012 9:10 AM

The Friends of George Zimmerman

Score another one for the news-watching blogs. After the Today Show ran a misleading edit of George Zimmerman's final 911 call, TalkLeft's "Jeralyn" tracked down the affiliate that got it wrong first. The culprit: NBC6 in Florida, which ran an early story that truncated Zimmerman this way.

This guy looks like he's up to no good... he's black.

In fact, Zimmerman had said that the guy (Trayvon Martin) looked to be trouble, the dispatcher asked about race, and Zimmerman offered it. Other news outlets managed to report what happened without botching the quote. Mother Jones, for example, gave readers the whole 911 call. But NBC6 screwed up, a national show that took its lead screwed up, and now the reporter who made the edit is gone.

But it's a little late for Zimmerman. So is this Reuters profile of the guy -- the latest strong Reuters dispatch from the ground, strongly sourced in Zimmerman's circles. The key section, subtitled "a neighborhood in fear," portrays Zimmerman as a watchful 911 caller responding to a series of burglaries. We learn that a bicycle was stolen from Zimmerman's yard in 2011, but our key anecdote of two black men breaking into a home then slipping away was previously reported by Amy Green. There had been eight break-ins in 14 months.

Here's a photo I took of the area behind the homes in the Retreat at Twin Lakes -- Martin's body was found on the right, in the foreground in front of the white square.

photo (40)

The homes are right next to one another; the back porch is the easiest point of entry into any one of them. To enter the community, you needed to either hop a fence at a weak point and roam around, or enter a gate with a password. Zimmerman's 911 calls, the records of which are now all available, informed the police of a lot of things that looked suspicious to him, but never panned out.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 


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