George Zimmerman, the man charged with murder in the killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, has sued NBCUniversal Media over its coverage of the shooting, the Orlando Sentinel reports. The complaint alleges that NBC News used “yellow journalism” when it edited a phone call Zimmerman made to police moments before he shot the 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 powderkeg that would result in months, if not years, of topics for their failing news programs,” the lawsuit charges.
The suit 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 Trayvon, 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 Trayvon was “white, black or Hispanic” and Zimmerman replied, “He looks black.” NBCUniversal has said that the conversation between between Zimmerman and the dispatcher was shortened to save air time.