The 911 call that has many people convinced that George Zimmerman grumbled the phrase “f**kin’ c**ns” moments before shooting and killing 17 year-old Trayvon Martin could loom large when it comes to determining whether the federal government can prosecute the case. CNN, who often takes guff from critics for their sometimes pointless use of whiz-bang technology, put their state-of-the-art tech to good use on Wednesday night’s AC360, isolating and enhancing the audio from that call. The result is, at the very least, more convincing than the raw audio.
On Tuesday, Current TV’s The Young Turks became the first news show to air the 911 call uncensored, which was convincing enough on its own, in my view. However, for those who are still skeptical, Anderson Cooper had CNN reporter Gary Tuchman put audio design specialist Rick Sierra through the paces of cleaning up, enhancing, and isolating the phrase in question at CNN Atlanta’s Audio Suite 31.
Here’s the result:
Given the emotional punch of this story, Tuchman’s presentation is a bit clinical, but that detachment doesn’t blunt the impact of hearing that phrase over and over again. As Cooper pointed out, the Sanford Police are saying that they didn’t hear the slur, not that they “missed it,” as has been reported. Although reporter Tuchman maintains that the recording is not definitive, this should help clear things up a lot for the police. It’s also an example of CNN putting its technological resources to excellent journalistic use.
Although the cable news media didn’t cover Martin’s killing for several weeks after his death, once the coverage did begin, it ramped up quickly. After Current’s The Young Turks, who aired their first Trayvon Martin segment on their March 8 web show, CNN was one of the first networks to cover the Trayvon Martin story, beginning on March 13. MSNBC’s Rev. Al Sharpton also ran a segment, including an interview with Martin family attorney Benjamin Crump, on the 13th. The following day, the Martin story became part of both networks’ news rotations. Fox News ran their first Trayvon Martin segment on March 19, following the release of the 911 tapes, according to the TV Eyes Transcription database.
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