NewsBusters Forces NBC to Correct Deceptive Police Shooting Report

After NewsBusters blew the lid off of how NBC Nightly News deceptively edited the 911 call and police body camera footage from the police shooting of Ma’Khia Bryant, the network silently made the corrections Thursday evening. In both instances, they included the omitted elements without any acknowledgment of wrongdoing on their part. But they couldn’t fix it and leave it alone. Instead, they went on to tout NBC star LeBron James for putting out a tweet targeting the officer.

Pretending there were “growing questions,” anchor Lester Holt continued his attempts to sow skepticism, suggesting, “authorities say [Ma’Khia] was wielding a knife.” And correspondent Meagan Fitzgerald, who replaced correspondent Kevin Tibbles on the story, also tried to portray Officer Nicholas Reardon as on a mission to kill.

“Columbus Police Officer Nicholas Reardon arriving on the scene and opening fire. Shooting and killing 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant, who investigators say was armed with a knife,” Fitzgerald’s voiceover said as the video highlighted the knife with a yellow circle.

This fixed one of the deceptive editorial decisions NBC made the previous night. Though the no-screen headline suggested Bryant was just “holding” a knife and not mid-swing at a would-be victim.

Further, Fitzgerald shared the part of the 911 that warned of a knife-wielding attacker:

FITZGERALD: Reardon responding after a 911 call for help.

911 CALL: We’ve got these girls over here trying to fight us, trying to stab us, trying to put their hands on our grandma. Get here now!

 

 

This part of the 911 call was edited out of their reporting the first night. But unfortunately, NBC just couldn’t bring themselves to do the right thing entirely.

“The chaotic scene sparking outrage and questions about policing,” Fitzgerald added as shifted to touting the targeting of Reardon. “LeBron James tweeting a photo of Reardon saying ‘You’re next.’ The NBA star later deleting the tweet explaining, ‘gathering all the facts is important,’ but adding ‘My anger is still here.’”

And despite the fact Officer Reardon acted to save the life of a woman Bryant was trying to stab, Fitzgerald tried to frame it as an obvious need for police reform:

PAULA BRYANT [Ma’Khia Bryant’s mother]: The pain of losing a child is something that no parent wants to go through.

FITZGERALD: A sentiment felt by communities across the nation who are calling for police reform.

CEDRIC ALEXANDER [MSNBC law enforcement analyst]: We do need some national standardized procedures and laws and policies that are in place. The public has great distrust in many parts of our communities across America, white and black, have great distrust in police and the police struggling with their legitimacy.

Proving they were the last thing on her mind, Fitzgerald wrapped up the segment by noting the condition of Bryant’s would-be victims. “As for the two females seen in that video confronted by Bryant, we’re told they have minor injuries,” she finally told Holt.

So, what happened to Tibbles? Well, the network apparently shipped him all the way up to Alaska and the Bering Sea to report on Russian military planes buzzing U.S. fishing vessels. If this was Game of Thrones, they essentially banished him to The Wall.

NBC’s weak addition of the facts and fascination with stoking division and suspicion with the case was made possible because of lucrative sponsorships from Fidelity and Prevagen. Their contact information is linked so you can tell them about the biased news they fund.

The transcript is below, click “expand” to read:

NBC Nightly News
April 22, 2021
7:09:57 p.m. Eastern

LESTER HOLT: Growing questions in Columbus, Ohio after the deadly police shooting of a 16-year-old girl who authorities say was wielding a knife. Her mother speaking about her loss to NBC’s Meagan Fitzgerald.

[Cuts to video]

OFFICER NICHOLAS REARDON: What’s going on?

MEAGAN FITZGERALD: It happened in a matter of seconds.

REARDON: Hey! Hey! Hey! Get down! Get down!

FITZGERALD: Columbus Police Officer Nicholas Reardon arriving on the scene and opening fire. Shooting and killing 16-year-old Ma’khia Bryant, who investigators say was armed with a knife.

REARDON: She had a knife. She just went at her.

FITZGERALD: Reardon responding after a 911 call for help.

911 CALL: We’ve got these girls over here trying to fight us, trying to stab us, trying to put their hands on our grandma. Get here now!

KEITH FERRELL (president, Fraternal Order of Police): The public can see that. As unfortunate as it is, we do not know potentially how many lives could have been lost.

FITZGERALD: The chaotic scene sparking outrage and questions about policing. LeBron James tweeting a photo of Reardon saying “You’re next.” The NBA star later deleting the tweet explaining, “gathering all the facts is important,” but adding “My anger is still here.”

CEDRIC ALEXANDER (law enforcement analyst): If we think about this in terms of self-defense, the officer did exactly what he was trained to do.

FITZGERALD: Police say the investigation into the situation is still underway.

FERRELL: There is more to look at. There will be an independent investigation done that will get those answers.

PAULA BRYANT: I’m still mourning.

FITZGERALD: Answers, Ma’Khia Bryant’s mother is hoping for.

BRYANT: The pain of losing a child is something that no parent wants to go through.

FITZGERALD: A sentiment felt by communities across the nation who are calling for police reform.

ALEXANDER: We do need some national standardized procedures and laws and policies that are in place. The public has great distrust in many parts of our communities across America, white and black, have great distrust in police and the police struggling with their legitimacy.

[Cuts back to live]

HOLT: So Meagan, where does this investigation stand?

FITZGERALD: Well, Lester, officials say Officer Reardon was placed on administrative leave pending this investigation. As for the two females seen in that video confronted by Bryant, we’re told they have minor injuries. Lester?

HOLT: Meagan Fitzgerald, thank you.

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