Critics bashed “NBC Nightly News” Wednesday after the Peacock Network’s flagship evening news program omitted key details from a report on the police-involved shooting of Ma’Khia Bryant in Columbus, Ohio.
Media Research Center news analyst Nicholas Fondacaro called out NBC News for editing out a portion of a frantic 911 call in which a woman is heard saying: “It’s these grown girls over here trying to fight us, trying to stab us, get here now!”
NBC did air a brief audio clip from the call in which the woman shouts, “We need a police officer here now!”
Fondacaro also drew attention to the portion of the police bodycam footage shown by NBC, which he noted did not “show viewers the knife in the attacker’s hand just before the shots.”
However, the segment did not hide the fact that Bryant had a knife.
“A police officer shot and killed a 16-year-old Black girl in Columbus, Ohio saying she was threatening others with a knife,” NBC anchor Lester Holt began the report.
Throughout the report, a graphic at the bottom of the screen read, “POLICE FATALLY SHOOT 16-YEAR-OLD BLACK GIRL HOLDING KNIFE” and a still image from the bodycam footage showed a knife on the ground.
As Fondacaro pointed out, however, ABC’s “World News Tonight” and the “CBS Evening News” both aired the portion of the 911 call that included the stabbing reference and both zoomed in on the footage, showing more clearly that Bryant was holding a knife during the altercation.
“NBC Nightly News” was slammed on social media in light of the stark comparison with the program’s competitors.
“Really something to watch the comparison of how ABC News responsibly covered the story with how NBC News left out critical details,” conservative writer A.G. Hamilton reacted.
“Is this not to the level of actual malice at this point? The police officer is not a public person. The report leaves out key evidence in such a way as to imply deliberate deception,” wrote Daily Caller editor-in-chief Greggory Ingersoll.
“Omitting a key fact like the knife being clearly visible in her hand as she swings it at the other girl is willfully & intentionally deceptive,” Washington Examiner reporter Jerry Dunleavy tweeted.
“Lester Holt gave a speech about facts and truth two weeks ago,” political commentator Stephen Miller knocked the NBC anchor.
“No surprise here, but NBC was far more dishonest than CBS and ABC in its coverage of the Columbus incident,” Daily Caller reporter Chuck Ross concluded.
As Miller alluded to, Lester Holt recently accepted a journalism award and gave remarks in which he claimed that “it’s become clear that fairness is overrated,” and added that “the idea that we should always give two sides equal weight and merit does not reflect the world we find ourselves in.”
“That the sun sets in the west is a fact. Any contrary view does not deserve our time or attention,” Holt said. “Decisions to not give unsupported arguments equal time are not a dereliction of journalistic responsibility or some kind of agenda. In fact, it’s just the opposite. Providing an open platform for misinformation, for anyone to come say whatever they want, especially when issues of public health and safety are at stake, can be quite dangerous. Our duty is to be fair to the truth.”