At the George Zimmerman trial today a star witness, a young woman from Miami known as “Witness 8,” took the stand. She is Trayvon Martin‘s friend who recounted their phone conversation in the moments before the Florida teen was shot dead by neighborhood watchman Zimmerman.
CNN, MSNBC and Fox News were all live (we’ll get to why HLN wasn’t in a moment) at 2:48 pm when the witness explained, profanity and all, what Martin said to her. It included the word “shit” several times, by the witness and repeated by the prosecutor. The witness also used the “N” word three times, testifying it was the word Martin used to describe Zimmerman, who’d been following him.
This short, but meaningful back and forth kept TV news control room staffers perplexed. MSNBC censored none of it. CNN dropped the audio so viewers had little idea what was said at all — expect when she used the “N” word. Fox News let the shits slip, so Megyn Kelly interrupted to warn parents “this may get more PG-13.”
As for HLN, the network carrying the most coverage of the trial, it stopped live coverage earlier today and has been airing the trial on a delay — not a 7-second delay — but up to a half hour. So while viewers watching the Zimmerman trial on CNN, MSNBC and Fox News heard “Witness 8’s” testimony live at 2:48, HLN viewers didn’t see it until 3:19 — by then, plenty of time to censor the profanity.
As of this writing, the witness is now under cross-examination — live on all four networks.