In a statement totally disconnected from the reality of media coverage of the Trayvon Martin shooting, on Thursday's Today show, NBC chief medical editor Nancy Snyderman proclaimed that the case, "...underscores the fact that we don't talk about race enough in this country and that race does matter, it's always under the surface."
NBC alone – not to mention the other networks or MSNBC – made race so much of a central issue to the tragedy that the network aired a story that dishonestly edited a 911 call from accused shooter George Zimmerman to make it seem as if the neighborhood watch volunteer singled out the black teenager for his race.
While the network issued an apology on paper and fired the producer responsible for the false editing, NBC News has yet to apologize on air for the report, which appeared on Today.
In addition, race has been talked about on the Today show so much in relation to the Trayvon Martin shooting that on March 30 co-host Hoda Kotb went so far as to declare that Skittles – candy that Martin happened to have on him – had become, "A symbol of racial injustice."
Not wanting to let a tragedy go to waste on Thursday, Snyderman saw the case as an opportunity to go after guns and the Stand Your Ground law in Florida: "I hope it allows us as a nation to talk about guns...this Stand Your Ground law, where now justifiable homicide cases have tripled since that law. I hope it allows this country to reexamine that."
Snyderman made the comments during the show's regular Today's Professionals panel segment, with fellow panelist and attorney Star Jones voicing her agreement: "And law enforcement really and truly has been taxed in the states that have Stand Your Ground laws."
This is not the first time Snyderman has pushed the gun issue on Today. On February 16 she bizarrely decried the "guns" and "violence" in a Rick Santorum campaign ad. The ad in question accused Mitt Romney of mudslinging and depicted a Romney impersonator firing a paint ball gun of mud at a cardboard cutout of Santorum.
Here is a transcript of the April 12 exchange:
SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Now to Today's Professionals, our panel of power players weighing in on the hot topics of the day. Star Jones is an attorney and author, Donny Deutsch is chairman of the ad giant Deutsche Incorporated. And Dr. Nancy Snyderman is NBC's chief medical editor. Good morning to all of you.
NANCY SNYDERMAN: Good morning. Good morning.
STAR JONES: Good to see you.
GUTHRIE: Boy, we have a lot to talk about. Let's start with the George Zimmerman case. He's now been charged with second-degree murder in the shooting of Trayvon Martin. Star, our lawyer, I'll start with you. Do you think this prosecutor got the charge right? Was it an overcharge?
STAR JONES: I think that prosecutors like to charge as high as they think that the evidence is that shows them right now. She obviously knows a lot more than the rest of us do. And I think one thing that was extremely impressive is she now focused America's attention on justice and due process. That this process for her was really about taking care of the victims, protecting them, but now it shifts to making sure justice is done. And I was extremely impressed with her.
GUTHRIE: Which leads me to the next point because I don't think there can be any denying that public pressure is part of the reason that we got to the point where a charge has been filed. But Donny, I'll put it to you. Do you think public pressure has a role going forward? Do you think it will affect what happens in a courtroom in Florida?
DONNY DEUTSCH: Well, I think there's politics and there's law and there's the politics of law. And clearly, this had to go to trial. We don't know the details here. None of us know the details. Clearly this is a case that needs a brighter light, and we're going to get it now. It's that simple.
NANCY SNYDERMAN: I'm hoping that as this goes forward, and I think hearing you talk about – through a legal lens, I'm not surprised by what's happened. But I hope it allows us as a nation to talk about guns, this law that was enacted in Florida in 2005, this Stand Your Ground law, where now justifiable homicide cases have tripled since that law. I hope it allows this country to reexamine that.
JONES: And law enforcement really and truly has been taxed in the states that have Stand Your Ground laws. I think one of the things we need to do is reject the premise of the question of whether or not the public pressure is going to impact on the justice system. Public pressure simply made a light bulb go off in this case. That's what it did.
DEUTSCH: I always wonder in cases like this though, which is obviously race is a huge part of it, does this heal or does this divide? And I always wonder – obviously, this has got to happen now and-
GUTHRIE: And let me pick up on that because if ultimately – you would acknowledge, this is a tough case for any prosecutor to bring.
JONES: Very much so.
GUTHRIE: If you end up with an acquittal or coming back on a charge that the Martin family doesn't feel is sufficient, do you worry about this tinderbox in Sanford, Florida?
JONES: There's never going to be sufficiency for the Martin family. This is the one thing that as a prosecutor I'd like to impart to people. They lost their child. You're never going to make that right. What makes it right for them is that the person responsible for his death stands before a court of law. And that a jury of his peer's says yes or no.
DEUTSCH: But you're automatically assuming – let's say it comes – I want to go back to the divide thing. Let's say it comes out in the trial that this young man was initiating things.
DEUTSCH: And this was – well, then it cuts in another direction. Then you get white people angry. And then so either way, what's so upsetting about this...
SNYDERMAN: But it underscores the fact that race-
DEUTSCH: ...is it divides us!
SNYDERMAN: But it underscores the fact that we don't talk about race enough in this country and that race does matter, it's always under the surface.
DEUTSCH: Well, we do talk about it, unfortunately, it's always about this.
JONES: We don't tell the truth. We don't tell the truth about it. And when they're in this trial, if we get to that point, what you should remember, first of all, is as long as the facts and the truth come out, then justice actually is done.
GUTHRIE: And people will see it.
GUTHRIE: Florida has very expansive sunshine laws. Likely to be a camera in that courtroom.