People who live in glass houses shouldn't...

Monday - 5/7/2012, 2:00am EDT

A number of people at the Secret Service have been fired or forced into retirement because of the Colombia thing.

A number of people at the General Services Administration (including the administrator) have resigned, been fired or forced to resign because of the West Coast region's intentionally over-the-top party in Las Vegas.

Terrible. But we all know this is not the first time and it won't be the last time. The issue is who's next?

The GSA/Secret Service story has been a blessing-in-disguise for radio, TV, newspapers, bloggers and the tweet and Twitter crowd. Bad news is always good news. Ratings jump when things go bad. Especially in Washington and Hollywood.

But nobody is perfect...

So, did you catch the The New York Times story last Friday? It was about an NBC TV producer who was fired. Fired for editing (read 'doctoring') an audio tape in a (possibly) racial-based hate crime. That was the shooting in Florida where a self-appointed neighborhood watch guy shot and killed a black teenager.

According to the Times, an unnamed producer "strung together audio clips" of a 911 call from the alleged shooter to the 911 operator. It said the segment in question was shown on the Today show on March 27 and it included audio in which the alleged shooter, George Zimmerman, was heard saying "he looks black."

But the Times said the comments had "been taken grossly out of context" by the producer. The full tape said "this guy looks like he's up to no good. Or he's on drugs or something. It's raining and he's just walking around, looking about." At that point the 911 dispatcher said to Zimmerman, "OK, and this guy — is he white, black or Hispanic?" Only then, the Times said, did Mr. Zimmerman say, "He looks black."

Whatever the outcome of the case, whether Zimmerman is found guilty or not guilty, the audio tape is critical. To NBC's credit, it conducted an internal review, identified the problem and then fired the producer who doctored the tape. Good for NBC for investigating. Good for The New York Times for making it public.

But...

Unlike the Secret Service which named names, or the GSA which listed its alleged bad boys, we don't know the name of the producer who broke every rule of journalism and who could have prompted big-time violence. Maybe he already has.

People in the news business will eventually find out the name of the tape doctor. You may even learn it, eventually, perhaps long after the case has been forgotten by most people.

But next time some whacky, arrogant or what-were-they-thinking civil servants mess up (and get caught) you can bet we will all know their names, ranks and serial numbers which will be printed and broadcast for all to see.

Is there something wrong with this picture?


NEARLY USELESS FACTOID

By Jack Moore

The length of a flight attendant's skirt is often inverse to her seniority, according to Mental Floss. Flight attendant Heather Poole, the author of a new book called "Cruising Altitude," revealed that newbies can't hem their skirts above a certain length until they're off probation. "Afterward, it's OK to shorten the hem and show a little leg," Poole writes.


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