Recently, CNN enhanced audio of George Zimmerman — the man who shot Trayvon Martin — to try and determine if he did, in fact, use a racial slur while calling police on the night of the shooting. Back then, it sounded like Zimmerman might have used the phrase “fu**ing coons,” and his critics have cited it as evidence of a racially-motivated attack. But now CNN has enhanced the audio again, and the reporter is casting doubts that the term was used.
“It certainly sounds like that word to me,” Gary Tuckman said when the audio was first enhanced. But after the latest enhancement, he’s not so sure:
“Now it does sound less like that racial slur. … From listening in this room, and this is a state-of-the-art room, it doesn’t sound like that slur anymore. It sounds like … we‘re hearing the swear word at first and then the word ’cold.’ And the reason some say that would be relevant, is because it was unseasonably cold in Florida that night and raining.”
Shows like CSI would have you believe one can easily and accurately enhance any audio or visual data to get data that isn’t stored in the source material. How many times have we seen the TV cops take a low definition video and “enhance” it to the point of crystal clarity? The real world is an asshole and doesn’t abide by precedents set by Hollywood so the whole idea of “enhancing” audio or visual data and getting reliable data from it is foolhardy.
Sadly the damage to Zimmerman’s name is done. Stating outrage over an apparently race driven crime is fun because it makes one’s self feel righteous, but later admitting you were suckered into the media’s cheap attempt to boost ratings isn’t.