July 17, 2013
George Zimmerman
George Zimmerman (R) talks to defense counsel Don West during his trial on Saturday. (Joe Burbank/ Pool/ EPA)

On Fox News last night, host Bill O’Reilly asked two legal experts whether NBC News made proper and sufficient amends by apologizing and firing two employees following its mis-editing of the George Zimmerman police dispatch tape.

No way, came the answer.

Lis Wiehl, a Fox News analyst, said, “That’s absolutely not enough. NBC is on the hook here for a big defamation, intentional infliction with emotional stress lawsuit here. They doctored that tape. It went out there. It started the whole narrative of Zimmerman being this hardened racist, this profiling racist that started everything.”

Fellow Fox Newser Kimberly Guilfoyle remarked that the case will pivot on whether Zimmerman is considered a public or private figure; the burden of proof in a defamation case is far less demanding for private figures under U.S. law. Though Zimmerman is now a public figure, he was a private figure when this whole episode went down, Wiehl noted.

Accordingly, NBC will have to pay out a “countless amount of money and probably millions of dollars,” argued Wiehl. All agreed that it would cost big bucks for NBC to make this case go away. That sounds about right.

Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.