The passage as aired by MSNBC received criticism for being deceptive.

"This is not how a legitimate, professional news organization operates," said Brent Bozell, founder of the Media Research Center, a conservative media watchdog. "MSNBC's relentless anti-gun advocacy is bad enough, but this is downright dishonest."

MSNBC spokeswoman Lauren Skowronski did not immediately address questions about why MSNBC made the changes or whether criticism that it was misleading is valid.

Bashir was out sick on Wednesday, but substitute anchor Ari Melber said Bashir had made note of questions about whether Heslin had been heckled. MSNBC then played an unedited video of the passage in question.

"Martin and others have called that interruption heckling," Melber said. "Some disagree. He wanted you to hear that in full so you can draw your own conclusions."

Melber said nothing on the air about the fact that it initially aired an edited portion of the video.

Last spring, NBC's "Today" show and its Miami station WTVJ aired versions of a police emergency call made by Florida neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman that emphasized his identification of Trayvon Martin as a black man, before Zimmerman shot Martin. Zimmerman had given his description of Martin after a dispatcher asked about his race but that portion of the tape wasn't initially aired. NBC later apologized.

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MSNBC is a division of Comcast Corp.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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