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SO WHY ALL THE FERGUSON HOOPLA? Last time the Dems and Sharpton made a big deal of a shooting, it was the Trayvon Martin case, hyped to keep up black turnout for 2012. But now there’s not an election. So why Ferguson, and why now? Polling indicates that most people aren’t all that sympathetic, and protests that tie up Interstates, etc. aren’t going to attract swing voters.

But it’s not about swing voters. It’s about the base. And it’s not about the Democratic Party’s base, but about certain leaders’ base within the Democratic Party. This may be best understood as an intra-party struggle. Obama is the champion of the urban-black wing of the party, and because of him that wing has been on top. But his star is fading, black voters are beginning to realize that they haven’t benefited economically, and the next Dem nominee — whether it’s Hillary Clinton, Jim Webb, or Elizabeth Warren — will be from the white gentry-liberal wing of the Democratic Party. The riots, the marches, the traffic-blocking are a way of telling them that the Sharpton wing is still a force to be reckoned with, and to improve its bargaining power between now and 2016. At least, that’s the only way this — not at all spontaneous — street theater makes sense.

IT’S NOT ABOUT TRUTH, IT’S ABOUT DESPERATION AND TURNOUT-BOOSTING RACE-BAITING: Democrats Join The Ferguson Lynch Mob Right As The Case Against Officer Wilson Collapses.

Related: Democrat Ad Blames Thom Tillis For Trayvon Martin Shooting.

A LAW SCHOOL COURSE AT THE UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI: THE HISTORICAL TRAJECTORY OF THE TRAYVON MARTIN CASE, TAUGHT BY THE MARTIN FAMILY’S ATTORNEY.

Well, as I demonstrated with my syllabus for courses on the Occupy Movement, you can teach an interesting and informative course on any topic. But I suspect this one will turn out to be a bit one-sided.

POOR TRAYVON — STILL BEING USED AS BLACK-TURNOUT AGITPROP IN 2014: Holder: Civil rights probe into Trayvon Martin shooting still active. And it’ll stay that way at least until November.

Watch for as many race-based and war-on-women headlines as the Dems can manage over the next couple of months. With everything imploding, they’ll have to do whatever they can, however sleazy, to boost turnout.

MOLLY BALL: Inside the Democrats’ Plan to Save Arkansas—and the Senate: The party’s desperate bid to hang onto the majority rests on an unprecedented political organizing effort in red states like this one. Also a lot of drama designed to encourage the base to turn out — like the Ferguson saturation-coverage, which is designed to energize black turnout the way the Trayvon Martin soap opera was used in 2012.

THE CURRENCY OF HEROISM IS BEING DEBASED: The U.S.S. Gabby Giffords. Coming soon: The U.S.S. Trayvon Martin.

J. CHRISTIAN ADAMS: Dick Durbin’s Senate Gun Trial to Feature Ghost of Trayvon Martin. “When was his hearing to examine Chicago gun laws and their impact on the 500 homicide victims and families in 2012 alone? Race played a prominent role in the media coverage (or mis-coverage) following Trayvon Martin’s death. Why aren’t hundreds of dead black children in Chicago worth the same amount of attention given to a single black teenager in Florida? We know the reason. Calling attention to the cesspool of Chicago will draw too much inconvenient attention to too many failed ideas and Democrat policies.”

Chicago’s high murder rate is because of gangs. And the gangs are in bed with the Chicago machine.

LIFE IN OBAMA’S POST-RACIAL AMERICA: Teens charged with murdering WWII veteran Delbert Belton plead not guilty. “The two teenage boys, 16, charged with beating to death Delbert ‘Shorty’ Belton, 88, as he crossed a parking lot at a Washington club entered not guilty pleas on Friday. The judge set the trial for Demetrius Glenn and Kenan Adams-Kinard for November, The Associated Press reported. . . . The crime sparked national outrage for its seeming randomness — and also because the suspects are black, the victim, white, and many wondered why noted civil rights activists like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson didn’t condemn the incident with the same level of furor they did in the George Zimmerman-Trayvon Martin case.”

JAMES TARANTO: The Harms Race: Hate-crime hoaxes and “counter-Trayvonism.” “Saul Alinsky’s fourth rule was: ‘Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules.’ The counter-Trayvonists may ultimately be wrongheaded, but if they can provoke as conventional a liberal as Josh Marshall into disparaging ‘the racial victimization bus’–a colorblind sentiment if ever there was one–then perhaps they serve a dialectical purpose.”

AT DRUDGE, “Talk To The Hand” plus Counter-Trayvonism.

ACTUALLY, THE MOST NOTABLE THING ABOUT THIS MURAL IS THAT George Zimmerman is recognizably Latino.

JAMES TARANTO: Shot to the Heart: A how-to book about inciting a moral panic.

Paul Bedard of the Washington Examiner has uncovered a fascinating document: an 80-page “talking points” monograph titled “Preventing Gun Violence Through Effective Messaging,” written by a trio of Democratic political operatives.

The document, as Bedard writes, instructs politicians and advocates “to hype high-profile gun incidents like the Florida slaying of Trayvon Martin to win support for new gun control laws.” Essentially it’s a how-to book on inciting a moral panic.

“The most powerful time to communicate is when concern and emotions are running at their peak,” it advises. Antigun advocates are urged to seize opportunistically on horrific crimes: “The debate over gun violence in America is periodically punctuated by high-profile gun violence incidents including Columbine, Virginia Tech, Tucson, the Trayvon Martin killing, Aurora, and Oak Creek. When an incident such as these attracts sustained media attention, it creates a unique climate for our communications efforts.”

The booklet explicitly urges foes of the Second Amendment to abjure rationality in favor of the argumentum ad passiones, or appeal to emotion.

Didn’t work for them, though.

GREGORY KANE: Why Carol Swain demands honesty about Trayvon Martin.

JAMES TARANTO: It’s Always Selma Again: On the cheapening of civil-rights history.

Jackson is not alone in seeking to trivialize civil-rights history. As Commentary’s Seth Mandel noted the other day, Rep. John Lewis–who suffered a fractured skull when a racist mob beat him on Bloody Sunday–in 2008 scurrilously likened the McCain campaign’s criticism of Barack Obama to the Birmingham church bombings. Lewis has a long history of similar comparisons, and his undisputed heroism 48 years ago does not excuse his inflammatory and irresponsible rhetoric.

Some of the efforts to evoke the civil-rights movement today are downright laughable. The Washington Times–in a story reporting that the Smithsonian Institution is trying, no joke, to acquire the sweatshirt Trayvon Martin was wearing when George Zimmerman shot him in self-defense–reports: “The National Museum of African American History and Culture is set to open in 2015 and will display objects related to the Civil Rights Movement, such as the handcuffs used to restrain Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr.”

Was Gates arrested at Selma? Unlikely, since he was 14 at the time. It’s a safe bet the event in question is the one that happened in Cambridge, Mass., in 2009, when Gates was trying to break into his own home and a passerby mistook him for a burglar and summoned police. This column sympathized with Gates. But to characterize the kerfuffle as “related to the Civil Rights Movement” is ludicrous.

Yes, but if you admit that Selma is in the past, people will have to rethink a lot of things. Including their own self-image. Meanwhile, a reminder from the real civil-rights era: Bull Connor was a member of the Democratic National Committee.

MICHAEL BARONE: Forget The Old South: Trayvon Martin Was No Emmett Till. But if you see things as they are, you can’t engage in reflexive moral superiority, and bullying. Where’s the fun in that?

A CASE THAT DIDN’T GET ANYTHING LIKE TRAYVON-LEVEL PRESS ATTENTION: Christopher Newsom, Channon Christian Remembered, 6 Years After Horrific Torture Slaying.

Authorities ultimately determined that Newsom and Christian had dined at a local restaurant on the night of Jan. 6. Afterward, Christian spoke briefly with her mother and told her that she and Newsom were planning to visit a friend’s house to watch a movie. Sometime after that call took place, Christian and Newsom were abducted from an apartment complex parking lot. Over the course of the next several hours, the pair was beaten, raped, tortured and murdered.

According to later court testimony by Knox County Acting Medical Examiner Dr. Darinka Mileusnic-Polchan, Newsom had been repeatedly sodomized with an object. His limbs were bound, he was gagged and blindfolded. At some point in the early morning hours of Jan. 7, 2007, Newsom was dragged outside to a set of nearby railroad tracks, where he was shot execution-style, in the back of his head, neck and back. His body was then set ablaze, Mileusnic-Polchan testified.

The medical examiner said Christian’s last few hours on earth were also horrific and unthinkable.

The young woman, he said, was tortured for several hours and sustained injuries to her mouth, anus and vagina. She had been beaten about the head with an unknown object and raped. Afterward, bleach was poured over Christian’s body and down her throat, in an apparent attempt to destroy DNA evidence. She was, an autopsy indicated, alive while the torture and degradations occurred. Christian was then hog-tied and covered with several bags before she was placed in a disposal bin, where she slowly suffocated to death, Mileusnic-Polchan testified.

The press heroically refrained from presenting this case in racial terms, as it did in the Martin/Zimmerman case.

A READER IN THE SPECIAL OPERATIONS COMMUNITY SENDS THIS: Would Obama Use A Drone On Trayvon Martin? “It is striking to compare Obama’s deliberate and thoughtful commentary about the tragic killing of Trayvon Martin with the military tactic that will forever characterize his presidency: killing people with drones. The president posits that it is wrong to profile individuals based upon their appearance, associations, or statistical propensity to violence. By extension, he believes that, just because those characteristics may seem threatening to some, the use of lethal force cannot be justified as self-defense unless there are reasonable grounds to fear imminent bodily harm. But that very kind of profiling and a broad interpretation of what constitutes a threat are the foundational principles of U.S. ‘signature strikes’ — the targeted killings of unidentified military-age males.”

Obama doesn’t wait until somebody’s head is being pounded into the concrete, either.

A NEW, CORY-BOOKERESQUE SUPERHERO IMAGE FOR GEORGE ZIMMERMAN? ABC News: George Zimmerman Emerged From Hiding for Truck Crash Rescue. “George Zimmerman, who has been in hiding since he was acquitted of murder in the death of Trayvon Martin, emerged to help rescue someone who was trapped in an overturned truck, police said today.”

MISDIRECTION: Obama Stirs Trayvon Pot to Distract from IRS, NSA, DOJ and Benghazi Scandals.

C.L. BRYANT: Why I Left The NAACP: The NAACP has stopped advancing colored people and started advancing colored progressives. “The organization’s attempted manipulation of Martin’s tragic death for its own gain – the NAACP even held its 2013 annual convention as close to the media covering Zimmerman’s trial as it could – is just the latest example of a once-great organization gone completely off the rails.”

Yeah, the NAACP used to take the side of the minority guy being lynched. . . .

ROGER L. SIMON: What Do the Microscopic Rallies for Trayvon Mean? “Could it be that the citizenry, including African-Americans, supposedly so greatly injured, have seen through the media hype (what I earlier called media pornography) and themselves realize this case is simply an accidental, anomalous one-off and not that big of a deal? I certainly hope so, because what we have been going through is a form of national nervous breakdown, taking us rapidly backwards on race relations, something that has improved consistently in our country over the last fifty years.”

ANN ALTHOUSE CORRECTS AL SHARPTON AND JESSE JACKSON:

Zimmerman shot when he was pinned down and getting his head bashed into concrete. Stand-your-ground has to do with retreating when you can. Even aside from the fact laws can’t ensure that bad things never, ever happen again — or else why is there murder? — stand-your-ground made no difference in Zimmerman’s situation. . . .

We need something concrete.
.. Speaking of concrete, does anyone at these rallies mention that Martin bashed Zimmerman’s head on the concrete?

Of course not. Mentioning that would be racist.

ROMANY MALCO: A Message To Trayvon Martin Sympathizers.

JUST LAST YEAR, FLORIDA WENT FOR OBAMA. Now, apparently, it’s a cesspit of racism. “A number of House Democrats are lining up behind the Rev. Jesse Jackson’s threat for an economic boycott of Florida following the not-guilty verdict in the death of Trayvon Martin.”

Alternatively, the Congressional Black Caucus is trying too hard to remain relevant.

DOES OBAMA KNOW ABOUT THIS? L.A. Times: ‘Bash mobs’ sweep through Southern California. “On Monday, a group of unruly young people broke off from hundreds gathered for a Trayvon Martin prayer vigil and rushed into a Wal-Mart on Crenshaw Boulevard, where they tossed merchandise and tried to break into a jewelry display case.” Because I know he’d be very disappointed.

Related: If only the Czar knew!

OUCH: Arianna Huffington for the smackdown.

Obama’s sad drug war record here.

QUITE SOME TIME AGO, I PREDICTED THAT THE WORSE OBAMA DID AS PRESIDENT, THE BLACKER HE WOULD CHOOSE TO APPEAR. So, now: Obama: ‘Trayvon Martin Could Have Been Me 35 Years Ago.’

UPDATE: “Apparently, @BarackObama thinks that if a white kid was beating a Hispanic guy’s head into the sidewalk, he couldn’t possibly get shot.”

FLASH MOB: “Let’s Go Mess Up Hollywood For Trayvon!” Ironic that it’s Hollywood types who’ve played such a major role in the race-baiting.

Related: Justin Katz: Lessons In Civics And Tolerance.

HOW DID THE TRAYVON MARTIN CASE BECOME A NATIONAL MEDIA SENSATION? With help from the Justice Department. “Through their requests for documents from local, state and federal authorities, Judicial Watch researchers were able to obtain hundreds of documents and emails pertaining to the case. This information helped Judicial Watch prove that a little-known unit of the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Community Relations Service (CRS), was deployed to Sanford following the Trayvon Martin shooting to help organize and manage rallies and protests against George Zimmerman.”

Frankly, for the government to help organize and manage rallies and protests against an individual charged with a crime looks like a civil rights violation to me. I hope Zimmerman’s lawyers go ahead and sue, as they’ve indicated. The discovery process will be fascinating.

BRIAN HUGHES: Obama paints himself into a corner over Trayvon Martin. “The president’s own words more than a year ago — “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon” — are fueling the push for his Justice Department to bring federal charges against Zimmerman, the Hispanic neighborhood watch coordinator who has become a symbol of a broken justice system in the eyes of civil rights groups. When Obama waded into the controversy in March 2012, his words seemed to carry limited consequences. His statement of support for the Martin family played well with supporters and was more than a year away from the polarizing trial. It’s not that simple any more. . . . Despite White House efforts to distance the president from the department’s investigation, Obama inevitably will have to answer for how his administration proceeds. The White House can ill afford to give critics more ammunition as the administration fends off attacks about the IRS’ targeting of conservative groups, the postponement of a major part of Obamacare and the Justice Department’s spying on journalists.”

DAVID FREDDOSO: If You Believe Trayvon Was Attacked In Public, Your Crusade Against Stand Your Ground Is Especially Misguided. “George Zimmerman did not even attempt to put on a ‘Stand Your Ground’ defense, which should really settle the issue. One possible reason is that it would have been incompatible with his version of events. By his account — whether you buy it or not — Zimmerman had no opportunity to flee once he feared for his life, because he was pinned to the ground. No ‘duty to retreat’ would apply in such a situation. Rather, prosecutors had to prove that George Zimmerman was not really defending himself when he shot Trayvon Martin, or that he used disproportionate force. It was a difficult to case to prove to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt.”

NEXT GENERATION TV: Allen West: Trayvon Martin Outrage Masks Real Crisis in Black Community.

SO APPARENTLY THE BLACK COMMUNITY HAS FIGURED OUT THAT GEORGE ZIMMERMAN IS HISPANIC: Baltimore police say they are investigating a witness account that a group of black youths beat a Hispanic man near Patterson Park Sunday while saying, “This is for Trayvon.”

Wait until they find out that he’s also black . . . .

DID TRAYVON MARTIN DIE in a gay-bashing attempt?

UPDATE: Zimmerman Was a Democrat, Voted For Obama, Tutored Black Kids (Video). As Paula Deen learned, that’s no protection when the narrative demands a sacrifice.

ANOTHER UPDATE: A reader emails: “If Jeantel told prosecutors that she had discussed with Trayvon Martin the notion that George Zimmerman might be a homosexual predator—which might have indicated that it was Martin who was doing the ‘profiling’—would that have been a Brady violation to have not disclosed it to the defense? It seems awfully convenient that reports of homosexual stereotyping are coming to light only now . . . ” I’m pretty sure it would have been.

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: How a Miami School Crime Cover-Up Policy Led to Trayvon Martin’s Death. “Both of Trayvon’s suspensions during his junior year at Krop High involved crimes that could have led to his prosecution as a juvenile offender. However, Chief Charles Hurley of the Miami-Dade School Police Department (MDSPD) in 2010 had implemented a policy that reduced the number of criiminal reports, manipulating statistics to create the appearance of a reduction in crime within the school system.”

WILLIAM SALETAN: You Are Not Trayvon Martin: His death wasn’t about race, guns, or your pet issue. It was about misjudgment and overreaction—exactly what we’re doing now to the verdict:

It turned out I had been wrong about many things. The initial portrait of Zimmerman as a racist wasn’t just exaggerated. It was completely unsubstantiated. It’s a case study in how the same kind of bias that causes racism can cause unwarranted allegations of racism. Some of the people Zimmerman had reported as suspicious were black men, so he was a racist. Members of his family seemed racist, so he was a racist. Everybody knew he was a racist, so his recorded words were misheard as racial slurs, proving again that he was a racist.

The 911 dispatcher who spoke to Zimmerman on the fatal night didn’t tell him to stay in his car. Zimmerman said he was following a suspicious person, and the dispatcher told him, “We don’t need you do to that.” Chief prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda conceded in his closing argument that these words were ambiguous.

Read the whole thing. But remember: This was never about Zimmerman or Martin. It was about firing up Obama’s black vote, and keeping his guilty-white-liberal supporters from abandoning him over his many broken campaign promises. Remember: If the GOP wins, blacks will be gunned down in the streets and women will be turned into walking uteri!

UPDATE: Michael Graham: “Amerika” Rants Get Verdict Wrong:

Boston City Councilor Tito Jackson told me the same thing. He participated in Sunday’s march protesting Zimmerman’s acquittal. “You can shoot an unarmed black man in America and get away with it,” the councilor said.

“Really,” I replied, “so does that mean that I could shoot you and get away with it?”

Jackson insisted the case was more complicated than that. But it’s not, and that’s why many Americans are so annoyed with the hand-wringing and protests. Comedian Marlon Wayans tweeted out, “They traded us one O.J. and a Barack for a Zimmerman.” But the Martin shooting was the opposite of the O.J. case.

The evidence of O.J. Simpson’s guilt was overwhelming. The jury had to make a race-based decision to ignore the mountain of evidence and find O.J. not guilty.

In the Martin case, the prosecutors always had a tough job of overcoming Zimmerman’s self-defense claims “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

So a case goes the way the facts and law indicate it’s likely to go — and this proves to Democrats that America is racist?

“USA! KKK! How many kids have you killed today?” was the chant in Providence this weekend.

See the above. It’s all agitprop for low-information voters. If it damages the social fabric, so what? Power is all about power. Our political class has no sense of responsibility or shame.

THE WAGES OF AL SHARPTON’S — AND BARACK OBAMA’S — RACIAL HATEMONGERING: ‘This is for Trayvon!’ — Gang of Black Men Chase, Beat Hispanic Man in Baltimore.

JACOB SULLUM: Sorry, the Zimmerman case has nothing to do with “Stand Your Ground.”

The story that George Zimmerman told about his fight with Trayvon Martin, the one that yesterday persuaded a jury to acquit him of second-degree murder and manslaughter, never had anything to do with the right to stand your ground when attacked in a public place. Knocked down and pinned to the ground by Martin, Zimmerman would not have had an opportunity to escape as Martin hit him and knocked his head against the concrete. The duty to retreat therefore was irrelevant. The initial decision not to arrest Zimmerman, former Sanford, Florida, Police Chief Bill Lee said last week (as paraphrased by CNN), “had nothing to do with Florida’s controversial ‘Stand Your Ground’ law” because “from an investigative standpoint, it was purely a matter of self-defense.” And as The New York Times explained last month, “Florida’s Stand Your Ground law…has not been invoked in this case.” The only context in which “stand your ground” was mentioned during the trial was as part of the prosecution’s attempt to undermine Zimmerman’s credibility by arguing that he lied when he told Fox News host Sean Hannity that he had not heard of the law until after the shooting. During his rebuttal on Friday, prosecutor John Guy declared, “This case is not about standing your ground.”

So how did Benjamin Jealous, president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, respond to Zimmerman’s acquittal last night? By announcing that “we will continue to fight for the removal of Stand Your Ground laws in every state.”

Because they are, as usual, willing to try to exploit tragedy for political gain. Zimmerman’s case isn’t about black-white relations either — both Trayvon Martin and Zimmerman (who’s blacker than Homer Plessy) would be counted as African-American by any college “diversity” office in America, and Zimmerman was hispanic, too, but from the press coverage you’d think he was Bull Connor. The only thing that Zimmerman has in common with Bull Connor, though, is that Bull Connor was a Democrat too.

Meanwhile, people are raising a case that actually did involve stand your ground — the case of Marissa Alexander — as evidence of racial bias in the judicial system. But Angela Corey was the prosecutor there, and she seems to want to lock up anyone who uses a gun in self-defense. The main difference seems to be that the jury in the Alexander case believed Corey, though that may simply be because Zimmerman got better representation. Which opens up a whole different kettle of judicial fish that I doubt anyone really wants to talk about.

PROSECUTION OR PERSECUTION: DOJ to Investigate Zimmerman.

The decision, of course, will be one hundred percent political. But there’s a problem: FBI records: agents found no evidence that Zimmerman was racist. But remember: For Obama et al., it’s never been about Zimmerman, or about Trayvon Martin. It’s about keeping blacks — and guilty white liberals — heated up and on the plantation, instead of defecting in disgust over Obama’s scandals and broken promises. So they’ll be demonizing everyone in sight between now and 2014.

GINNING UP A POLITICIZED PROSECUTION: In Audio Recording, Department of Justice Official Urges Protesters to Seek ‘Justice’ for Trayvon Martin. “The DoJ section involved, the Community Relations Service, is supposed to render impartial aid in disputes. It clearly took a side on the Zimmerman-Martin shooting.”

BUT OF COURSE: Occupy Sets Up Planning Site for Trayvon Martin Post-Verdict “Actions.”

JUSTICE IN OBAMA’S AMERICA: Judicial Watch: Zimmerman Prosecution Might Have Been Forced by DOJ-Organized Pressure.

Related: Did the Department of Justice Stir Up Trayvon Martin Riots?

Also: CNN: Ex-Sanford police chief: Zimmerman probe ‘taken away from us.’ “Bill Lee, who testified Monday in Zimmerman’s second-degree murder trial, told CNN’s George Howell in an exclusive interview that he felt pressure from city officials to arrest Zimmerman to placate the public rather than as a matter of justice.”

The Administration needed to increase racial tension to boost black turnout in 2012.

UPDATE: In fact, an InstaPundit reader nailed this over a year ago, as another InstaPundit reader just pointed out in an email:

One of your readers, David Horwich, made the point last March that the President rallied to Trayvon Martin’s side in order to shore up his numbers with blacks:

“IMHO, what’s going in in the WH these days is really, really bad poll numbers. How else can one explain an investment in clearly polarizing issues like picking a fight with both the church and Rush Limbaugh, race-baiting with Trayvon, a flirtation with an advocacy of gay marriage, Stalin-esque striking down of voter ID laws, et. Al. The softness in numbers with the black population must really be stark, otherwise, why bring this stuff up? There’s no upside with independent voters with any of these issues.”

Eight months later Obama won, but barely, and only because of near unanimous support from blacks during the first presidential election in American history where black turnout exceeded white turnout. Going forward, there is no further upside for Democrats with blacks. So either we should expect to see Democrats pivot to another group or we should expect to see more race-baiting histrionics. My bet is on the latter.

Sadly, I think that’s right.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader David Preiser thinks there’s more to it than that:

It was really all about restoring the desired amount of white, liberal guilt, and keeping those unsure of another Obama term on side. Just like those Duke professors didn’t care about falsely arresting and possibly convicting those lacrosse players of rape because they felt we “needed” to discuss the larger issue of rape and remind everyone how bad it is, we “needed” to have a national discussion about how we’re still a racist country, the police are racist, etc. White guilt, white votes. So the allegedly post-racial President who was supposed to at last help us get past racial division has deliberately made it worse than it has been in a long time.

Indeed.

RACIAL HATEMONGERING ON THE TAXPAYER’S DIME: Newly Released Documents Detail the Department of Justice’s Role in Organizing Trayvon Martin Protests. “Judicial Watch announced today that it has obtained documents proving that the Department of Justice played a major behind-the-scenes role in organizing protests against George Zimmerman. Zimmerman is on trial for second-degree murder in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin in February 2012.”

So not only did we have a public statement by the President that might have tainted the jury pool, but now we find the Department of Justice was involved in, basically, organizing a lynch mob?

Related: Disorder: Judge Recesses Zimmerman Trial, Excludes Damning Evidence. “Trayvon Martin’s phone had hundreds of messages discussing criminal behavior, including trafficking black-market firearms.” So maybe the folks at DOJ felt they had something in common with him . . . .

UPDATE: “The Zimmerman trial says a lot about race in America — just not what the mainstream media want the story to be.”

Look at the residents of this ‘gated community’ who lived just in that one spot. It is more diverse than a Democrat photo-op. This neighborhood had young and old, Asians and blacks and whites and Hispanics all living next to each other in peace, but needing gates and a neighborhood watch to protect themselves from outsiders.

Without the race-baiters — now almost exclusively to be found in the Democratic Party and its media wing — Americans get along pretty well. And it’s certainly a more diverse crowd than at Obama Campaign HQ.

FIVE MYTHS about the killing of Trayvon Martin. Though given Zimmerman’s ancestry, when Trayvon said “[N-word] still following me” is literally correct, since Zimmerman is blacker than Homer Plessy. Which makes it even odder that the press has consistently treated this as a black-white affair when, in fact, nobody involved was white. On the other hand, that coverage let them gin up black turnout for 2012, helping Obama.

JAMES TARANTO: ‘Cracking’ the Case: A racial turnabout in the George Zimmerman trial.

“It’s not about racial profiling,” said lawyer Daryl Parks about the murder trial of George Zimmerman. “We never claimed this was about race.”

What makes these statements “head-scratching,” as New York’s Daily News describes them, is that Parks represents the family of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, whom Zimmerman fatally shot in February 2012. Zimmerman is pleading self-defense. The media narrative was that Martin was a victim of racial profiling–that Zimmerman, who is white and Hispanic, wrongfully saw the unarmed Martin as a threat because Martin was black.

“The whole point of the Trayvon Martin case,” according to Slate’s Justin Peters, was supposed to be to serve as “a referendum on how comfort and privilege deal with the unfamiliar.” By “comfort and privilege,” Peters means white people; by “the unfamiliar,” he means blacks. Martin’s killing even provoked an unusual appeal to racial solidarity from Barack Obama: “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon,” the president said a few weeks after the shooting.

But last week the prosecutor’s star witness, Rachel Jeantel, turned the racial narrative on its head. She was on the phone with Martin in the moments before the deadly confrontation, and she testified that Martin described Zimmerman as a “creepy-ass cracker,” that last word being an antiwhite slur. So that it seems Martin racially profiled Zimmerman. That does not exclude the possibility that the profiling was mutual, but it certainly complicates matters for the “referendum” crowd.

But that’s okay. The goal behind racializing the Zimmerman case — which, actually, involves no actual white people — was to incite racial outrage and gin up black turnout for the 2012 election. Mission accomplished!

Plus:

But whatever George Zimmerman’s culpability in Martin’s shooting, he is not to blame for the social order of pre-civil-rights America. He has every right to mount a vigorous defense, and the judge and jury have a duty, as in any criminal trial, to give the defendant the benefit of any reasonable doubt.

The rightful term to describe a criminal trial that serves as a “referendum” is “show trial.”

Indeed.

CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR: Trayvon Martin case: How Rachel Jeantel went from star witness to ‘train wreck.’

ED DRISCOLL: Slate Airbrushes Racist Trayvon Martin Headline.

As Bremmer concluded, “Slate shouldn’t be using the Zimmerman trial to accuse all Americans of a lack of empathy for blacks.”

Well, yes. Especially when Zimmerman is of a diverse mixed ethnic background himself.

Which the media keep failing to note.

IT’S REALLY BEGINNING TO LOOK AS IF CHARGES NEVER SHOULD HAVE BEEN BROUGHT HERE: Neighbor, cop back George Zimmerman’s account of fight with Trayvon Martin.

SO HOW’S THAT ZIMMERMAN TRIAL GOING? Prosecutors admit Trayvon Martin’s girlfriend lied under oath. “The murder case against half-Latino neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman was dealt a devastating blow Tuesday, when prosecutors acknowledged that their star witness, the 19-year old former girlfriend of the late Florida teenager Trayvon Martin, lied under oath.” He’s also blacker than Homer Plessy was, by the way.

UPDATE: Oops! This is old, but somebody just sent it to me and I didn’t notice. Sorry — perils of multitasking, I guess.

But this is up-to-date: Legal Insurrection: Zimmerman Trial Day 2 – Analysis of State’s Witnesses. “Today can only be characterized as an utter debacle for the prosecution.” But is that how the jury will see it? Because that’s all that matters. There’s lots of video, so you can decide for yourself.

JACOB SULLUM: The New York Times Admits Its Reporting on the Trayvon Martin Case Has Been Fundamentally Wrong.

The Trayvon coverage was all about energizing black/liberal turnout and calling Republicans racist before the 2012 elections.

ZIMMERMAN TRIAL UPDATE: Gun, drug texts feature in new Trayvon Martin shooting evidence. “The evidence, George Zimmerman’s attorneys say, paints a different picture of the 17-year-old than the one portrayed by his family and supporters. Lead defense attorney Mark O’Mara says he will try to use the evidence if prosecutors attempt to attack Zimmerman’s character during his trial on second-degree murder charges, set to begin next month. Also Thursday, O’Mara filed motions in court. One asks for sanctions against the state for withholding evidence and for saying it didn’t have more evidence when asked. The second requests that his client’s trial be delayed. Much of the new evidence disclosed Thursday in filings by Zimmerman’s attorneys comes from Martin’s cell phone, including photos showing a semiautomatic pistol and ammunition and small marijuana plants growing in pots. In other pictures, Martin is pictured making obscene gestures in an apparent self-portrait.”

FUNNY, WHEN THIS STORY FIRST BROKE IT WAS ALL ABOUT “STAND YOUR GROUND:” George Zimmerman, accused of murdering Trayvon Martin, won’t seek pre-trial ‘Stand Your Ground’ hearing. Then it became all about firing up Obama’s racialist base. But you know, Zimmerman looks pretty Hispanic in this picture. . . .

#NARRATIVEFAIL: Witness in Trayvon Martin Case Lied. Will It Even Go To Trial? “Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, two significantly responsible for the national furor, do not respond to requests for comment.” It was all about heating up the base for November, 2012. That’s over now.

THE ZIMMERMAN TELEGRAM: “NBC sued over Trayvon tape,” according to the New York Post:

We hear Zimmerman’s attorneys are about to file a complaint against NBC and its top executives, naming news president Steve Capus and correspondent Ron Allen, who was the reporter on the scene for the broadcast on “Today” on March 27. He also remained the reporter for the story on “NBC Nightly News.”

A source tells us, “The suit will be filed imminently against NBC and its news executives. The network’s legal department has put everybody in the news department involved with this incident on notice, telling them not to comment.”

Here’s PJTV’s take on how the edit was likely made, from back in April:


“And don’t accuse our staff of doctoring tape….they’re not doctoring tapes.”

– Mika Brzezinski, on MSNBC, at the start of the month.

THIS IS LOOKING MORE AND MORE LIKE A LYNCHING: Detective in Zimmerman case said he was pressured to file charges.

Telling the FBI that he was concerned that people inside the police department were leaking information, Serino cited Sgt. Arthur Barnes, officers Rebecca Villalona and Trekelle Perkins “as all pressuring him to file charges against Zimmerman after the incident,” an FBI report said. “Serino did not believe he had enough evidence at the time to file charges.”

The summary of Serino’s statement does not mention the race of the officers who allegedly pressured him, but sources told The Miami Herald that Barnes and Perkins are black, and Villalona is married to an African-American man. All three, the source said, had been called in by their supervisor and questioned about leaking information in the case.

A request Thursday evening to the Sanford Police Department for comment about Serino’s statement went unanswered. . . . Records released Thursday show that Sgt. Barnes, a 25-year veteran of the department, told the FBI that he believed the black community would be “in an uproar” if Zimmerman was not charged. “The community will be satisfied if an arrest takes place,” the FBI quoted him saying.

Related: Zimmerman seeks new judge in murder trial.

The Florida man charged with second-degree murder in the killing of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin asked for a new judge in his case on Friday, accusing the current judge of bias.

Lawyers for George Zimmerman filed a motion requesting that Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester withdraw from the trial.

Zimmerman alleged in the filing that Lester made “gratuitous” and “disparaging remarks” about him during a July 5 bond hearing and offered “a personal opinion” in the case.

“In doing so, the Court has created a reasonable fear in Mr. Zimmerman that this Court is biased against him and because of this prejudice he cannot receive a fair and impartial trial or hearing by this Court,” the motion said.

I think that Zimmerman’s lawyers feel the tide is turning.

UPDATE: Steven Den Beste emails: “It’s reminding me of the Duke LaCrosse case. That one ended with the prosecutor getting disbarred for gross misconduct.” Yes, and he did a small amount of jail time, though not nearly enough. Then he went bankrupt.

ZIMMERMAN’S ATTORNEY: Trayvon Martin killed ‘because of his own doing.’

MAYBE THIS IS WHY THEY DIDN’T CHARGE HIM? George Zimmerman Passed Police Lie Detector Test The Day After Trayvon Martin Killing. “Investigators concluded that he ‘has told substantially the complete truth in regards to this examination.’”

TALKLEFT: “My opinion: This is self-defense. Zimmerman was not the aggressor, he did nothing to provoke Trayvon Martin’s beating him, breaking his nose and slamming his head into concrete. He had every right to respond with deadly force to stop Trayvon’s physical attack on him and to prevent Trayvon from getting control of his weapon. . . . I see nothing that amounts to a contradiction or a difference. I see a valid claim of self-defense.”

JACK CASHILL: What the Media Choose Not to Know about Trayvon Martin. “In reporting this news of George Zimmerman’s return to jail, more than a few media outlets showed the dangerously deceptive image of Trayvon as 11-year-old cherub. They did so in the assumption that the narrative was still theirs to control. It is not. The blogs, which have been doing the real detective work on this case, have long since taken control away from them.”

JERALYN MERRITT AT TALKLEFT: George Zimmerman: The Most Likely Scenario.

Why Zimmerman reported Trayvon to the non-emergency number is a red herring. It doesn’t matter if he profiled him or unfairly suspected him of criminal activity. It doesn’t matter that he was a crime warrior. He didn’t break the law. His neighborhood watch program, set up with the assistance of the police, instructed residents to report suspicious activity. That’s what he did. He wasn’t on watch that night, he had a concealed weapons permit, and it wasn’t a crime to get out of his car to see where Trayvon had run off to, so he could tell the police when they got there.

All that matters legally is whether Trayvon Martin’s physical attack on him caused him to reasonably fear serious bodily injury. Zimmerman’s testimony, which is supported by proof of his injuries and witnesses observing the struggle, is that Martin broke his nose and banged his head against cement. He tried to get up and couldn’t. Using an objective standard, a reasonable person in that situation would fear imminent serious bodily injury if he didn’t react with force.

The state is unlikely to prevail in arguing Zimmerman was the aggressor because to be the aggressor, Zimmerman had to contemporaneously provoke the force Martin used against him. Zimmerman’s profiling of Martin and call to the non-emergency number were not contemporaneous with Martin’s attack. Even if the state could convince a judge or jury that Zimmerman was following Martin, rather than walking back to his car, rendering his pursuit a contemporaneous act, it is not an act that provokes Martin’s use of force against him. Demanding someone account for their presence does not provoke the use of force. Even if it could be construed to be provocation for using force, all it means is Zimmerman had to attempt reasonable means to extricate himself before using deadly force in response. W-6′s steadfast insistence that Zimmerman was struggling to get up and out from under Trayvon, right before the shot went off, fulfills that requirement. Zimmerman will say the same. And no witnesses saw anything different.

Zimmerman should prevail on classic self-defense at trial regardless of stand your ground. Raising stand your ground before trial gives him the possibility of a quicker win, and the opportunity to preview the state’s strategy before it gets to a jury.

The problem for Zimmerman is the notoriety of this case — any judge is going to want to avoid making that call and find a reason to let the case go to the jury.

So in essence, the media — by creating all this “notoriety” via false storylines not supported by the evidence — have hurt Zimmerman’s chances for fair treatment in court. Nice work, folks.

RON RADOSH: The Evidence in the Trayvon Martin Case is Released, and George Zimmerman is Vindicated. Well, there was clearly a fight, and Trayvon Martin had drugs in his system. “The main point is that for all those who jumped to the conclusion that Zimmerman had attacked Martin because he was black, and that it was a racially motivated crime, have some apologizing to do.”

More here.

The report neglects to mention that in the 911 tape, George Zimmerman reported to the police dispatcher that Martin seemed suspicious to him because it seemed Martin was “on drugs or something.”

Like the injuries to Zimmerman, the prosecutor’s affidavit does not mention that Zimmerman’s suspicion about Martin was confirmed by the autopsy. As I noted a few weeks back, it just asserts that Zimmerman “profiled” Martin. A disgrace.

It’s just like the old days — a bunch of Democratic politicians and their media lackeys lynching a black man.

UPDATE: Further thoughts from Prof. Jacobson.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Tom Maguire on drugs. Er, well, on whether Trayvon was actually high at the time.

GEORGE ZIMMERMAN UPDATE: Broken Nose, Broken Narrative. “This doesn’t prove that George Zimmerman acted lawfully, but it breaks the narrative that Zimmerman was not injured, pushed by the Martin family attorneys, left-wing blogs, LGF, and many others with an agenda.”

Related: Autopsy Reveals Trayvon Martin Had Bloody Knuckles When He Died.

UPDATE: More from Tom Maguire.

THE WAGES OF OUR RACE-BAITING MEDIA: “Justice For Trayvon” Has Led To 15 Gang Attacks . . . So Far.

MORE “JUSTICE FOR TRAYVON.” So can we blame the race-baiting media and politicians for this outbreak of racial violence? Yes, I think we can.

MORE RESULTS FROM OUR POLITICO-MEDIA LEADERS’ CAMPAIGN OF RACIAL INCITEMENT: 2 charged in Oak Park beating motivated by Trayvon Martin killing, official says. How many people might have been spared if the press had reported accurately, and non-sensationally, and had avoided deliberate falshehood in covering this case?

Given the irresponsibility — and downright evil — displayed by our political and media “elites” in this matter, why should we trust their judgment on, well, anything?

REUTERS ON GEORGE ZIMMERMAN:

During the time Zimmerman was in hiding, his detractors defined him as a vigilante who had decided Martin was suspicious merely because he was black. After Zimmerman was finally arrested on a charge of second-degree murder more than six weeks after the shooting, prosecutors portrayed him as a violent and angry man who disregarded authority by pursuing the 17-year-old.

But a more nuanced portrait of Zimmerman has emerged from a Reuters investigation into Zimmerman’s past and a series of incidents in the community in the months preceding the Martin shooting.

Based on extensive interviews with relatives, friends, neighbors, schoolmates and co-workers of Zimmerman in two states, law enforcement officials, and reviews of court documents and police reports, the story sheds new light on the man at the center of one of the most controversial homicide cases in America.

The 28-year-old insurance-fraud investigator comes from a deeply Catholic background and was taught in his early years to do right by those less fortunate. He was raised in a racially integrated household and himself has black roots through an Afro-Peruvian great-grandfather – the father of the maternal grandmother who helped raise him.

A criminal justice student who aspired to become a judge, Zimmerman also concerned himself with the safety of his neighbors after a series of break-ins committed by young African-American men.

Though civil rights demonstrators have argued Zimmerman should not have prejudged Martin, one black neighbor of the Zimmermans said recent history should be taken into account.

“Let’s talk about the elephant in the room. I’m black, OK?” the woman said, declining to be identified because she anticipated backlash due to her race. She leaned in to look a reporter directly in the eyes. “There were black boys robbing houses in this neighborhood,” she said. “That’s why George was suspicious of Trayvon Martin.”

Read the whole thing, which is a bit more nuanced than the earlier reporting.

REASON TV: Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman & The Decline of Racism & Violence in America.

POLITICS IN THE ERA OF HOPE AND CHANGE: Marion Barry: Let’s get rid of Filipino nurses along with those ‘dirty’ Asian shops.

UPDATE: Related: #JusticeforTrayvon: Random acts of brutal violence, media complicit.

HERE WE SEE THE RESULTS OF OUR MEDIA HATEMONGERING: Man Beaten, In Critical Condition, Told “Now, that’s justice for Trayvon.”

UPDATE: Prof. Stephen Clark writes: “The Martin case and its fallout are part of a narrative of racial tension, class division, social exclusion, and all the other catch phrases associated with social activism, that many representatives in the media hold dear as a portrait of an America seething with discontent just below the surface. Don’t be surprised if, as Obama’s fortunes wane, incidents like those of Mobile are insinuated to be a future consequence of his electoral defeat: any weapon to hand, even fear. It will be a long, annoying, summer and fall. November can’t come soon enough.” Indeed. I think, however, that all of this stuff hurts him more than it helps — first by contrast with the postracial narrative of 2008, and second by making him look more like a corrupt, demagogic big-city mayor than a President.

TOM MAGUIRE: Trayvon Martin Case – A Partially Parallel Shooting In Alabama.

JOHN HINDERAKER: Have Our News Organizations Gone Crazy?

I wrote here about MSNBC’s campaign to tie the Koch brothers to George Zimmerman’s shooting of Trayvon Martin. That effort was, it is fair to say, insane, but it apparently inspired one or more liberals to take MSNBC’s theories a step farther. Someone wrote–I think it was on Facebook–that Koch Industries had paid for Zimmerman’s legal defense and/or put up his bail money. Other liberals happily repeated the claim, to the point where Snopes deemed it a rumor worth addressing.

The claim is not only false, but entirely baseless and, in fact, stupid. There is no connection whatsoever between Koch Industries or the Koch brothers and George Zimmerman. None. Further, while the Koch brothers have championed a number of libertarian causes, gun rights have not been among them. In the one instance where Koch Industries is known to have lobbied on a firearms issue, it was against a proposed liberalization of firearms laws in Florida. And the brothers have no history of participating in the defense of criminal defendants. Further, while this is not my area of expertise, I doubt whether it would even be legal for Koch Industries to pay for an unrelated person’s criminal defense. So the assertion that Koch Industries is paying for Zimmerman’s defense or contributing to his bail lacks the remotest shred of plausibility.

That doesn’t matter. The important thing is to give the base someone to hate, and the base isn’t picky about facts. And the base is pretty much their only audience anymore, anyway.

THE WAGES OF MEDIA- AND ADMINISTRATION-SPONSORED RACE-HATRED: Suspect: I Beat Up White Man Because I Am Mad About Trayvon Martin Case.

When will Obama, and NBC, be held to account for their racial hatemongering?

INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY: Investigate Nugent But Not Farrakhan?

We need to remind the administration and the Secret Service that “Braveheart” is only a movie and that Nugent is no more likely to ride a horse down Pennsylvania Avenue wielding a medieval battle-ax than Obama was to bring a handgun to the first presidential debate. . . .

Meanwhile, an administration that let the New Black Panthers avoid criminal charges for wielding a billy club outside a Philadelphia polling place in 2008 and that ignored the bounty placed by the Panthers on the head of George Zimmerman in the Trayvon Martin shooting is concerned about Nugent.

Did anyone in the liberal universe or administration take note when Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan said at Lemoyne-Owen College in Memphis, Tenn., Saturday that “people tomorrow, maybe in a few days, are gonna kill their leaders who’ve been selling them out”?

Farrakhan added: “That’s why we’re in this shape that we’re in right now, because we had corrupt people, or people that started off good and got corrupt.”

We’re not sure if calling people criminals is worse than calling them corrupt, but Ted Nugent didn’t say any leaders would die as a result. Farrakhan did in a statement that no one in the so-called mainstream media obsessed over or that anyone in the administration wanted to talk to him about.

Speaking of opposition by the Tea Party and others to Obama administration policies, union leader Jimmy Hoffa Jr. said “let’s take those SOBs out,” except he didn’t abbreviate “SOB.” But no one in the liberal universe called that a threat, despite volumes of documented union violence.

It’s all politics, and the Secret Service, by getting sucked into this, is doing at least as much harm to its reputation as did the hookers in Cartagena.

TOM MAGUIRE: Trayvon Martin: Reuters Finds Bandages On Zimmerman, But Why Now? “It’s interesting to see Reuters letting a bit of the air out of a story the media helped inflate.”

SO MUCH FOR HOPE AND CHANGE: The Trayvon Martin Case and the Growing Racial Divide.

Polls show that the Trayvon Martin case has split the country apart over perceptions of race and justice, in ways that may dwarf the polarities of the O.J. Simpson trial days of 1994. Or does the new friction simply reflect an ongoing erosion in relations since 2009? Or is it all hype, and things are still about as they were?

This tension was not supposed to have increased with the election of Barack Obama, who ran on “healing” and “unity,” and who was proclaimed by supporters as ushering in a new post-racial age.

Here I list a few random examples of the new racial furies and conclude with the two irreconcilable narratives.

Like pretty much all of Obama’s promises, that one didn’t come true.

A NEW TWITTER HASHTAG: #WarOnDistractions. Sample: “In the last month while the media was pursuing Trayvon, slutgate & Wars on Women, we ran up > $100 B in debt.”

Related thoughts here.

TOM MAGUIRE: Stand Your Ground – Is It Part Of The Trayvon Martin Case, And How? “The duty to retreat is not at issue if Zimmerman really was flat on his back getting pummelled. However, Stand Your Ground did create the basis for his pre-trial hearing.”

JUSTICE: Eric Holder Praises Al Sharpton.

BILL MCGURN: What Would Atticus Do? ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ meets the Trayvon Martin shooting.

UPDATE: “Since when can a group of people in the United States put a bounty on someone’s head, circulate Wanted posters publicly, and still be walking the streets?”

More: “Good lord, what an ugly place we are in right now. Who would have thought that in the last year of Obama’s presidential term, the public mind would obsess over race at this level? I’m recalling the media coverage of election night, 2008, and the inauguration, when there was a rhapsody of closure and a feeling — some called it ‘hope’ — that we had entered a new era of harmony. How did we get sucked into some nightmare parody of the past? If it’s not Obama’s fault, can he at least do something to yank us up out of this awful place? In 2009 or even 2011, he would have given a speech. He would have believed he could rescue us with a speech, perhaps because we kind of thought he could. Maybe no one believes anymore. There’s a hope vacuum, and look what’s moving in.”

PJTV: Trayvon Tragedy: Manufactured Racism? How NBC Edited Racism Into the George Zimmerman 911 Call. In an edit bay, demonstrating why this wasn’t a simple “mistake.”

More on this here.

YOU DON’T NEED A WEATHERMAN TO SEE WHICH WAY THE WIND IS BLOWING: In case you missed it, Al Sharpton stood up Trayvon Martin supporters yesterday.

TOM MAGUIRE: Trayvon Martin and the Silence of the Times.

The NY Times maintains its eerie silence on the Trayvon Martin case. On April 1 they delivered a comprehensive review and impressive diorama of the Martin killing, which culminated a week of extensive coverage and commentary.

Since then they have had zero bylined original reporting and one column, by Charles Blow, on the story which fascinates America and especially the left. Why the shift?

From a different tack, let’s check the four bylines from the comprehensive April 1 piece and ask, ‘where are they now’? . . . Eventually the meta media watchers who report on the processes that deliver the stories will take up the question of why the Times’ coverage of Trayvon Martin is flatlining.

Read the whole thing.

UPDATE: Reader M. Simon writes:

I think the reason they are cooling it is that it has come to their attention that a race war is not in their interest. I notice Sharpton is cooling it as well.

From what I’m seeing it is too late.

Idiots.

PROFESSOR JACOBSON: DOING THE JOB THE ALLEGEDLY PROFESSIONAL MEDIA WON’T:

The latest wildfire spreading through the media and blogosphere is that armed neo-Nazis are patrolling Sanford, FL, in anticipation of trouble if George Zimmerman is not charged in the killing of Trayvon Martin. In what has become a prime example of media malpractice, none of the major publications spreading the rumors bothered to check with local law enforcement. I did, and the Sanford Police deny any indication of neo-Nazi patrols. . . .

For The Daily Beast, Huffington Post, Mediaite, and The Daily News to spread such thinly-sourced claims without verification at a time when racial tensions already are high is irresponsible in the extreme.

Remember when people were saying that if we left news reporting to the blogosphere we’d just get a bunch of unsubstantiated rumors and spin?

JOHN NOLTE: Targeting George Zimmerman: Edit-Gate Worse Than Rathergate.

UPDATE: A Tipping Point For The National Media?

The editing was not a technical issue of production. It was a substantive issue of content, and the “error” happened to fit a thesis of racist homicide while making the network look like a watchdog hero. It seems to me to have been error with a purpose. . . .

What happened is a terrible tragedy, and it is understandable that many would react emotionally. But many have also seen journalistic unfairness in all of this. Jack Pitney, a professor at Claremont McKenna College, recently told the Christian Science Monitor that the story “undermines public confidence in mainstream news media, which is already pretty low.” He noted PEW already says 77 percent of Americans think the press is generally unfair.

News is in a stage of dramatic transition. Newspapers and broadcast networks are in decline as new media — cable TV, blogs and more — are making themselves felt in ways both scary and encouraging. No one knows where it will end. This much we can bet on: If mature media forsake reasonable standards, it will end badly.

For them, certainly. And there’s not much of an “if,” here. It’s been clear since RatherGate, at least, that they’re willing — indeed, happy and, among their peers, even proud — to lie in the service of promoting Democrats. It’s only embarrassing when the public catches on.

Related: Uncorrected: Charles Blow Finally Returns To The Scene Of His Journalistic Crime. “So we have moved past a grieving family and on to a national cause for racial justice. And of course Trayvon Martin’s death is now an illustration the Largerer Narrative of America’s lack of racial justice. Hence the media enthusiasm to enhance the narrrative (ABC, NBC, CNN, NY Times) at the expense of tedious facts relating to the loss of one young man’s life and the destruction of another’s.”

INDEED: “It is likely that, if not for conservative new media, the misleading edit, which inflamed racial tensions in the Martin case, and which was repeated by Stetler’s own New York Times, would have gone unnoticed and uncorrected. As it is, the producer responsible for the edit at Today has been fired, but the individual who made the same edit to the earlier MSNBC story (since corrected) has not been identified or disciplined. Nor has anyone at any other outlet or network — many of which made similar selective editing choices — been punished.”

Plus this: “The questions are only just beginning on Editgate. The release of the news of the firing just before the holiday weekend smacks of a cover-up; more than that, we know that the edit itself was not restricted to the Today show. Brian Williams and the brass at NBC News must provide answers. They are responsible for editorial output, not an unnamed producer. And they must be held responsible for an irresponsible and dangerous edit apparently deliberately designed to twist the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman story along racial lines.”

I remember when people who exploited racial tensions for political gain, and inspired crowds to lynch-mob levels of fury, were considered beyond the pale of civilized society. Personally, I think they still are.

POLL: Trayvon case shows ‘blacks, nonblacks’ split. “Black Americans and Americans of other ethnicities have widely-divergent views of the Trayvon Martin case, according to a new poll that shows the black community overwhelmingly believes he was murdered and that police let his killer get away due to racism.”

THE WALKBACK CONTINUES: CNN Enhances Zimmerman 911 Call Again — And Reporter Now Doubts Racial Slur Used.

Related: ESPN ‘Grantland’ Writer Twists George Zimmerman’s Actions. “The story, by Wesley Morris, is about a photograph of the Miami Heat NBA team, all dressed in hoodies to identify with Trayvon Martin.”

Also: Zimmerman Racial Slur Narrative Falling Apart. “Since the beginning of this case I have urged caution not to jump to conclusions. The questionable narratives suggest I was correct.”

TOM MAGUIRE: Trayvon Martin – Day Three Of Eerie Silence At NY Times.

SHELBY STEELE: The Exploitation of Trayvon Martin. “The absurdity of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton is that they want to make a movement out of an anomaly. Black teenagers today are afraid of other black teenagers, not whites. . . . Trayvon’s sad fate clearly sent a quiver of perverse happiness all across America’s civil rights establishment, and throughout the mainstream media as well. His death was vindication of the ‘poetic truth’ that these establishments live by.”

JACOB SULLUM: Three things people don’t know about the Trayvon Martin case (but think they do).

TOM MAGUIRE: Trayvon Martin – Are There Any Media People In New York City? “There is a conference on voice biometrics in New York city April 3-4. Will any media be there?”

More on this at TalkLeft.

TOM MAGUIRE: Trayvon Martin – Is Everything You Think You Know Just Media BS?

IS THE TRAYVON MARTIN WALKBACK becoming a stampede? “Heckuva job by the media. We may have race riots in Florida so I hope they enjoyed their time on the fashionable side of this story.” Stay tuned.

UPDATE: Reader James McNash writes:

I was wondering if there are possible legal ramifications against news agencies if they are found to have selectively edited the evidence that they have broadcasted. If Zimmerman is found innocent, can he file a lawsuit (for libel and/or slander) against these agencies especially if the intent was to do harm to Zimmerman? Or is the news media immune to these cases?

It seems to me that Zimmerman’s reputation is destroyed, all because of the media, and it would be a shame if the media can walk away with no accountability.

Much of what they have done — for example, using the middle-school picture of Trayvon Martin almost exclusively in their coverage — isn’t actionable. The deceptive editing of the 911 call, however, might rise to the level of “actual malice,” thus supporting a libel action even though Zimmerman is a public figure.

IT’S ALL JANET NAPOLITANO’S FAULT:

It figures.

Trayvon Martin was reportedly targeted by community watchman George Zimmerman because he was wearing a hoodie.

So how did Zimmerman ever get the idea that someone in a hoodie might be suspicious? From the Obama Administration, of course.

President Chaos Umpire! “Chaos Umpire sits, And by decision more imbroils the fray. By which he Reigns.” Video at the link.

UPDATE: Related: CBS Miami: Crowds Smaller Than Predicted At Bayfront Trayvon Rally.

VICTOR DAVIS HANSON: From the Trayvon Martin Tragedy to a National Travesty. “Whites are far more likely to be murdered by blacks than vice-versa, despite the latter comprising only 11-12% of the population—again to no national outcry. The distinction in this case was that Martin was black. Zimmerman was not. The rule in America is apparently that only rare white on black crime—not far more common black on black, or black on white, or white on white—is symbolic of larger pathologies, both past and present. In earlier decades of American history, the reverse was more likely true: black on white crime aroused public furor in a way white on white or black on black or white on black crime did not. That fact in time was accepted as clearly symptomatic of racial bias, but the inverse of that today is said not to be.”

REX MURPHY: The tale of Trayvon Martin is a tragedy turned into a race parable.

JOURNALISM NARRATIVE MANAGEMENT: Tom Maguire critiques CNN: “CNN pretends to reprise the witnesses to the Trayvon Martin shooting and aftermath. They paint a picture of a ‘fair and balanced’ effort but omit ‘John’, the most important eyewitness to the scuffle that preceded the shooting. John says Zimmerman was on the ground getting beaten and calling for help; odd that CNN missed that.”

It’s still unclear exactly what happened on that night, but it’s pretty obvious what’s happening in the press now.

UPDATE: ‘He Looks Black’: NBC Launches Internal Investigation into Selective Editing of Zimmerman Police Tape.