On the night of February 26, 2012, an altercation between two men in Sanford, FL, left one of them dead. After the deadly encounter, Sanford police took the lone survivor in, questioned him, weighed the evidence, and concluded that he had killed the other man in self-defense. The police released him and identified the two participants in the incident: Trayvon Martin, 17, who had been killed, and George Zimmerman, 28, who had fired the shot that killed Martin. Sanford police soon come under assault in the media for mishandling the case. Before long, Washington gets involved.
From Feburary 29 to March 8, 2012, nothing much happens in the case. On March 8, though, the case gained national momentum when Tracy Martin, father of Trayvon, holds a press conference calling on Sanford police to arrest Zimmerman and charge him with murder. Two days later, on March 10, the Martin family gathered at the Sanford Police Department to urge police again to arrest and charge Zimmerman. Three days later, on the 13th, the Martin family asks Sanford police to release the 911 call from the night of the shooting. On March 16, Sanford police comply with that request and the 911 call from George Zimmerman to dispatchers is released. Zimmerman is heard on the recording telling the dispatcher about an unknown man walking through the gated residential community in the rain. Zimmerman tells the dispatcher that based on his experience as a neighborhood watchman, the unknown man appears to be up to “no good.” The community had been plagued by break-ins. Zimmerman says that the troublemakers always get away.
Releasing the 911 call, it turns out, is the pivotal moment in events after the shooting. Had the mainstream media handled the 911 call responsibly, there is every reason to believe that George Zimmerman would not be standing trial right now and the nation would not be worrying that the outcome of his trial might cause race riots.
The mainstream media did not handle that call responsibly, at all. Instead of airing the call as it was made on the night of February 26, NBC News deceptively edited it to make it appear that Zimmerman targeted Martin because the teen was black. The image of a race-based killing now solidified, it’s only a matter of time before the so-called “post-racial” president and his allies turn Martin’s death into a usefully divisive racial political football, in a presidential election year.
The damage from that false edit was only beginning. NBC News plays its false 911 call edit on the Today show and its other properties. The New York Times on March 22 calls Zimmerman a “white Hispanic.” The rest of the media amplify the false racial narrative. ABC News releases a video purporting to show no wounds on Zimmerman at all, and later admits “error” while releasing a video clearly showing wounds and blood on Zimmerman’s head consistent with his self-defense story. At every step of the way, mainstream media “mistakes” and “errors” have consistently built up the false narrative that Zimmerman targeted Martin and killed him because he was black.
The media successfully fabricate the “armed white adult versus unarmed black teen narrative,” and soon enough the zeitgeist turns decisively against Zimmerman. The FBI and Justice Department announce that they are opening investigations into the shooting on March 19. Reverend and MSNBC host Al Sharpton holds a rally on March 22 in Sanford demanding “justice” and reportedly 10,000 show up. In Sharpton’s rally, NBC News and its properties have clearly crossed the line from dishonest journalism to open one-sided advocacy. Two days later, the race hustle is well and truly on, as Rev. Jesse Jackson arrives in central Florida to join Sharpton in calling for “justice.” On March 23, President Barack Obama weighs in, scolding America to engage in “soul-searching” while saying that if he had a son, he would probably have looked like Trayvon Martin. Obama’s remarks, delivered in the Rose Garden at the White House, elevate the shooting past the point of no return. Charges against Zimmerman are inevitable, lest Republican-controlled Florida face the Holder Justice Department and a full-frontal media assault. At this point, the media and race hustlers are sparing no quarter. Taxpayer-funded PBS simply calls Zimmerman “white” on April 10 in a segment hosted by Gwen Ifill, who is black.