The Zimmerman Trial: Unreality TV

“The Zimmerman case is about many things, but it isn’t about George Zimmerman,” Daniel Greenfield writes in a lengthy essay at his Sultan Knish blog. Particularly since who Zimmerman is, and how he’s portrayed on TV are two very different things. Operating from an exceedingly dated playbook, CNN and NBC/MSNBC see Zimmerman as a white conservative; as Greenfield writes, in reality, Zimmerman is “an Hispanic Obama supporter who campaigned against police brutality only to find himself plucked up by the hand of Big Brother to play the villainous white racist in the latest episode of liberal political reality television:”


If Trayvon Martin had been the clean cut innocent kid that the media tried to pretend he is, the reaction might have been different. But he wasn’t. The gap between Martin and Zimmerman wasn’t race, in other circumstances most liberals would have called both men members of minority groups, it was aspiration.

George Zimmerman wanted to to be a cop. Trayvon Martin wanted to be a hood. It’s quite possible that Martin got no closer to his ambition than Zimmerman got to his. Both men were just going through the motions on the edge of a game of cops-and-robbers that suddenly turned deadly real. And even in a country where the thug tops the entertainment heap, the vulnerable parts of the middle class have more sympathy for aspiring cops than for aspiring thugs.

What are cops and thugs? Cops are the protectors of the middle class and thugs prey on the middle class. Not just any part of the middle class, but the vulnerable parts, the men and women without enough money and mobility to get out when neighborhoods turn bad. And then it all comes down to territory and who can intimidate whom. Either the cops intimidate the thugs or the thugs intimidate the cops.

Everyone is the hero in their own story, but George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin were living out different stories. George Zimmerman was looking out for his neighbors while Trayvon Martin was looking to live the thug life. Martin’s story ended with him realizing that sometimes attitude isn’t enough and Zimmerman’s story ended with him realizing that sometimes even when you try to be the hero, you’re going to be drawn as a villain.

But the Zimmerman and Martin story is an American story. That’s why it has become so big. Back in the 70s, when Paul Kersey was skulking around on the silver screen, it was mainly an urban story. Now it’s an everywhere story. It’s a story about homesteaders and savages, about a shaky middle class built on piles of debt trying to protect what’s left of its way of life while across the street, there’s the glamor of not working and scoring money any way you can.


Read the whole thing. And then check out Roger L. Simon on “The Zimmerman Trial as Media Pornography:”

Whatever his or the president’s proclivities, this trial should never have happened. As we now know, with the prosecution’s case wrapped, not only is there no evidence to prove Zimmerman guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, there’s virtually no evidence to prove him guilty at all. Farce indeed.

Will we have riots if, as is now widely predicted, Zimmerman is innocent of all charges? Beats me, but what I know is this: if we do, Sharpton should be indicted for incitement. It would be long overdue for one of the great racists of our time.

But most readers understand all this and I feel embarrassed for even writing about it. As a member of the media, it shows the poverty of my imagination and the narrowness of my mind. Not only should this trial never have happened, the ongoing obsession with it is an absurd waste of time and another (deliberate?) distraction from the real news and conflicts which are before us.

As I write this, Egypt teeters on the brink of civil war, Syria is still in civil war, Lebanon is also on the brink, Iran marches forward to nuclear arms, the U.S. economy remains a mess, unemployment is rampant, more people are on food stamps than work in the private sector, the deficit grows exponentially by the second, Social Security is going bankrupt, Medicare is going bankrupt, the IRS has virtually taken over the country and is about to subsume healthcare, Benghazi remains unresolved, the NSA is spying on everything and everybody between here and Alpha Centauri and we’re (I) worrying George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin?!

What unbelievable nonsense. The case has nothing to do with anything. Not race, not gun control, not even self-defense or “stand your ground.” It’s just a form of ginned-up media pornography. It may generate ratings for Fox News, but it pollutes the minds of the rest of us.


Well, it generates ratings for Fox News, but for the rest of the cable news media, in addition to ginning up ratings, every minute spent talking about Zimmerman and Trayvon is a minute not spent discussing the failures of the Obama administration, and sewing that much more racial discord in the nation, so it’s all very much win-win for old media.

Update: Tolerance.


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