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.
Fast forward more than a year and Obama has been re-elected while “white Hispanic” Zimmerman is on trial facing second degree murder charges. Last week the prosecution put on its case, and it turned out to be almost entirely helpful to Zimmerman’s defense. His wounds, which ABC News had tried to cover up in its own deception, were consistent with the testimony he gave to Sanford police immediately after the shooting, when he told police that Martin, larger and more athletic than Zimmerman, had gotten on top of him and was beating him and smashing his head into a sidewalk to the point that Zimmerman reasonably feared for his life. Zimmerman told police that he only shot Martin in self-defense. The only clear evidence of racism in the case came from prosecution witness Rachel Jeantel, who testified that Martin called Zimmerman a “creepy-ass cracker” during a phone call shortly before the shooting. Witness John Good was first on the scene after the shooting, and as a prosecution witness told the jury that he had seen Martin on top of Zimmerman delivering a “ground and pound” to the smaller man. Every other witness in the trial, with the exception of Martin’s mother, has given testimony that in one way or another backs up self-defense and introduces more than reasonable doubt that Zimmerman is guilty of murder in any degree. Martin’s mother testified that she hears her son screaming for help on the 911 recordings of the fight. But other witnesses testified that the voice belongs to Zimmerman. Testimony about the 911 calls, then, is a wash. The prosecution’s case has introduced enough reasonable doubt on the murder charge that Zimmerman ought to be acquitted and go free. He could still face a civil suit from Martin’s family, where the evidence standards are lower and the outcome of the criminal trial could be useful to the Martin family’s lawyers as they craft a civil case against Zimmerman.
The media’s role in the Zimmerman case must not go unexamined. The fact is, the Sanford Police Department, which became the media and race hustlers’ target during this saga, got things right. They took Zimmerman in after the shooting, interviewed him, examined the evidence from his wounds to the full 911 call, and concluded that he had shot Martin in self-defense. “Police department gets things right” seldom makes for a sexy media narrative, just as “Hispanic neighborhood watchman shoots black teen behaving suspiciously in self-defense” doesn’t advance any media narrative. So the media and the race hustlers fabricated a narrative based on falsified evidence. NBC’s deceptive edit of the 911 call turned the evidence on its head and created a racial narrative that the facts do not support and never did. That edit, which despite NBC’s claims could not have been accidental, was malicious. It was also, in retrospect at least, racist. The media almost never reports black-on-black crime or black-on-white crime in America. It reserves most of its crime stories to celebrity killings, attractive women or children who have gone missing, and incidents that advance political narratives like the murders of James Byrd and Matthew Shepard. The Zimmerman case became political because the media, led by NBC News and ABC News, fabricated evidence in order to make it political. A Hispanic man killing a young black man in self-defense is far less interesting and politically useful than an older white man shooting an innocent black boy in cold blood and then claiming self-defense. The media recognized that it could use the Martin shooting to advance narratives of racism while also attacking the Second Amendment and “stand your ground” laws. So the media engaged in racism en masse, turned Zimmerman white, and faked the evidence to make him a murderer. The media’s racism has put Zimmerman on trial and America on edge as the case nears the verdict phase. Threats of race riots hang not just over central Florida, but the entire country, if the jury acquits Zimmerman. We would not be here if media from NBC to ABC to the New York Times had not deliberately turned the shooting into a racial incident.
Zimmerman filed a lawsuit against NBC in December 2012. That case should go forward once he is acquitted in the criminal trial. Hopefully his lawsuit against NBC will expose the media for its irresponsible and devious political practices and its racism. George Zimmerman should end up a very wealthy man, if any “justice” is to finally be done in this case.