Free Markets, Free People
Has the Trayvon Martin incident become more about the media than the shooting?
If you’ve been following this incident at all, you know that much of what was initially reported was wrong and some of what has been reported since was false, manufactured and/or misleading.
American Thinker has a good round up of the story to this point. In the article, Jeff Lipke outlines the “myth” as it was perpetrated by the media.
The two worst offenders in my opinion have been NBC and ABC. NBC aired an edited 911 tape which was clearly meant to depict George Zimmerman as a racist. They continue to try to defend it as a “mistake”. No one with any common sense is buying that nonsense.
ABC used footage of Zimmerman’s arrival at the Sanford police station to claim that it didn’t support his claim he’d been attacked as there was no evidence of blood or contusions. Never mentioned was the fact that Zimmerman had been treated by EMTs who are not in the habit of leaving visible blood on a patient they treat. Subsequent enhancement showed that initial claim by ABC to have been incorrect. Additionally, ABC claimed that Zimmerman had used a racial slur when talking to the 911 operator. Again, enhancing the audio makes it clear he didn’t and instead seems to be remarking about how cold it was that night. In fact, for central Florida, it was a cold night. But ABC jumped to the conclusion because it supported the desired evolving story line – it was a racial killing.
The unraveling of the myth seems to have the whole story losing steam. That may be why Al Sharpton decided to be a no-show at this weekend’s rally. And there have also been incidents that have done little to gain sympathy for Trayvon Martin. HIs parents attempt to copyright his name obviously hoping to capitalize on his death. Then there was the rally for Martin by members of the school he attended which turned into a flash-mob looting of a local drug store.
But for the media, this has been anything but its finest hour. One of the reoccurring criticism of blogs by the media is they’ll publish anything and have no editors to check them. Yet it is the media, especially the two networks named above, who’ve seemed to fall into that category, editors notwithstanding.
Take the latest story circulating. Supposedly “Neo-Nazis” are patrolling Sanford, FL. The NY Daily News reports this as a fact. But Legal Insurrection’s Professor Jacobson has actually tried to confirm it (wait, isn’t that what editors and research assistants are supposed to do in the media?). And, according to his inquiry to the Sanford Police Department, there’s no evidence of any neo-Nazi group patrolling the city:
My initial e-mail (which included an embedded link to the Memeorandum thread):
“There are a number of reports in the media that Neo-Nazis are conducting armed patrols in Sanford. Can you confirm or deny whether this is true, and provide any information you have on the subject? If someone is able to get back to me as soon as possible (and before Monday) that would be appreciated, since such rumors are spreading.”
Response from Sanford Joint Information Center:
“At this time the City of Sanford has not confirmed the presence of Neo-Nazis groups.”
My follow up:
“You say “not confirmed.” Is there any indication of such patrols that the Department is aware of?”
Further Response from Sanford Joint Information Center:
“We have no indication of any such patrols at this point in Sanford. The only large gathering was the children and their parents at the Easter egg hunt.”
How poorly are we being served by a media which now seems to be engaged in precisely what it criticized blogs for? And how ironic is it that a blog is doing the work the media should be doing? That’s not to say blogs are in the clear. Every left wing blog of any size has been parroting the rumor as well.
But the fact remains this case, no matter how you feel about it, has shown the media in a very unflattering light. Sensationalism, poor journalism, lousy and false editing, conclusion jumping, and rumor mongering have all been evident in their coverage.
And the industry wonders why so many Americans don’t trust them any more?