Learning from Trayvon Martin

Okay, I think all of us have heard the story by now. There was an incident in which a 17-year-old boy ended up shot dead in an altercation. However, even though it’s been over a month since this case began, we really don’t know much more about the case than we did when this first hit the news.

Speaking for myself, I do not know whether or not Zimmermann is guilty or if he acted in self-defense. None of us know enough about the facts of the case to make any kind of intelligent judgments.

What we’ve learned a lot more about is what the media has become over the past decade. Nobody has been arrested, but even without knowing all the facts, the media has already rushed to judgment. Zimmermann is considered guilty and we haven’t even had a trial yet. It’s also assumed that this is a hate crime and that the shooting is racially motivated.

Unfortunately, it’s even worse than just rushing to judgment prematurely. We have had numerous news organization, NBC chief among them, outright lying and misrepresenting what facts that we currently know.

The edited version of the police call had Zimmermann saying this: “This guy looks like he’s up to no good. He looks black.” Certainly sounds like someone who has a prejudice against minorities.

Except the unedited clip was this:

Zimmerman: This guy looks like he’s up to no good. Or he’s on drugs or something. It’s raining and he’s just walking around, looking about.

Dispatcher: OK, and this guy–is he black, white or Hispanic?

Zimmerman: He looks black.

There’s no way that this was simply an oversight; they deliberately lied to portray this as racially motivated.

When you look at the police video of him walking into the station, if you look carefully, there’s something on his head that looks like a gash or wound. However, ABC news, who showed this image on their programs, made no mention of it and claimed that there was no sign of injury.

As a result of all this, we’re having numerous groups screaming for justice, but a lot of it sounds more like revenge. The New Black Panther Party has put a price on Zimmermann’s head, which they claim will soon be a million dollars. Spike Lee tweeted what he thought was Zimmermann’s address, terrifying an elderly couple who actually lived there. His family has already received death threats; his father refused to show his face out of fear that he would be marked. This is not how a civilized society behaves.

Of course, we have groups rushing to exploit this death for political gain. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson are already taking to the streets, the former live on MSNBC. I doubt either of them really care about Martin’s death, but this gives them a political platform and both of them are drawn to publicity like a cat to catnip.

We’ve learned very little about the actual facts of the case. We’ve learned far more about what the media and politicians will do to promote their desired narrative.