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Justice For Trayvon Martin: Black-On-White Crime And The Myth Of Liberal Media Bias

Submitted by on May 3, 2012 – 11:36 am4 Comments
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A 90-year-old D-Day veteran was beaten and his wife raped and murdered. A young Knoxville couple was brutally tortured and killed. And two British tourists were shot dead during a late night mugging.

According to some chain emails and Facebook postings, these stories and others like them haven’t made national headlines because the victims were white and the assailants were black. Some conservatives proudly wave these stories as proof of a liberal media bias, asking why they have not received the same outpouring of media attention and popular protests that still follow the shooting of Florida teen Trayvon Martin. But these angry conspiracy theorists completely miss that race was a single element in a case most importantly about seeking justice and action when there was none.

Trayvon Martin did not make headlines just because of the gruesomeness and senselessness of his death. Thousands of violent deaths occur every year in the US, and few of these merit coverage from the national media. As far as I can tell, the Martin case had three unique and newsworthy features that captured the nation’s attention: 1) Martin’s shooter, George Zimmerman, was known and had confessed, but remained uncharged for weeks; 2) Zimmerman’s actions could have been legal thanks to controversial “stand your ground” legislation; and 3) the victim himself has been accused of looking suspicious, and even of provoking the attack. Fox News host Geraldo Rivera went so far as to say that Martin would still be alive if he had not been a young black man in a hoodie.

Not a single one of the crimes mentioned in the first paragraph, nor any other similar crime story I know of, shares a single one of these features. In each of the black-on-white crime cases mentioned above, a suspect was arrested within days, if not hours- and that’s without the benefit of a confession. In two of the three cases, the suspects have since been convicted- the third is awaiting trial. None of them raised questions about controversial legislation.  And in none of the cases did anyone suggest that the victims had somehow provoked their own deaths just by their appearance.

Zimmerman is of course innocent until proven guilty; but the confessed shooter of Trayvon came close to never having to face his day in court. The flood of media coverage and public outrage was not just over the crime, but over the lack of a criminal prosecution- a problem completely absent in the other cases. A quick look at Google Trends would suggest that attention to the case was connected to seeking action: search volumes and news references drop off drastically after Zimmerman was formally charged on April 11.

The Trayvon Martin shooting didn’t become a media sensation just because the victim was black, and those other stories weren’t “ignored” because the victims were white. The media reported on a shocking and newsworthy story with unanswered questions, and gave less coverage to the tragic but less controversial cases. When justice is denied and action is needed, it’s newsworthy, regardless of color.

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4 Comments »

  • Gary Kaplan says:

    All the evidence and witnesses currently available show Zimmerman on his back (not stand your ground) with two splits on the back of his head and Trayvon Martin on top. Having your head pounded into the ground is immediately life threatening and saving your life is legal in all states. Even if Zimmerman looked at Martin funny.
    Seems to me that Trayvon has gotten his justice.
    If these turn out to be the facts when all the evidence is heard then Trayvon was wrongly “profiled”. He was not as Zimmerman told 911 on drugs, suspicious, a punk and an A.. hole. He was very dangerous and all of the above.
    And tell me, what would you do if your head was being pounded into concrete?

  • Tim B. says:

    Geraldo Rivera saying something dumb about a hoodie hardly makes it a national case.

    What made it a national case was the PR firm orchestrating a disinformation campaign, aided by the media.

    The whole hoodie thing is a red herring. Zimmerman only described what Martin was wearing at the request of the police officer. I suspect that Crump had a nice photo of a younger Martin in a hoodie and thought exaggerating the hoodie aspect would be a good selling point.

    Zimmerman also said Martin was wearing “white tennis shoes” so when is the million white tennis shoe march?

  • fred says:

    Kaplan:
    Zimmerman was told by the police dispatcher to NOT to pursue Martin. It’s on the tape. Zimmerman had a lengthy history of calling 911; abusing the emergency system with his suspicious behavior calls, so this was normal activity for the pseudo-cop. Let’s get this fact straight. Zimmerman PUT HIMSELF into a situation he was not trained for and not legally authorized to handle. When you do that sort of thing don’t you think you may bite off more than you can chew? But you’re telling us that Martin deserved his “justice” for the ignorance of Zimmerman’s vigilante action on some kid who was walking along minding his own business? How do you know with certainty that Martin wasn’t acting in self-defense from a threatening stranger who was following him and potentially endangered his life(and tragically took his life)? And the paramount question that everyone needs to ask is, was the life of a young man worth the stupidity and arrogance of some nobody guy who felt he was a cop because he carried a loaded weapon. Hell no, is my answer.

  • MikadoCat says:

    Media bias a myth? I’ve followed this case for weeks and haven’t found any real reporting. Its not about which stories media outlets carry, they cater to their audience, and while that is bad, it isn’t a terrible thing. A terrible thing is what many media outlets actually did.

    They ran without question a press release from Benjamin Crump and his public relations firm Julison Communications. Trayvon at 13, Zimmerman in a jailhouse mug shot, with the story of an unarmed black teen gunned down while walking home. This story ran for over a month as the gospel truth.

    It leaves out the only legal issue of the case, that it happened during a fight, and all of the evidence at the scene supported self defense.

    Crumps story makes major serious claims without facts to support them, and not one of the media outlets raised an eyebrow, many jumped right on board and added their own lies.

    Trayvon is walking home. This simple lie is the worst. Crump wants us to believe there was no suspicious behavior, only racism. Two obvious problems, Crump has no knowledge of Trayvon’s actions, Zimmerman is the ONLY witness and calls the police and describes Trayvon as looking around, not walking purposefully anyplace. Second the time to walk from the entry gate to the home where he was staying is only a couple minutes. If he is walking he has plenty of time to get home before the call ends.

    Sanford police are racists and fail to investigate because Zimmerman is white and Trayvon is black. Again Crump has no real knowledge of the investigation details. Zimmerman is not white, he is only slightly lighter skin tone than Trayvon. This is NOT a complex case. There was a fight ending in a gun shot, what special investigating is supposed to be missing?

    Sanford DA is racist or under the thumb of a retired VA justice of the peace. Again Crump has no actual knowledge of any of this.

    Odd for a myth to have this much meat.

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