As documented by my friend and mentor Bob Somerby on his Daily Howler website, no further mention of Martin or Zimmerman appeared on the network for weeks. It was a performance worthy of the Chinese People’s Daily or Fox News, whichever strikes you as the worse insult.
Now that Zimmerman’s trial is under way, it’s commendable to see Charles Blow acting like a journalist again. After the first week’s testimony, he wrote a column which, if overly-reliant upon rhetorical questions with obvious answers he might not want to hear, concluded that while Zimmerman bears undoubted moral responsibility for killing Trayvon Martin, “[l]egally, it remains to be seen whether he will be found guilty of second-degree murder.”
So did Zimmerman “profile” Trayvon Martin? Here’s an explanation deemed inadmissible by True Believers in the racist brute version of the story. An African-American neighbor explained it to Reuters soon after the crime. “There were black boys robbing houses in this neighborhood,” she said. “That’s why George was suspicious of Trayvon Martin.”
Indeed, there had been a rash of burglaries and break-ins in the (multi-racial) Twin Lakes community in the months preceding the fatal confrontation. Most of the suspects were young black men, and most did, in fact, get away. Had he known that, maybe young Martin might have acted differently when he felt himself followed by a “creepy ass cracker.”
But it’s impossible to know, partly because nobody knows exactly how he did act.
Not that believers in the racial morality play have any doubt. Reading comments to Blow’s column and elsewhere, it’s striking how many seers and mind-readers affect to know not only precisely what happened on that terrible night, but the exact motives of everybody involved. Skeptics get attacked for their apostasy, with the dread “r-word” frequently employed. People even speculate that the defendant broke his own nose in the roughly 30 seconds before the Sanford police arrived.
However, to convict George Zimmerman of second-degree murder, a jury must imagine this scenario: Determined to kill an innocent stranger, a man first dials 911, stays on the phone while stalking his victim, remains at the crime scene rather than fleeing, surrenders peacefully, waives his Miranda rights and voluntarily answers hundreds of police questions.
Hard to believe, no?
Copyright 2013 The National Memo