March 27, 2012

Trayvon: How the Case Was Spun

From the NYT:
March 25, 2012 
In Slain Teenager’s Case, a Long Route to National Attention 
By BRIAN STELTER 
Trayvon Martin, an unarmed 17-year-old, was fatally shot on Feb. 26 in Sanford, Fla. The next day his death was a top story on the Fox-affiliated television station in Orlando, the closest big city to Sanford. Within a week it was being covered by newspapers around the state. 
But it took several weeks before the rest of the country found out. 
It was not until mid-March, after word spread on Facebook and Twitter, that the shooting of Trayvon by George Zimmerman, 28, was widely reported by the national news media, highlighting the complex ways that news does and does not travel in the Internet age.

To me, the obvious comparison is to how fast the news spread in the local shooting of an 18-year-old by a federal agent and a local cop that I did some amateur snooping into a few years ago. However, that wouldn't be an obvious comparison for anybody else because the news of that shooting never spread much at all. Exactly 168 hours after the killing, my wife and I ran into the dead youth's parents standing alone at the scene of the crime trying to figure make sense of the sketchy handful of datapoints the police had deigned to release, and the fishy-sounding spin they had put on the story. We encouraged the mother to pursue a lawsuit to bring the facts out.

It's not surprising that that case didn't spread because Stuff Happens all the time in a huge country like America, and the dead kid didn't have an identity politics team rooting for him.
That Trayvon’s name is known at all is a testament to his family, which hired a tenacious lawyer to pursue legal action and to persuade sympathetic members of the news media to cover the case. Just as important, family members were willing to answer the same painful questions over and over at news conferences and in TV interviews.

Indeed, but it definitely helps to have a racial angle. (Or have a beautiful white daughter.) There is a deep hunger in America for Real Life Cases of evil white racists slaughtering black children to validate all those countless works of fiction. In the case I looked into, the dead youth turned out to be white, so there was no
Notably, many of the national media figures who initially devoted time to the shooting are black, which some journalists and advocacy groups say attests to the need for diversity in newsrooms. The racial and ethnic makeup of newsrooms, where minorities tend to be underrepresented relative to the general population, has long been a source of tension for the news industry.

In other words, the Trayvon story was promoted by affirmative action beneficiaries who want to use the story to get more affirmative action.
... National coverage increased somewhat the week of March 12, but really intensified only after March 16, when tapes of 911 calls were released, showing that Mr. Zimmerman had been told by a dispatcher that he did not need to follow Trayvon. Having the audio — which the police had previously declined to release — was critical because it gave radio and TV reporters more material for their segments and because it aroused more suspicion about Mr. Zimmerman.

The criminal justice system holds most of the cards that news stories can be constructed from. In my local shooting, for instance, there was one eyewitness, whose name was not released by the cops to the parents in the first 168 hours. The cops first arrested him, then released him, then arrested him again, then released him. Eventually, he posted his version of the story online in a blog comment, which I forwarded to the mother's attorney.

The other main players in the game are civil suit attorneys, who are entitled to eventually see the police files. They mold a lot of stories for the press.
Within days of the national media scrutiny, the Justice Department said it would investigate the case, and on March 23, President Obama addressed it directly, furthering the media dialogue.

 Of course, as it turns out, there were a huge number of other facts that the national media and the President didn't have. None of these facts, like that young Trayvon was working hard on developing a Thug Life vibe for himself, shouldn't have come as a surprise.

In theory, this should prove embarrassing to the press and President, but, you are forgetting that they hold the Microphone, they promote the Narrative, and you are just an Evil Racist, so Shut Up with all your little hatefacts.
On television, the family spoke early and often to the Rev. Al Sharpton, the civil rights activist who has radio shows and an MSNBC television show. He was made aware of the shooting by Mr. Crump, who had previously enlisted Mr. Sharpton to speak out against the death of a Florida boy at a boot camp in 2006.

As you go through life, it's a good idea to learn and remember the name of the appropriate local sleazebag attorney who is plugged into your appropriate national identity politics sleazebags like the Rev. Al. For example, if you are a woman in California and you want to sue a man for anything, get in touch with Gloria Allred.
“The attorney called and said, ‘I need you again,’ ” Mr. Sharpton recalled in a telephone interview from Florida, where he staged a rally Thursday night to call for justice. He took his radio and TV shows with him, thereby amplifying his call.
Mr. Sharpton has used his shows for all manner of advocacy He analogized radio, with its hours of airtime and calls from listeners, to “ground forces” and MSNBC as “air strikes” and said, “If you have a war, you’re going to need both.”

And who has a better track record of credibility than Al Sharpton? As I wrote in 2005:
Indeed, the reputation of [Tom Wolfe's] first novel, The Bonfire of the Vanities, has suffered because its plot is now often thought of as a pastiche of stories ripped from the headlines about Al Sharpton's Tawana Brawley hoax, the arrest of the bond king Michael Milken, the Crown Heights anti-Semitic pogrom, the Rodney King riots, and the O.J. Simpson case. 
But Bonfire appeared in 1987 … before all those events it seemingly reflects. 
America's most distinguished jurist-intellectual, Richard A. Posner, has admitted this in his book Overcoming Law
"When I first read The Bonfire of the Vanities … it just didn't strike me as the sort of book that has anything interesting to say about the law or any other institution…. I now consider that estimate of the book ungenerous and unperceptive. The Bonfire of the Vanities has turned out to be a book that I think about a lot, in part because it describes with such vividness what Wolfe with prophetic insight (the sort of thing we attribute to Kafka) identified as emerging problems of the American legal system… American legal justice today seems often to be found at a bizarre intersection of race, money, and violence, an intersection nowhere better depicted than in The Bonfire of the Vanities even thought the book was written before the intersection had come into view."

Thank God the prestige press has such close contacts with a man with such a disinterested obsession with truth as the Rev. Al. 

39 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Pussyass cracker"

Anonymous said...

Al Sharpton et al needed a case like this. Things were bad, very bad. A Black President, but one who only kept Wall Street on speed dial; an incompetent Black Attorney General, a group of black public figures like C. Rice or Powell working for the M.I.C., and widespread poverty amongst ALL races- old fashioned Socialist class consciousness is anathema to identity politics and its spoils beneficiaries like Sharpton.

Added to this was the disturbing tendency of homosexuals to get favorable treatment over minorities and the demographic expansion in the US of "Browns" from around the globe, people Sharpton et al couldn't guilt. It's one thing to have a Rainbow coalition, but, come on, even Sharpton realizes the pie is only so big, and gotta look out for group #1.

We will be seeing more of this as Black folks are increasingly neurotic about their loss of favored minority status. Viva la diversidad!

Mercer said...

I think having Sharpton as your advocate is a mixed blessing outside the black community. People old enough remember how the Tawana Brawley case collapsed. Jews remember Crown Heights.(Isteve readers should be aware of their influence in the media.)Young people can read about his past on wikipedia.

Anonymous said...

So, why don't white reporters keep promoting the recent story of the 13 year old white kid who had gasoline poured on him and who was set on fire by two black teens who told him he would have to pay for being white? Why don't they keep the story alive instead of letting it languish on the back pages of local newspapers in order to show that black crime and in particular, crime among black youth, is alive and well in America? Why don't white reporters do exposes on black violence in our public schools, even in our elementary schools.

Why don't white reporters investigate, write about the flash mob violence that one really only found out by reading the internet?

Why aren't white reporters caring about injustice?

What's up with the genetics of those white reporters? Editors?

Shall we offer them up for genomic studies?

slumber_j said...

First of all, I doubt that affirmative action is the issue for people in the NYT newsroom: I think it's much, much more a question of making up for their own general whiteness. No?

Second, when they talk about radio and TV news outlets (minus Al Sharpton, of course, who gets slack cut for the above reason), what anyone on the NYT means is "fake news outlets"--i.e. those journalists not blessed with their own exquisite sense of racial nuance.

Whiskey said...

Why did all the truth come out about Trayvon Martin? Because the Sanford and Miami police were tired of being beaten up in the media, the Sanford Police Chief was forced to resign, and had a lot cronies/pals on the force. Cops have local reporters on speed dial. The Miami Herald and Orlando Sentinel did a lot of transcribing er reporting on the story when the cops got good and angry.

All of which was entirely predictable. Make cops look bad, they'll make you look bad by leaking all sorts of things they found out about you to the press.

Anonymous said...

Trayvon had a dream. He wanted to be a thug. He succeeded.

AMac said...

Gotta love the magisterial tone affected by NYT reporter Brian Stelter, as he ponderously declaims on the outstandingly excellent perceptiveness of himself, his fellow reporters, and his editors. Truly, such diverse vibrancy in the service of sensitivity and inclusiveness is an inspiration to those of us still clambering up the lowest rungs of the consciousness ladder.

Oh, and the New York Times' shining performance during the Duke Lacrosse Rape Hoax. Tell us that story, Comrade Stelter!

Let's! said...

@Anonymous
"So, why don't white reporters keep promoting the recent story of the 13 year old white kid who had gasoline poured on him and who was set on fire by two black teens who told him he would have to pay for being white?"

Because the story might not be what it seemed.

http://justoneminute.typepad.com/main/2012/03/i-smell-a-rat.html

Allan Lichtman's Nightmare said...

This could quickly become a total disaster for Obama.

Information seems to cascade in the direction that Trayvon Martin was a thug.

At this point, the simple fact that the police did not arrest Zimmerman at the time of the shooting makes a criminal prosecution very problematic.

If a grand jury refuses to indict - or refuses to convene - there is a real chance that blacks and occupiers could take to the streets. It's the most Rodney King-esque situation since Rodney King!

Riots and reelections don't mix. If there's a long hot summer, it will come out of Obama's hide in the popular vote.

At minimum, Obama has taken the side of an apparent thug child - "my son!" - gun grabbers, and leftwing totalitarians like Charles Schumer. And the battleground is Florida, a state Obama MUST win.

On top of everything else, his followers have demonized a hispanic male.

It's incredible - nothing makes me question Obama's qualifications more than his unpleasant tendency to jump to conclusions on these hot button racial events. It's so hysterical and unpresidential.

OT said...

Off topic, but did you see this "brave" article where a Slate author asks the stupid?
http://www.slate.com/articles/sports/explainer/2012/03/brittney_griner_dunk_why_are_there_so_few_jams_in_women_s_basketball_.html

This genious shows us that it's a combination of jumping ability and height. But don't worry, if you still want to believe in fairytales about nurture over nature there is a cozy conclusion:

"There’s hope for young girls who dream of playing above the rim. Historically, pediatricians and trainers have cautioned against serious athletic training in young children. They feared that weight lifting would close growth plates or cause muscle tears. But researchers increasingly believe those concerns are overstated and that women can significantly narrow the gap in leaping ability that opens up during puberty through moderate resistance training before and during the period of hormonal changes."

RKU said...

I've noticed that one dog which hasn't been barking anywhere are Hispanics, either in or out of the media. The only people I've seen sticking up for the shooter on the web have been rightwing whites, especially the harder-core HBDers and the WN-types. So if the Hispanics are really planning to seize control of Aztlan in the near future, they'll need to get a *lot* better organized.

Actually, I take that back. I think Geraldo Rivera half-defended the shooting. So maybe he should give up his plans to run for the Israeli Knesset, and instead try to become the first president of Aztlan...

Anonymous said...

"All of which was entirely predictable. Make cops look bad, they'll make you look bad by leaking all sorts of things they found out about you to the press."

It works both ways. Yesterday and the day before came the leaks about Zimmerman's actual story and the eye witness' story about Trayvon being atop Zimmerman and wailing on him while Z. screamed for help; late today came the leak about the lead detective wanting Z. charged with manslaughter while the prosecutors said, "No, not enough evidence."

The next several days will see all kinds of leaks.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of the Rev. Al, CL Bryant takes out, I mean TAKES OUT CNN's Roland Martin on the very network that employs Martin. Check out toward the end the utter fake smile of Martin.

Kudos to Mr. Bryant for zeroing in on the MSM's and leaders' ignoring of black crime.

http://dailycaller.com/2012/03/27/former-naacp-leader-c-l-bryant-blasts-cnns-roland-martin-video/

Anonymous said...

Why don't they keep the story alive instead of letting it languish on the back pages of local newspapers in order to show that black crime and in particular, crime among black youth, is alive and well in America? Why don't white reporters do exposes on black violence in our public schools, even in our elementary schools.

Because they want to keep their jobs.

sane_voter said...

One of the best interviews I have seen about this Trayvon circus was on CNN, featuring the past NAACP leader CL Bryant.

He made the point that blacks have much more to fear from other blacks and that white on black crime is a rarity, and that the focus in the black community ought to be on that rather than Zimmerman. He also brought up the problem of the race baiting by Sharpton and Jackson. He made so much sense that Roland Martin was reduced to sputtering about him not tweeting enough on black murders.

if you want to see it, Google search: cnn interview CL bryant roland martin

Anonymous said...

Sharpton was born in 1954. He is 57.
Jesse Jackson was born in 1941. He is 70.

Who will the media call when these guys are gone?

I mean, they can't last too much longer.

eh said...

the complex ways

As complex as the ways virtually all media outlets around the country decided to remove race from the descriptions of criminal suspects?

As Jerry Lee Lewis might say (or sing): whole lotta complexity goin' on there.

Kevin Michael Grace said...

We've seen this all before in New York City in 1985. Edmund Perry was a Phillips Exeter honor student from Harlem who was offered full scholarships to Yale, Berkeley, the University of Pennsylvania and Stanford (he chose the latter). Perry, who was unarmed, made the mistake of mugging (with an accomplice; his brother was later charged and acquitted) a plainclothes policeman in Morningside Park. He paid for this with his life, when the cop, on the verge of losing consciousness, pulled a gun from his ankle holster and shot Perry.

The policeman was never charged, as many witnesses testified he had acted in self-defence. Perry’s death was met with disbelief, outrage and a full-on mau-mauing. Robert Sam Anson, a liberal journalist, wrote a book about the affair. To his chagrin, he discovered that Perry was almost certainly guilty and that his mind had been poisoned by hatred of whites.

To this day, Anson is attacked for reporting that Perry had been a criminal even before the mugging. Last month, Mark Anthony Neal wrote at NewBlackMan, “Anson disingenuously introduces readers to the fact that that Perry was a sometime drug dealer and user. Anson’s divulging of this information has the effect of highlighting Perry’s inability to survive the pressures of living in multiple worlds. His choice to deal drugs represents a moral burden that his White peers (users) did not have to carry.” Martyrs such as Perry and Martin are always depraved on account they’re deprived.

Anson is presumably guilty of “trying to kill [Perry’s] reputation,” in the words Trayvon Martin's mother used to describe the scabrous revelations about her son. The truth may set you free, but it won’t protect you from charges of “racism.”

In 1990, Law & Order did a parody of the Perry case. In “Poison Ivy,” an armed, Italian-American cop shots an unarmed black Princeton student risen up from the ghetto. He wipes the gun clean, plants it on the dead student and conspires with his partner to obstruct justice. After his murder is revealed, he kills himself, and the Law & Order cast revels in well-earned smug satisfaction. I say parody, but perhaps we should call this the Frum-Weigel-Dreher version. The search for the Great White Defendant continues apace. If he can’t be found, he can at least be manufactured.

Truth said...

"Trayvon had a dream. He wanted to be a thug. He succeeded."

And Zimmerman had a dream. He wanted to be a police officer. He failed.

e-Bartlett said...

If at first you don't succeed, try, try-by-media again

Anonymous said...

So if the Hispanics are really planning to seize control of Aztlan in the near future, they'll need to get a *lot* better organized.

The Mexicans in LA already have been taking it to the blacks in the streets. They've taken much of previously black turf.

There was a History Channel show on it - Gangland: Race Wars:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iVMWcDJPbU0

These are Mexicans though. I don't know how they view Zimmerman who's Peruvian or something and whether they accept him as their own.

Anonymous said...

I actually think Obama's commentary on this case was pretty lukewarm. He showed personal compassion for the deceased's family and nothing further. Seems to have learned the salient political lessons resulting from the Jeremiah Wright affiliation and Henry Louis Gates controversy.

Gotta love this NYT reporter's unassailable lack of bias, even on trivial matters. For instance: "The next day his death was a top story on the Fox-affiliated television station in Orlando, the closest big city to Sanford."

Yeah, when news traveled to the "big city" from Sanford, Deep-South Podunkville, USA circa 1963. Never mind that Sanford's a suburb (at worst exurb) of Orlando, with the two municipalities connected by uninterrupted sprawl.

Harry Baldwin said...

I don't think the case could have been spun so successfully were it not for the release of the idealized, outdated image of Trayson in his sports uniform paired against Zimmerman looking sleazy in his mugshot. That set the tone. If they had to work with the more recent photos that have come out, do you think Obama would have claimed Trayson as his fantasy son?

Heliogabalus said...

"We will be seeing more of this as Black folks are increasingly neurotic about their loss of favored minority status."

Blacks may cheer the decline in the white population, but it's going to be the worst thing for them. Hispanics and Asians have no white guilt that can be leveraged, look out for themselves, and do not hesitate to defend themselves against blacks. The multicultural ideal of "people of color united against Whitey's racism" is an academic fantasy.

Two signs of the times: not only is the "white racist" who shot Trayvon actually a mestizo; but the professor who was verbally threatened and savaged by that psychotic black girl in FL is Japanese American. As white people withdraw into their enclaves, this is what racial conflict in America will increasingly look like.

Anonymous said...

And Zimmerman had a dream. He wanted to be a police officer. He failed.

I don't agree with Truth much, but that was actually a pretty good comeback. +1 for Truth.

LemmusLemmus said...

"Indeed, the reputation of [Tom Wolfe's] first novel, The Bonfire of the Vanities, has suffered because its plot is now often thought of as a pastiche of stories ripped from the headlines about Al Sharpton's Tawana Brawley hoax, the arrest of the bond king Michael Milken, the Crown Heights anti-Semitic pogrom, the Rodney King riots, and the O.J. Simpson case.

But Bonfire appeared in 1987 … before all those events it seemingly reflects."

Tom Wolfe writes about this at some length in the long introduction, which is included with some editions of the book and is arguably even better than the novel itself. If you buy a copy of Bonfire, make sure it's got the introduction, too.

eh said...

Every time I hear Trayvon I think of 'Rave On' by Buddy Holly. That's just me I guess.

Another great old video -- America how it used to be...nice to see sometimes.

Anonymous said...

The decades of tenured professorial analysis to come might prove just as insufferable as the present yawping from Spike Lee, Chaka Khan, Rick Santorum, et al. I'm looking at this bizarro-world photo-collage and feeling a bad j-school seminar coming on.

formerly no name said...

've noticed that one dog which hasn't been barking anywhere are Hispanics, either in or out of the media. The only people I've seen sticking up for the shooter on the web have been rightwing whites, especially the harder-core HBDers and the WN-types. So if the Hispanics are really planning to seize control of Aztlan in the near future, they'll need to get a *lot* better organized.-RKU

This may have been a test-whether intentional or not. Hispanics have passed it by being proven to be the most passive, least excitable part of the population who also more or less quietly ethnically cleanse troublesome blacks from the areas they control. Cheap labor aside, an inert mass of consumers as the new US population may have been the main aim of the race replacement strategy. They'll put up with obscene levels of banker-imposed austerity, but also won't put with barbaric nonsense in their local communities.


Lesson from Mexico: Just don't let the criminal gangs get too powerful.

Anonymous said...

look how the media doctored his photo::

http://www.riehlworldview.com/carnivorous_conservative/2012/03/why-was-trayvon-martin-photo-altered.html

Anonymous said...

Who will the media call when these guys are gone?

I mean, they can't last too much longer.

they all have proteges who usually give 'warm up' speeches - I have seen this in a couple of Brooklyn community issues.

Turner said...

RKU said...

"I've noticed that one dog which hasn't been barking anywhere are Hispanics, either in or out of the media. The only people I've seen sticking up for the shooter on the web have been rightwing whites, especially the harder-core HBDers and the WN-types. So if the Hispanics are really planning to seize control of Aztlan in the near future, they'll need to get a *lot* better organized."

Checked twitter, news, Univision... I have to concur. A couple of Latino activists in Chicago who urged caution about judging Zimmerman badly was the only thing I could find. Partly, this may be political, but that wouldn't explain the silence on twitter.

The one thing of note is that a few blacks are starting to speak badly about Latinos in a broad sense. It remains to be seen whether that will be kept in check by the smarter ones and what will happen if they aren't.

It really is remarkable just how little Latinos have gotten upset despite being at the center of this maelstrom.

Mencius Moldbug said...

RKU muses: I've noticed that one dog which hasn't been barking anywhere are Hispanics, either in or out of the media. The only people I've seen sticking up for the shooter on the web have been rightwing whites, especially the harder-core HBDers and the WN-types. So if the Hispanics are really planning to seize control of Aztlan in the near future, they'll need to get a *lot* better organized.

RKU is so smart he thinks Hispanic nationalism is a genuine grass-roots movement - like they were Germans, or something.

Of course "La Raza" et al is astroturf from balls to tits, just like black nationalism, Algerian nationalism, Vietnamese nationalism, etc, etc - just another excuse to recruit millions of ignorant peasants to vote for communism. Among our dear Aztec neighbors the scam goes all the way back to the Zapata cult, Rivera and Kahlo, and the roots of the Mexican Revolution - John Reed was there before he had a bad burrito and threw it all up for Russia. Hollywood from day one. Without Sean Penn white-knighting for him, the mestizo peasant would be the same fine peon he always was.

Obviously the communist side here isn't Zimmerman's - just his name makes him sound like a concentration-camp commander. NO_LIMIT_NI66A makes a pretty low-grade Sacco and Vanzetti, but Sacco and Vanzetti weren't exactly angels either...

Anonymous said...

Mencius M hits it, the politics of resentment were developed and then promulgated by white bourgeois academics. When real or imagined bigots are called "ignant" by the hoi polloi this isn't because RayRay or Little Boo has seriously thought out the matter and come to a conclusion, considering their opponent's class, level of education, and motivation. They are merely parroting. The sophistication of the parroting varies somewhat, with some quite sophisticated parroting that almost seems like genuine independent thought. Please note, lower class and middle-brow whites also parrot, it isn't exclusive to minorities.

Strange, isn't it, the way we laugh at medieval peasants for not questioning the common assumptions of their times.

Truth said...

Spun. Spun? Spun! Uh oh.

Silver said...

Spun. Spun? Spun! Uh oh.

Good God, Truth's condition is worse than what even his greatest detractors might have thought. According to him, it's the above that is "uh-oh" worthy, rather than the absolute battering the blogosphere has delivered to the MSM media lynching attempt.

Anonymous said...

And why should La Raza take point?
They have SeƱor Gringo taking the hit.
And defending their hombre for them.
Porque no? Also, considering it's Florida, and Mr. Zimmermans' familial ties, there's another interest group not aroused. In his defense, that is. Odd.

Truth said...

"Good God, Truth's condition is worse than what even his greatest detractors might have thought."

Believe me, none of my greatest detractors even know this blog exists. Which leads us to...
Uh oh Part Deux!