March 7, 2013

NBC's defense in George Zimmerman's defamation suit: Rest of media did it too

From the Washington Post:
NBC’s Zimmerman response: Other media outlets highlighted race 
Posted by Erik Wemple on March 7, 2013 at 5:50 pm 
NBC doesn’t want to deal with George Zimmerman’s libel suit. In a Feb. 20 filing in the case, NBC Universal Media LLC asks a Florida circuit court to stay the case until the conclusion of Zimmerman’s June trial for second-degree murder of Trayvon Martin. 
The procedural part of the motion — that the libel case and the criminal case overlap and can’t proceed smoothly at the same time — is far less interesting than the substantive case that lawyers for NBC News advance in defense of the network. 
To recap Zimmerman’s case against NBC News: On the night that he shot Martin, Zimmerman called 911 and narrated his pursuit of the teenager in his gated community in Sanford, Fla. A March 27 edition of the “Today” show abridged the 911 tape, as follows: 
Zimmerman: This guy looks like he’s up to no good. He looks black. 
Here’s what that abridgment was abridging: 
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 a black-and-white difference between those two treatments. In the first, Zimmerman is an out-and-out racial profiler. In the second, he’s just a guy answering reasonable questions from an emergency dispatcher. 
Among the important themes of NBC’s recent motion is the way other news outlets portrayed Zimmerman and the larger issues in the case. For example, it notes that a Reuters story played up the racial dimension of thing, quoting the Martin family’s lawyer, Benjamin Crump, as saying that race was the “600-pound elephant in the room.” It cites an early CBS piece noting that the case has “serious racial overtones.” It cites a Huffington Post account saying that “The martin family’s attorneys and black community leaders have said the teenager was profiled and targeted because he was young and black.” It cites a Christian Science Monitor account saying that “[f]or many tuning in across the nation, the shooting late last month in Florida of an unarmed black teenager by a suspicious neighborhood watch captain looks like a racially motivated murder.”



Anonymous said...

Keep up the good work Steve. We may turn the corner on this thing before we expect it.

David Davenport said...

Off topic but Steve might be interested:
Mayor Bloomberg's Businessweek: This Research Paper Explains How to Predict the Next Arab Spring and Cyber Attacks

Posted by: Ira Sager on March 04, 2013


In a paper (PDF) released late last year, “Proactive Defense for Evolving Cyber Threats,” Sandia researchers Richard Colbaugh and Kristin Glass outline a computer model that they claim can monitor the Internet to identify volatile situations weeks before they go south—with “perfect accuracy.”

The husband-and-wife research team has been studying since 2009 how information spreading through social networks influences behavior. The pair built its model using the latest predictive analytics techniques, with a twist: Colbaugh and Glass map how widespread conversational rage is on the Internet.

Most attempts at digital precognition rely on volume. If a phrase or word is mentioned very often, it signals an emerging trend—and perhaps an opportunity. While that information may be enough for a retailer to bet that the “steampunk” look will be the next hipster fashion, it’s what spymasters call “non-actionable intel.” Translation: not enough detail to act.

The Sandia researchers solve that problem with software that traces the convoluted path of Internet conversations. They start by tracking how many times a specific phrase turns up, using a website that tracks memes daily—sort of an early early warning system. Their algorithm then takes that data and analyzes the connections among social and information networks and the influence members have over one another. Their approach works, Colbaugh says, because it’s a blend of social science (the power people have to influence others) and computer science (the power of Big Data).


Dave Pinsen said...

it notes that a Reuters story played up the racial dimension of thing, quoting the Martin family’s lawyer, Benjamin Crump, as saying that race was the “600-pound elephant in the room.”

That's one tiny elephant. Heck, 600lbs is about a third lighter than the average adult horse.

Anonymous said...

"NBC's defense in George Zimmerman's defamation suit: Rest of media did it too"

Rapist's defense in gang-rape assault: Rest of the other rapists did it too.

Nazi's defense at war-crimes trial: Rest of other Nazis committed atrocities too.

Bank robber's defense in bank robbery: Rest of the gang robbed the bank too.

Isn't it just peachy to be able to spread the blame around!

Anonymous said...

The media pulled a dirty trick, but suppose it hadn't and Zimmerman said it like NBC reported it.

I still don't see what Zimmerman did wrong. It only means he saw strange guy in the neighborhood who happens to be black(which is relevant since a lot of crimes are committed by blacks.)

Suppose a woman said, 'the person seems to be up to no good.. he's a young male.'
I mean so what.

Suppose a Jewish guy said, 'the guy seems to be up to no good. He looks Italian-American'.

So, what is the big deal?

NBC pulled a dirty stunt to make Zimmerman look bad, but in my book, even the alteration doesn't make him look bad.
I mean it's only honest to be suspicious of young black hoodlums, and Trayvon was indeed a no good punk and thug.

Anonymous said...

"When Alistair Overeem's latest blood test came back after UFC 156, there was a problem, but perhaps not what you would think.

Overeem, the 262-pound heavyweight with the Herculean physique came back with a blood testosterone level reading of 179 nanograms per deciliter, a figure that would be considered dangerously low for a competitive athlete."

""We would have had a problem if the test came back at 400 (a normal level)," said Kizer. "

Wulkan said the athletic side effects of low testosterone may not take place at the same time, and that it generally takes longer to lose muscle mass than it takes for a decline in stamina. In other words, a fighter may still look physically impressive and appear to be in great shape, but this condition will make them tire quickly.

Dennis Dale said...

Wemple obliviously claims NBC is on "firmer ground" with this nonsense:

“[I]f Zimmerman is convicted, that fact alone will constitute substantial evidence that the destruction of his reputation is the result of his own criminal conduct, and not of the broadcasts at issue which, like countless other news reports disseminated by media entities throughout the country, reported on the underlying events.”

If Zimmerman is convicted it will be due to the lynch-mob narrative that NBC participated in and helpfully documents in their defense. The man wouldn't have been brought to trial in the first place but not for the misinformation campaign.

Keep in mind their first defense was that it was a technical "mistake", now that it's a time-edit--the first strains credulity because it's nearly impossible an honest mistake would just so happen to turn an indifferent exchange into this neat fit of the lynch-mob narrative.
The second is no excuse at all--you edit for time with no concern for meaning? Really?

Anonymous said...

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Paco Wové said...

"quoting the Martin family’s lawyer, Benjamin Crump"

Back when this story was current news, I could never figure out why the news media seemed to be acting as a (presumably unpaid) PR outlet for Crump. On the news every freakin' night, it seemed.

Harry Baldwin said...

Dave Pinsen said... quoting the Martin family’s lawyer, Benjamin Crump, as saying that race was the “600-pound elephant in the room.”

That's one tiny elephant. Heck, 600lbs is about a third lighter than the average adult horse.

Dave, it smacks of racism that you assume a black man should be knowledgeable about the weight of an elephant. Crump is a LAWYER, not a Bushman on the Serengeti plains. I'm going to have to cite this as a microaggression.

Crump might have intended the more common "600-pound gorilla" formulation (which is accurate, BTW) but was probably uncomfortable referencing the ape family, thinking perhaps of the many whites who have been driven out of society for doing so in any context relating to black people.

peterike said...

Man, if I was on the jury in the NBC case I would award Zimmerman a billion dollars.

Pat Boyle said...

If I were a black guy I'd hope that Zimmerman was acquitted and the public forgot the whole incident ASAP.

The whole race situation is upside down. Someday it may come aright. It could happen with our version of the Dreyfus case.

The media and Hollywood are always looking for cases of racial oppression. By which they mean some whites oppressing some blacks. But there don't seem to be any such cases. Consider rape.

The recent big Hollywood film about interracial rape had the white men raping a black woman. Al Sharpton had to manufacture evidence to develop his rape case with Tawana Brawley. The papers worked hard to create a similar case with the Duke field hockey players.

Why so much effort to uncover white on black rape when there is almost no such thing? Rape - to a first approximation - is a black crime. What little white rape there is is often just "date rape" - also known as buyer's remorse. Real 'break down the door' or 'pull her into the bushes' rape is generally a black crime.

I think - maybe wrongly - that this disjuncture between reality and ideology cannot endure forever. At some point the white public will be so outraged about black behavior and injustice that they will flip. They may come to hold blacks responsible for their own actions.

In your later post today you have a white girl comment casually that she accepts that she as a white person is responsible for the poverty she sees around her in Nicaragua. That's lunacy. But millions of whites today accept similar ideas which makes them passive in the face of black provocations.

But someday whites may wake up. Someday they will challenge the assumption that they as a racial group caused all the bad things in the world and that were it not for them the "people of color" would be rich and happy.

That day could come with the conviction of ersatz white boogeyman George Zimmerman. Zimmerman is the victim of a well organized conspiracy - rather like Dreyfus. Zimmerman's conviction could be another turning point in public attitudes.

Blacks now enjoy a very favorable press and a lot of public sympathy. Outrageous cases like that of Martin-Zimmerman could put an end to all that, or mark the beginning of the end.


Anonymous said...

If they can do this to Zimmerman, a brown skinned Hispanic, they cans ure do it to a white guy like me. I really hope he takes them to the cleaners. It may even buy me a little protection from them.

Anonymous said...

That's one tiny elephant. Heck, 600lbs is about a third lighter than the average adult horse.

To the original gorilla/elephant metaphor user: scale up the mass. A 600-pound gorilla in the living room is a very large (probably obese) adult male. A 600-pound elephant is a 4-month-old baby.

Anonymous said...

Zimmerman is the Goetz of the 2010s; another victim in the crusade to equate self-defense with racism.

Eric Rasmusen said...

In Corey v. Havener, 182 Mass. 250., two hunters shot, and a third man was hit. What happens when a hundred liberal media outlets lie, and a man's reputation is ruined?

Hanover said...

Does anyone really believe what NBC puts out anymore?

At least CBS is honest about it- you see BS