NBC Deceptively Edits George Zimmerman’s Words On 911 Tape
The media circus around the shooting of Trayvon Martin is getting worse.
I don’t ordinarily buy into “media bias” arguments from either side of the political playing field, but this strikes me as irresponsible journalism on the level of the Stephen Glass affair:
NBC told this blog today that it would investigate its handling of a piece on the “Today” show that ham-handedly abridged the conversation between George Zimmerman and a dispatcher in the moments before the death of Trayvon Martin. A statement from NBC:
“We have launched an internal investigation into the editorial process surrounding this particular story.”
Great news right there. As exposed by Fox News and media watchdog site NewsBusters, the “Today” segment took this approach to a key part of the dispatcher call:
Zimmerman: This guy looks like he’s up to no good. He looks black.
Here’s how the actual conversation went down:
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.
The difference between what “Today” put on its air and the actual tape? Complete: In the “Today” version, Zimmerman volunteered that this person “looks black,” a sequence of events that would more readily paint Zimmerman as a racial profiler. In reality’s version, Zimmerman simply answered a question about the race of the person whom he was reporting to the police. Nothing prejudicial at all in responding to such an inquiry.
There is almost no way you can put this in the “innocent mistake” category. Somewhere in the offices of 30 Rockefeller Plaza, where the Today Show is produced, a decision was made by a producer and reporter to alter the 911 tape in a way that both completely removed the context in which Zimmerman speak and made it appear that he was making a remark that tended to suggest he may have been acting out of racist motives. In any potential Federal case against him this would be the central point that the prosecution would be required to prove in the case against him. So, in essence, they were falsely accusing him of having committed a Federal crime when, at the moment, there isn’t any real evidence that he did so. I’m no real fan of Bozell or the Media Research Center, but I have to wonder if NBC would be launching this investigation if his group had not brought this egregious violation of journalistic standards to light. Somehow, I cannot say that I believe that they would have.
This episode is just the worst example of what we’ve been seeing, from both sides of the political world, with regard to this case. We’ve got people purporting to do frame-by-frame analysis of the video of Zimmerman arriving in the garage of the Sanford Police Department to either prove or disprove the assertion that he had been injured during a fight with Trayvon Martin prior to firing his gun. This morning, a Florida newspaper published a story about a “voice analysis expert” purporting to examine the screams heard on one of the 911 calls even though he has absolutely no exemplars of Trayvon Martin’s voice and only old, recorded exemplars of George Zimmerman’s voice. In all likelihood neither of these analyses would be admissible in Court because of the dubious science behind them. In the case of the jail video, there’s considerable doubt that it would be admissible for any purpose because it is generally considered that photographs of the Defendant in handcuffs or prison garb are prejudicial and not to be shown to the jury except under extraordinary circumstances (even if it is shown, the “analysis” would have to be a lot more scientifically rigorous than any of the nonsense I’ve seen in the blogosphere). This case is being tried in the court of public opinion and, for the most part, people are making judgments about George Zimmerman’s guilt or innocence, or Trayvon Martin’s possible aggressiveness, based on their preconceived political notions and not on anything close to objective fact.
What NBC did is egregious, and one would hope that the persons responsible will be disciplined appropriately, but in the end it’s not any different from what the rest of the media is doing in this case. As I’ve said before, here and here, it’s time for everyone to step back, stop rushing to judgment about either George Zimmerman or Trayvon Martin, and let the criminal justice system handle this case. The alternative is to hand this over to the Al Sharpton’s of the world, who have already tried and convicted Zimmerman and appear ready to carry out sentence on their own if given the chance.
That’s pretty bad. Did the hire someone from Breitbart?
It’s probably the guy who worked at Dateline back when they were faking car accidents
It’s too damn bad this has become a racial incident instead of being about justice. Or injustice, whatever.
hey, like ron said. is it a breitfarter working there?
Hell, this is nothing. Merely an appetizer. The left-wing media’s coverage this fall of the Obama-Romney contest will be so numbingly biased, so absurdly agenda driven, it’ll make Rather’s fake TANG memo fiasco look very tame by comparison. And that assumes Obama comfortably will be in the lead. If the media starts thinking Obama is in serious trouble then Katy bar the door, because the media in that event will melt down right before our eyes.
I just love the smell of irony in the morning. And what smells more ironic than a story that attacks another news outlet for its violation of journalistic ethics in a story displaying its own lack of journalistic ethics.
Yes, editing out the portion of the 911 tape is inexcusable. The operator’s question provides context for Zimmerman providing Martin’s race.
But just as damaging are the following two statements you’ve offered.
“In all likelihood neither of these analyses would be admissible in Court because of the dubious science behind them.” and “ In the case of the jail video, there’s considerable doubt that it would be admissible for any purpose because it is generally considered that photographs of the Defendant in handcuffs or prison garb are prejudicial and not to be shown to the jury except under extraordinary circumstance”
With the first, you are implying the entire science of voice analysis is junk science, when in fact Tom Owen is a court-qualified expert witness and former chief engineer for the New York Public Library’s Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound, is an authority on biometric voice analysis — a computerized process comparing attributes of voices to determine whether they match.
And in the second, while you are right that video in cuffs would ordinarily be inadmissible, one of the reasons it could be used would be to impeach a witnesses claim. Now if Zimmerman never testifies that he was beaten and bloody then the tape is out. If he testifies he was, then the tape is in. I hope you are right and that if this goes to trial he chooses option one.
Ask yourself; who would benefit from such fakery?
NBC has no right to stay licensed when they consistently edit or omit facts. NBC and others do not provide news, they generate indoctrination toward views of a small group of current political powers.
This form of media pretending to be “news” when they are simply party propaganda is not a healthy environment for a government, it’s people or their well being.
Absolutely Tsar. That is why the GOP never wins presidential elections.
@Tsar Nicholas II:
So speaks our attorney with 17 years ( I think it was you said ) of litigation experience…LOL
No I’m implying that the manner in which the Orlando Sentinel had it done is junk science. Once again, there was NO exemplar for Trayvon Martin, and as for Zimmerman what samples did the Sentinel give him? The recording of Zimmerman over a cell phone to 911 that night? I don’t know about Florida, but in Virginia that’s not gonna pass a Motion To Exclude.
And you’re right that there is a plausible argument for admitting the jail video into evidence in this case but it’s by no means certain and were I Zimmerman’s attorney I’d be sure to argue the hell out of keeping it excluded if only to preserve my clients rights, and preserve the issue for appeal.
But, please, go back to playing Perry Mason based on incomplete evidence. It is quite fascinating.
News media is not “licensed,” and shouldn’t be, unless you’re a fan of Stalin.
Dr. Steven Hayne was a court-qualified expert witness and former Missippi state medical examiner who is an authority on bite mark identification.
That doesn’t change the fact that bite mark identification is a bogus technique and we now know numerous people were falsely convicted based on his testimony. And this is typical for ‘forensic science’ which is largely more concerned with getting convictions for prosecuters than actual scientific validity.
Show me independent blind studies that demonstrate: 1) the existence of measurable invariant features in human voice that exist regardless of situation 2) that these features are sufficiently unique that they can reliably distinguish one person from another.
Okay Ham Burger
LOL I seem to recall some screaming about Fox….
Well, anyway, your statement is correct so far as it goes. But, I think you’ll find there are still some NBC O&O’s. WNBC in NYC, for one.
@clarkcountycriminalcops, @Stormy Dragon:
I really know nothing about voice analysis, and I am somewhat skeptical of ‘evidenciary sciences,’ but I really don’t want to presume BS from “the Chairman Emeritus of The American Board of Recorded Evidence.”
I guess I’d say to anyone who wants to attack voice analysis, attack it in general. Say it should never be used, if you have that strong a disproof. Otherwise, to kibitz basically, to second guess one judgement as an outsider and not a domain expert … might not be the most persuasive course.
Calm down, Eric. The whole thing is probably less exciting than you think right now.
@Jeremy: Depending on the medium they are in fact licensed. The FCC assigns portions of the spectrum to each outlet.
It’s weaksauce for NBC knuckleheads to do this, and I’m glad the network is publicly declaring there will be an investigation.
But before any right-wingers get too smug, please inform us of the last time FOX investigated one of its many howlers.
Not even close.
The Today show’s onscreen transcript included an ellipses at the cut and also a screen wipe to reinforce that it’s been edited for brevity. The reporter also makes no effort to spin the abridged audio in the way Hannity & the MRC folks see it.
To approach Fox level propaganda editing you need to cut someone’s words to sound like the opposite of their original statement, or wholly misrepresent or mis-attribute media, not give any indication that you edited anything and finally have the anchor / pundit use the edited statement as the basis of a partisan attack.
A recent example of how to do it right involves the RNC doctored version of Solicitor General Donald Verrelli’s Supreme Court arguments. Hannity’s show and a number of other Fox programs ran the RNC ad, and used it as a basis for then discussing how embarrassingly bad Verrelli’s performance was supposed to have been, without ever informing their audience it was doctored audio they were discussing.
It’s inexcusable. Whoever did it should be fired.
This is the difference between us and the right wing, which not only denies the abject dishonesty of Fox News but refuses to contemplate any consequences even when those lies are so blatant as to become undeniable.
We do not excuse or condone distortions and outright lies. When it is revealed, we condemn it.
We do not live on a diet of lies. The right does.
The video in question will probably be rendered unnecessary by the closeup photos the investigators almost certainly took that night. Or did I miss some announcement from the Sanford PD that they forgot to do that? I don’t know for sure that closeups exist since I am not a part of the investigation, and I have no opinion on what they may or may not show, but the odds are the photos are sitting in the investigation files. Like nearly all of the actual evidence, we just haven’t seen them yet.
Editing the statement this way was dumb / incompetent, but I’m not sure it shows any bias towards anything other than sensationalism.
@Ben Wolf: For NBC to broadcast content on that spectrum, that license says nothing about approval or disapproval of the news content.
@Tsar Nicholas II: The editing is clearly misleading, bad journalism, and likely was done intentionally by someone. I believe most liberals would condemn it. And NBC appears to be acknowledging the problem. Somehow that seems different than what happens when someone on the right does this.
PS. I am not justifying it by saying both sides do it. I am saying it would be nice if both sides condemned it.
Do you agree with Doug that this episode was the “worst example” of media bias / irresponsible journalism with respect to the Trayvon Martin shooting?
Maybe it would be defensible if he’d written worst example by a “broadcast network newscast,” though IMO some of the interviews with Zimmerman surrogates, where they introduced all sorts of hearsay unchallenged, only to have it revealed later that some hadn’t even seen or talked to Zimmerman since before the shooting, rate much higher on the irresponsible-journalism-scale.
It is too bad that the racial component is overshadowing the fact that even if Zimmermans story is 100% true, it is a perfect illustration of what is wrong with “Stand Your Ground” laws. Two innocent people, both feeling that aggressive force was justified due to the threat from the other. Now one is dead and the other guilty of causing an innocent persons death, even if he committed no crime. This is why the law normally would (and should) require a person to avoid the threat and only use force if it couldn’t be avoided, leaving the authorities to deal with it.
Meanwhile back in the real world the Martin controversy shows no signs of going away.
@Tsar Nicholas II: Keep telling yourself that, bozo. Just pretend that it’s media bias and not the rotten candidates that are all the repub party has to offer that accounts for Obama’s overwhelming victory. And keep forgetting that the Supreme Court handed you guys the victory in 2000.
@clarkcountycriminalcops: The tape from the police station is not automatically in. It does not purport to show Zimmerman immediately post-incident, but is instead of Zimmerman post-treatment by EMTs. There is wide reporting that he was seen to and ‘cleaned-up’ before being put in the cruiser.
The EMT reports (and photos, if any) have not been made available. They will be dispositive, not low-res photos taken after unknown actions that affected the primary evidence.
Yes, we wouldn’t want to suggest that someone’s whose entire career depends on maintaining a public perception that his expertise is useful for investigative purposes would ever overplay how well it works in the media.
The video is of no value as it shows Zimmerman after he’d received medical treatment. The video would not overcome the responding officer’s documented observation of the injuries and as the paramedics gave treatment they also would be up close, on the scene eyewitness account.
As for the voice analysis, it is an opinion comparing a normal voice with a voice in distress but it would have to overcome the eyewitness statement that Zimmerman was screaming. An eyewitness account supported by a second 911 caller stating the guy in the white t-shirt was on top of the other guy (Martin had a grey sweatshirt on, Zimmerman the red jacket, documented by police upon arrival).
I recommend everyone listen to Zimmerman’s 911 call as posted by the Sanford PD. It eposes a lot of the lies and miscomprehension. Namely, it reveals that Zimmerman stopped following when the 911 operator tells him they “don’t need him to do that”.
And to be clear what I’m saying, the ABRE’s area of expertise is so specific that I don’t trust them as an unbiased source for evaluating the validity of their methods. I’d be far more inclined to believe someone from a more general audio engineering or computer science background, whose income does not intend on the outcome being the right one.
You mean the faux controversy created by race hustlers like Al Sharpton?
I guess the only thing about the video that is odd to me is that it doesn’t show Zimmerman with any bandages. One of the Brietbart sites, which I refuse to link to, purports to “analyze” the video to show a scar on the back of his head but if that was a fresh wound I don’t know why it would not have been bandaged if only to prevent infection.
I’m not making a judgment, because we have not seen the photos that were taken at the scene (and there sure as heck better have been photos taken at the scene otherwise the cops really screwed up) but that was the the first thought that entered my head when I saw the video.
It’s amazing what some minutes of medical treatment can do–wipe away grass and blood stains, make a bloody mess on the back of his head completely disappear, fix his broken nose…the people who treated him should look for work with the special effects department of one of the major Hollywood studios…
They shouldn’t have done that. Somebody needs to be fired, if they want to continue the pretense of being journalists.
But while on the topic of leaping to conclusions…
I believe Benjamin Jealous of the NAACP is also involved in this…are he and his organization also “race hustlers”?
I can’t say if it’s “the worst.” I’m on the road and only glancingly paying attention to this story. I doubt Doug will be prepared to claim that it is literally the worst since I’m sure he also hasn’t seen everything.
This is of a sort with the pronouncements that Zimmerman — a Latino and registered Democrat — was white. Race-baiting requires a “white devil” to work at its best; that’s why Zimmerman is now defined as a “white Hispanic.”
And let’s not forget the initial pictures of the two actors in this case — Zimmerman’s disreputable-looking mugshot, Martin’s 4-year-old cherubic portrait. The narrative must be created and preserved.
This is really disturbing. I was watching a replay of the LA riots on the national geographic website, and the program showed how the local television stations left out the beginning part of video tape, which was the part of the video tape that helped to police officers get a not guilty verdict. It is extremely inappropriate. From what I’ve read, it is very improbable that this was an accident.
I have read some posts saying it is all right because Hannity and Fox has done it too. Wow. First, I don’t know about Hannity since I never watch the show, but that is an opinion / entertainment show. I would hope that people know what their getting when they watch that show, kind of like Olberman or Bill Mahr. The Today Show is a news show, and they are expected to be unbiased or at the very least honest.
There are real problems in this country, and this will only make them worse. Can anyone say how the LA riots benefitted the country?
If the “cleaning up” involved allowing the suspect, Mr. Zimmerman, to dispose of his shirt, then there’s just a wee bit of a problem. There was no blood on that shirt and broken noses, punched noses, bleed like a son of a bit*h.
There is little question that Zimmerman is in the wrong. You do not get out of your car, carrying a gun, then claim self-defense. He was in his car. With a gun. Trayvon Martin was on the sidewalk, on foot, armed with Skittles.
“Faux controversy”? And here I thought it was Martin’s parents who wanted to know what happened to their son the night he was killed.
And I’ve been away for a while – any new news on what’s happening with officialdom down there?
Indeed…like the narrative that Zimmerman tried to create that he was so terribly injured by Martin…sadly for Zimmerman, the police video goes far to disprove his narrative…or the narrative you tried to create by linking to a site that spread lies that Martin was some kind of thug…of course, that narrative has also been discredited…
@An Interested Party: So, it’s not true that Martin was suspended from school over drug issues, and Tweeted under the name of “NO_LIMITS_NIGGA?” Plus, we’re talking about the narrative being pushed by the mainstream media, vs. a narrative pushed by… exactly who? Anyone of the influence of NBC and the rest of the mainstream media?
OMG…poor mister Zimmerman…he was clearly in the right shooting an unarmed teenager.
People at NBC need to be fired for this. Even with ellipsis in the transcript, it’s changing the meaning of what he said, and entirely prejudicial.
And, a lot of people a Fox need to be fired for similar things.
If the alternative to Al Sharpton is the local police and DA, who went out of their way to not prosecute, I’ll take Al Sharpton.
There needs to be an investigation not just into this specific case, but also into the entire local law enforcement to see why their investigation was so completely and deliberately incompetent. And, if better guidelines can come from this that will help improve other states, then great.
I don’t give a rat’s hindquarters for Zimmerman. Even if he shot the kid in cold blood and walks, that’s a lot less worse than the systemic problems that this case is highlighting.
And, just to troll the blog, this is exactly why I don’t trust giving more power to the states and local governments. Small time local corruption, incompetence and injustice is a lot easier to get away with than at a federal level where there are more eyes on the problem.
Actually there are plenty of questions, especially since we don’t have all the evidence.
Zimmerman may be guilty of murder. He may be guilty of manslaughter. He may just be guilty of negligent homicide. Or, he may not be guilty at all. We don’t know and, with all due respect, it’s completely irresponsible for people to claim that they do.
The problem is that the DA doesn’t seem to want to charge, unless something has changed. So we are left to our reason. And reason makes it quite clear that getting out of a car with a gun to confront a man armed with candy destroys a claim of self-defense.
Yo…I’m carrying a concealed bag of Skittles…armed and dangerous I is.
The DA is convening a Grand Jury which is scheduled to begin deliberations this month. The Justice Department is investigating the case. I say let them do their job and tell the Sharpton’s and Jesse Jackson’s of the world to shut up.
I’m not sure how much, if any, bandwidth/spectrum NBC or any of the networks actually own. My understanding is that *local* affiliates own the bandwidth, rather than the network (except in cases where the network owns the local affiliate).
Actually to clarify that, the Seminole County State’s Attorney was removed from the case by the Governor and a Special Prosecutor appointed.
Sort of like the climate scientists?
@Jenos Idanian: Nice try, but you have already tried to smear Martin by linking to false information and then offered a pathetic excuse when you were called on it…
Could someone release my comments from the moderation queue? Thank you…
@Doug Mataconis: Funny how you call Sharpton a “race hustler,” but can’t bring yourself to use the same phrase against those ginning up the panic over the “New Black Panther Party” and all the other scary-black-folk-coming race pimps on Fox, Drudge, and Breitbart.
You’re making the same error that you’re accusing other of — namely pretending that we know more than we do.
There is no well to tell from 911 call/transcript whether or not Zimmerman stopped following Martin. All we know is that after the 911 operator told Zimmerman that they “don’t need him to do that” he said “ok.” We also know he refused to give a specific address or location (apparently because he was afraid that Martin might be listening).
At first he said that the police could meet him at his truck by the mailboxes. And then, before hanging up, he asked that the police call him upon there arrival so he could “tell them where he was at.” That could have been to give specific directions to the truck. It could have been because he had decided he might continue to look for Martin.
The fact is, without the police report and other information, pretty much everything that’s going on is speculation based on limited information. Everyone seems to be choosing the subset of facts that best match their own bias about the situation.
@Jenos Idanian: Or Doug’s insistence on doing the same innapropriate editorial with his two choices. The first couple of times, ok, we get the statement Doug was trying to make. By now, it has become his attempt to tilt the scale s the way he wants them.
If a Grand Jury is involved then I would happily cede the matter to them. I don’t like issues like this and I hope a competent jury gets to take it on.
Yes how horrible of me to say that we should not pre-judge this case. I’m like some kind of anarchist or something
@Doug Mataconis: You too? 🙂
Seriously, TPM had the most even-handed summary I’ve seen.
And that’s the way it should be.
But that isn’t how the media treats high-profile criminal cases.
@Doug Mataconis: You missed my point. That statement is fine and one I agree with. But you are still using the biased photo set. Doing it once or twice to point out hypocrisy is one thing. Using it over and over again makes you the same as those you are criticizing.
Please. Tell me what is “biased” about this photo?
Yes TPM’s summary is so even handed that they use a photo of Trayvon from when he was 12
Heh, maybe it’s that gangbanger hoodie that’s biased? I don’t really have any idea.
Oh, and regarding the actual topic: someone should be fired.
@Doug Mataconis: Well that is better, but if I had to choose to believe your theory that the process was improper, or the word of chair emeritus for the American Board of Recorded Evidence, who do you think I’m going to lean towards?
I will say that I am disappointed that this supposed expert allowed himself to be used for a media show trial
That photo is the most contemporaneous photo of Trayvon that his family has made available to the public. I do not think it is intellectually honest to use a photograph of him from five years ago any more than it was intellectually honest to use a mug shot photo of Zimmerman from six years ago as representative of what they looked like in February 2012
I’m not sure that you are in a position to sit in judgement on people who’s child was shot dead while walking home from the store. Especially considering the amount of bullshit you sling in here.
@Doug Mataconis: the summary is even-handed. Other tan the photo, was there something substantive you objected to? Did youven bother reading it?
You want be most contemporary photo? Use the one TNC posted: http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2012/03/on-the-age-and-innocence-of-trayvon-martin/255293/ it was only 9 days before hs death.
So, here’s a question I’ve been wondering about for the past few days/weeks: why is the right wing jumping over themselves to defend a man who stalked an innocent teenager in a vehicle, left the vehicle with a gun, confronted the kid and shot him to death?
None of those facts are in dispute. Why is the right wing digging through the kid’s past, trying to make him scarier than a bag of skittles?
Zimmerman is guilty as hell. Whether he is simply morally guilty of causing the situation that killed a kid, or whether his actions equal manslaughter or murder, he is guilty. Morally if not legally.
Why jump through hoops and contortions to defend this man, who at the very least did not follow police requests, and then created a situation where a kid got killed? Why defend this piece of scum, rather than acknowledge that he is scum?
Is it a fear that Zimmerman will be used as an example of why we need stricter gun control laws? Wouldn’t having the scum face justice obviate the need for stricter gun control laws?
Is it that black kids are scary, and one should get a pass for shooting them? I don’t think that’s it, other than the comment threads on hate sites.
Is it that local government corruption and/or incompetence is preferable to the federal governments involvement, so this becomes a weird turf war of opposing the Feds?
Is it simply that conservatism is nothing more than whatever pisses off liberals, updated in real time?
I really have no clue.
I was being mildly snarky given that you seemed concerned with the fact that I was using a photo montage that every other media outlet has used
Broken noses don’t always bleed…look it up on dah webs. But I agree with Doug; I was surprised there were no bandages on his nose (that I could tell) or the back of his head.
And if he did bleed a lot, might the police have taken his shirt for blood evidence? Or do I watch too much TV?
I don’t know about legally, but Zimmerman was morally wrong for getting out of his vehicle with his weapon. My CW training taught me to never, ever put myself in a situation that might even remotely call for me to use my gun! If a viloent crime was happening, then “maybe” the circumstances change.
But once Zimmerman called the police on Martin, his DUTY as a watch captain was done!!! Frustrated or not at people getting away, his duty was finished with that call.
@Gustopher:Gustopher, I agree with you the Zimmerman is morally wrong here. But I also feel that no one knows all of the facts and that the press has decided Zimmerman is guilty without his day in court. I agree with what Doug says, let the justice system work. True, it may have taken the parents going to the press to get action, but the action is being taken.
Even if Zimmerman turns out to be legally innocent (and I believe he could be), I’ll always believe he broke a cardnial rule of carrying a gun: never, ever take steps that could cause you to potentially have to use your gun. If trouble comes to me I’m ready to defend myself and my family. But I will always call the police or walk away if I can. And that’s what I was taught in my CW classes here in Ohio!!!
How can you make that judgment given the fact that it is obvious that we do not have all the evidence available to us and that various media sources are distorting the evidence that is available for their own purposes?
There’s something pretty despicable when it comes to RW media, bloggers and commentors, constantly raising the specter of race riots, in order to frighten each other with menacing stereotypes and to silence those with legitimate grievances.
@Doug Mataconis: My training. Carrying a gun is not, like a lot of people will have you believe, something that fills you with bravado. Well, at least it shouldn’t. But it should (and does for me) carry a heavy burden of responsibility. That’s why so many gun blogs were so quick to condem Zimmerman…he broke the “rules” of concealed carry.
If Zimmerman heard a sound in his house or on his property, then yes, he had a moral right to investigate WITH his gun. But seeing a teen on the street is no reason for taking that gun out of the car with him. Is he a cop-wanna-be? Did he feel invincible caring the gun? I don’t know. But he took his gun, on a dark, rainy night, to investigate someone he had already called the police on as being suspicious. The potential for trouble was there. I can’t speak for Florida CW training, but here in Ohio, we’re taught to AVOID any potential problem that would cause us to use our gun.
Now, if he saw Martin commiting a viloent crime, actually hurting somebody, then, for me at least, all bets are off. Legal mileage in your state may vary, however.
Is there any true journalism left in the US? What happened to just the facts…who, what, when, where and why? Everything is a psychological cognitive spin to edit or omit facts to bend the story for some pre-perceived mass opinion. Our federally regulated schools do the same thing.
I get more true information out of Pravda or the Financial Times. The US mass media is a giant joke in the rest of the world. Europeans certainly don’t buy the US media spins, they think we’re stupid.
To understand how mass media organizations operate, take a good look at who owns them…such ownership certainly doesn’t include the likes of George Soros, Noam Chomsky, or Ralph Nader…
And which pre-perceived mass opinions are these schools supposedly pushing on students?
I suspect Europeans don’t think we’re stupid because of our mass media, but rather, for other reasons…
Because liberals like Sharpton et al took Martin’s side. It was their duty to take the side of Zimmerman. Right or wrong.
What happened to the facts? What is exceptional in this case is the police are not talking to the press. And that’s where a lot of the “facts” are, especially since it’s the way that the police have handled this is under question. There can be a lot of reasons for that, some of them even justifiable, but as the saying goes, “nature abhors a vacume”.
What’s ruffling my feathers about that is how much damage has thereby come about.
The fundamental problem is the public’s loss of trust in law enforcement, specifically Sanford PD. They should be working as hard as they can to re-establish that, both because they can’t function without it, and it’s a bleeping dangerous condition all by itself. Instead, they have completely turtled up.
There are of course many things they can not talk about, but there are many, many things they certainly could, things that would stem the rampant speculation. Things that are not a secret to Zimmerman. Some examples might be as simple as giving Zimmermans weight. Whether or not they drug tested him, took his clothes, took his gun. Hell, even the fact that he was cuffed and taken to the station had a await the smuggling of a video out of the “bunker”.
The longer they hunker down like this, the more I suspect they believe themselves to be totally screwed. This behavior is that counter-productive to their primary mission -protect and serve the public.
Off my soapbox…
“Is it that black kids are scary, and one should get a pass for shooting them? I don’t think that’s it, other than the comment threads on hate sites.”
I don’t think scary is the issue. After all, Zimmerman did go after him, and I don’t think it’s because he’s a super brave fellow who honestly thought he might die at the hands of the young man he was tailing.
Did you not hear about the flurry of twitters regarding the actress chosen to play Rue in Hunger Games? How lots of people publically stated that allowing a black actress to play the character ruined the movie for them and how they though that the character’s death was less tragic because she was black?
There’s a tumblr where a bunch of tweets are collected. A lot of people not in “hate groups” took it very personally that a black actress was in the movie, playing a character they cared for. They thought that this story was theirs, and casting a black actress (in accordance with the text) robbed them of something.
I don’t think that feeling, the feeling that black people are illegitimately foisting themselves on stuff that should rightfully be the perogative of white people, is far from what Zimemrman was feeling every time he called 911, bristling at the audacity of black people existing within his sight, within what he thought was his neighborhood, and not theirs.
So “guys in hoodies are scary” isn’t the motivation. It’s the excuse. The movitation is simply “That person doesn’t belong in my world. They are ruining things merely by existing here. And if something terrible happens to them, it’s their fault for pushing themselves in where they did not belong”. That’s the mindset that conservatives are jumping over themselves to defend. After all, the course of history is to let more and more people into the fruits of civilization, and the job of conservativsm is to stand athwart that process and yell “stop”, how could it be otherwise?
Doug, it’s nice to see you support a free press….except when you don’t.
It should be noted that much of the outcry in the press and the public can be directly attributed to how this case was handled –mishandled?– by the authorities. This is exactly why we have a free press, to challenge the authorities you are now appealing to.
Where’s your “I will defend to the death his right to say it” when it comes to Al Sharpton?
I suspect in most cases it’s pure partisan contrariness. The GOP’s “Them” was taking Martin’s side, so the GOP’s “Us” is taking Zimmerman’s side, whether it makes sense to or not.
I had my nose broken by a sucker punching punching little **** at a party once, it gushed blood like river and my shirt was torn an used to stop the bleeding after I set it myself, told dude he was brave and knocked his a$$ out.
Some time after this I went to the emergency room was treated and the Doctor told me I was a good ear, eye and nose specialist and never gave me a bandage.
My nose was a little puffy and I was whiter then a devil but other wise it would have been hard to tell.
I also had a rock hit me in the head when I was a kid it gushed blood from a tiny little cut, I used my shirt to stop the bleeding.Guess what I got like four stitches and no band aid.
And no if I would have had a gun I would not have shot the dude even if I would not have known him.But then some people can’t fight for crap and get their a$$ whooped easy especially when they get sucker punched. It might cause them to fear for their life.
What I don’t get is: what did Zimmerman think was going to happen when he confronted Martin? Was he imagining the police car rolling up beside them and he could be the big hero: “Look, I apprehended him for you!” And the cops responding: “Well done, Zimmerman! There’ll be a citation in this for you – and a group hug from the entire precinct.”
He’d put his gun back in his belt (or whatever) and say, “No, no, doing good is enough reward for me. Up, up and away!!!!” And then he’d swoop off into the sky, his red cape streaming behind him, to fight crime one street over. (Or was he a Batman fan?)
Would he have confiscated the Skittles? Weapons of mass consumption?
An interesting post would be on whether any “neighborhood watch” program will survive the Trayvon Martin controversy. The lawyer for Martin’s parents, Ben Crump, is planning of suing the Retreat at Twin Lakes Homeowners association.
That means all of those neighborhood who are speculating on what happened are actually just helping to make their homes worthless after the massive lawsuit that is coming.
In addition, will any homeowners association ever support forming a neighborhood watch program again. My guess is that the underwriters for homeowners association will demand that those association end any crime prevention programs. Since any such crime prevention program will be very vulnerable to accusations of profiling, no association will be able to demonstrate due diligence.
Also, I would guess that home owners insurance underwriters will begin to explain that calling 911 may not be a very good idea. The legal costs of a lawsuit may be more than anything that thieves could possibly steal.
Not only do I think you’re worrying about the wrong thing, you’re ignoring the astoundingly obvious solution to this “problem” you just conjured out of thin air:
Don’t want to get sued? Step 1 is not killing unarmed kids.
1. NBC needs to fire someone, no question.
2. Ah, Supe being Supe.
Calling 9-1-1 wasn’t the real problem here (though it was an overreaction: no crime was in progress. There was no particular reason to believe a crime was being committed or had been committed). Getting out of the truck with a gun and getting into a confrontation with Martin was where Zimmerman really went wrong. One more 9-1-1 call among many wasn’t going to cause a major problem. Shooting an unarmed teenager, on the other hand, causes problems.
No insurance underwriter is going to tell anyone not to call 9-1-1. What they might advise is “leave the investigation/confrontation of possible criminals to the proper authorities.” Which is pretty good advice. Had Zimmerman done that, Martin would be alive and Zimmerman wouldn’t be in his present predicament.
Strange that you say Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton need to shut up and let the Grand Jury do its job but say nothing about the Tom Maguires and Rich Lowrys and Glenn Becks and Jonah Goldbergs and Doug Mataconises of the world who continue to wax eloquent about their legal and racial expertise concerning the Trayvon Martin case…
You know who should shut up with these wishy-washy “I have no opinion but I was right all along and both sides and the media do it” posts? Doug Mataconis. On any topic, you have no opinion, both sides do it, we should wait until all the facts are in, and the media, too. That’s it. It’s getting boring and repetitious.
Morally wrong becasue he put himself in a situation where he was NOT a neighborhood WATCH anymore and those judgment errors ended up in him killing an innocent kid. His duty as the watch is to watch and report. He had done both. Why was he pursuing the kid? There wasn’t even a crime in progress to even persuade he was morally right killing this kid. BTW, losing a fight during a 1-2 minute hand to hand combat doesn’t justify use of deadly force. That’s cowardice and I suspect that’s what happened.
Thank you for the observation. The guy was beginning to confuse me with the wishy washy stuff. @superdestroyer:
I believe Zimmerman ignored the Watch rules just like I think he ignored the dispatcher advise not to follow Martin. I don’t think the Watch policy includes following and confronting “suspicious” people. Apparently this Watch program was only in place for two months and there were complains in that time on Zimmerman following “suspicious” people even to their homes. This will obviously be relevant info. If this is substantiated and the association didn’t address these problems, yes then they ignored a problem that was in the making.
Very true…only the race hustlers need to zip it…the concerned types at NRO as well as their fellow travelers are perfectly free to vomit their usual insights…still wondering if Benjamin Jealous is considered a race hustler…
I don’t know about what Maguire or Lowry have written, and I don’t listen to Glenn Beck so I cannot speak to it nor condemn or defend it. The only thing I have done is say that everyone, on both sides, should stop rushing to judgment and playing amateur detective/District Attorney in a situation where they do not have all the facts available to them.
That is not true. You have also repeatedly called for people to “let the system work/do its job”. The response is that a lot of people:
A. Don’t trust the system
B. Feel part of what the system does is sweep this sort of case under the rug
The original protests about this case involved the perception that it had been swept under the rug by the police and/or the State’s Attorney and pressure was being put on to get some movement from those authorities. I supported that.
Now, the Governor of Florida has replaced the State’s Attorney in this case with a specially appointed prosecutor an a Grand Jury is being empaneled. The Justice Department is investigating the matter (in fact, it was reported today that the FBI was in the neighborhood today).
This is what the protesters wanted. and yet now, instead of letting the authorities do their job, people are playing amateur video analyst and/or making prejudgments about this case based on incomplete evidence. Zimmermann hasn’t been arrested yet, but he is innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. I find all the speculation about the facts of this case distasteful and inappropriate.
People talking about and having an opinion on this case doesn’t stop the authorities from doing their job…
Yeah, and I find the fact that Trayvon Martin was shot to death extremely distasteful and inappropriate…
Bingo. Doug – people are going to talk. They are going to speculate. They are going to repeat falsehoods and utter nonsense. What else is new? If you object to that kind of thing so strenuously, you should probably get out of the blogging business. I find it distasteful and inappropriate that there is a TV show called “16 & Pregnant”, but I don’t waste much time discussing it.
I find your desire to shut down debate of this issue curious. Personally, I don’t trust the authorities in this case, and I want them to be aware that everyone is watching.
Zimmermann is indeed innocent until proven guilty. He may well never even be charged with a crime. But I shed no tears from him. He made his choices. He decided to arm himself and patrol the streets. He decided to follow Martin because of his own baseless suspicions. He decided to ignore neighborhood watch proceedures. He decided to get out of the truck, where he was perfectly safe.
His villification is the result his own choices and actions. Hopefully, it will provide a cautionary tale for other self appointed sheriffs…
I am not trying to shut down anyone. I’m merely saying that in a civilized society it strikes me as wrong to prejudge someone’s guilt or innocence because, inevitably, that leads to dissatisfaction when the verdict turns out differently than ones opinion. Even though one’s opinion is based upon incomplete evidence and “analysis” from legal commentators that juries are (properly) shielded from.
In a civilized society it would not be possible to stalk a kid walking home from the store, shoot him dead, and sleep in your own bed that very night.
The body of the kid on a slab at the morgue concerns me a great deal more than the after the fact chatter. People are always going to yap, it’s human nature. You might as well curse the wind…
In your very first sentence you assumed the existence of facts which have not been proven based on limited evidence, hearsay, and the comments of “analysts.” Good thing you won’t be on the jury if one is ever empaneled.
We are almost certainly never going to know the facts. One of the two people that was in the confrontation is dead. He can’t tell his side of it. The investigation was run by a small police department which is almost certainly of limited competence. Time has passed between the shooting and the public outcry which forced greater scrutiny. Witnesses will probably be less certain of what they saw and heard. The CYA effect is in full force.
What magic do you think is going to take place that will ever give us a full and reliable set of “facts” to work with? Do you know all the facts of the OJ case? The Kennedy assassination? The murder of Malcom X? If you do, you are a remarkable guy, because no one else in the world does.
I was raised by an attorney, I know our system promises only due process, not justice. That does not keep me from wanting justice, especially for a child who will never get a chance to grow up and his parents who won’t get to watch him do it.
Do you really think that a homeowners association really want to do all of the procedure development, training, and record keeping that would be required to show due diligence when operating a neighborhood watch program or will their underwriter just tell them to stay away from operating one.
Also, if people calling 911 can be accused of racial profiling or charged with manslaughter like the guy in Los Angeles, the I suspect that underwriters will begin to force companies and NGO to develop procedures of when 911 can and cannot be called.
I also suspect that if more cities and police departments are accussed of racial profiling, that they can always opt to just not answer people and to take their time in responding to any calls.
If people want to make life hard on law enforcement, then law enforcement can use that as an excuse to not get involved.
You idiot, it’s people like Zimmerman that make life hard on law enforcement…
@An Interested Party:
I think it is people who loots stores, sell drugs, and enforce a culture of no-snitching who make life hard on law enforcement. Of course, it is beginning to look like the Zimmerman case will be used to force all Americans to adapt a strategy of no-snitching. How else does one prevent oneself from being accused of profiling than just not get involved.
One of the lessons that will come out of the Martin-Zimmerman controversy is that who should think twice before calling the police and definitely do not call the police if blacks are involved. If your neighborhoods house is being robbed by a black guy, let him. Why call the police and risk a lawsuit for profiling?
Happy to be of help…
@michael reynolds: What Michael says. The progressives need to keep trying to keep things honest. And encouraging the Joyner’s of the world to do the same on the Republican side.
“Audio Experts” like ALL experts disagree with each other continually. This particular audio expert seems like a good one to disagree with—-he would need to get an exemplar of ZImmerman screaming to match with that “screaming audio tape”–then I might believe his findings. ANd yes, I am an audio expert myself.
@superdestroyer: superdestroyer, its quite a shame that you have taken the position that if you can’t just shoot any black kid in your neighborhood, then you won’t even call the cops if your neighbor’s house is being robbed. You just a nasty person all around.
@Kate: Audio expert are you? That’s a rather vague term. You could be a wedding DJ, a car stereo installer,etc. Please let me know how your credentials stack up against the former chief engineer for the New York Public Library’s Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound, is an authority on biometric voice analysis or even audio engineer and forensics expert .
@An Interested Party:
I guess this is the progressives way of saying “NO Snitching.” That one should not report crimes, alert the police to crimes, or give statements to the police. Why have groups such as personal injury attorneys, prosecutors, or racial activist pick over everything one has done in your life. The value of whatever is being stolen will be less than the costs of getting involved.
Why get involved? Progressives are demonstrating that is easier and cheaper to just stay out of any incident rather than get involved. The people who refuse to talk to the police, refuse to do interviews, and do not get involved are being shown as the smartest people in the Martin-Zimmerman incident.
Look at how everyone who is involved in neighborhood watch programs is now being described as a “wannabes.” Why should anyone want to be involved in neighborhood watch, volunteer fire department, police auxiliary if the elite in the U.S. view all of those people as Wannabes.
Ha Ha… Breitbart can’t remotely compete with the liberal media. Hey aren’t you late for potty training ?
@DRE: The Stand Your Ground came out of a need for the average law abiding cititzen to defend themselves should the need arrive. Let’s remember that in most cases, the police will arrive to investigate a crime and not prevent it. That is why we lock our doors, install security systems and generally avoid areas know to be heavy on the crime dosage. We cannot all have a personal body guard. The Trayvon Martin case is a tragic example of possibly an overzealous person exceeding their right to defend themself. I think we can all agree that Zimmerman did not go out that night with the intent of murdering a young, black man carring skittles and ice tea. He did use extremely poor judgement and my hope is that the investigators will find out exactly what happened and justice will prevail. My concern is what this case will do to the rest of the folks that want to excersice their 2nd ammendment rights and defend themselves. Let’s remember that the person who makes a decision to carry a weapon for self defense in many cases is not trained as a 20 year Marine in the art of combat, but we still want a fighting chance to survive an attack. Let’s also remember there are murders being committed every day in which a trained criminal is in their mode 24/7 and is trying to catch someone by surprise. In the chance instance the criminal attacks an armed citizen and the citizen shoots and kills the assailant, what are the chances we hear of this on NBC? In the event someone carrying a conceal weapon shoots and kills an unarmed person, perhaps thinking they were being threatened, what are the chances the media will talk about it day and night, week after week, march in protest, and generally make an arguements against a persons right to defend themselves? We have to come under the realization that everyday a criminal uses a gun or other weapon to kill an innocent law abiding citizen just doing their thing, without a chance of survival. It is not everyday a lawfull, gun carrying citizen kills an innocent citizen (although we can argue it is a tragedy of unimaginable scale). Instead of focusing on eliminating the ability of a lawful citizen to defend themselves, why don’t we focus on making murder illegal. Oh wait it is already illegal to kill someone. Question, if it is already illegal to murder someone, why to criminals still do it? Let’s not let this tragedy, keep someone else from defending their right to live. Let’s not let the criminals win.
Couple things you miss:
1. Even in relatively liberal states with no “Stand your ground” laws — like New York — people regularly use deadly force in self defense situations and are not thrown in jail. I have yet to see any real evidence that “stand your ground” has made Florida or any state safer. There is evidence that confusion over the laws rather open wording has allowed a number of people, who by all accounts don’t seem to have been in true “self defense” situations, to escape prosecution.
2. Your discussion of “trained criminal” tends to overstate the threat of random violence in our society. Without a doubt, there is random crime. However, when it comes to violent attacks and the majority of self defense situations, the fact is that the average American is far more likely to be assaulted by someone they know.
The NBC producer was fired: