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    #1 Most-Read of 2013: Martin v. Zimmerman: The media at its worst

    No. 1: Everything I initially wrote about the Trayvon Martin killing was based on network news reports. And it was almost entirely wrong.
    Did the media demonize George Zimmerman?

    Did the media demonize George Zimmerman? Credit: werthmedia/Flickr

    This was the most read story on Crosscut during 2013. It originally appeared on July 15.

    In my KOMO radio commentary of March 23, 2012, I said the following about the killing of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman:

    “Thinking of 17-year old Trayvon the way we’d think of our own kids is exactly how to view this tragedy. The man who police say shot him, George Zimmerman, is a 28-year old CrimeWatch volunteer, who apparently did just about everything a Crimewatch volunteer SHOULDN’T do, such as following the 17 year old teen when a 911 dispatcher advised him not to, confronting him when he had no business doing so, and shooting him. Mr. Zimmerman was not standing his ground against an aggressor, he WAS the aggressor.  And Trayvon Martin received the death penalty for walking home in the rain wearing a hooded sweatshirt, and carrying a pack of candy.”

    Everything I said was based on what the network news media had been reporting, and continued to report for months. And it was almost entirely wrong. 

    Eyewitness testimony and physical evidence backs up George Zimmerman’s claim that he was neither the physical aggressor, nor even “standing his ground” that night. He was confronted by an angry Martin, who knocked him down with a punch to the nose and proceeded to pummel him. (There is no evidence of a “fight,” but abundant evidence of an assault). 

    Trayvon Martin was shot not “walking home in the rain wearing a hooded sweatshirt,”but while straddling Zimmerman MMA style, beating him senseless, bloodying his face and punching or pounding his head against the concrete sidewalk.  

    The most disputed question that night — who was screaming for help before the shot was fired by Zimmerman? — has family and friends on both sides divided. But it raises another question that essentially answers itself: Who would more likely scream for help? The person being beaten, or the one doing the beating?

    One of the most important, and remarkably under-publicized facts that came out at trial is that one of the detectives, while interrogating Zimmerman at the police station that night, told him that the entire incident had been caught on surveillance video. The detective was bluffing, but Zimmerman didn’t know that. His reaction: “Thank God”.

    “Thank God.” How many people who do something wrong, lie about it and are told it’s on tape react that way? 

    Zimmerman certainly made mistakes that night; he should have stayed in his car. But they were mistakes in judgment. So weak was the criminal case against him that many were predicting his acquittal two days into the trial before the defense had even presented its case.

    So why are so many people upset and angry about the verdict?

    Because they still believe what I believed in that commentary a year and a half ago.   

    The news media, aided by activists like Al Sharpton, made this entire saga about race from the very beginning. When the racial narrative didn’t fit, the media distorted evidence, doctored audio tape or misled the public about the facts until it did. As Zimmerman’s attorney Mark O’Mara said after the verdict, the press turned Zimmerman, a man who mentored young African American school kids, into a “monster.”

    Columnist John Nolte from Bigjournalism.com (the people who caught NBC editing a tape to make Zimmerman appear racist) compiled a superb timeline of the media’s race-crime narrative, supplemented with links. Some highlights:

    On March 13, 2012, Al Sharpton interviewed the Martin family’s attorney Benjamin Crump, who described Zimmerman as white and claimed that it was Zimmerman who approached Trayvon Martin. The Associated Press had also erroneously described Zimmerman, a Hispanic, as white.

    On March 21, 2012, CNN falsely accused Zimmerman of muttering the word “coon” when he called authorities. That was false, but not corrected by CNN for two weeks, long after it had influenced the media angle that Zimmerman was motivated by racial hostility.

    Like what you just read? Support high quality local journalism. Become a member of Crosscut today!


    Posted Tue, Dec 31, 1:46 a.m. Inappropriate

    Glad to see this story was so well read in 2013.

    It's not just Fox News and MSNBC that take an unmistakeable political/ideological tilt in their coverage. (I've gotten to the point where I cannot stomach watching either cable network for more than a few minutes at a time). Journalists at even the most respected media often take an unconscious or even conscious tilt in their coverage----acting on their own predispositions and biases. We saw a flagrant case a few years ago with the infamous Duke lacrosse scandal where the university president, most faculty, and most national media gave credibility to the unfounded accusations of a stripper (who, since then, has been convicted of murder).

    Whether their own dispositions lean toward political correctitude or
    the Tea Party, journalists indeed should seek the truth and not mere validation of their own mindsets. The anger and polarization in our
    political system are destructive enough without adding dishonest reporting to the mix. Many in journalism will deny its existence but it is there.

    Posted Tue, Dec 31, 7:17 a.m. Inappropriate

    Good points, Ted. Unfortunately, truth is often one of the first casualties in journalism when the reporter decides to put a story together based on their personal biases. It's one of the reasons I decided to get out of being a radio news director myself: I found myself battling that same urge, which I find detestable when I see others doing it. My own philosophy is that as a journalist, you're honor-bound by that role to stick to the truth and try giving your audience both sides of a story when two sides exist. It's not easy when you consider one of those sides "wrong," but you HAVE to resist thinking that way when putting that story together. It's another thing if you're a commentator, but not if you're a reporter.

    As for this column, I disagree with Carlson's premise that Martin was "stalking" Zimmerman. If that was the case, why did the fatal incident take place away from Zimmerman's property? Who was doing the following? I think the murder charge was a stretch at best, but manslaughter (to me) seems to have been proven and no way should Zimmerman have been acquitted. He killed an unarmed 17-year-old.

    Posted Tue, Dec 31, 7:53 a.m. Inappropriate

    I assume that this story also had a large base of comments. No reason to re-run that episode. But agreed with the above comments on how poor journalism won over "first to press".


    Posted Tue, Dec 31, 10:06 a.m. Inappropriate

    The failure of journalism was caused a long time ago by repeated self-inflicted wounds that created a climate of distrust of the media and those who practice journalism. Everyday that climate of distrust is reinforced, the MSNBC mocking of a black Romney family member is just the latest one. I suspect that before weeks end we'll have a replacement act on the airways or in print.


    Posted Tue, Dec 31, 11:25 a.m. Inappropriate

    I appreciate Ted Van Dyk's compliment and analysis. He is proof that strong political convictions are not a barrier to fair, reasoned judgment. As for GuiltyBystander's contention that I said Martin was "stalking" Zimmerman that fateful night, he is mistaken. The article does not make any such claim, nor does the word "stalking" even appear in the article.
    That said, I am looking forward to another great year of Crosscut in 2014. Good journalism and conversation thrives here.

    Posted Tue, Dec 31, 11:47 a.m. Inappropriate

    I'm not a big fan of Mr. Carlson politics, but that aside, I thought his original article was a straightforward narrative of why he felt he was led astray by the media in his first assessment of the case.

    IMO, the comments then turned into an unfair character assignation of Mr. Carlson and anyone who thought his discussion was wrong, racist, or any number of other unflattering terms. While the article reflected on the media the mirror was quickly turned around (for me) on the commenters, laying bare a number of emotions and bias that had nothing to do with the facts.

    Implying falsely that Mr. Carlson said Martin was stalking Zimmerman is a case in point. While conversation thrives here, I'm not sure it's all good - which is merely a reflection of us as a society I suppose.


    Posted Tue, Dec 31, 11:58 a.m. Inappropriate

    I still believe that these Junior G-Men like Zimmerman are a menace. They try so hard to be like cops. They use cop lingo. They wear cop-type clothes. They're on a quest to prove themselves just as good as the real cops, but they have none of the authority to act as cops. Yet they do so anyway.


    Posted Thu, Jan 2, 10:42 p.m. Inappropriate

    dbreneman, you're exactly right. Zimmerman was, and is a menace. His actions since his acquittal show what a mentally unstable person he is. It seems he carries a gun wherever he goes, and is quick to pull it out.

    What is so, so very sad with this article is the notion that even IF John Carlson is exactly right and Trayvon Martin WAS the aggressor (not borne out by the evidence, only Zimmerman's statements), does Mr. Carlson really believe that someone can murder another person simply because he throws a punch?

    Carlson has almost the entire story wrong except for the wrongful charges brought against George Zimmerman. He should have been released and not charged at all because in Florida, they have what amount to 'legalized murder' laws. The Zimmerman case is textbook example of how to get away with murder. Pick a black person to pursue and get them on the run (evidenced by Trayvon's call to his gf while he was running away from Zimmerman). Then when they stop running, shoot them dead and claim self-defense. There is no other side of the story because the other side of the story is dead. So you're guaranteed to be set free if you're even arrested. That's how it is with states that have passed 'legalized murder' laws.

    Posted Fri, Jan 3, 9:52 a.m. Inappropriate

    Case in point.

    Mr. Carlson - who I find odd defending because I don't agree with most of his politics - never said "...someone can murder another person simply because he throws a punch" Nor can that reasonably be implied from his narrative.

    "Carlson has almost the entire story wrong except for the wrongful charges brought against George Zimmerman. He should have been released and not charged at all because in Florida, they have what amount to 'legalized murder' laws. The Zimmerman case is textbook example of how to get away with murder."
    ---Where to start. The Florida Stand-Your-Ground law never came into play because it was not invoked as a defense by Zimmerman. Again veering off into emotionalism when facts are wanting.

    Then when they stop running, shoot them dead and claim self-defense. There is no other side of the story because the other side of the story is dead.
    -----Oh boy. There were witnesses who testified, the case was heard by a jury who chose to acquit. That's how our justice system works. The arm waving will go on for a while on this thread, as before. I'll leave it at that.

    A good reflection, as stated above, on how character assignation and damn lies are used in a public forum to attempt to discredit a narrative on how one person felt the media distorted the story at the beginning because it made it more lucrative. It will not be the last time.


    Posted Fri, Jan 3, 10:13 a.m. Inappropriate

    This topic just brings out strong emotional responses by people who somehow just think (for any number of reasons) there was a wrong committed.

    Likely there was - by both parties. Unfortunately one had a gun. Either party walks away from the encounter and a tragedy is averted. The comment above about "...one punch" seems purposely to minimize Trevon's actions. He was on top and beating up Zimmerman.

    I have a feeling these arguments will continue here and elsewhere as the case is remembered. The outcome is sad and could have been avoided.


    Posted Fri, Jan 3, 10:20 a.m. Inappropriate

    Treker -

    I used to work in Wichita, KS and the often talked about rule for the people who had guns was that if someone broke into your home and you felt threatened, you needed to shoot them and kill them, lest they remain alive to tell their story and/or sue you. One guy even said a cop told him if the intruder was injured and ran out of the house, to shoot them again and drag them back into your home because a homeowner would never be convicted of anything with a dead intruder in their home.

    Perhaps the one thing that everyone can agree in is that George Zimmerman was the initial aggressor. HE called 9/11. HE made the uninformed decision that Martin was 'up to no good', apparently because he was staring at Zimmerman. (Apparently Zimmerman thought it was fine for him to stare at Martin)

    HE got out of his truck with a gun. HE pursued Trayvon Martin even when told not to by the police dispatcher. HE was panting and out of breath running after Martin while the dispatcher told him 'not to do that'.

    The morals of this tragic shooting are several:
    1) Having a gun doesn't mean you can pursue people on a whim.
    2) Having a gun isn't going to save your life if you kill someone who is guilty of nothing. (Zimmerman's life was ruined by this gun)
    3) Just because someone 'looks like he's up to no good' doesn't mean you pick up your gun and go after him.
    4) Owning a gun tends to make you more aggressive and more stupid than you normally would be. Think before you pull the trigger.

    Posted Mon, Jan 6, 4:58 p.m. Inappropriate

    If anyone was entitled to "stand his ground" in this scenario, it was Martin. In fact, one could argue that he was standing his ground (with fists for a weapon) when Zimmerman shot him.


    Posted Fri, Jan 3, 10:41 a.m. Inappropriate

    I agree with everything you said in Nos. 1-4.

    And I would add a 5th. If you jump a person be prepared to suffer fatal consequences if they happen to have a gun.


    Posted Fri, Jan 3, 12:10 p.m. Inappropriate

    Lily. That's where I couldn't disagree more and where America has simply gone nuts. So you think pulling a gun and killing someone is an acceptable level of violence in response to being punched? I don't.

    What if I were to grab your hair? Does that warrant killing me?
    How about if I trip you and you fall on the sidewalk and scrape your knee? Does that warrant killing me?
    What if I knock on your door at night asking for help? Does that warrant killing me?

    The problem I have with your response is that you seem A-OK with someone pulling a gun and killing someone simply because they throw a few punches. Personally I'm horrified by that attitude.

    It used to be 2 people fought and they both got a few bruises and then they went home. Had Zimmerman not owned a gun, 2 men would have gone home free, instead of 1 going on trial and one going to the cemetary.

    That's also one of things I find missing from this article by John Carlson. He seems to think the worst thing about this incident is that the media covered it wrong rather than the increasing incidents where American men seem inclined to pull guns and start shooting and killing people when their lives clearly were not in danger.

    Posted Mon, Jan 6, 8:05 a.m. Inappropriate


    The statutory justification for homicide in Washington State, and most states, is that you must be at risk of serious injury or death.

    RCW 9A.16.050 "[Homicide when defending yourself is justified] when there is reasonable ground to apprehend a design on the part of the person slain to commit a felony or to do some great personal injury to the slayer or to any such person, and there is imminent danger of such design being accomplished; or

    (2) In the actual resistance of an attempt to commit a felony upon the slayer, in his or her presence, or upon or in a dwelling, or other place of abode, in which he or she is."

    You are correct that being punched is not justification for killing someone. There must be some additional factual element or elements that would lead you (and a prosecutor and/or jury) to conclude you were at risk of serious (emphasis on "serious") injury or death.

    We had a case in Westlake Park where a mentally ill man jumped on top of a random person walking down the sidewalk. A struggle ensued. Eventually the mentally ill guy wound up on top, pounding the guys head against the pavement with his fist. The guy reached into his wasteband, drew a lawfully concealed weapon, and fired. Tragically, the mental illness cost the attacker his life. The King County Prosecutor never charged the slayer. Had they been on their feet and trading jabs, that likely would not have been justifiable homicide.

    The testimony from a witness (and Zimmerman in his statements to police) was that Martin was similarly on top and punching Zimmermans head into the pavement.

    There is the contributory factor in the Zimmerman case of his recklessly following Martin. Did Martin believe he was being stalked by someone ready to attack him? Even if he did, did he turn and confront Zimmerman rather than running home and calling the cops, or calling the cops on his own cell?

    I wish Florida Law would allow a civil suit against Zimmerman by the family (Washington Law would). Some of those facts would come out and Zimmerman could be held accountable for very poor judgment even if that poor judgment did not rise to criminality.

    Posted Fri, Jan 10, 1:01 a.m. Inappropriate

    @realpolitik, if you attack someone in this state and are slain, your worthless "progressive" heirs better hope I'm not sitting on any jury if they try to pick someone's pockets!


    Posted Fri, Jan 3, 1:08 p.m. Inappropriate

    You're sounding a little shrill and misrepresenting again.

    Relying on facts from the eyewitnesses- Martin was on top of Zimmerman beating him. That is a fact. He was shot by Zimmerman while this occurred. So no - one punch, maybe not if you could still flee.

    These straw men scenarios you put forward make interesting parlor games but really have no connection to the facts of the case. You clearly have a strong emotional tie to this case.

    While you correctly point out the if Zimmerman did not want to be a junior cop or just waited for police there would be no problem.

    But you seem to ignore the facts presented during the trial.

    -only one person showed signs of a beating
    -several witnesses verified that Martin was on top of Zimmerman beating him cage style.
    -Zimmerman shot Martin while he was atop Zimmerman
    -ballistics confirmed this scenario

    Given the evidence, a jury of his peers acquitted Zimmerman - it was not a hung jury but a unanimous decision.

    No sense going on with this as you're devolving into character assignation again:

    He seems to think the worst thing about this incident is that the media covered it wrong rather than the increasing incidents where American men seem inclined to pull guns and start shooting and killing people when their lives clearly were not in danger


    Posted Fri, Jan 3, 1:45 p.m. Inappropriate

    Lily -

    The straw man here is that Zimmerman would have been able to draw his gun from his waist when he was supposedly pinned to the ground and being straddled with both legs by Martin. It would be physically impossible to draw his gun because it was pinned from access. So, you're correct, I don't believe that 'fact'. It just doesn't make any sense.

    Another thing that doesn't make sense is that somehow George Zimmerman was screaming WHILE he was being punched and his faced was being bashed against the sidewalk. I don't see how that is possible.

    I also disagree that ballistics confirm that Martin was on top of Zimmerman. If you read the original autopsy report, it says, "This wound is consistent with a wound of entrance of intermediate range."

    It also says the bullet went directly front of chest to back. If they were face to face on the ground the shot would have been a side shot from point blank range, not 'intermediate range'.

    And no, I don't have a 'strong emotional tie' to this case. It's just I believe different facts.

    Posted Fri, Jan 3, 1:52 p.m. Inappropriate

    Well, interesting that you have managed to come to different conclusions to the evidence than a jury of 12 and experts in ballistics.

    How you get there is a leap of faith, however.

    I can see how this is just going to go on ad nauseum. Clearly you are emoting and not presenting any logical argument.

    Which also seems to be why you are denigrating Mr. Carlson's narrative with hyperbole.

    You may be an intelligent person in real life - but here you are coming across as a zealot.

    Have at it.


    Posted Fri, Jan 3, 1:55 p.m. Inappropriate

    Don't say I didn't warn of this!


    Posted Fri, Jan 3, 4:28 p.m. Inappropriate

    Lily. I am simply quoting directly from coroners report. Let me quote from it again:

    "This wound is consistent with a wound of entrance of intermediate range."

    "Other injuries: There is a small 1/4 x 1/8 inch small abrasion on the left fourth finger."

    This is the ONLY thing listed as an injury other than a gunshot wound. I just think it's very odd that a kid who was allegedly beating the crap out of a grown man like George Zimmerman would only have a tiny abrasion on 1 finger of one hand.

    Either Martin was beating Zimmerman or he wasn't. But since you believe he was, how do you explain that he had not cuts on his hands?

    You're treating a jury as if they're some sacred body. I'm not. Juries make flawed decisions all the time. Just ask a number of people who have served life sentences only to have them overturned years later. Look at the Casey Anthony trial, where the jury found her not guilty. The public doesn't believe she's innocent for 1 second. How can a mother not know where her kid is for weeks and not be involved?

    Posted Fri, Jan 3, 6:04 p.m. Inappropriate

    Another piece of BS. Let's unravel this claim which was demolished in the courtroom.

    Intermediate range definition: Hot power grains accompany bullet to would site and are driven into skin, leaving small red marks - stippling/tattooing.

    Direct contact is pretty obvious when the gun is against the skin - intermediate results would occur from one to 5 inches (approximate) through two layer of clothing Martin had on - so there is no contradiction at all between the Medical Examiner's report and the lab tests from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Intermediate means pretty darn close

    Now - all of this was presented in the case so 1) you are being lazy and cherry picking or 2) you are misrepresenting the facts of the case.

    And oh -- 12 jury members were just not quite as smart as you to parse out this conspiracy and puzzle together a separate reality outside of the facts presented in the case.

    And despite several witnesses that saw Martin on top of and beating Zimmerman the minor cut on his hands discounts the several eyewitnesses?

    Congratulations on making these connections were a jury was just too dumb to do so. We are in awe of your genius.


    Posted Fri, Jan 3, 6:29 p.m. Inappropriate

    No reason for facts to get in the way of a zealot. Lily, stop now - this will go on a loooooong time.


    Posted Fri, Jan 3, 11:16 p.m. Inappropriate

    You're right Treker. This is a waste of time. I guess for you a coroner's report isn't a 'fact' while George Zimmerman's shifting stories are 'facts'. Maybe the geniuses on this thread can explain how a 17 yo kid can supposedly beat the crap out of much larger 36 yo man and only get a small scratch on his little finger?

    In the end, it's just sad that a mentally unstable man can hunt down a 17 yo kid just because he's black and wearing a hoodie and apparently this is A-OK in Florida.

    Posted Sat, Jan 4, 8:12 a.m. Inappropriate

    The comments illustrate how irrational our age has become. A few generations ago most people believed in the power of TRUTH, or at least the ability to recognize it. But today, because there is so little truth in reporting (journalists just unquestioningly facilitating news releases or sensationalizing even the weather), there is only cynicism about whether truth can be found anywhere, or just subservience to whatever is politically-correct.

    But here is a take on the Zimmerman case that provides a few more facts, and maybe some one may smell some truth somewhere.

    When the Zimmerman situation first appeared on national news it was presented as a racist white man gunned down an innocent little black boy for no reason, just because he was “Walking While Black” through a swanky, gated condo community. And the cracker cops of his small Florida town waved this trigger-happy, paranoid, and self-appointed security guard on his merry way. First let me review the media coverage of this event because it is probably the basis of so much misunderstanding. Many furrowed brows among the media bent over the tape of Zimmerman’s 911 call, seeking to divine racial epithets from his barely-audible muttering. And, NBC News deliberately edited out the 911 dispatcher asking Zimmerman to describe the ethnicity of the person he was observing, and spread broadly the impression that he was race-obsessed. Later when the media discovered what Zimmerman looks like, his designation was changed, with nearly one hundred percent consistency, to “white Hispanic” by media outlets which had previously employed that designation three or four times in a century, at most.
    We then saw a thousand reprints of the most infamously disingenuous photographic comparison in recent memory: a shot of 12-year-old Trayvon beaming happily, next to an equally outdated mug shot of a morose George Zimmerman. It took a long time for the media to cough up more recent photos of either one. You would have had to dig hard for factual information that came out much later that were indicators of the mind set of the two men. That Trayvon had marijuana in his system, and that he said on the phone that a “!@#$ cracker is following me.” One can only speculate on just why he was so sensitive to being observed, and the word “cracker” is considered synonymous in the black community with the word “nigger.”
    Much of the following information was readily available to any media organization that cared to request it but the national media didn’t. At the time of this incident in 2011, Twin Lakes was experiencing a rash of burglaries and break-ins. Previously a family-friendly, first-time homeowner community, it was devastated by the recession that hit the Florida housing market, and transient renters began to occupy some of the 263 town houses in the complex. Vandalism and occasional drug activity were reported, and home values plunged. Twin Lakes is about 50 percent white, with an African-American and Hispanic population of about 20 percent each, roughly similar to the surrounding city of Sanford, according to U.S.Census data.
    From January 1, 2011 through February 26, 2012, police were called to The Retreat at Twin Lakes 402 times. Crimes committed at The Retreat in the year prior to Martin's death had included eight burglaries, nine thefts, and one shooting. Twin Lakes residents said there were dozens of reports of attempted break-ins, which had created an atmosphere of fear in their neighborhood. In September 2011, the Twin Lakes residents held an organizational meeting to create a neighborhood watch program. Zimmerman was selected by neighbors as the program’s coordinator, according to Wendy Dorival, the Neighborhood Watch organizer for the Sanford Police Department. During the six months leading up to the February 26, 2012 shooting, Zimmerman called the non-emergency police telephone line seven times. On five of those calls Zimmerman reported suspicious looking men in the area, but never offered the men's race without first being asked by the dispatcher
    Three weeks prior to the shooting, on February 2, Zimmerman called police to report a young man peering into the windows of an empty Twin Lakes home. Zimmerman was told a police car was on the way and he waited for their arrival. By the time police arrived, the suspect had fled. On February 6, workers witnessed two young black men lingering in the yard of a Twin Lakes resident around the same time her home was burgled. A new laptop and some gold jewelry were stolen. The next day police discovered the stolen laptop in the backpack of a young black man, which led to his arrest. Zimmerman identified this young man as the same person he had spotted peering into windows on February 2.
    Zimmerman had been licensed to carry a firearm since November 2009. In response to Zimmerman’s multiple reports regarding a loose pit bull in the Twin Lakes neighborhood, a Seminole County Animal Services officer advised Zimmerman to “get a gun”, according to a friend, rather than rely on pepper spray to fend off the pit bull, which on one occasion had cornered his wife. Although neighborhood watch volunteers are not encouraged to carry weapons, Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee acknowledged that Zimmerman had a legal right to carry his firearm on the night of the shooting.
    One incident prior to the shooting involved a black teenager stealing Zimmerman’s bicycle off his front porch. In another, two black men broke into an occupied house, trapping a woman and her infant son upstairs, whispering frantically to 911 dispatchers. Zimmerman contacted her after the incident, put a stronger lock on her sliding glass door, and told her to contact him or his wife, if she ever felt unsafe again.

    Now for some of Martin’s activity prior to the shooting. Martin was suspended from school in October 2011 for graffiti after he was observed by a security camera in a restricted area of the school marking up a door with the word “fuck.” When he was later searched by a Police officer, looking for the graffiti marker, the officer found a dozen pieces of women’s jewelry and a watch in his backpack, which Martin said a friend had given to him. A screwdriver was also found, which was described by the school police investigator as a burglary tool. The jewelry was impounded and given to the police. Martin was also suspended when a marijuana pipe and an empty bag containing marijuana residue was found on him.

    Posted Sat, Jan 4, 8:14 a.m. Inappropriate

    Richard honey, I notice that all your facts are suppositions.

    As a black woman with 24 years public defender experience my only hope is that folks like you don't land in the jury box on my watch. Have a nice day.


    Posted Thu, Jan 9, 11:29 p.m. Inappropriate

    I am not surprised very often, but this is one time. I salute your independence.


    Posted Sun, Jan 5, 5:38 p.m. Inappropriate

    No honey, my facts are not suppositions. Unless in your world, a coroners report is a supposition.


    If you read the report, it says that Martin only has a small scratch on his finger. But as you say above, "several witnesses verified that Martin was on top of Zimmerman beating him cage style."

    So if Martin was beating Zimmerman, how does one do that and not damage his own hands Lily? How is that possible?

    Posted Mon, Jan 6, 7:14 a.m. Inappropriate

    Honey - the "fact" is merely that there is a cut on the finger. What you do with that fact, run down the long road of speculation is, indeed, a supposition. So let's run this one to the ground as it would occur in the courtroom.

    You - as the prosecution will note the fact of a cut on the finger -- then what? bring up a forensic specialist to say more bruising on the hands should be expected if Martin were in a fight.

    The defense will then bring up the 3 witnesses who saw Martin on top of Zimmerman pounding away, the police photo of Zimmerman's bloody and broken nose, and his bleeding back of head.

    Hmmm. You would likely get as much traction with that supposition in this example as you are here.

    It appears you can't align the avalanche of evidence in this case, and the standards used in a criminal case regarding preponderance of evidence and reasonable doubt. Martin beat up a fat, pudgy, out of shape older guy who managed to get out his gun and shoot the kid. Tragic, but not a crime.


    Posted Thu, Jan 9, 11:33 p.m. Inappropriate

    Facts, they're what's for breakfast. Kudos to you.


    Posted Mon, Jan 6, 7:21 a.m. Inappropriate

    This is sounding way too logical.

    Quite now. RB bases his narrative on "belief". It's like (trying to) arguing with a religious fanatic.

    He'll soon switch to "how can a person scream while being beaten" (directly contradicting supposition #1)

    or "Zimmerman's nose was not broken" or "why isn't Zimmerman beat up more if his head was hitting the concrete?"


    When that fails (again) we'll get: In the end, it's just sad that a mentally unstable man can hunt down a 17 yo kid just because he's black and wearing a hoodie and apparently this is A-OK in Florida.

    Time to call it a day Lily and go get some coffee.


    Posted Thu, Jan 9, 11:35 p.m. Inappropriate

    In the end, it's just sad that a mentally unstable man can hunt down a 17 yo kid just because he's black and wearing a hoodie and apparently this is A-OK in Florida.

    ... says the insulated Seattle "progressive," ignoring the evidence in the case


    Posted Mon, Jan 6, 8:11 a.m. Inappropriate

    I would agree with RB on most of his criticism of Zimmerman and that yes, juries can and do get it wrong - remember the first Rodney King trial of the officers involved?

    But - this case was not about race, the media ran for the grandstand headlines before they knew the facts, and the facts were pretty well laid out in the trial. Sympathetic jury members did their duty within the parameters of the law.

    I think that the stronger narrative here is the difference between an ethical and judgment error (Zimmerman getting out of the car - Martin attacking Zimmerman) and vs what is criminal behavior.

    Those that "believe" that Zimmerman should have been convicted of murder are just a dangerous as those who think the cops in the Rodney King incident did no wrong. Thankfully the law, eventually in the King case, but in the Zimmerman case as well, won out over mystical thinking.


    Posted Mon, Jan 6, 9:34 p.m. Inappropriate

    I think we can all agree the media commonly runs toward the race angle, or the gay angle, or some kind of angle. Why? Sales. ie: Dollars. Hardly a surprise. That's why the headline for this article is somewhat surprising. It could more aptly be called, "the media at its typical".

    The media is typically at its worst everyday. It covers fires, car crashes, etc because as they say, "If it bleeds, it leads." The racial angle of this story I never found particularly interesting even though they edited the 9/11 tape to sensationalize. It's hardly a surprise. That's what our media is about today. If you can stir up 2 factions of Americans, you have a story with legs.

    In fact, most people would probably agree we don't have a media. We have a 24 hour news cycle of whatever can be hyped and spun to get enough people to pay attention. There are probably dozens of other Trayvon Martinesque stories in the country that will never see the light of day. Why this one captured so many people's attentions will probably just be a mystery. But I still find it interesting and enjoy talking about it. Isn't that what Crosscut is all about after all?

    Posted Wed, Jan 8, 7:33 a.m. Inappropriate

    If they get more sales - or eyeballs on the story that will lead to ad sales - by doing those things Richard, what does that say about us?

    Is the problem the media reacting rationally, based on a generate the revenue or lay off the staff basis - or are the readers the problem? What does the phenomena you accurately describe say about us as readers, voters, consumers?

    Is the public policy dysfunction a reflection of Congresspeople, or the voters that elect them? What does it say about what we truely value, not what we say we value? Our actions betray us.

    Lily32, What does the pattern of behavior by readers and voters say about the nature of humankind? What does it do to the underlying pre-supposition of progressivism that human nature changes and progesses? If the pre-supposition of progressivism is correct then the phenomena that Richard calls out should not be a constantly, empirically observable thread in history and observations of current human behavior.

    Posted Wed, Jan 8, 9:28 a.m. Inappropriate

    With the 24 hour news cycle, a zillion cable channels, and the interwebs, I think we've actually taken a step backwards in the level of information available - or I should say reliable information.

    Most "news" sources on the web - take your pick - Huffington, Red State, Daily Beast, Limbaugh, Drudge, Daily Kos, even crosscut, are doing ZERO investigative reporting of their own. These forums are just aggregators that also have opinion pieces. Ok, there's a few, such as Politico that actually have reporters.

    The pressure to be "first to press" or to make a splash for headlines (re:advertising sales) is put way, way ahead of reporting with integrity.

    As far as the sheeple are concerned - I think most of the public are dolts and seem to have a diminishing capacity to follow and analyze complex issues. What seems to be more important is keeping up with your faceplant page -which is an infinite exercise in bellybutton gazing.

    So in short. I think our society is eternally distracted, not progressing.


    Posted Thu, Jan 9, 11:38 p.m. Inappropriate

    Always remember something: The fewer independent voices who persist, the more value each has.


    Posted Fri, Jan 10, 7:27 a.m. Inappropriate


    Just because it's "independent" whatever the f*** that means, does not mean it is of any substance.

    Your drivel is the prime example.


    Posted Sun, Jan 12, 12:36 a.m. Inappropriate

    "Whatever the f*** that means," the Seattle "progressive" says to anyone who's too independent to swallow the usual idiot Kool-Aid. Do you have any idea how clueless and pathetic you are?


    Posted Wed, Jan 8, 11:30 p.m. Inappropriate

    Trayvon Martin got what he deserved. Rest not in peace, thug. The worst you can can about Zimmerman is that it would've been better if he'd been carrying a Taser -- except that if he'd zapped Martin, then Sharpton and the racial grievance establishment would've run down there and done the mother of all Tawana Brawleys. At least this way, once the trial was over, it really WAS over.


    Posted Fri, Jan 10, 4:37 p.m. Inappropriate

    I'm thinking you have a real shot with this extended performance art piece of yours. I mean really --- the is is a current stag production of something call the Jerry Springer Opera that you could coattail on.

    Maybe starting at a small venue, say the Pink Door or a performance space on Capital Hill before testing the waters on off-Broadway.


    Posted Sun, Jan 12, 12:38 a.m. Inappropriate

    That's a rude way to talk to John Carlson, but it's par for the course for a Seattle "progressive."


    Posted Mon, Jan 13, 5:51 p.m. Inappropriate

    No reason to deflect the accords you are due. Can I get tickets to the you upcoming performances?

    So retro ala Wharhol. You do how to bend the curve.


    Posted Tue, Jan 14, 12:55 a.m. Inappropriate

    Could you please post again after the drugs wear off? Thank you.


    Posted Sun, Jan 12, 10:32 a.m. Inappropriate

    "If they get more sales - or eyeballs on the story that will lead to ad sales - by doing those things Richard, what does that say about us?"

    "Is the problem the media reacting rationally, based on a generate the revenue or lay off the staff basis - or are the readers the problem? What does the phenomena you accurately describe say about us as readers, voters, consumers?"

    realpolitik, what this says about us is that people are drawn to things that are more exciting, or simple to understand, or that evoke emotions. And let's face it, for the most part, politics, is none of those. The emotion it usually evokes is boredom as anyone who has tried to listen to someone explain policy drone on about. Part of the problem is delivery. Politics is delivered via studies and meetings and hearings, as it should be. But it's just all sooooo slow and time consuming.

    One of the reasons the current Christie Bridge scandal has gained worldwide attention is that it's a political issue that offers all of the above. It's exciting, simple to understand and it evokes emotions whether it be disgust, anger, glee (at seeing a politician under the spotlight) or some other emotion.

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