The Motivation Behind Media Bias: Why Are They Trying To Blame Trayvon?
By Mysterious Q
Media bias is not exactly a hot button issue. That's because everyone knows it exists, but no one can figure out exactly what to do about it. What we can do is examine the fascinating and sometimes very uncomfortable facts behind individual cases. The recent Trayvon Martin killing, while horrible and certainly tragic, offers us a good example of what happens when the news media decides who is the good guy and who is the bad guy.
There was never a time when the news media in America was completely objective, but reporters once wore a badge of fairness with great pride. Those days have passed. Now it's all about agendas. The most obvious are political and ideological. The vast majority of broadcast news reporting entities lean in the liberal direction. At least one cable news channel may not be outright conservative, but it does attract a huge number of viewers by offering what it considers to be the untold stories behind or more complete versions of popular news items. Internet bloggers are also split along similar lines.
I believe that the Trayvon Martin killing has revealed the existence of a deeper and far more ugly underbelly of very old prejudices that exist within the news gathering community. It is one that only occasionally manifests itself in such a public way for fear of exposure. Rather than accuse them outright or spell out things which I am sure many will find terribly offensive, I will lay out the evidence for my views and allow you to make up your own minds. With that said, I could care less about politics and despise the practice of slanting the news in either direction. My views are not about assigning blame or attacking anyone. What I offer is merely a sensible look at the way a 'no win' situation is being covered by the media.
The Trayvon Martin killing was first reported by most news gathering services as a tragic confrontation between two people, as it should have been. As more details became available, that coverage turned from a simple confrontation between two people into questions reporters were asking which lead everyone to believe the incident occurred as a result of racial profiling. While those questions were certainly fair ones, I was amazed at the naivety of those doing the asking. How could they not know that by jumping to conclusions that may or may not be correct they would ignite a race war of words and actions?
Reporters bolstered the validity of their questions and opinions about racial profiling as a possible motive for the killing by offering the family of Trayvon Martin and their representatives the opportunity to vent on TV and elsewhere. That was a fair because they also provided representatives of George Zimmerman the same access to tell their side of the confrontation if they cared to do so. That is where all the fairness ended and the bias began.
It amazed me how fast the news reporting organizations changed direction. All of a sudden the idea of racial profiling seemed to be thrown out the window. News broadcasts stopped playing the 911 recording which revealed that the operator speaking to George Zimmerman specifically told him that he should not pursue the person who he believed was acting suspiciously. That would go along with the mission of most neighborhood watch groups that I am aware of which train their members to observe and report. I have never heard of any that encourage or even permit civilian members to carry weapons or confront suspects.
Having already moved away from the idea of a tragic confrontation to racial profiling, the news media suddenly found fault in Trayvon Martin and went in a completely new direction. Now it seemed that the boy who was just trying to get home after going to the store for iced tea and a snack was the African-American version of Al Capone. I guess that the fact that he had been suspended from school three times made him public enemy number one and deserving of death.
More recent photos of Trayvon showing an older and more athletic looking teen quickly replaced those the media had of a younger boy. After that we saw less of Trayvon's family and their lawyer and more of George Zimmerman's lawyer and his friends. At least one of his 'friends' turned out to a a former CNN News Anchor named Joe Oliver. The fact that he was a reporter was never mentioned during the interview that I watched and only came out later.
Gone were the witnesses who said they heard Trayvon call for help and saw Zimmerman holding down an injured or deceased Trayvon on the ground. They were replaced by photos which appeared to show George Zimmerman with facial injuries and other bodily injuries that made it look like he had been through some sort of a struggle. However, a recent police video that just became available tells another story. That footage of Zimmerman being escorted from a police vehicle into what I assume is the police station shows him with no obvious facial injuries at all.
George Zimmerman went from being reported as a Shooter whose racial profiling of a young black man and failure to obey a 911 operator lead to Trayvon Martin's death to being the innocent victim of circumstance who was just defending himself. And that was only the beginning. Reporters got busy digging up anyone and everyone they could who had something good to say about Zimmerman. He was now being portrayed as a neighborhood hero who never had anything bad to say about anyone.
Although Trayvon's friends and some relatives he has that we have not previously heard from have posted positive things about him online, none of those statements have appeared on any news broadcasts that I have watched. I do not see reporters lining up to talk to them or book them on their broadcasts. Instead we are now being fed a steady diet of Zimmerman supporters and innocent victims who appear to have suffered as a result of the Zimmerman-Martin confrontation.
After someone managed to obtain what turned out to be the incorrect address of where George Zimmerman was staying, Spike Lee and other supporters of the Martin Family found out about it and tweeted it to their followers. Oops! The family living at that incorrect address with the same last name said that one reporter showed up at their door, they received a few pieces of hate mail and that made them decide to temporarily move out of their home to another location for safety sake. That was a far cry from the story told by the news media. According to reporters these people where in fear of their very lives and were being bombarded by hate mail, threatening calls and stalkers.
The incorrect address incident gave reporters the perfect opportunity to turn even further against the Martin Family and their supporters. Instead of parents seeking justice for their son, they were now being characterized as people who were using the death of their criminal offspring to instigate and incite racial hatred and get rich quick by suing the Home Owner's Association which I assume sponsors the Neighborhood Watch group to which Zimmerman belonged. Another Oops! As of this writing no civil lawsuit has been filed and the Martin's lawyer confirms that no plans are currently in place to sue anyone at this time.
While all this craziness was going on, the questions regarding George Zimmerman's ethnicity have been answered in a number of different and creative ways. At first it was reported that he was white. That changed after the news media started to turn on Trayvon. All of a sudden George became Hispanic. With Zimmerman not being your typical Hispanic last name, more clarification was needed. The news media started reporting that George Zimmerman had one parent that was Hispanic and another they said was White.
The Zimmerman ethnicity questions brought what I believe is a very ugly and disturbing issue to light and one which, while distasteful to think about or discuss, deserves consideration. That's because the news media has apparently chosen one side of the Martin-Zimmerman conflict over another and I fear their choice is based more on ethnicity than it is on evidence, objectivity or fairness.
For years the Hispanic Community in South Florida has been one which has added their rich culture and work ethic to an area that was in need of it. The same may be said of other ethnic groups including African-Americans and people that have immigrated there from the Caribbean and many other places. However, Hispanics have arguably become more influential in South Florida than the rest. It's an influence they have earned for sure, but one which may be now be influencing the media coverage of the Trayvon Martin case.
Having lived in Florida for several years I can attest to the sad fact that African-Americans are often portrayed as part of the problem rather than the solution to South Florida's uneasy tolerance of the ethnic groups living there and crime problems that exist in that area. Hispanics once faced the same criticism years ago thanks to the few bad apples that had made places like Miami the cocaine import capital of America, but that time has passed and most people no longer give things like that a second thought.
Anyone willing to think the situation out in a fair manner understands that the political, racial and financial dynamics at work in South Florida would simply have to influence the reporting of the Zimmerman-Martin encounter. Few who have never been on the inside of national news reporting can even begin to understand all the dynamics that go into the reporting of every single story. There are industry contacts, political sources, social consequences, ideological influences and much more including things that are not openly spoken about to be considered.
The one certainty about the reporting of the Zimmerman-Martin case is that Media Bias is present in all it's ugliness and in a way not seen since Watergate. Without an axe to grind either way I simply ask my readers to remember that there are no winners to be found in this tragedy. There is, however, a need for a fair investigation that should not be influenced by the bias currently being exercised by the news media.
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