Nine out of ten journalists say, “Guilty!”
By: Michael R. Shannon
Good news for Neighborhood Watch celebrity, George Zimmerman. The Associated Press reports that in 23 years only 2,000 people have been exonerated after being wrongly convicted of a serious felony.
Each year there are nearly one million felony convictions, over 10,000 times more than the 90 innocent defendants wrongly convicted. The findings are particularly encouraging for Zimmerman as he faces criminal prosecution for second–degree murder in the death of Trayvon Martin and simultaneously a trial–by–media for the same offense.
The miscarriage of justice rate compares very favorably with the hospital medical error rate of 18 percent, where presumably the doctor doesn’t have any animus toward the customer, as opposed to prosecutors who do.
And public opinion is starting to come around. A new Rasmussen Reports national survey found 40 percent think Zimmerman acted in self–defense.
This finding is in sharp contrast to a survey of mainstream journalists that found 85 percent believe Zimmerman should already be doing time in Guantanamo.
Then when it appears justice may finally be allowed to take its course, the Washington Post uses a discredited CNN idea to attack George.
You may recall CNN reporter Gary Tuchman examined Zimmerman’s 9–1–1 call and discovered RACISM! Which is to be expected from someone with a white father. Using “one of the most sophisticated audio edit suites in the broadcast news business” CNN heard Zimmerman saying “(bleeping) coons” after technicians “enhanced” the recording.
Naturally to demonstrate even–handed news judgment, the tape was played for viewers about 300 times during the segment. As the reporter intoned, “Listen closely for “coon,” a word only bigots use. Remember it starts with a ‘c’ and ends with ‘oon.’”
Except the word wasn’t “coon.” Two weeks later, with much less fanfare, CNN re–enhances the tape and sure enough Zimmerman was saying “(bleeping) cold.”
How fortunate Zimmerman didn’t have to hide in the weeds to observe Martin. I can only imagine what the media would have done if George had muttered something about being bitten by a (bleeping) chigger.
Which brings us back to the sound–enhancing WaPo and its recording of a witness call, which FBI analysts have already termed “inconclusive.” The WaPo recycles the lie that Zimmerman ignored an order from the dispatcher. And in a nice touch, writes “…cursing under his breath, Zimmerman got out of his truck and began to follow (Martin).” But, thanks to CNN, we know Zimmerman was cursing the weather, a common activity worldwide, and not Martin.
Martin’s father heard the WaPo tape and told police the voice was not his son’s, But that was before lawyers got to him and visions of wrongful death lawsuits began dancing in his head. In contrast, the WaPo’s expert — who wouldn’t have known Trayvon if the kid had approached him at 7/11 and asked for a loan to buy Skittles — imagines Martin yelling, “I’m begging you!” “Help me!” And then, “Stop!”
Since the story was written by two females, I won’t fault them for their lack of expertise when it comes to fight dynamics. But in the real world the person who lands the first punch usually wins. Since witnesses place Martin on top of Zimmerman repeatedly punching him “MMA” style, it’s reasonable to assume his was the first punch.
Someone winning a fight is also not the one calling for help. The puncher is usually concentrating on pounding the punchee. Evidence shows Zimmerman’s back was wet from ground contact and he had a broken nose, two black eyes and cuts on the back of his head, so Trayvon evidently was doing a thorough job.
You can find the recording on the Post website and identifying any one element is like trying to isolate a single razzberry in a Spike Jones recording. One of the edited audio segments purports to be Martin’s “Stop!” But I’ve been in recording studios for 35 years and I hear “Help!” in both recordings, which stands to reason since Zimmerman is losing the fight.
But this is where it gets interesting. The “expert” asserts those 45 seconds aren’t Zimmerman calling for help during the fight, but Martin pleading with Zimmerman not to shoot him AFTER the fighting was over.
So by his reckoning, the fight is concluded. Zimmerman has his gun out. Martin begs for his life for almost a minute and then Zimmerman executes him in cold blood.
But lab results reveal the gunshot was so close it burned Martin’s skin. We know there was a single shot. If the entry wound is low and travels upward, it supports Zimmerman. But even without that information, if the fight was over and Martin was pleading for his life, chances are he would have been backing or running away, putting distance between himself and Zimmerman.
Common sense would dictate waiting for the evidence and using practical experience to evaluate it, but the Post, along with the majority of the media, has already found Zimmerman guilty and they want us to join them.
Michael R. Shannon is a public relations and advertising consultant with corporate, government and political experience around the globe. He is a dynamic and entertaining keynote speaker. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.