BALCONY FAILURE: The dog which barked again!

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 4, 2012

Part 3—The New York Times, novels v. facts: Thanks to the way modern journalists work, we live in a world with very few facts.

The coverage of Trayvon Martin’s death has brought this fact into stark relief. Good grief! On Monday evening’s Piers Morgan show, George Zimmerman’s clothing was back!

Did Sanford police take Zimmerman’s clothes? As Morgan spoke with Alan Dershowitz, he repeated an old refrain:
MORGAN (4/2/12): I think my view, Alan, from the start of this has been a kind of incredulity, I guess, that George Zimmerman wasn't arrested on the night. I mean certainly, if this had happened in Britain, he’d been arrested right then and there and then he would have faced a normal criminal legal process. And clearly, the authorities on the ground were split here as to whether he should have been or not. But to let the guy just go home in the clothes he was wearing, with the—you know, with no apparent legal process even being commenced. Is that—that seems to have really angered people. What do you think of this from a legal point of view?
Might we clarify one basic point? “If this had happened in Britain,” it wouldn’t have happened under Florida law! Dershowitz went on to say that Florida law does make it hard to charge people in cases like this.

That said, we were most struck this night by the dog which barked once again. According to Morgan, the Sanford police let Zimmerman “just go home in the clothes he was wearing.”

Is that an accurate statement? Is that an actual fact about this important case? As of last Wednesday, even MSNBC was saying that the police had in fact taken the clothing; rightly or wrongly, the Orlando Sentinel had reported that as a fact way back on March 24. But on Monday evening, on CNN, Morgan asserted the opposite once again. He didn’t even seem to know that this factual claim has been challenged.

A dog was barking again! In his reply, Dershowitz seemed to leap ahead of his own knowledge, just as Morgan seemed to have done:
DERSHOWITZ (continuing directly): Well, I think there's a big difference between arrest, which is a formal legal proceeding for which you need probable cause under the statute. And the statute makes arrest very difficult to achieve. But also, the other factor, they could have done much more forensically. They could have taken DNA from under his nails. They could have taken his clothing away from him. They could have taken, and perhaps they did, close-up photographs.

I won a case a few years ago as a result of a photograph taken at a crime scene which purported to show a kind of killing, and then we were able to demonstrate that if you blew up the photograph, it showed something very, very different. So the kinds of real-time forensic evidence that can be obtained only within minutes or hours after the crime is absolutely essential.

If the police failed to do that, they really did fail to provide evidence that could give us the truth in this case.
“They could have taken…close-up photographs,” Dershowitz said. But uh-oh: “Perhaps they did!”

In context, that was pathetic.

In that aside, Dershowitz acknowledged that he doesn’t know if close-up photos were taken. Given the fact, why should we think he knows if Zimmerman’s clothing was taken?

In this exchange, Dershowitz seconded Morgan claim, saying the clothing wasn’t taken. Does Dershowitz know if that is true? We know of no reason to think he does—and we were certainly given no reason to think so on this program.

On Monday, Zimmerman's clothing was back; once again, it hadn’t been taken! Last evening, Catherine Crier made the same factual claim, speaking to Al Sharpton (details below). Sharpton simply accepted what Crier said—but then, he reacted the same way last week when Joy-Ann Reid told him the clothing had been taken.

Sharpton shows no sign of knowing that, in his role as a journalist, he is supposed to establish the state of knowledge concerning such claims for his viewers. But then, Morgan’s performance was little better on Monday night.

Has there ever been a case where so many people played around with so many factual claims? Where people used so many unproven factual statements to create the stories they like? More than five weeks after Martin’s killing, millionaire stooges like Morgan and Sharpton continue to toss around basic claims, showing no sign of knowing when these claims are in dispute.

You’re living in a world without facts. Consider what happened when the New York Times presented its front-page report on this case in Monday’s editions. (To read the report, click here.)

The report ran almost 5000 words. It listed four co-authors. What should the Times try to do in such a report? Let us make these suggestions:

The Times should let its readers know which facts have been established.

The Times should let its readers know when factual claims are still in dispute.

In our view, the Times should skip the novelization—the use of evocative story-telling which produces much more heat than light. And this:

When unfounded claims have been made in the press, the Times should explicitly tell its readers. The Times should explicitly tell its readers when and how they’ve been misled.

Judged by those standards, how well did the Times perform in its sprawling report? Not real well. Let us count three ways:

Combatting novelization: This report is larded with novelizations about both major figures, Martin and Zimmerman. The bathos builds as the reporters mention Martin’s Skittles and/or candy at five separate points in their “news report.” Heart-warming anecdotes are picked-and-chosen about both Martin and Zimmerman; a few other anecdotes are selected to drive other feelings and ideas. Meanwhile, can you explain the relevance of the highlighted passage as journalism?
BARRY (4/2/12): Less than half an hour after Trayvon Martin died face-down in gated grass, a privileged crowd of 17,000 rose to their feet at the NBA All-Star game in Orlando, 20 miles to the south, to sing the national anthem. Then, while people enjoyed their after-parties, his body, not yet identified, was taken to the medical examiner's office in Volusia County.

Mr. Zimmerman, meanwhile, was taken to Sanford police headquarters, where, he told his father, the police took many photographs of his injuries. His father said that he had a broken nose, a swollen and cut lower lip, and two cuts on the back of his head.
Can you name the journalistic purpose of that piffle about the privileged crowd at the NBA game, with their after-parties? Yes, it makes the report more entertaining. It builds the bathos; it makes this “news report” read more like a novel. But even as we’re entertained, the Times rushes past that claim about photographs of Zimmerman's alleged injuries, failing to alert its readers that a wide array of contradictory claims have been made about this part of the case.

Did the New York Times try to learn if the claim it reports is true? Did the Times try to learn if the police actually did take "many photographs" of those alleged injuries? At no point does the Times attempt to say. The paper burned 5000 words, often with piffle—but it failed to explicate or explain this very key point.

A suggestion: Next time, could the Times skip the shit about NBA games and describe the conduct of its guild members? Many Times readers have heard many claims about whether photographs were taken. These contradictory claims have been a major part of this story. Those NBA parties are not.

Establishing basic facts: The Times provided a genuine shitload of enjoyable novelizations. But how did it do with the task of establishing basic facts? Let’s return to a much-discussed factual point we discussed in yesterday’s post:
BARRY: However [the altercation] started, witnesses described to the 911 dispatcher what resulted: the neighborhood watch coordinator, 5-foot-9 and 170 pounds, and the visitor, 6-foot-1 and 150, wrestling on the ground.
But are those really the accurate facts about the participants’ height and weight? New York Times readers have heard many claims about the relative size of the two combatants. Those claims have driven a boatload of partisan narratives.

Is this new account accurate?

The New York Times makes no attempt to say how it knows these basic facts. Why should readers believe this account, as opposed to all the others?

For ourselves, we have no idea—and as with Morgan, so with the Times. The paper seems to have no idea that contradictory claims have been made in this area—that readers deserve an explanation of how this new assessment was reached.

Other key claims are glossed in similar ways. Did Sanford police seize Zimmerman’s gun? Did they seize his clothing? Contradictory claims have been widely advanced, used to drive aggressive narratives about the conduct of the police.

The New York Time skips these questions completely. At other points, their factual reporting is baffling. In its report, the Times reports that “several” people called 911; in a sidebar, in small print, we are told that the actual number is seven.

As a basic journalistic matter, we have no idea why you’d make a reader go hunting for the specific number. (By the way: Is seven "several?") That’s especially true when the fact ties into a very key point, a key point the Times largely glosses in this remarkable passage:
BARRY: Here is what Robert Zimmerman said is his son's explanation: Trayvon was on top, punching and slamming his head into the paved sidewalk. When nobody answered his calls for help, he tried to slide onto the grass. But in doing so, the holstered gun in his waistband became visible.

''It is a little bit cloudy,'' the father said. ''But George believes Trayvon saw the pistol, was going to get it, and said: 'You are going to die tonight.' Shortly after that, George drew the pistol and shot him.''

The police have said that this account, at least in its broadest outlines, is backed up by witnesses, most of whom have not spoken publicly.
Most witnesses “have not spoken up publicly?” That could be a very key fact, but the Times rushes past in its pell-mell pursuit of more novelization. Just consider the journalistic fail contained in that highlighted statement:

Citing police, the Times says the Zimmerman family's account “is backed up by witnesses!” That’s a remarkable statement, but wait a minute: The account is only backed by witnesses “at least in its broadest outlines!”

Having introduced this ball of confusion, the Times make no attempt to define what this qualification means. To wit:

According to police, have witnesses backed the claim that Martin was slamming Zimmerman’s head into the sidewalk? Have witnesses backed the claim that Zimmerman cried for help? Have witnesses backed the claim that Martin threatened Zimmerman’s life? There’s no way to tell from this murky account—but the Times floats that pitifully undefined claim about what witnesses may have said (though not yet in public).

As journalism, that is a fail.

A final question about basic facts: Did Zimmerman suffer real injuries? This question has been widely debated and aggressively spun. Continuing on from that NBA novel, this is the Times’ pathetic attempt to explicate this matter:
BARRY: Mr. Zimmerman, meanwhile, was taken to Sanford police headquarters, where, he told his father, the police took many photographs of his injuries. His father said that he had a broken nose, a swollen and cut lower lip, and two cuts on the back of his head.

In a grainy police video that shows a handcuffed Mr. Zimmerman being led out of a police car and through the police station, he does not appear to be badly injured; nor is there noticeable blood on his clothing. To many who have been following the case, the video presents a crucial rebuttal of Mr. Zimmerman's account.

But Mr. Zimmerman's father said that by that time, his son had been cleaned up at the scene by medics.

''They were not huge gashes,'' the father said. ''When he went to the doctor the next day, he said he could stitch it, but that he would have to re-cut it since it had started to heal. He may not have gone to the hospital earlier than that because he was in police custody for a while, and was very shaken up afterwards.''
We’re sorry, but that is pathetic. The Times is still working from "grainy video." The paper shows no sign of knowing that MSNBC aired video last week which was really quite clear.

In this passage, the Times presents a classic “some say/he said” dichotomy—some say the tape rebuts the injury claims, Zimmerman’s father says different. But despite its use of 5000 words, the Times make no attempt to evaluate these claims. One example: If Zimmerman sustained a broken nose, should there be “noticeable blood on his clothing?” Would there necessarily be any blood at all?

For the past several weeks, an assortment of cable clowns have played doctor, lecturing viewers about this matter. The New York Times made no attempt to evaluate the things they have said. But that’s because, in deference to the law of the guild, the Times failed a basic test:

Critiquing the press corps’ conduct: This case has been a cable sensation. It’s very hard to fact-check this case without referring to the many unfounded and contradictory claims which have been widely advanced.

But people! That would involve discussing the work of the press! And within the guild, such things simply aren't done! It’s amazing that the Times could devote 5000 words to this matter and produce so little light. But in large part, that outcome followed from the Times’ deference to a tenet of Hard Pundit Law:

Thou must not discuss guild members!

Unless it’s novels you really enjoy, the Times did a very poor job with this sprawling report. In part as a result of this failure, Zimmerman’s clothing hadn’t-been-taken again on last night’s Sharpton program. This time, Catherine Crier rattled the tale as her host sat mutely by.

That familiar old dog was barking again. But was it barking a fact?
SHARPTON (4/3/12): Let me start with you, Catherine. What do you think of the handling of the case so far?

CRIER: Well, I think it’s very sad. Because a case—I don’t care who the participants were. A case like this called for appropriate investigation by police officials. You take the shooter’s clothes, you, you know, rope off the area, you do what we`re seeing the FBI doing now. You don’t make that judgment before any investigation has occurred.

And I’m sort of quite surprised, having, you know, started off as a prosecutor and then, of course, on the bench, you don’t do it backwards. And you make an arrest, you take him down or at least you take Zimmerman down and conduct the interrogation, take the clothes, do the forensics. The assumptions made in this case were actually a bit staggering.
Does Crier have the slightest idea what happened in this case? More specifically, does she actually know if they “took the shooter’s clothes?” Just a guess: She doesn’t have the first fucking idea. If the New York Times had addressed this much-discussed point, some basic clarity on this point might have emerged on Monday morning.

Last week, Joy-Ann Reid told Sharpton that the Sanford police did take Zimmerman’s clothing. Sharpton sat mutely by as she did, just as he did last night when Crier told him the opposite. Five weeks after the killing of Martin, this activist turned pseudo-journalist hasn’t even tried to establish the facts about this much-discussed point.

Where does Martin have to go to get some basic respect?

For unknown reasons, Crier was described as a “legal expert” last night. Just a guess: She really performed as a novelist.

Tomorrow: Soledad as a journalist

It’s time for Crier to go: Incredibly, Crier even made it sound, once again, like Zimmerman wasn’t even “taken down” to the station! Are you sure she even knows the basic facts about that?

48 comments:

  1. Yeah, too bad the Times doesn't do the "evaluating" for us. How dare they present the evidence, the claims and the counter-claims, without clearly telling us the verdict, long before charges are even filed.

    They must think people are smart enough to do their own thinking. How silly of them!

    And now, Somerby reaches for the egregious, mendacious Piers Morgan to "prove" how terrible the media has been on this case.

    Bob, can you get any sillier? I keep saying you can't, but you keep proving me wrong. Can't wait until tomorrow.

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    1. I (and everyone else) missed the part where Somerby suggested the NYT should be "clearly telling us the verdict" -- perhaps you could quote that bit for us -- unless it's another of your hallucinations, that is.

      The problem with the NYT reporting, which I think Somerby is doing a pretty good job outlining, is hardly that it leaves people "to do their own thinking."

      No, the problem, as Somerby shows, it that reading the New York Time leaves people to do their own guessing at what the facts actually are.

      Can *you* get any sillier? You're sure to try.

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    2. Did you actually read Somerby's whole piece?

      I find it difficult to believe that a reasonable person who had actually made an effort to evaluate these criticisms would respond this way.

      And are you seriously suggesting that the role of journalists is not to evaluate the objective truth or falsity of claims?

      You can't possibly mean that the Times should be applauded for "Age of the earth: experts disagree" reportage...right?

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    3. Sadly, Stuart, that's precisely what they're suggesting. Appalling as it may sound, the search for objective truth is way down the list for tribe members and true believers.

      What even worse, as Mark Twain is reputed to have said, A lie can travel halfway round the world while the truth is still getting its boots on. Which tends to give advantage to the liars and the gossips.

      sigh.

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    4. You shouldn't be reading this blog. It's clearly above your level of comprehension.

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    5. Yes, I am seriously suggesting that the role of journalists is NOT to evaluate the objective truth. You present the facts, let the truth speak for itself, and don't insult insult the intelligence of your readers by telling them what to believe. That job is reserved for the opinion pages, and clearly labeled opinion.

      You know what? "Evaluating" the evidence and telling people what to believe is EXACTLY what the old Bob Somerby once accused the "media" of doing --- writing from a narrative, and telling people what to believe, i.e., Al Gore is a habitual liar.

      Now we have the new Bob Somerby writing from his own narrative and telling his followers what to believe.

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    6. Evaluating the truthfulness of assertions is part of the news section. You are confusing this with using facts to produce conclusions, which should be in the opinion pages.

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    7. No, "evaluating" the "truthfulness" is exactly what MSNBC hosts are doing, and Somerby is complaining about.

      It's also called, "Deciding on the 'truth' before every fact is known, creating your own narrative, and massaging the facts to fit that narrative."

      It's a pretty dangerous game to play. And in this case, it is no game. A kid is dead.

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    8. Somerby complains about MSNBC for evaluating assertions poorly, not that they do it. It is when they should have know about the veracity of claims, if they were doing their job, that the complaints are raised. It is when something has been shown to be not trusted, but they go with it anyway.

      "Background" pieces are in the news section, correct? These are usually where the most information about a recent issue is reported. Most often, these stories are there to help verify or dispute officials' claims. He said/she said pieces are fine, but if not accompanied by background pieces, where real reporting takes place, they are pretty useless.

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  2. Do the anons that have been presenting this new attack of Bob "the NYT readers know how to get all of the real information on the Googlenet," realize that it lets Fox News off the hook, too? I mean, Fox viewers get the tubes with cats, too, right?

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  3. The facts as we know them:
    1) Martin was walking home from the 7-11.
    2) He was confronted by Zimmerman.
    3) He ended up dead.

    Zimmerman and the local police will lie their asses off to hide their misconduct. Trayvon Martin cannot. He is dead.

    Go get the media for their ineptitude Bob. That's the most important issue here.
    Trayvon is still dead.

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    1. Careful, king. There is now doubt that Trayvon is dead because Piers Morgan said they let Zimmerman go home in the clothes he was wearing.

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    2. It's best to know what words like "confronted" mean and don't mean before using them.

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    3. Some think that the more important the matter, the more important it is to get the details right. To use as an example the highest profile murder case in the last 50 years, the O.J. case. Here was a defendant who was most probably guilty (to put it mildly), but the staggering ineptitude of the prosecution let him walk. I dare say there was less doubt about O.J. than Zimmerman.

      So, king quaker, if you really want to see Zimmerman get his, you should be trying to make sure the i's are dotted and the t's are crossed. Even in the media, because the reality is that the media influences the legal process. If a juror on this case sees an official police photo of injuries on Zimmerman during trial, but had read in the papers or saw on the news that he had no injuries, then that juror would feel like they had been lied to, which would sow doubt. They let people on juries that have seen the media, if they tell the court that they will work with an open mind.

      Trayvon is still dead.

      So the details are important.

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    4. Two out of three ain't bad.
      1) Martin is walking home from the 7-11.
      2) He ends up dead.
      A neighborhood watch person follows him. Calls 911. Is told NOT to follow him. Nonetheless does so.
      Trayvon instigates the confrontation.
      I've got a bridge to sell you. Takes you from Brooklyn to Manhattan, and back!
      Jackass.

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    5. Actually, Zimmerman wasn't quite told not to follow Martin. He wsa told, "You don't have to."

      Also, there's no evidence that Zimmerman continued to follow Martin after that, although it's been widely reported that he did so. In fact, another blog has pointed to evidence from Zimmerman's recorded 911 call indicating that Zimmerman did not follow Martin after he was told, "You don't have to."

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    6. "I dare say there was less doubt about O.J. than Zimmerman."

      Maybe in your mind. But in the OJ case, there was no murder weapon, no fingerprints or witnesses that put OJ at the scene of the crime, nor no blood evidence (after copious amounts of blood was spilled) that linked OJ to the crime, save for a few small spatters found on the inside of his vehicle.

      (To which a friend of mine said, "Just because OJ was guilty as hell doesn't mean the cops didn't try to frame him. And for that, OJ should walk.)

      In this case, we know who the shooter is, we have the murder weapon, we have multiple ear witnesses, we know Zimmerman considered him suspicious and followed him, we know what Trayvon was doing when Zimmerman first spotted him, we know that Trayvon tried to run away, and we know that Zimmerman got out of his truck to chase him, taking his loaded 9mm with him.

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    7. There is no doubt in my mind that OJ killed his ex-wife & her friend. I do not defend him in any shape or form. OJ killed her & her friend.
      Zimmerman killed Martin. Period. Because he was black.
      If it was my child? I hunt him down.

      Speak the truth, speak it ever, cost it what it will. He who does the wrong thing once will do the wrong thing still.

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    8. There's no way Martin could have instigated a physical confrontation, he was outweighed by over a hundred pounds and he had Skittles in his pocket.

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    9. "In fact, another blog has pointed to evidence from Zimmerman's recorded 911 call indicating that Zimmerman did not follow Martin after he was told, "You don't have to."

      Ball nicely hit into the rough again David.

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    10. >>nor no blood evidence (after copious amounts of blood was spilled) that linked OJ to the crime, save for a few small spatters found on the inside of his vehicle.<<

      Are you freaking kidding me? There was enough blood evidence to put Simpson in jail for 10 lifetimes!

      Blood drops were found alongside bloody shoe prints leading away from the bodies of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman; blood was found on a gate at the back of the murder scene condominium; blood from both places contained Simpson's genetic markers. Simpson had a cut on his left middle finger when interviewed by police the day after the killings.

      One dark, cashmere-lined leather glove, size extra large, was found at the murder scene, another behind Simpson's guest house, near where Brian "Kato'' Kaelin heard bumps in the night. Ms. Simpson bought Simpson two pair of such gloves in 1990. DNA tests showed blood on glove found on Simpson's property appeared to contain genetic markers of Simpson and both victims; a long strand of blond hair similar to Ms. Simpson's also was found on that glove.

      Pair of dark, crumpled socks found at the foot of Simpson's bed; DNA tests found the genetic markers of Simpson and his ex-wife.

      Small spot of blood found near driver's outside door handle of Simpson's Ford Bronco; other blood found smeared inside on console, door, steering wheel and carpeting; DNA tests showed some of the blood apparently a mixture with genetic markers of Simpson and the victims.

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  4. 4) The right of self defense exists.

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    1. Yep, the guy being chased down the street by another guy with a loaded gun has the right to beat the hell out of him.

      Even assuming that happened.

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    2. The loaded gun is irrelevant unless brandished. There is no evidence it was. The guy with the gun has a right to use it if the man he previously followed physically attacks him and he reasonably fears death or injury. You want the law to be different, but it isn't.

      Did Trayvon Martin run a fight club?

      http://www.halfsigma.com/2012/04/did-trayvon-martin-run-a-fight-club.html

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    3. I think the loaded gun is pretty relevant to this case, since Trayvon Martin didn't die of natural causes.

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    4. The loaded gun is irrelevant? All it did was kill Trayvon Martin.
      Advise to black people: Get a gun.

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    5. And never leave your gated community home without it.

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    6. "The right of self defense exists."

      Of course it does, I don't think that could possibly be in dispute.

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  5. The media in this case has the attention span of a five year old as the public takes the bait. We should not have to verify what is accurate or slanted. Straight fact is separable from opinion. This story is bad because the media takes memes and runs with them and cannot accept refutations.

    One meme is that the adult 28-year-old shooter followed the 17-year-old victim and shot him down after berating him.

    The other meme is that the seventeen year old attacked the twenty eight year old after he turned his back and the lighter and younger teen was pounding the adult in such a fashion where the adult had to shoot. The authorities determined that the shooting was justified.

    Irrespective of the law, the truth is probably between the two memes. Those who jump to conclusions may look like fools.

    The parents reached out to the media who sensationalized the story.

    However, the Sanford authorities did not realize they had a tiger by the tail as we now have people who sympathize with a person who pursued and shot and unarmed teen who committed no crime.

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    1. It is a crime to assault another person. There is clear evidence that Trayvon Martin assaulted Zimmerman. The evidence is not just the injuries and grass on his jacket but also the eyewitness statements. It is not a crime for the neighborhood watch to follow and report a person who appears to be not a resident of that neighborhood. It is a crime to attack someone for following you, reporting you or talking to you, even if offensive language is used. I do not understand why people keep saying that Trayvon committed no crime. If he had walked away from Zimmerman and kept walking, he would not have been shot -- or had he been, it would have more clearly been the murder people are alleging here, and Zimmerman would have had nothing to base a claim of self defense on. So, I object to the statement that people are sympathizing with "a person who pursued and shot and unarmed teen who committed no crime." That isn't the situation and those who claim it was are ignoring factual evidence.

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    2. So only if he walks away is Trayvon not guilty of any crime?

      How about if he tries to run away from a strange person following him in a truck? You know, like most parents instruct their kids to do?

      And you know, EXACTLY what Zimmerman himself told the 911 dispatcher.

      ZIMMERMAN: (after giving directions to the dispatcher) Shit, he's running.

      DISPATCHER: He's running? Which way is he running?

      ZIMMERMAN: Down toward the other entrance to the neighborhood.

      DISPATCHER: Which entrance is that that he's heading towards?

      ZIMMERMAN: The back entrance. Fucking (unintellgible).

      DISPATCHER: Are you following him?

      ZIMMERMAN: Yeah.

      DISPATCHER: OK, we don't need you to do that.

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    3. I'm glad you posted that exact conversation. It actually helps exonorate Zimmerman. It shows that Martin ran away from Zimmerman. There's no evidence that Zimmerman ran after Martin. Furthermore, it's unlikely that he could have caught him, since Martin was younger, lighter, taller, and, I believe, had played football.

      In fact, another blog pointed out that one can hear Zimmerman's footsteps in that recorded call. They show that, after the dispatcher said, "OK, we don't need you to do that", Zimmerman was notrunning.

      If Zimmerman didn't run after Martin, that leaves the question of how they encountered each other just a minute or two later. This other blog guessed that Martin, rather than keep running away, hid and then attacked Zimmerman. I don't know if that's correct, but it is consistent with the story told by Zimmerman and, supposedly, by some witness(es) and it's consistent with Zimmerman's injuries.

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    4. Yes, the kid went to the store to get candy, was followed by some guy in a truck (who had gone out, armed, with the express purpose of looking for trouble, unlike the kid), ran away from him, but then realized he was squandering his golden opportunity, somehow circled back and was laying in wait for the guy (who wasn't following him, no siree) he had been running from, and ambushed him! Zimmerman exonerated! Supposedly. Happens every day.

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    5. The colloquy between the first two comments makes my point. Zimmerman supporters say he was justified and that he was right in confronting Martin for whatever reason he wanted and Martin had no reason to fear Zimmerman. The pursuer, the armed Zimmerman had the justified fear. The gun did not equalize the fight. While the gun was drawn, Zimmerman was crying for help.

      They cannot accept that if Zimmerman stayed in the vehicle with his gun and waited for the police that Martin would not have been shot. The second comment refutes the first comment in Zimmerman’s own words.

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    6. "There's no evidence that Zimmerman ran after Martin."

      David? There is evidence that Zimmerman got out of his truck. There is evidence that Zimmerman took his gun with him. There is evidence that Zimmerman was following Martin after the kid started running.

      Ignore all that.

      Let's pretend we hear footsteps over the cell phone (but can't hear "coon") and let's pretend those footsteps stop suddenly.

      OF COURSE, that mean's Zimmerman must be telling the truth about everything.

      Too bad about the dead kid. He probably deserved to die.

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    7. "Too bad about the dead kid. He probably deserved to die."

      It is important to dehumanize your enemies.

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    8. Yep. If your goal is to turn Zimmerman into the victim and Martin into the perp, then you got to dehumanize Martin as much as possible lest people begin to think he was totally, innocently walking home from 7-11.

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    9. Or one can easily believe Martin was an ordinary man who started a fight with someone who pissed him off, and the guy he attacked happened to have a gun he was then legally permitted to use in self defense

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    10. Nope. You were dehumanizing the person you were arguing with.

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  6. "There is evidence that Zimmerman was following Martin after the kid started running."

    When Martin started runnning, Zimmerman was talking to the dispatcher, not running after Zimmerman.

    There's no doubt that Zimmerman was following Martin before he started running. But, what evidence indicates that Zimmerman followed Martin after he started running? I know of none.

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    1. Gee, I don't know, Dave.

      "Shit, he's running."

      Followed by:

      "Are you following him?"

      Followed by:

      "Yeah."

      Do you always have this much trouble with plain English, Dave? Or are you going to tell me there is no evidence that the sun rises in the east?

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    2. trollface.jpg

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    3. Yes, Zimmerman HAD been following Martin. But AFTER Z said he was following M, the dispatcher said he didn't need too. The evidence indicates that Z then stopped following M.

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    4. Yeah, what's a dead kid who was being chased with a gunshot wound to the chest compared to all that evidence inside your head that Zimmerman stopped chasing him?

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  7. So according to the timeline, the gunshot is heard on the 911 call at 7:16 and the cops arrive at 7:17, giving Zimmerman two or three minutes at best to concoct a story about the previous five minutes, inflict injuries to his face and the back of his head, position the body in a way that is consistent with a gunshot to Martin's chest as he faced downward pummeling Zimmerman.

    http://www.wtsp.com/news/topstories/article/248600/250/Trayvon-Martin-timeline--

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  8. A commenter on a conservative message board just wrote that Wolf Blitzer, said on CNN that "more scientific audio equipment" showed that Zimmerman said "fucking cold", not "fucking coon." This is noteworthy, because it doesn't follow the usual narrative.

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    1. Yes, you can certainly trust Wolf Blitzer and CNN to cut through the static and seek out the truth. Zimmerman's such an upstanding fellow, how can anybody be sure he didn't say frickin', just in case there were any kiddies in the neighbourhood?

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    2. So how cold was it in Sanford that evening?

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