Diogenes seeks a cable analyst!

THURSDAY, JUNE 27, 2013

While watching the Zimmerman trial: We’ve watched large chunks of the Zimmerman trial in the past two days. On the whole, the cable punditry has been strikingly bad.

The challenges of the prosecution’s “star witness” have played a large role in this matter. This morning, we just had to put down our bagel and laugh when we read the passage which follows in the New York Times.

All in all, Lizette Alvarez has been sensible and fair. In this case, she simply gave up:
ALVAREZ (6/27/13): [Jeantel’s] account on Wednesday of that final call captivated the courtroom.

“He say, ‘Why are you following me for?’ ” Ms. Jeantel recounted, quoting Mr. Martin. “I heard him, a hard-breathing man, saying, ‘What you doing around here?’ ”

Then she said she heard a bump—the headset—and “the sound of wet grass.” “I calling, ‘Trayvon, Trayvon,’ ” Ms. Jeantel said. “I kind of heard Trayvon saying, ‘Get off, get off.’ Suddenly the phone hung up, shut off.”
It’s true! The witness in question did say that she heard “the sound of wet grass.” But do you have any idea what that means?

Alvarez just typed it up!

We’ve heard the sound of one hand clapping, but we’ve never heard the sound of wet grass. This witness produced a towering challenge.

None of the cable analysts, not one, seemed willing to speak to this matter. As a standard fallback position, they praised her for being “authentic.”

It was 1999 once again.

62 comments:

  1. She was described as authentic, real, a high-school student (she's 19) a kid, and a child. Everything except the only thing we learned she clearly was, a disaster and a nightmare for the state.

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    1. Well we did learn something else. She was forced to admit she lied under oath in her deposition, so she's a "liar" and "perjurer."

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    2. What did she lie about in her deposition?

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    3. ^^Judging from her demeanor in court, my guess would be "everything"

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  2. The cable analysts tried their hardest to tell us she was cute and funny and delightful. For they were practicing their unique liberal brand of racism.

    If that witness were a 19-year-old white girl, she would not be getting a pass for her belligerent, appallingly rude, obnoxious, angry and surly attitude on the stand.

    But with their favorable descriptions, racist liberal cable analysts demonstrated their view that such low forms of behavior are to be expected from "her kind" and therefore excused or praised for their entertainment value.

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    1. Give me a break with this nonsense.

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  3. What was Alvarez supposed to do? I gather that she's a reporter, not an attorney, so she did not have the right to cross-examine Jeantel. And I for one am not interested in hearing or reading anyone speculate about what it might mean.

    However, if cable news wanted to do something that might actually be informative as well as fill up airtime, they could have done some experiments, miking people actually falling down on wet grass - then we would all know.

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  4. Interesting to compare different spins. ABC News headline was

    George Zimmerman Witness Can't Say Who Threw First Punch

    See http://abcnews.go.com/US/george-zimmerman-witness-read-letter-wrote-shooting/story?id=19504826#.UczOYL7n9AE

    When the prosecution's star witness can't say whether Zimmerman attacked Martin or vice versa, the case appears weak. ABC's headline made the weakness clear. The New York Times headline hid the apparent prosecution weakness.

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    1. But we do know who fired the first shot.
      BTW, she was not at the site of the confrontation so she would be lying if she claimed to know who threw the first punch.

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    2. The great thing about America is you're allowed to fire the first shot if you reasonably fear you may be physically harmed or killed. "Self-defense" they call it.

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    3. As I understand the law, the prosecution must prove that it was not self-defense beyond a reasonable doubt. At this point, I don't see how the prosecution will be able to refute the self-defense claim, at even a lower standard of certainty.

      Witnesses' perceptions and memories are uncertain. Some witnesses will testify that Zimmerman may have been on top. Other will say that Martin was on top. However, photographic and medical evidence showing the injuries to Zimmerman's head are persuasive evidence of who was bashing whom.

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    4. What are you talking about? I saw numerous news reports showing Zimmerman had no injuries to his face or head.

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    5. Self Defense.
      So George Zimmerman is lucky Trayvon Martin was "armed" only with a snack and a drink?
      I guess Zimmerman followed Martin in order to exercise the right to "stand his ground" if Martin turned around.

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    6. Anon, I presume you're sarcastically alluding to the terrible early media coverage, which did indeed deny Zimmerman's injuries. Eventually the color photos got released. They were dramatic.

      Zimmerman's nose http://www.bagnewsnotes.com/2012/12/latest-zimmerman-black-and-white-in-color/

      Zimmerman's head http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2012/05/18/new-bloody-photos-details-more-of-george-zimmermans-injuries/ (scroll down)

      Zimmerman's head http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2012/05/18/new-bloody-photos-details-more-of-george-zimmermans-injuries/

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    7. Zimmerman was not required to know what Martin was or was not armed with. He was required to reasonably fear injury or death may be inflicted by Martin, whether armed with a gun or only his hands and the concrete sidewalk.

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    8. Anon. @ 9:50PM: Do you believe that Martin "reasonably feared injury or death"? Or is that fear exclusive to Zimmerman?
      Since Martin was black (and wearing a Hoodie!) I'm gonna guess your answers. No and Yes.

      p.s.
      I live in NYC and learned only today that sidewalks are weapons. I also have two hands. I am armed to the teeth.

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    9. You tell me. Did Zimmerman, whose nose was bloodied and broken and whose head was repeatedly smashed against the sidewalk, reasonably fear injury?

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    10. (You may be confused in believing the fear of injury or death had to occur at the time he first spotted Martin in order to justify shooting Martin as Martin attacked and beat him)

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    11. Anon. @ 10:58PM.
      Zimmerman got injured. Martin got killed.
      Roughly equivalent.

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    12. It is legal to kill someone who is injuring you if you reasonably believe you may be gravely injured or killed. Having one's head bashed against a sidewalk clears that hurdle as does a broken nose from punches to the face.

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    13. God only knows what some of you think the standard for self defense should be. Fortunately the law doesn't reflect it.

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    14. Anonymous on 6/27/13 @ 11:09P, Some states look at equivalence. I believe Ohio is one. But Florida is not. In Florida, the outcome is immaterial as long as the killer was not the aggressor, was legally permitted in the place he occupied, and had a reasonable fear of serious injury or death.

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    15. Interesting that you would claim that she was the prosecution's star witness. Who told you that, Professor Otto Yerass?

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  5. Wet grass -- or a body slipping on wet grass -- makes a squeaking or squishing sound. That's how I would interpret it.

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  6. The simple facts appear to be that Martin was profiled, stalked, was scared by, ran from but was ultimately physically accosted by an armed man. Martin was clearly entitled to kill his aggressor.

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    1. A frustrated neighborhood watchman was suspicious of Martin, attempted to locate information to give to a 911 dispatcher he'd called, was jumped, straddled, and beaten, and defended himself. If Martin reasonably felt threatened at the time he attacked Zimmerman, had he lived he might have been acquitted in court or not charged at all.

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    2. The lesson: In Florida, always carry a gun and shoot first.

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    3. And be more circumspect when deciding whether to try out your MMA skills on a short creepy ass cracker with a soft voice.

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  7. Hard to tell the snark from the straight.

    Martin wasn't "profiled." That's an illegal police tactic.
    Martin wasn't "stalked." That requires a pattern of behavior.
    I don't know how you determine that Martin was scared as opposed to say, angry.
    Zimmerman says he didn't "accost" Martin. There are no other witnesses to their confrontation.
    Zimmerman was armed, but we have no way of knowing whether Martin knew that.
    Zimmerman says Martin was the aggressor. There are no other witnesses.

    If they'd both been armed, fired their weapons to effect, and made dying declarations to paramedics about the fear of attack, then Florida law could preclude any suits for wrongful death.

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    1. So because Z is the only witness, we should believe him? If a gun-toter in FL wants to kill someone, can they simply get him out of everyone's sight, provoke him, then shoot him, then say, "Sorry, folks, I'm the only witness, you gotta believe me?" Sometimes the people (jurors) have to interject reason into the laws our corrupt legislators write. The right-wing has no problem with this concept when they talk about "nullification", right?

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    2. Anonymous on 6/28/13 @ 4:08P, To answer your questions in order:

      1. No, jurors don' t have to believe Zimmerman. They are the sole judge of the credibility of testimony. But sworn testimony carries a rebuttable presumption of truth, and the only rebuttal witness is dead.

      2. Yes, in practice, if a gun-toter in FL wants to kill someone and get away with it, he simply gets his victim out of sight and shoots him. It's the immediate consequence of the NRA/ALEC sponsored law to broaden the scope of legal shooting. The Florida chapter of the Coalition Against Handgun Violence found about two dozen of these incidents at the time of the Martin killing. I haven't kept up with the count.

      3. No. Jury nullification means acquittal in cases in which the juries don't actually believe that acquittal comports with the evidence. That the right-wing touts nullification is a reason to abjure the practice, not adopt it.

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  8. When I walk in the grass, all my life, it makes noise. It doesn't take a genius to realize she means the sound of friction between grass and object, such as a person's body. Wet grass (wet ground) can make a can a squeaky noise. I think the jurors will figure out what she means.

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    1. Anonymii at 4:02 am and 8:35pm - congrats on each contributing 50% of the on-topic comments on this thread!

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  9. I fear this is simply a case of a family, understandably bitter and confused, being given a chance of justice; though it is a case they cannot possibly win. I was struck that the Defense lawyer was asking Jeantel to speculate on irrelevant matters and contribute pure conjecture, just like, ah, on a TV show. Anyway, everyday we white male liberals get our heads beaten on the pavement that is Salon. Com.

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  10. Wasn't it Gertrude Stein who first said, "Pigeons on the wet grass, alas"?

    Anyone who's into oldtime radio knows that coconut shells can be made to sound like horses galloping. What else sounds like skin impacting skin or skullbone impacting concrete (sorry about that verb, but I'm in a hurry)? What else can sound like grappling bodies slipping onto wet grass? Any number of things, I'm sure.

    If only for the sake of clarity and exactitude the witness should have made those distinctions in her answers, or she should have been assisted by lawyers in doing so. As it was, Mr. Martin's mumbling fat friend, she with hula hoops depending from her preternatually perceptive ears, was not that kind of witness.

    Comments on at least one typical right wing talk show (they seem to favor Zimmerman) said it was a bad day for the prosecution, one from which they may not recover.

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  11. Zimmerman killed Martin while in the midst of a confrontation he was told not to make. So the only question now Is how much of a penalty he will face.

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    1. Zimmerman was seeking an address to provide to the dispatcher who said they didn't "need" him to follow Martin, to which he responded "OK." In the "midst" of that, he was attacked and brutally beaten and defended himself.

      The hapless, bumbling prosecution tried to show that address numbers were visible from Zimmerman's original location in order to claim he lied about walking down the path to find an address, but their own witness pointed out that the numbers were obstructed depending on where one stood, and pointed out a large tree in the prosecution's photo that would clearly have obstructed the house number in question, even in broad daylight much less darkness. One of many comical moments in this train wreck of a political, racist and corrupt prosecution.

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    2. Yeah, Z was seeking an address because "these f**king punks always get away".

      An address? For what reason? Why are you following this kid with a bullet chambered in your handgun? The kid hadn't done anything.

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    3. He told the dispatcher he would try to provide an address for the police. You know, because people who are hoping to murder someone usually call 911 on themselves and help out police like Zimmerman was doing until he was jumped.

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    4. Nobody said he was hoping or plannning to murder the boy. Zimmerman is obviously too stupid to think that far ahead. It takes someone a little higher on the evolutionary scale to do that.

      The fact is Zimmerman took a series of actions that night that lead directly to the death of a boy who was doing nothing wrong. The fact that he called the police at all. The fact that he's walking around a residential neighborhood with a bullet chambered in his handgun. Whether he was trying to find an address is irrelevant. He obviously scared the hell out of that kid. The kid was doing nothing wrong except in Zimmerman's own fevered twisted mind. What the fuck is wrong with you?

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  12. Quaker in a BasementJune 28, 2013 at 2:52 PM

    The Zimmerman case resembles--in some respects--the case of John White. Yet many who now rally to Zimmerman's cause thought Mr. White deserved to be jailed.

    Interesting, isn't it?

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    1. Not interesting at all if the shooter could not adequately demonstrate he had a reasonable fear of injury or death. If the facts are identical, a different opinion between the cases would be interesting.

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    2. I was really moved when President Obama expressed grief over tragic killing of the teen in the White case. "Daniel Cicciaro could be my son."

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    3. Anonymous Moron 3:11 PM: Daniel Cicciaro was shot in 2006.

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    4. Anon 3:11 PM: Cicciaro was shot in 2006 and so Obama did not make that statement although clearly he would have, had he been in the White House at the time.

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    5. "rally to Zimmerman's cause"

      It's this sort of characterization of those who disagree with you that marks you as a horrible person, QiB.

      It is emphatically NOT the case that I "rally to Zimmerman's cause." I simply do not believe that the law and the facts support the prosecution's case.

      On the other hand, there is TDH. Those who were here when the "incident" occurred remember that The Howler accurately described the ludicrous media rush to tar Zimmerman with invented facts and withheld facts.

      We also remember you, QiB. You were here, too, calling everyone who didn't agree with you a racist, among other ugly behaviours you exhibited.

      You are disgusting.

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    6. Quaker in a BasementJune 28, 2013 at 5:24 PM

      I'd argue, but I don't know who you are or what you're talking about. Feel free to offer up examples of me calling "everyone who didn't agree with [me] a racist."

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    7. Quaker, I appreciate your bringing up the John White case. I hadn't remembered it. Based on that Times article, it does indeed look quite parallel.

      Is it really the case that "many who now rally to Zimmerman's cause thought Mr. White deserved to be jailed." Can you identify some of those "many"? E.g., did conservative opinion leaders like Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity take a stand that Mr. White should be jailed?

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    8. Quaker in a BasementJune 28, 2013 at 10:02 PM

      did conservative opinion leaders like Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity take a stand that Mr. White should be jailed?

      I'm not aware if they did. You would think that they would have raised 2nd Amendment issues in a case like Mr. White's wouldn't you?

      Mr. White's case was a big story in the New York region, but never achieved national exposure like Mr. Zimmerman's case.

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    9. Al Sharpton must not have gotten wind of it or he would argue a racist prosecution.

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    10. Quaker in a BasementJune 28, 2013 at 11:48 PM

      Google. Ever hear of it?

      http://gothamist.com/2008/01/06/sharpton_leads.php

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    11. Ah, so Sharpton did scream "racist prosecution."

      So we have an example of at least one person who reacted differently to the two cases (based on race not facts, as is your implication) but no examples yet of anyone who "rallied to Zimmerman's cause but thought White should be jailed."

      In your words, "interesting."

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    12. Quaker in a BasementJune 29, 2013 at 2:32 PM

      Like I said: Ever hear of Google?

      Start with John Derbyshire and the other clowns who write at Vdare.

      And while we're at it, maybe you have an opinion on the White case.

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  13. Anonymous on 6/28/13 @ 6:11P, I take it that you have some objection to Obama's statement that a son of his would look like Trayvon. It was made in the context of insisting on a careful investigation. Obama said "... I’ve got to be careful about my statements to make sure that we’re not impairing any investigation that’s taking place right now." And your objection to that is what?

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    1. Obama injecting himself into a non-racial case of ordinary self defense he knew nothing about was sickening.

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    2. Anonymous on 06/28/13 @ 10:13P, I suggest that your comment tells us more about you than about Obama. He didn't "inject" himself into a "non-racial case of ordinary self-defense." He was asked by the press about a killing that made national news. It may turn out to be case of self-defense; it may not. That's what juries are for. Obama made no judgments in his comments and called for careful investigation. If you're sick over that, get help.

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  14. I have little idea what happened between Martin and Zimmerman. My sympathies are with Martin, given what I think I know, but that doesn't mean I would necessarily convict Zimmerman were I on this jury. (Who of us knows how we would be looking at the evidence if we were actually on the jury rather than watching selections of courtroom doings or listening to/reading analysis and speculation?)

    All I want to say here is that Rachel Jeantel, whatever the ultimate value of her testimony or its effect on the jurors, deserves better that some of the remarks I have read here and elsewhere. And I think Mr. Somerby might want to comment on the English Ms. Jeantel uses and understands most readily (a perfectly legitimate English, but not a dialect that appears on standardized tests) and the world she comes from (a world where, for instance, calling the police in another city, because you're worried about a friend who is being followed by someone apparently hostile, is simply unimaginable). Not so long ago, Ms. Jeantel was one of the bright-eyed elementary school children Mr. Somerby evokes with affection. I just hope that, when all this is over for her, she can be bright-eyed again.

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  15. "Who of us knows how we would be looking at the evidence if we were actually on the jury rather than watching selections of courtroom doings or listening to/reading analysis and speculation?"

    What all of us do know is that we believe it is our right to shoot someone who is wailing on us and bashing our head into the sidewalk, knowing it is not unlikely that the next blow (or one already delivered) could render us vegetative or kill us. Those who would deny this would be lying.

    The race baiting anti-Zimmerman mob would deny the same remedy to George Zimmerman because basking in their righteous self-esteem-boosting glow is too deeply pleasurable to sacrifice for some fat doof's right to defend himself in the same circumstances. Disgusting.

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  16. Drama Queen on 6/28/13 @ 1:51A, I think it's terrible that the state of Florida is prosecuting George Zimmerman after his recovery from a lengthy coma as a result of the brutal and unprovoked beating he endured at the hands of Trayvon Martin.

    Oh, wait. I meant to say that I think it's terrible that the state of Florida is prosecuting George Zimmerman after his recovery from a broken nose.

    Sorry, but you don' t know what all us do know. You don't even know what happened during the confrontation between Martin and Zimmerman. This isn't to say that we aren't reasonably sure of some things about the incident, including the fact that your level of righteous disgust matches your level of ignorance.

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    1. The fact that you believe or pretend to believe that having one's head bashed against a sidewalk and "blows rained" against one's face doesn't create a reasonable fear of serious injury or death means you are stupid or lying.

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  17. Drama Queen on 6/29/13 @ 11:26A, I don't know what it means that you believe or pretend to believe that you know that Martin bashed Zimmerman' s head against a sidewalk and rained blows against his face. That's because it's impossible to tell from your written comment what's actually in your mind as you wrote it. I therefore don't draw a conclusion. I recommend this kind of agnosticism to you, both with regard to the Zimmerman/Martin case as well as to the mental states of your correspondents.

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