Fake facts never die: In mid-March 2012, the story of Trayvon Martin’s death went national.
A large array of fake facts were quickly invented and spread. And, as we’ve often told you, false facts never die!
Yesterday, Frank Rich proved this point in his weekly Q-and-A at New York magazine. Even by Rich’s ridiculous standards, this is a towering howler:
QUESTION (7/18/13): George Zimmerman’s acquittal in the killing of Trayvon Martin enraged more than it surprised, prompting a lot of commentary on racial profiling and the elusiveness of equality in America. You tackled these issues last year in an essay on the Tony-winning play Clybourne Park, concluding that, even with major legislative victories for civil rights and a black president in the White House, there was "no solution in sight." How has the Martin verdict affected your thinking on race relations, and how we can improve?Say what? The system “didn’t even investigate the death of [Martin] until weeks after the fact?”
RICH: This entire story is both a tragedy and a travesty. Coming in the immediate aftermath of the Supreme Court’s maiming of the Voting Rights Act, it is another indicator that something is rotten at the heart of American justice. The fault here is not with a jury that may have been behaving rationally within the legal parameters of the case. The fault is with a system that didn’t even investigate the death of an unarmed black teenager or make an arrest until weeks after the fact—and then only after national public and media outcry...
This was an egregious howler on March 26, 2012, when Joan Walsh offered a variant of the claim in a piece at Salon. Sixteen months later, it’s astounding to see Rich say it.
With that howler, Rich becomes the latest pundit to make an apparent admission. He hasn’t paid a bit of attention to this case, although he’s willing to pontificate about what the case shows us.
What could Rich possibly mean by that statement? As everyone but Rich would know, the investigation of Martin’s death began on the night of the shooting, when Zimmerman was taken to the Sanford police station in handcuffs. The recent trial spilled with videotape of Zimmerman’s lengthy reenactment of the evening’s events, which took place the next day. Also, with videotape of the various sit-down interrogations of Zimmerman.
The prosecution submitted those videotapes in their part of the trial. Their decision to do so has been widely discussed. The tapes show the investigation which started the night of the shooting.
Rich says there was no investigation for weeks. Where does that idea come from?
Back in March 2012, a long list of false charges were suddenly being made wherever pseudo-liberalism was sold. This general claim was one of those false charge. Here’s the way Walsh murdered sleep:
WALSH (3/26/12): The fact is, whatever turns out to be true, the president was right: This case looks like too many others where a young black man was gunned down for being a young black man. A 17-year-old was shot to death, and no one was taken to a police station to be questioned about it. It then took police three days to locate the dead boy’s family.It was a twofer! Zimmerman was taken to the police station, in handcuffs, on the night of the shooting. Martin’s family was informed by the Sanford police the morning after his death.
Walsh’s howlers were inexcusable even in March of 2012. But at that time, a string of misstatements were spewing forth from some undisclosed location.
People like Walsh were buying these claims. Rich is still buying today.
Some of the misstatements were truly egregious. It was frequently said and implied that the Sanford police were so racist that they didn’t inform the Martin family for a week. It was also widely said that the Sanford police let Zimmerman keep his gun, and that they didn’t take his clothing for testing.
False, and also false. Other false claims abounded—about Zimmerman’s weight, about his injuries, about the number of times he had called police in the past.
A blizzard of falsehoods covered the land. On MSNBC, these falsehoods were peddled night after night in one of the most egregious performances in cable news history.
False facts never die! Last week, Salon said it again—the Sanford police let Zimmerman keep his gun! Today, Rich claims there was no investigation for weeks after Martin’s death.
Rich has always been like this. No one made dumber misstatements about President Clinton and Candidate Gore. Indeed, Rich was still trashing Gore when his Oscar-winning film came out in 2006.
On the Imus program, he derided An Inconvenient Truth thusly: “It’s like at the high end of those good-for-you movies that you used to have to watch in high school.”
Rich didn’t stop the bullshit concerning Gore until he won the Nobel Prize in 2007. Needless to say, Rich did a 180 at that point. Many, many years too late, the world’s biggest pompadour fawned.
Incredibly, we liberals look to Rich as one of our “intellectual leaders.” The dumbness we display at such moments shows why we’ll never succeed.
Big and Rich and dumb and Gore: In June 2006, we published our award-winning, 6-part series on Rich's ridiculous. long-time treatment of Gore.
For links to all parts of our series, click here.
One year later, Gore went Norwegian. Frankly, Rich started to fawn.