Note: We’re changing the headline!

THURSDAY, JULY 25, 2013

On our current series: We’re changing the headline on our current set of reports.

When we started, we had expected to stress the way the press corps took dictation from attorney Benjamin Crump in the early reporting of the killing of Trayvon Martin.

The press corps did take dictation from Crump, a point which can be seen in our reports, including today’s and tomorrow’s. But as this series proceeded, we realized the bad judgment of the New York Times in the early reporting was a much more compelling story.

That first news report by the Times was astounding. Unless you follow the Times public editor, in which case the famous newspaper did its typical outstanding work!

The early reporting was truly egregious. We’re changing our headline to THE STORY BEGINS. We haven’t changed the reports.

As this local story went national, the reporting was stunningly bad. The press has always behaved this way, of course, although such misconduct had traditionally been aimed at despised folk who were black.

41 comments:

  1. I hadn't realized just how bad the Times' reporting was. Bob makes it clear that they pretty much took direction from Crump and Jackson. This great newspaper ought to have been correcting other people's errors. Instead they were in the forefront of promulgating errors.

    Bob has already alluded to the Duke lacrosse false rape accusation case. Here again, the Times' reporting was dreadful, and it contributed to a lynch mob attitude toward whites.

    The Times prides itself on its staff of professional reporters, editors and fact-checkers. Why don't they do their job when reporting on divisive racial issues? Does Pinch Sulzberger issue an order that statements by blacks must always be taken as gospel? Are they petrified that correcting a black speaker might result in their being called racists? Was their supposed accuracy always a myth? Did Pinch somehow destroy the paper's traditional accuracy?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Quaker in a BasementJuly 25, 2013 at 2:20 PM

      and it contributed to a lynch mob attitude toward whites.

      The "blacks are the real racists" card, Dave? I had come to think you were better than that.

      Delete
    2. DinC,
      "...contributed to a lynch mob attitude toward whites."
      How many whites have been strung up in a party/picnic atmosphere? Castrated while still alive?. At random?
      When? Where?
      In these United States whites are the new blacks.
      White people have been enslaved two hundred years, subjugated and belittled for a hundred more years.
      Don't let history or reality mess with your imagination. Or your incendiary comments.

      Delete
    3. Lynching was an American institution that crossed racial and regional lines. Only six states of the lower 48 recorded no lynchings. There is no doubt that in the south, particularly during what I call the Golden Age of Lynching (ca 1870 to ca 1940), the practice was in place to terrorize black citizens into accepting a social order obsessed with the color line. I don't want to lose track of that fact, which makes the trope of a Zimmerman "lynching" particularly odious.

      That said, the Tuskegee Institute kept a history of lynchings from1882 to 1968. About 73% of the victims were black, a number that struck me as low when I first read it. Even if we restrict the data to the states that made up the CSA, the percentage goes to 86%.

      I want to reemphasize the disproportionate effect on black citizens. The CSA states held about three-quarters of the lynchings in the country, and most of the time held the majority of the black population, 90% in 1910 before the Great Migration. But lynching victims were never exclusively black, and lynching was almost never random. There was almost always a reason, an accusation of contravening society's rules. But only in about a tenth of the cases were the accusations things we wouldn't consider criminal, like attempting to register to vote or having a dispute with a white person. This is not to say that lynch mobs got the people they ostensibly targeted. Perhaps a third of the time the victims hadn't even done what they were accused of. But lynchings weren't random spasms of violence, rather they were a deliberate tactic in social control.

      Delete
  2. Zimmerman's demonization is so complete that this family is afraid to publicly say something nice about him.

    Family Rescued by George Zimmerman Cancels Appearance Fearing 'Blow Back'

    "The family called because they wanted to address the media. I knew that if we did it in an organized way, it would help them get back to a normal life. But they called today and said they were more worried about blow back from saying anything that would be favorable to George, and decided they did not want to do any media," O'Mara said.

    The lawyer said that when he spoke to the Gerstles "their voices were trembling" and that they feared saying anything positive about Zimmerman "would be toxic."


    Congratulation, New York Times! This is what your lies have helped create!


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hmmm...

      "...[the NY Times] pretty much took direction from Crump and Jackson..."

      "'...they called today and said they were more worried,' O'Mara said"

      "The lawyer said that when he spoke to..."

      Congratulations for direction-taking from lawyers is due to everyone, it seems.

      Delete
    2. Yes because a family of private citizens who just experienced a crisis is the exact same thing as The New York Times. Bravo Stuart.

      Delete
    3. We can try calling s.z. on his shit, Marcus, but unless you're *really* as new here as you've said, you'll know that it's been tried before.

      And it didn't make a dent.

      Your efforts aren't unappreciated though! -- They're just unlikely to yield results.

      Delete
    4. Umm I'v been reading TDH since 2002...I wouldn't call that new.

      Delete
    5. stuart -- O'Mara knows how the Gerstles feel, because they told him. Crump and Jackson didn't know what happened between Z and M, because their clients weren't there. Crump and Jackson were making it up. Furthermore, Crump and Jackson's narrative was contradicted by other reports and evidence. There's no reason to doubt the Gerstles' reason for cancelling the press conference.

      Delete
    6. "The family called because they wanted to address the media. I knew that if we did it in an organized way, it would help them get back to a normal life. "But they called today and said they were more worried about blow back from saying anything that would be favorable to George, and decided they did not want to do any media," O'Mara said.
      The lawyer said that when he spoke to the Gerstles "their voices were trembling" and that they feared saying anything positive about Zimmerman "would be toxic."

      What utter nonsense. This person can apparently say any ridiculous thing and you will swallow it whole.

      He knew if they "did it" in an organized way it would help them get back to a "normal life"? What absolute self-serving malarkey. What about their life wasn't "normal"? Does the lawyer think they're celebrities now, too?
      Why didn't they simply THANK MR. ZIMMERMAN PERSONALLY instead of playing along with this lawyer's penchant for self-promotion and drama?

      Delete
  3. Incidentally, as I recall the Times originally said Zimmerman was white. Then, rather then simply admit their error and admit that he's Hispanic, they made up a brand-new, undefined term "white Hispanic" to describe him.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Zimmerman is Hispanic in the same sense that Obama is "White". Their mothers' ethnicity, you'll note. Z's father was "White" you see, and Obama's Black. And the claim that among Hispanics of "white" as something new is a Breitbart/Limbaugh fabrication....Many forms have self classification of "race" or ethnicity as "Hispanic" with a subdivision of "white"...And are you ignorant that true Hispanics are all Caucasian by descent?

      Delete
    2. As far as I know, the Times never used the term "White Hispanic" before Zimmerman.

      If both parents are to be represented in someone's ethnic description, then Obama should be called a White Black (or a Black White). But, we don't classify people that way -- except for George Zimmerman. Try and find a newspaper calling someone a white Hispanic before Zimmerman.

      Hispanics are not all Caucasian by descent. I was in Peru a few months ago. All Peruvians are "Hispanic", even those of Quechuan descent, because they come from a Spanish-speaking country. Note that Zimmerman is culturally Hispanic, having been raised in a Spanish-speaking home.

      BTW Zimmerman's great-grandfather was black. That's enough black background that he could call himself "Black" if he wanted to for the purposes of affirmative action. Having a black ancestor makes the term "white Hispanic" even less appropriate.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous, you are an idiot. Obama isn't considered black because his father is black, he's considered black because when anyone is half white half black, or 3/4 white 1/4 black, society considers them black. You know this of course, and are just being wankingly obtuse.

      Delete
    4. Correction to my comment above. Ethnicity is pretty much self-defined. A Quechuan immigrant could classify himself as "Hispanic", but he might well classify himself as "Native American."

      Delete
    5. Hey David, my guess is that in the Official Census of the USofA you are counted as a Non-Hispanic White. You see, that is because, while most Hispanics are calssified as White, many are Black, and others are Asian.

      Mr. Zimmerman, should he so choose when interviewed by the next Census worker he comes across, could call himself Hispanic,
      White, and Black. I understand their is a Black grandaddy on mama's side.

      I don't care what Z calls himself racially. He got out of his truck, followed a kid doing nothing wrong, doesn't account for his wheareabouts for a couple of minutes, and shot the kid dead.

      Nothing in the press coverage changes those facts.

      Delete
    6. If you leave out facts you can prove anything. Try this condensed version:

      Martin called Zimmerman a "creepy ass cracker", attacked him, told him: "You're gonna die tonight", reached for the gun, but wound up getting shot during the struggle.

      This condensation even omits the fact that Z shot M. By leaving stuff out, it presents a pretty black case against Martin, doesn't it?

      Delete
    7. DinC, there is one small problem with comparing your statment to mine. We indeed both leave out facts. What I provide, however, in my version, is based entirely on indisputable fact. You, however, sandwich two facts around alleged events never proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

      The meat of events in your sandwich were, in fact, witnessed by no one. They were instead asserted only by a man who otherwise faced life in the slammer. Because he killed somebody with his hidden handgun. That he has a constitutional right to bear in order to preserve freedom.

      You have long ceased wanting to prove Zimmerman not guilty. You have to, for some reason, prove Martin guilty in almost all your comments. That's creepy. Many will think you're crackers.

      rick

      Delete
    8. rick, if you're going to disbelieve everything Z said, then you ought to disbelieve Z's claim that he shot M. Why is it indisputable that Z shot M? You only have Z's word for it. Nobody witnessed the shooting. People have been known to confess to acts they didn't actually commit.

      Of course, you will say that the physical evidence supports Z's testimony in this respect, and I agree. However, the physical evidence also supports many of Z's other statements. In particular the location of the confrontation ad the timing of the phone calls support Z's contention that M returned and attacked him. Z's injuries support Z's claim that M sucker punched him and banged his head on the sidewalk. These injuries also support Z's contention that he was the one who screamed for help.

      Delete
    9. Actually DinC, there is no physical evidence or witness evidence to support any of Z's
      statements used in your condensed rebuttal comment I critiqued. Only testimony from the guy who said he couldn't remember the name of one of three streets in his neighborhood when looking for an excuse to be prowling about after a self imagined "suspect" on foot. This, of course, is the same the guy who could remember shortly after his beating the name of the Security Company and individual contact for the security cameras in his neighborhood when asked by police.

      If I were you I would not attempt to engage me in a rehash of the trial and/or the evidence. If you do I will bring up the 911 ear and partial eyewitness who heard the kind of argument and saw a chase before what you and others keep calling the "vicious attack" by Martin. But what is the point of doing so?

      Nobody saw the beginning of the physical altercation. And because Zimmerman clearly got the worst of it, based on the evidence, during that altercation, there was sufficient doubt for half the jury to immediately vote to acquit and all to eventually conclude under Florida law
      he was not guilty of the crimes with which he was charged.

      George Zimmerman killed someone. He committed homicide. He claimed he was justified in doing so. The family of the victim was sufficiently upset that they felt
      the killer should be charged and tried for murder. They enlisted support to make that happen. There was certainly evidence to support a rational contention by prosecutors that his actions constituted, at a minimum, manslaughter. Half the jury intially agreed. Half did not. Eventually all decided they did not. That is what trials are for.

      Now, after the trial, Somerby wants to try the press, because that is the singular focus of his blog. But many of his readers seem to want to keep trying a case against the dead victim of the homicide, or drag their animus to the President, liberals, or minority rights activists into the conversation. In so doing they exhibit exactly the same behavior they purport to decry.

      I like much of Somerby's work. But I find he, like all of us, can get so high on his horse from time to time that he fails to see when he hypocritically engages in the same type of acts he is criticizing.

      rick

      Delete
    10. And one more point David. You wrote
      "if you're going to disbelieve everything Z said." I don't disbelieve everything Z said.

      Much of what he said can be verified by tapes or witnesses. Much can be construed to support a position that the death of Trayvon Martin was the result of his actions and could have been avoided had he acted like the respopnsible adult private citizen he purports to be. I also know he made statments which, based on one partial ear and eye witness, create enough doubt to conclude he may have been in real fear of his life and acted in a legally justified manner in the moment he chose to shoot Martin. Finally, I know virtually all of the statements he made for which there is no corroboration at all totally exhonerate him not just from criminality, but from any doubt in his own mind that he was doing anything wrong that night. That final point is crucial, because it is what he needs to think in order to sleep at night knowing his actions led to the death of another.

      rick

      Delete
  4. You know, I recall Walter Cronkite reporting a story 50+ years ago in which an heroic East Berliner fleeing the commies was shot running for the Berlin Wall. It was all very sad.

    Interestingly, though, the next night Walter, by the standards of that day, had to report that the guy was actually fleeing from West Berlin into East Berlin after committing a crime, and was actually shot by West Berlin guards.

    So, the news has always had some facts pressed into molds of expectations with occasional mishaps.

    But feel free to honor the heroic King George who took out the fiend with his onerous tattoos of the names of his mother and grandmothers.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Why does a 17 year old boy have his mother and grandmothers names tattooed on him? Was that the only way his mom would let him get a tattoo?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mom tattoos are an age old cliche for prisoners.

      Delete
  6. The facts in this case are pretty clear from Rachel Jeantel's testimony, and her later appearances on TV talk shows. She and Trayvon profiled Zimmerman as 'a pervert', possibly a homosexual racist.

    Trayvon ran to near the back of 'his daddy's fiance's' townhouse where he could have simply gone inside and watched the NBA All Star game, or called the police to complain that he'd been followed by someone he was suspicious of.

    Instead, he ran the 60 or so yards back to where Zimmerman was either standing or walking on the sidewalk near Ms. Lauer and Mr. Good's homes, and assaulted him. Unfortunately for Trayvon, Zimmerman was armed, and when he managed to get the gun out of its holster, he shot in self-defense.

    The only mystery being WHY Trayvon decided to return to (what became) the scene of the crime. But, Jeantel provided the answer to Piers Morgan; he was 'creep out' by the assumed homosexual rapist--just as 'any boy or man, who isn't that kind of way' would be.

    Jeantel left out a lot of the 3-1/2 minute conversation she had with Trayvon before he punched Zimmerman, but it's hard not to conclude that her guilt (that caused here to not attend Trayvon's funeral) didn't come from what she encouraged Trayvon to do that night.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In the first paragraph above, it should be 'homosexual rapist'.

      Delete
    2. Especially because she said she didn't worry about not hearing from him because she thought he "just" got in a fight

      Delete
    3. Since Mr. Sullivan believes Rachel, we can conclude Mr. Zimmerman may have come up upon Mr. Martin outside his Daddy's fiance's, wherupon the "Why are you following me question occurred."

      Now, like Sullivan I can fatacize. Trayvon ran again with George in pusuit, as reported in a witness statment. Trayvon turned at the T. saw and opening, and duked him down.

      It was indeed George calling for help. When none came he plugged the punk asshole.

      Delete
    4. There's no evidence that Zimmerman followed Trayvon to his father's home. Quite the opposite, Rachel Jeantel makes no mention of it--and wouldn't she have overheard the conversations between Z and Trayvon if that is how it went down?

      And, we have Z's conversation with the dispatcher for about 2 minutes after Trayvon ran, where he says, 'I don't know where the kid is.' So, nice try.

      Delete
    5. Zimmerman was at the T where he walked, talked on the phone with police dispatcher and perhaps lingered less than 30 seconds until Martin violently attacked him after killing 4 minutes talking on the phone, reaching his father's place, whatever else he did, actions demonstrating to any rational person he was not "scared."

      Delete
    6. George "oh crap I don't want to give you my address I don't know where this kid is" Zimmerman ran in pursuit of Martin?

      Delete
    7. Poor Mr. Sullivan. He forgets the over two minutes after Zimmerman ends his call to police before any 911 calls about the altercation. Based on Zimmerman's lawyers
      analysis, that is time for both to run twice around a standard track in opposite directions, meet, and start to fight.

      Neither did what good sense indicates they should have done. George didn't go back to trolling the aisles of Target with a hollow point in chamber. Trayvon didn't go home to watch the NBA and mix his poor man's X.

      Delete
  7. "O'Mara urged reporters to give the Gerstle family privacy."

    Hah! After calling and then canceling a press conference, the lawyer appears and urges reporters to "give the family privacy"

    This guy is an absolute publicity pro, I'll give him that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He's just taking cues from Crump and Corey playbook.

      Delete
  8. Via Instapundit, here's an analysis similar to Bob's taking The New Republic to task for their uncorrected misreporting re Zimmerman. Too bad this essay only appeared in an obscure publication called The Faculty Lounge.

    There's no reason why big media like the New York Times and PBS and CBS News can't do the same investigation as Bob Somerby and The Faculty Lounge. IMHO their failure to present this sort of analysis is a way to maintain a major module of mainstream media malfeasance.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Why didn't Media Matters do this? Aren't they supposed to be our liberal media watchdog?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good question

      Delete
    2. From what I've read, Media Matters exists to critique conservative media, especially Fox News. In this one case, the conservative media was a more accurate than the liberal media and the mainstream media.

      Delete