Your “press corps” is almost completely incompetent!

SUNDAY, JULY 14, 2013

Capehart checks the facts: Was last night’s verdict the correct verdict?

We would be inclined to say yes. To gain a conviction on murder or manslaughter, the prosecution had to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that George Zimmerman wasn’t engaged in self-defense when he shot Trayvon Martin.

Given the nature of the incident, given the state of the evidence, that was quite hard to prove.

Like you, we don’t know what actually happened when Zimmerman and Martin encountered each other that night. Many scenarios can be imagined, at least among those who are honest.

But that is precisely the problem. The prosecution had to prove one major scenario. According to the jury, they didn’t do it.

That said, let’s discuss the way the press corps handled this high-profile case. More specifically, let’s discuss one of the facts the press corps helped invent.

Last Sunday, the analysts almost came out of their chairs in surprise. Finally! The Washington Post was finally going to fact-check the Zimmerman trial!

The assignment had gone to Jonathan Capehart. He fact-checked this long-running topic as part of the paper’s weekly “Five Myths” feature.

The feature appears in the paper’s Outlook section each week. Last Sunday, the headline said, “Five myths about the killing of Trayvon Martin.”

Finally! At long last, Capehart was going to debunk “five myths” about this high-profile matter! But alas! The analysts’ faces fell when they reviewed Capehart’s work.

Can we talk? Your upper-end “press corps” is almost completely incompetent. Consider Capehart’s bungled treatment of his very first myth:

“1. On the night of the shooting, the police ordered Zimmerman to stay in his vehicle.”

Was Zimmerman told to stay in his car by the police dispatcher? Actually, no—he was not. To see the New York Times explain the sequence in detail, just review this detailed report from April 2012.

Zimmerman was never told to stay in his car. He was already out of his car, following Martin, when the exchange in question occurred.

Zimmerman was never told to stay in his car. But so what? This is one of the best-known “facts” about the death of Martin. Zimmerman was told to stay in his car! The damning claim is made night after night. All well-trained pundits repeat it.

On cable, this damning claim was repeated all through the three-week trial. It will be repeated, night after night, during the pundit discussions which will occur this week.

The claim has been repeated, day after day, in comment threads at major newspapers. The claim appeared in a news report in the New York Times last week.

(Early editions only! The erroneous claim was dropped from later editions.)

No, Virginia! George Zimmerman was never told to stay in his car! As many publications explained last year, the exchange in question came later, when he was already out of his car.

You may think that distinction is trivial. But if it’s facts we care about, a bogus claim has been repeated again and again.

If the claim in question is false, why have so many people made it? Sadly, this is standard procedure when a witch trial begins:

Partisans start inventing false facts to make the case against the witch stronger. Pundits and journalists stampede to repeat the false facts.

Often, it is “journalists” who invented the false claims in the first place. No one invents fake facts more often than upper-end “journalists” do.

George Zimmerman was never told to stay in his car! Any newspaper worth its salt would have made a point of correcting this bogus claim long ago.

And then, last Sunday, sure enough! Jonathan Capehart identified this as the first of his “five myths!” But Capehart is almost completely incompetent. When he tried to debunk that myth, this is what he wrote:
CAPEHART (7/7/13): 1. On the night of the shooting, the police ordered Zimmerman to stay in his vehicle.

“Are you following him?” the operator for the Sanford police’s non-emergency line asks Zimmerman. “Yeah,” he says. The dispatcher on the phone tells him: “We don’t need you to do that.”

Who the aggressor was that fateful night is the central—and most unanswerable—question of the case. Those who fault Zimmerman have latched on to this back-and-forth with Sean Noffke, the operator, as proof that Zimmerman defied a direct police order.

Not so. Noffke testified on the first day of the jury trial that it is dispatchers’ policy not to give orders to callers. “We’re directly liable if we give a direct order,” he explained. “We always try to give general basic . . . not commands, just suggestions.” So, “We don’t need you to do that” is different than a more direct “Don’t do that.”
Capehart is almost completely incompetent. When he tried to debunk that myth, he only noted that Noffke’s comment to Zimmerman can’t be viewed as an “order.”

He left in place—indeed, reinforced—the notion that Noffke “suggested” that Zimmerman stay in his car.

Capehart has written about this case again and again. To all appearances, he still didn’t know that Noffke’s “suggestion” occurred after Zimmerman left his car. He did correct one misconception. But he left the larger, more dominant misconception in place.

In what other profession are high-ranking players so routinely incompetent? In what other profession are high-ranking players so indolent?

As this discussion boiled in the past month, the New York Times never tried to address that familiar false claim: George Zimmerman was told to stay in his car. When the Washington Post did address it, Capehart, who’s almost completely incompetent, left the perception in place.

Capehart didn’t do much better with several other myths. The second “myth” he debunked was this:

“2. Martin broke Zimmerman’s nose.”

How did Capehart debunk that alleged myth? By reporting that it was only likely that Zimmerman’s nose was broken! Meanwhile, this was Capehart’s third alleged myth:

“3. A widely circulated photograph of Martin wearing a Hollister T-shirt shows him much younger than he was the night he died.”

How did Capehart debunk that myth? He reports that attorney Benjamin Crump told him that the photo was taken in August 2011, when Martin was 16 years old.

This may be true, of course. But Crump has made several inaccurate statements in the course of this episode.

It was Crump who told the world, incorrectly, that Rachel Jeantel was 16—and that she was Martin’s girlfriend. But so what? On the basis of this single partisan source, Capehart was willing to say that he had debunked a third myth.

During Watergate, the Washington Post became famous for demanding two sources. There is no sign that Capehart tried to double-check Crump’s assertion.

Capehart is almost completely incompetent. In fairness, this doesn’t distinguish him from the rest of his guild.

91 comments:

  1. Mat on the FloorJuly 14, 2013 at 3:08 PM

    You're a day late. You said Tuesday that you'd slime Capehart yesterday.

    I bought popcorn and everything.

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    1. Would you like to explain how Capehart has been "slimed"?

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    2. "No." Because he *can't*...

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    1. quaalude for breakfastJuly 15, 2013 at 6:09 PM

      To be continued, and continued, and continued, ....

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  3. Most people who are disappointed in the verdict do not know the facts of the case.

    There's also something about the difference in the reactions of blacks and white liberals.

    Sharpton did black Americans the great favor of feeding them a narrative that leaves them despairing that they "can't go to the store to get skittles without getting shot." Blacks don't seem to be trying hard to find a reason to have negative emotions.

    Blacks, unlike white liberals, feel personal effects of REAL racism every day so they aren't interested in finding more of it or creating fake stories of racism. (Al Sharpton and his ilk notwithstanding. There's money to be made in his race pimping enterprises.)

    White liberals are a different story. They are PISSED and loving every second of their pissed-ness.

    High emotion can be psychologically and physiologically gratifying. It's why soap operas are popular and people will watch them day after day year after year when all that happens are bad, but emotionally stimulating events and conflicts.

    Outrage and anger are constructive things when the facts have been filtered through a intellectual analysis first, and after that analysis, a genuine injustice is perceived based in fact.

    Insane people allow themselves, in fact force themselves, to bypass that intellectual process because they are seeking the pleasurable emotion and don't want anything like facts interfering.

    White liberals are like the rats that return to the lever time after time to dispense cocaine to themselves. The rush feels good. White liberals ENJOY racism. They enjoy the rush of emotion they get from outrage.

    They don't WANT to know the truth of the Zimmerman case because a simplistic narrative with white bad guy and black good guy allows them to get their pleasurable rush of emotions again and again. They don't want to give it up.

    They are insane.

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    1. In contrast we have White Conservatives, who have widely diverse opinions, always seek the truth and never let their ideological aims get in the way of the facts.

      / s n a r k

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    2. White conservatives enjoy terrorism the same way white liberals enjoy racism.

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    3. Because 9/11.

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  4. Jesse Jackson just said on TV that since there were no blacks or males on the jury it "wasn't a jury of Trayvon's peers."

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    1. "Jesse Jackson just said on TV that since there were no blacks or males on the jury it "wasn't a jury of Trayvon's peers.""

      LOL!!! What a dope.

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    2. Actually one of the jurors has been described as black and hispanic

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    3. and Jesse is looking to see who he should submit his invoice to for that consult.

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  5. If you want to understand why the jury ruled how they did, might I suggest you first be sure to read the instructions they were given by the judge. Available in pdf format easily found on the innerwebs.

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  6. Accept Zimmerman's whole story then reverse the races
    and tell me how this all turns out.

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    1. I should turn out the same way, but I don't know that it would.

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    2. Black neighborhood watchman who took a sliding door lock to his home invaded neighbor, who called cops on white hoodie wearing male and was on the phone with dispatcher for a few minutes, then moments later shoots a white kid who had FOUR MINUTES TO GET 60 YARDS, then goes to the station with fresh wounds and a story that matches witnesses?

      He would be let go like Zimmerman was, and NEVER CHARGED like Zimmerman shouldn't have been.

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    3. *and screams for 45 seconds with eyewitness verifying positions of the white attacker on top and black man on bottom

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    4. Remember, Mr. Zimmerman is NOT white.

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    5. He is "hispanic white" according to newly minted NBC and New York Times verbiage, and Obama is "black white"

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  7. Meanwhile, back on Planet Earth....

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  8. The jury verdict seems completely reasonable, completely fair. The objection to the jury verdict I have read often seems just nuts, so much so that I am beyond understanding it.

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  9. What happened is a tragedy, and I can understand the sadness over the tragedy, we are a statistically violent people when it comes to gun violence, but I do not understand the racism cries that are being raised.

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    1. Don't you get it? Blacks can't send their sons to the store anymore without risking that they're going to get shot "for no reason."

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    2. I find African-Americans shopping in stores I shop at all the time, and there is no problem at all. These cliche responses are ridiculous.

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  10. Mr. S is very confident in identifying "liberal" coverage and "tribal" response. He has a rather small rolodex of what constitutes "liberal," in my view. Most of the liberal and truly left sites and publications I read, like the liberals and leftists whom I know in my personal life (including a lawyer daughter), have all along had a much more nuanced and complex response to this whole case than anything Mr. S credits, which is why I haven't been much interested in Mr. S's posts on it.

    See, for instance:
    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/2013/07/how_much_is_about_florida_law.php?ref=fpblg

    In this post, Josh Marshal quotes from an email he received:

    "I’m a criminal defense lawyer in Wisconsin, but I’ll tell you my reaction to the Zimmerman verdict today. I’ve had friends in Florida asking for my take. I haven’t watched the trial very closely (it seems like an ordinary criminal case to me in many respects). But I was astounded that the defense would put on a “self-defense” argument without the defendant testifying. In most civilized jurisdictions, the burden is on the defense to prove, at least more likely than not, that the law breaking was done for reasons of self-defense. I couldn’t figure out how they could do this without the defendant’s testimony. I got curious and read the jury instructions Friday night and, I was wrong. In Florida, if self-defense is even suggested, it’s the states obligation to prove it’s absence beyond a reasonable doubt(!). That’s crazy. But ‘not guilty’ was certainly a reasonable result in this case. As I told in friend in Tampa today though, if you’re ever in a heated argument with anyone, and you’re pretty sure there aren’t any witnesses, it’s always best to kill the other person. They can’t testify, you don’t have to testify, no one else has any idea what happened; how can the state ever prove beyond a doubt is wasn’t self-defense? Holy crap! What kind of system is that?"

    I think I recall Mr. S citing someone who observes that press coverage of high profile criminal cases is and always has been terrible. (There's a reason we try cases in courts, not in the press.) In terms of journalists' coverage, left or right or whatever, I wish Mr. S had focused less on the usual crappiness of press coverage of the details in a criminal case on more on the many larger issues this case raises and that the press COULD and SHOULD have covered. (For instance, Florida's peculiar -- in terms of the long history of Common Law -- way of framing self-defense.)

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    1. If you are interested in a lawyer's take on the case, in particular a respected and experience criminal defense attorney, you should read Jeralyn Merritt's blog TalkLeft, which has covered the Zimmerman trial extensively. She has reviewed nearly all of the evidence, arguments, legal motions, etc. associated with the trial. I have read her site for many years, and while I do not always agree with her views (particularly on gun control), she has been one of the few rational commentators on this trial. http://www.talkleft.com/tag/George%20Zimmerman

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    2. Josh Marchall is a Democratic elite propagandist, nothing more. I never would trust an "Hello" from Marshall.

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    3. Anonymous, you are an ignorant ass.

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    4. "and you’re pretty sure there aren’t any witnesses"

      HILARIOUS!

      This case sure is a good match for that description, huh, mch? Like having a screaming match in a public area, with the police already on the way. I'm SURE Zimmerman was thinking "yeah, prolly not gonna be any witnesses to our 'heated argument' so I should just kill this guy'"

      You are certifiable, bub.

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    5. Josh Marshall is massively irresponsible, as is mch, for repeating that misanthropic "opinion." If you can get away with it, you should kill someone?

      Step away from the keyboard.

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  11. Oh no. Looks like the race hustlers can't claim racism.

    http://www.tampabay.com/news/courts/criminal/race-plays-complex-role-in-floridas-stand-your-ground-law/1233152

    Did the teenager's race have anything to do with the initial decision not to charge Zimmerman?

    If Zimmerman had been black, would authorities in Sanford have been so quick to accept his claim of self-defense? Are black defendants less likely to walk free than people of other races in "stand your ground" cases?

    The Times analysis found no obvious bias in how black defendants have been treated:

    • Whites who invoked the law were charged at the same rate as blacks.

    • Whites who went to trial were convicted at the same rate as blacks.

    • In mixed-race cases involving fatalities, the outcomes were similar. Four of the five blacks who killed a white went free; five of the six whites who killed a black went free.

    • Overall, black defendants went free 66 percent of the time in fatal cases compared to 61 percent for white defendants — a difference explained, in part, by the fact blacks were more likely to kill another black.

    "Let's be clear,'' said Alfreda Coward, a black Fort Lauderdale lawyer whose clients are mostly black men. "This law was not designed for the protection of young black males, but it's benefiting them in certain cases.''

    The Times analysis does not prove that race caused the disparity between cases with black and white victims. Other factors may be at play.

    The analysis, for example, found that black victims were more likely to be carrying a weapon when they were killed. They also were more likely than whites to be committing a crime, such as burglary, at the time.

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    1. Devastating to the narrative.

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  12. It is NOT necessary (as Bob claims) to prove ("beyond a reasonable doubt") Z did not act in self-defense under Florida law. There are conditions to self-defense. The prosecution need only show that Z provoked the fight...not even that hard to do since Z admitted grabbing for his gun (triggering TM's hitting Z), and admitted that he refused to identify himself or state his purposes to TM [requirements in FL even for police officers if opportunity exist (remember, "Why are you following me?") before they shoot someone and claim self-defense). The "right" is with the one provoked, and Z has no right to defend himself with his gun when he has acted improperly.

    The big fog in the case is in the heads of those like Bob with a superficial knowledge or trust those like Merritt who present only adversarial positions in the case.

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    1. Anonymous on 7/14/13 @ 6:53P,

      It is the prosecution's burden to prove every element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt, and 2nd degree murder and manslaughter are unlawful homicides. So the prosecution must prove BARD that the homicide wasn't lawful, i.e., that there was no legal justification for it. And justification includes self-defense.

      If a defendant asserts an affirmative defense of justification, then the burden shifts to him to prove (by a preponderance of the evidence) that he acted in self-defense. If the jury buys the defense, then it acquits. If it doesn't, the prosecution must still prove BARD that it wasn't.

      If one is under attack, there are no conditions to self-defense. There is a condition in Florida to the use of deadly force in self-defense, and that as you pointed out, is that the killer not have provoked the fight or been the aggressor. In that case, self-defense is still permitted, but deadly force is out unless and until the provoker flees or surrenders in good faith but finds himself still under attack.

      Z has admitted in interviews that he grabbed for his cell phone before the fight started and that the fight involved what he thought was a struggle for the gun. I don't know where you get the idea that a private citizen is under some obligation to identify or explain himself to another person in a public place, but that's not true.

      Note that M could well have been in reasonable fear for his life. Perhaps he thought that Z was going for a gun even if Z was going for a cell phone. In that case, he could legally have punched Z first. You can be reasonably afraid and mistaken at the same time. M's reasonable fear wouldn't have precluded Z's. It is for the trier of fact to determine which one was reasonable. Or both. Or neither. But Z killed the only rebuttal witness to his story. That left the state without much of a case and the jury without much of a choice.

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    2. No, he could not have punched Z first legally just because Z reached for something. Because then he would have to prove he was reasonably afraid and explain why he didn't go home in the 4 minutes he had to do so.

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    3. Anonymous on 7/14/13 @ 10:42P,

      I'm not saying that M could have legally punched Z first just because Z reached for something. The legality of his attack would depend on his being reasonably fearful, a fact that the trier of fact would determine. It's possible to be reasonably fearful and mistaken about the danger. In that case, no one has to wait to be attacked. M would have had no obligation to explain why he didn't go home. He was in a public place, the same as Z.

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    4. He would have to explain the logic of walking up to someone you feared enough to punch when they "reached for something". At that point he would have to say the prior events made him fearful, and then he would be expected to explain why he didn't go home in the 4 minutes if those events concerned him enough to produce fear.

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    5. Anonymous on 7/15/13 @ 12:01A,

      Assuming he raised the issue of self-defense, he would have had to explain why he was reasonably afraid for his safety. We don't know what transpired between the two. Did they exchange words? Did one of them pursue the other or did they bump into each other in the dark? I have no idea whether the circumstances warranted a reasonable fear on either man's part. That said, stand-your-ground could apply to both. That means that M had no legal duty to retreat home, so no, he wouldn't have to explain why he didn't.

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  13. Z didn't admit grabbing for his gun except in your fantasy. In others' fantasies he was already brandishing the gun. You folks need to get on the same page.

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    1. "You folks need to get on the same page."

      This comment, like many on Mr. S's Zimmerman/Martin posts, exemplifies the way his undiscriminating habit of analyzing liberal journalism in terms of "tribalism" does nothing but promote "tribalism." So, commenters you (Anonymous) perceive as liberal are not agreeing with one another, are not "on the same page." Proof of their "liberal" bias, I guess.

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    2. Alert to Anon 7:00: IQ over 60 required for the following: Specifically, Z admitted "grabbing for his pants pocket" to Hannity, but then claimed it was for his cell phone, which he also admitted was not in his pants but in his jacket...And in same interview, Z also admitted that he believed the police (whom he was claiming to want to call on the cell he claimed to grab for) were already at or near the scene...also stating that his "yelling" did not show pain but was to alert the on-scene police to his exact location.

      So Z admitted grabbing for something that wasn't there, which he had just put somewhere else (Jacket pocket), to make a call he knew he did not need to make, immediately after refusing to identify himself or state a purposes to the person he had stalked. But feel free to remain stupidly ignorant of why TM felt he needed to protect himself.

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    3. If he needed to protect himself he would have made it home in 11 seconds instead of hiding in wait to attack his victim

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    4. (Hiding for 4 minutes)

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    5. So you are saying GZ was screaming for the police to find out his location yet you don't believe he wanted to call them on his phone to give his location?

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    6. Anon 8:32...You failed to note that an IQ of over 60 was required to understand that when you can call someone over from 100 yards or so that you do not call a dispatcher to call a policeman who is miles away and to tell him you're in a complex on the grass somewhere you have already been unable to describe.

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    7. The dispatcher is in touch with the officers who were already on their way and minutes away.

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  14. There was a trial and a not guilty verdict. Now, go about changing laws in Florida but this trial has to be judged fair as far as I can tell.

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  15. I think the problem has to do with gun law in Florida, but I have to believe that the lawyers on both sides did the best they could and the jury did what they thought best and we need to accept the verdict.

    Commentary I have read today from well-known writers, too often seems simply hysterical.

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  16. While making valid points about the extreme shoddiness of the left bias in the reporting on the case, Somerby has rather sadly set up shop among the reverse racism fetishistits of the right. Weather he was taking a "suggestion" about following Martin or not, does Bob really believe Zimmerman was acting in accordance with his training on the Neighborhood Watch? And why don't we have at least one clear, straightforward account of the confrontation between the two? Did the cops get one in their interviews? It was certainly an unusual confrontation, with Zimmerman allowing himself to be beaten and bloody before, finally drawing his gun. But, that might suggest Zimmerman did something if not illegal than wrong; and Bob's only real interest is in defending the honor of the Confederacy.

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    1. "Allowing himself?" Greg, you're speculating to assume that the fight itself was not over Zimmerman trying to get his gun out, or to assume that TM wasn't grasping Z's arm/hand/wrist going for the gun, even as TM fought for his life with his other fist.

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    2. Trayvon had 4 minutes to get home. Why would he be close enough to fight over the gun

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    3. Anon 10:37...Yes, TM could have been somewhere else, and maybe someday someone will shoot you and people will justify your shooting by saying you should have been home. That's a pleasant thought.

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    4. If I'm shot after choosing to beat someone's ass instead of going home it will be justified.

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    5. Well, the only reason I'm assuming is because Bob's sacred martyr has failed to explain how he killed the young man with any clarity. I may be bound not to send him to jail for it, but it is fair to assume the truth being known would not be in his best interest. Unless I'm smacking my lips over a dead black teen, like David in Ca and company, who see Zimmerman more as a hero than martyr.

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    6. No one's calling Z a hero in this case Greg, it's only your pathetic grasping at strawman arguments that leads you to say something so stupid.

      Par for your course.

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  17. ...completing Bob's post. Capehart's other two "myths" were:

    4. Martin’s death led to a reexamination of “stand your ground” laws.

    Capehart actually doesn't address whether STG was reexamined, but whether it was rolled back. Furthermore, he missed a good chance to remind his readers that Z's defense wasn't based on SYG.

    5. On the night of the attack, Zimmerman made racial slurs that proved his prejudice toward Martin.

    Capehart accurately points out that Z didn't use a racial slur, but M did (according to Rachel Jeantel's testimony.)

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  18. If Martin uttered a racial slur just prior to the physical assault, then might it be considered a hate crime? It could very well explain Martin's motivation for the attack.

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  19. Even the conservative Wall St. Journal op-ed page gets it wrong:

    Mr. Zimmerman made many mistakes that February evening, not least failing to heed police advice not to pursue Martin.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324348504578605731733310240.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_LEADTop

    Readers here know that there's no evidence that Z pursued M after being told he didn't need to do that.

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    1. "Readers here know that there's no evidence that Z pursued M after being told he didn't need to do that."

      Actually most of them don't know, or won't admit they know that.

      A great many prefer to claim they know Z "stalked" M.

      They also don't know, or won't admit, that *prior* to the "we don't need you do to that" conversation, the dispatcher gave instructions which would quite reasonably be interpreted as requesting that Zimmerman *should* follow Martin...

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    2. The Guardian weighs in:

      "Who screamed. Who was stronger. Who called whom what and when and why are all details to warm the heart of a cable news producer with 24 hours to fill. Strip them all away and the truth remains that Martin's heart would still be beating if Zimmerman had not CHASED HIM DOWN AND SHOT HIM."

      With the requisite picture of a 12 year old Trayvon.

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jul/14/open-season-black-boys-verdict

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    3. From Bob's post above:

      ***Noffke testified on the first day of the jury trial that it is dispatchers’ policy not to give orders to callers. “We’re directly liable if we give a direct order,” he explained. “We always try to give general basic . . . not commands, just suggestions.”**

      So no, no reasonable interpretation can be claimed that he was telling Zimmerman to follow Martin.

      And DinC, there was plenty of evidence during the trial that Z continued to follow after being told "we don't need you to do that". After all, that was explicity argued in closing argument to the jury by the prosecution and we didn't hear any objections from defense. You can only argue a point if there has been a foundation laid and evidence presented during the trial.

      What we know from reading this blog is that the dispatcher never told Zimmerman to stay in his car. That is the particular nit that Bob is picking.

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    4. mm,

      Second degree murder in Florida requires an unlawful killing with negligence so gross that it requires a depraved mind. Manslaughter requires culpable negligence. The prosecution has to show that the defendant violated a duty, was in the wrong to a greater or lesser extent, depending on the charge.

      It's not illegal to follow someone in a public place, and nobody has a legal duty to take the suggestions of a police dispatcher. That doesn't mean that Z didn't act negligently when he shot M. We just don't have reliable evidence about what happened in the last moments of M's life. Thus the prosecution is left with the argument that if Z had done something different, something more reasonable in hindsight, then M would be alive. That won't support the prosecution's burden of proof.

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  20. I usually credit Mr. Somerby with intending to hold what he identifies as "liberal" media to account, and I am usually willing to trust that Mr. Somerby is ultimately concerned with the effectiveness of liberal arguments (as a species of just plain good argument). I often find his wayward tacks insightful, or at least thought-provoking, which is why I visit the site and sometimes comment. But many of the comments here and on other Z/M posts should alert Mr. S to some dangers of his wayward tacks, and of his larger approach, wherein he focuses on what he identifies as "liberal" journalistic media but rarely comments on conservative or libertarian media. Maybe he should consider that it's not enough to assume that his audience shares his disdain for Fox et al.

    There is a larger audience out there -- students you hadn't anticipated. Once you're aware of them, as a teacher you need to take into account how they are responding to your lectures (or your jokes), what you can take for granted with these students and what you cannot. You have to step back and take a look at the larger picture and reframe your presentation to make sure that all (or at least most) of your students will understand (they need not share) the premises from which you're starting.

    Or maybe Mr. Somerby is happy that so many masculinist libertarians and conservatives find his rather flabby Z/M posts invigorating. And perhaps I should reconsider Mr. Somerby.

    In short: as a woman I am increasingly finding this site a smotheringly masculinist cesspool. Mr. Somerby needs either to cancel the comments (comments a recent innovation for him) or somehow address the comments his posts have provoked. (Otherwise, what kind of a teacher is he? And I don't want to hear about how he taught black children in Baltimore 30 years ago or whatever. I won't even mention how it might be nice to to hear about how Trayvon Martin might have been one of his students. Now, that would be interesting.)

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    1. Trayvon Martin got kicked out of school for fighting. Doubt he was any teacher's pet.

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    2. You are a poster child for my criticisms of Mr. S's posts here!

      Even if what you say is true about TM (and I have no reason to think so -- schools are constrained by law from releasing much info), so what? Or do you think Mr S's posts about Baltimore schools are all about teachers' pets?!?

      Mr. S., observe what you have encouraged!

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    3. There have been plenty of "masculinist" criticisms here that *favored* Martin and criticised Somerby, mch -- you just choose to ignore that.

      Calling Zimmerman a wuss, etc. was quite common, just to give one example.

      But please, please, please don't let me stop you, mch: take your lack of balls and go home!

      Delete
    4. If the comments bother you mch, don't click on them. Then, it's just like the good old days when this blog was comment-free.

      Delete
    5. Anonymous, in reply to "take your lack of balls and go home!"

      Nice.

      Proud of the kind of supporters your Z/M posts have attracted, Mr. S?

      Delete
    6. mch, your weird way of thinking that makes you believe you have to ignore facts and picture Trayvon Martin as one of Bob's angelic students instead of a person who loved violence and caused his own death by attacking another person.

      It makes you feel good about yourself now, but that thinking will come to a stop when you or someone in your family finds yourself in the same position as the young lady who testified about being terrorized by a home invasion by teenagers who "might have been Bob's students." At that point you will see things as a sane person does, and as George Zimmerman did the night he called 311 to report a suspiciously behaving Travyon Martin.

      Delete
    7. mch, Far from being attracted by Z/M posts, I've been here FOREVER! I had the balls to tell you that only because your posts demanded such ridicule.

      The implication that there is a certain "kind" of person replying to you is entirely your own confection, a sweet you seem to enjoy far more than the bitter taste of rationality. So Suck on it!!

      Delete
    8. Oh, there you go! Suck on it! How clever and eloquent!

      Savor this, Mr. S. Your loyal follower, here since "FOREVER!" asks me to suck his cock. (He must be a lovely partner in bed.)

      Proud of yourself, Mr. S.? (You know who I am, how old I am. You feel proud that your posts attract supporters like this?)

      I'm a little too old to be lectured at by some Anonymous or other about what makes me feel good about myself or whatever. What a sorry place these comments have become. Mr. S, please, either cut off comments or rethink your rhetorical approach on this Z/M thing.

      Delete
    9. Now there's a "cock" here! And mch brought it in.

      What you were invited to suck on, poor reader, was your own candy, no "cock." Your response shows, not only what we didn't care to know -- that you're likely no prize in the sack (sucking a cock, how awful!) -- but that you do indeed choose your own mental confections over the bitter truth of rationality:

      This case is primarily to do with race only in your own pathetic excuse for a mind, not in the real world.

      Thinking folk (and jurors!) are rejecting that.

      Calling them names ("lazy," "loyal follower," "racist," "masculinist") is, what-did-they-say-a-hot-internet-age-ago?, weak sauce girlfriend.

      It's YOUR contributions here that have been the most reprehensible, none other. You pretend to be offended by lectures? Quit pretending to give them!

      Old, but never grown, you still need many many lessons.

      But first open your ears and mind, you condescending self-important twit -- you are as anonymous as any other dog on these internets.

      Delete
    10. This is hideous. Cut it out, "gentlemen".

      You don't have to be vulgar and abusive.

      Delete
    11. That was no gentleman, that was mch!

      Delete
  21. Another angelic Florida teen who liked guns

    "15-year-old charged in 2nd Osceola killing
    Second murder case this week against Poinciana teen

    KISSIMMEE — Konrad Schafer was charged with first-degree murder Thursday, the second time this week he was accused in a fatal shooting in Osceola County.

    The 15-year-old defendant's new charge involves last month's shooting death of David Guerrero, 17, who was gunned down for "fun" as he waited to catch a bus to work, according to police.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Relevance?

      Oh, I see. You're for stricter federal gun-control laws! I agree!

      Delete
  22. I wrote a letter to the editor of the New York Times regarding an editorial today, as follows:

    It’s misleading to describe Trayvon Martin merely as an unarmed boy walking home from the convenience store.
    Based on the verdict, the jury evidently concluded that it was at least reasonably probable that Martin made an unprovoked attack on George Zimmerman and was walloping him. If Martin had not attacked Zimmerman, he would be alive today.


    IMHO there would be less rioting if this POV were more widely promulgated.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. But he WAS an unarmed boy walking home from a convenience store. So your letter will be trash-canned. All other events were precipitated by Zimmerman.

      Did you notice by chance that Zimmerman failed to tell dispatchers Martin's principal activity, that of being constantly engaged in talking on a cell phone?

      Delete
    2. If Martin were walking home, he would have arrived home much sooner than the 45 minutes he was gone. At the point where Martin was shot, he walked toward Zimmerman's location and away from his home in order to talk to him. Thus Zimmerman did not attack a boy walking home. Further, Martin was not just walking at the point when Zimmerman followed him -- he was engaging in suspicious behavior that included going off the sidewalk and onto people's property and looking in windows. That precipitated Zimmerman's interest, which was legitimate because he was part of the Neighborhood Watch, which was in turn legitimate because of the high number of burglaries in the neighborhood (the Watch itself is another form of self-defense). The cell phone call (4 minutes) was initiated after Martin had already attracted Zimmerman's interest by behaving suspiciously or being on drugs (as Zimmerman described it). By Jeantel's testimony Martin tells her that some "creepy-assed Cracker" has been following him. The suspicion that Martin was "on drugs or something" is justified by the presence of drugs in Martin's system and was substantiated by the tox screen (which was not introduced into evidence at the trial). If talking on a cell phone were all it took for Zimmerman to place a call to a dispatcher, there would have been a history of such groundless calls previously but there is none. There is a history of Zimmerman making and participating in watch activities leading to legitimate arrests and conviction of actual burglars, based on spotting people who fit witness descriptions (not groundless suspicious of innocent teens walkinjg while black or talking on cell phones). This context precipitated Zimmerman's interest in Martin, coupled with Martin's behavior as he loitered and engaged in activities consistent with what burglars do when casing houses (going up on porches and lawns and looking in windows of homes). The problem TDH addresses is why the public doesn't hear about these facts and only hears the narrative that a black teen was shot for no reason simply walking down the street.

      Characterizing Martin as just an innocent teen walking home from a convenience store omits a great deal of information needed to see Zimmerman's actions in a context that leads to much different conclusions than that he was a wannabe cop with a gun out cruising for someone with dark skin to shoot.

      Delete
  23. I love the cherry picking in these pieces.

    It was WIDELY reported that Zimmerman's nose was broken. That "fact" came from his lawyer.

    Why pick apart mostly those claims made that are favorable to Martin? Because you began this with the premise that Zimmerman was treated unfairly by media? Did you hear any of the media tour the family members went on yesterday? Zimmerman's brother introduced a whole new, elaborate motive! Martin is now a drug dealer and a gun runner. This kid gets worse every day, according to George Zimmerman and his family. I can't imagine what they'll claim next.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Statements made by family members, on either side, have never been the focus of "these pieces," as you would like to pretend.

      Bullshit spread by "journalists" -- that's what's contemptible and fully merits the calling out that Somerby has done.

      Delete
    2. I guess I disagree. An interview with Zimmerman family members where there's absolutely no response or push-back to anything they dream up is damaging to both Martin and "the truth". Do journalists have any responsibility there?
      There's this inability to admit reality here. Martin is at a disadvantage because he can't speak. It was always true. It's still true. Zimmerman's version of events ALWAYS had a better chance, because there IS no Martin version.

      Delete
    3. The defense was more than willing to oblige you in providing information about who Trayvon Martin was. The prosecution fought to keep you from knowing.

      Delete
    4. There are not just two sides here, Zimmerman's account and Martin's account (missing because he is dead). There are also witnesses and there is physical evidence. That third source of information can be used to shed light on Zimmerman's account and Martin's (told to us via the phone conversation reported after the fact by Jeantel). Pretending that Martin's story is missing ignores all the rest of this information. Characterizing Zimmerman as nothing but a liar also ignores that much of his statement is supported by other sources of information while the claims of Martin's family (presumably speaking for him because cannot) are not. So, I disagree -- there IS a Martin version and it is not supported by the story told by the prosecution, by his parents, and by his lawyers (who do have financial interests arising from possible civil lawsuits arising from this case). The greater the public outcry, the more likely they will profit from either a settlement or a decision in such a civil case. There are motives here besides justice.

      Delete
  24. That's why the whole "benefit of the doubt" frame doesn't work for me either. Of course it applies in a legal sense. The state had to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Zimmerman was NOT relying on self defense. I can accept that verdict and NOT (actually) extend Zimmerman the "benefit of the doubt" because Zimmerman is self-interested and I heard nothing from Martin. I can do that. It's rational. You may not like it, but it's just as valid as "he's a good man, a neighborhood watch person, so therefore reliable". I don't agree.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You don't have to extend Zimmerman the benefit of the doubt. Go to TalkLeft and follow the links and look at the evidence presented at trial for yourself. Compare the evidence against Zimmerman's story and behavior and then compare it against the story told by the prosecution. Zimmerman is self-interested to the extent he doesn't want to go to jail for a crime he didn't commit. Martin's attorneys are self-interested because they will be filing civil cases with monetary damages that will make them wealthy. You have heard plenty that is untrue from them because they have been feeding the media's misstatements by saying things to the media that are untrue. It is not valid to believe statements that have been contradicted by evidence simply because they are made on behalf of the family of a dead teen. It is also not valid to disbelieve statements of Zimmerman corroborated by witnesses and evidence, simply because Martin is dead. "Benefit of the doubt" does not apply to things about which there is little doubt. Persisting in belief in false statements is on you if you do nothing about informing yourself. Committing an injustice to the defendant because it is too much work to investigate lies told by attorneys is morally wrong, especially when you choose to write a public post about your opinion that may influence the beliefs of others. We are each responsible for how we let attempts to manipulate public opinion affect our beliefs.

      Delete
    2. Well thought out and well said. It's got little place here.

      Delete
    3. "Well thought out and well said. It's got little place here."

      True.

      Delete
  25. The combined legal acumen of the blogger and most of the commenters to this post could easily reside on the head of a pin.

    ReplyDelete