Epilogue—And then, the new tape disappears: Normally, we don’t watch Martin Bashir’s daily MSNBC program, which airs at 3 PM Eastern.
If you’ve ever watched Bashir’s show, you probably understand why.
Yesterday, though, by happenstance, we watched the start of this program. As Bashir began the hour, he boasted that he had “an extended and newly released surveillance video” which showed “new angles, never seen before, of George Zimmerman being brought into the Sanford police station.”
Video of Zimmerman’s arrival had surfaced the night before, on Wednesday night. And it’s true—as Bashir’s “extended and newly released” video rolled, it did show “new angles, never seen before,” of Zimmerman’s entry.
Most strikingly, this new video showed close-ups of the back of Zimmerman’s head—footage which hadn’t been shown Wednesday night. Rather clearly, these close-ups seemed to show a fairly substantial goose-egg style lump on the back of Zimmerman’s head, with a fairly clear abrasion at its crown.
You too can watch this “extended and newly released surveillance video,” with its “new angles, never seen before.” To do so, just click here. The new close-ups are shown four times, starting at 2:45.
As you watch these close-up shots, you will hear Bashir and his guest, Joy-Ann Reid, as they keep stating the party line: There is no sign of injury to Zimmerman on these tapes! In fairness to Reid, and this is important: Reid wasn’t present in the studio. We would assume that she wasn’t able to see this new videotape.
Why did Bashir say the things he did? Go ahead! You explain!
Does the evidence on this tape mean that Zimmerman shouldn’t be charged with a crime? Not necessarily, no—it does not. But that involves a legal judgment, and we discuss the journalism here. In the journalistic context, these new angles seem to provide the best video evidence of the state of Zimmerman’s alleged injuries when he arrived at the police station that night.
(For the record, Bashir says that four hours had elapsed since the time of the shooting, the latest apparent mistake.)
Do you want to assess the state of Zimmerman's possible injuries? If so, these close-ups provide the best video evidence—much better evidence than the video which aired the night before. If you want to assess the rather obvious lump on Zimmerman’s head, this seems to be where you should look.
Despite that fact, Bashir kept insisting that there was nothing to look at on the new videotape, thus keeping the company line intact. And how odd:
By last night, the “extended and newly released surveillance video” seemed to have disappeared! This tape’s “new angles, never seen before,” had sunk beneath the waves. We saw those close-ups broadcast nowhere last night, although it’s plain, as you can see, that MSNBC does possess this new tape.
MSNBC had the new tape. Last evening, they chose not to air it. (Update/correction: The close-up was briefly shown on last night's Hardball. See below.)
Why didn’t MSNBC broadcast that tape last night? Based on this horrible channel’s 15-year performance, it’s not likely you’ll ever hear.
In this morning’s New York Times, Paul Krugman discusses the way he felt as he reviewed the Supreme Court’s performance this week. This is what he had to say about the work put on display by “several of the conservative justices,” including Justice Scalia:
KRUGMAN (3/30/12): As I said, we don’t know how this will go. But it’s hard not to feel a sense of foreboding—and to worry that the nation’s already badly damaged faith in the Supreme Court’s ability to stand above politics is about to take another severe hit.“It’s hard not to feel a sense of foreboding,” Krugman says. He seems to refer to the posisble outcome of the current case. But he might also be describing the way legal norms and practices seem to be making way for a reign of pure tribal politics.
We share Krugman’s reaction—although the outcome of this case remains unknown. But in the past two weeks, we have felt that seem sense of foreboding as we’ve watched the astonishing work presented by MSNBC. If anything, we think the breakdown at this cable channel is more clear than that at the Court.
Is the Court making way for rule by the tribe? So are the people who pose as journalists on this horrible channel.
“Who needs journalism,” these droogs seem to say. “We’ll give you a pure tribal story.”
Update/correction: On last night's Hardball, the close-up view was cited at one point by reporter Ron Allen, with the close-up briefly shown. To watch that segment, click here.
Chris Matthews' analysis: "Oh."