BALCONY FAILURE: O’Brien doesn’t get her wings!


Part 4—At CNN, balconies fail: According to a famous Hollywood script, “Every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings.”

According to our frustrated analysts, “Whenever you read the New York Times, you hear a balcony fail.”

Balcony failure is rare in this country, presumably due to the basic competence of those in the building trades.

But where was the New York Times’ basic competence when the great newspaper first tried to describe the death of Trayvon Martin?

This particular case of balcony failure occurred on Tuesday, March 27. The story of Martin’s killing had gone viral on cable eight days before. Now, the Times was lumbering into action, trying to summarize the basic events of this case for its readers.

One day before, the Orlando Sentinel had posted a detailed report, describing George Zimmerman’s account of what happened that night. Now, the New York Times tried to summarize that report.

With remarkable speed, the New York Times failed. These are paragraphs 3 and 4 of its bungled report, the featured report on the first page of the paper’s National section:
ROBERTSON AND ALVAREZ (3/27/12): In Mr. Zimmerman's account to the police, he returned to his S.U.V. after he was unable to find him. Trayvon then approached Mr. Zimmerman from behind and they exchanged words. Then, Mr. Zimmerman said, Trayvon hit him hard enough that he fell to the ground—which would explain what Mr. Zimmerman's lawyer, Craig Sonner, has said was a broken nose—and began slamming his head into the sidewalk.

The account first appeared in The Orlando Sentinel on Monday and was later confirmed by the Sanford police as ''consistent with the information provided to the state attorney's office by the Police Department.''
No bells rang as we read those grafs—though we did hear a balcony fail.

Sorry, but no—the Orlando Sentinel didn’t report that Zimmerman said he “returned to his S.U.V. after he was unable to find” Martin. According to the Sentinel, Zimmerman told police that he “had turned around and was walking back to his SUV when Trayvon approached him from behind.”

And yes, there is a difference.

The Times tried to paraphrase what the Sentinel wrote—the newspaper tried and it failed. Result? On MSNBC, propagandists used this bungled account to claim that Zimmerman was a liar. Plainly, the fatal encounter between Zimmerman and Martin didn't occur at Zimmerman’s truck. On the One True Corporate Liberal Channel, this meant that Zimmerman had lied to police about that evening’s events!

In paragraph 3, a balcony failed. And uh-oh! As the Times scribes continued to type, a second balcony crashed to the earth:
ROBERTSON AND ALVAREZ (continuing directly): At a news conference on Monday, the Martin family, their lawyer and supporters said the police were attempting to demonize Trayvon by leaking Mr. Zimmerman's account to the media.

The most relevant fact in Trayvon's death, they said, is that Mr. Zimmerman chose to pursue Trayvon, who was unarmed and walking home, despite a police dispatcher's advice to stay in his car.

''They have killed my son,'' Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon's mother, said tearfully at the news conference. ''And now they are trying to kill his reputation.''
The highlighted passage makes it sound like Zimmerman was told to stay in his car, then got out and started pursuing Martin. Plainly, that account is inaccurate.

But so what? Correctly or otherwise, the Times attributed that account of Zimmerman’s actions to the Martin family—then made no attempt to clarify the actual facts as they emerge from the audiotape in which Zimmerman speaks to the dispatcher.

To this day, it's still unclear what Zimmerman did after that exchangewith the dispatcher. But here's an obvious guess: As Times readers scanned this report, many drew a false impression about what occurred.

If contractors conducted their duties this way, every bridge in the country would collapse; every balcony would fail. By paragraph 6 of this major report, the New York Times had failed in its attempt to paraphrase a simple report. It then had failed to challenge or clarify a plainly inaccurate statement. And sure enough:

As the corporate renegades pushed their narratives on The One True Corporate Liberal Channel, these bungles provided more grist for the mill.

At the New York Times, balconies had failed.

If contractors were this incompetent, every edifice in the country would fail. But over at least the past twenty years, the work of the American press corps has virtually been defined by this degree of basic incompetence.

Very few liberals are willing to say so. Frankly, we liberals aren’t very smart—and our career “intellectual leaders” just aren’t very honest.

In part due to the silence from our camp, the American “press corps” has been tragicomically incompetent for a good many years. Routinely, major players show a remarkable lack of basic journalistic chops.

So it was when Soledad O’Brien attempted to discuss Martin’s killing on CNN last Friday night.

O’Brien is everything you want in a TV “journalist”—she’s telegenic and likeable. But good God! Does she have a journalistic lick in her whole repertoire? Last Friday night, her hour-long CNN “Live Event Special” carried this headline: “Beyond Trayvon: Race and Justice in America.”

Balconies came crashing to earth all through this revealing program. To read the full transcript, click here.

Tomorrow, we’ll look at the various points where O’Brien failed to behave like a journalist—where she failed to provide the journalistic services a modern society needs. For today, let’s list a few expectations one might bring to the host of a program like this.

For starters, let’s think about three easy pieces:

The broadcaster shouldn’t make factual claims which are untrue. She shouldn’t make factual claims which remain unproven. And here's a third expectation:

She ought to correct or challenge her guests if they make factual claims which are false or unproven.

Those duties are amazingly basic. For our money, we’d like to see broadcasters perform a fourth function in cases where a great deal of misinformation has been spewed across the land:

We’d like to see broadcasters inform their viewers of that key fact—tell viewers that they have heard many claims which are untrue or unproven. And how about a fifth expectation?

The broadcaster ought to challenge her guests in basic ways if they make highly emotional, sweeping indictments. Who exactly are they accusing? On what basis do they make their indictment? In a highly emotional matter like the killing of Martin, this is a very important service.

It’s a basic journalistic service, the type a large modern nation needs.

In emotional matters like the killing of Martin, a nation needs the basic services of traditional journalists. We need to separate facts from mere claims. We need to know when claims are untrue.

We need to be told how much we don’t know. We need competent journalists to “separate the facts from the hype,” the basic service O’Brien promised as her hour-long program started.

At CNN, quite a few balconies failed this night. But then, what else is new?

Tomorrow: Disaster movie


  1. Though not a real news magazine, People affects mass opinion. People used the two-year old, sweet-looking picture of Martin on its cover and said it was "indisputable" that "Zimmerman fired two bullets from a semiautomatic handgun, one of which fatally struck the teen in the chest."

  2. Old Bob Somerby: "They took a few words Al Gore said about the Internet used them to call him a liar."

    New Bob Somerby: "'He returned to his SUV' discredits the entire NYT story."

    1. Actually they misquoted Gore, then used that misquote to create a dishonest narrative.

  3. "To this day, it's still unclear what Zimmerman did after that exchangewith the dispatcher."

    Oh, I think it's pretty clear that one of the things he did was shoot Trayvon Martin in the chest.

    1. The critics of this blogs primary complaint seems to be that we already know all we need to know, Zimmerman shot Martin, case closed. Further, any mistatement by the media is perfectly acceptable and should not be mentioned, let alone questioned, provided it advances their argument. What if Martin did attack Zimmerman, bouncing his head off the ground, would self defense in this case be justified?

  4. According to the Times, Zimmerman said Martin's attack occured after, "they exchanged words." The Oxford Dictionary says to "exchange words" is to argue. So, the Times implies that, according to Zimmerman, they were arguing before the fight started.

    But, that's not what Zimmerman said. Zimmerman said Martin asked him if he had a problem, Z said "No", and then Martin said, "Well now you do" and attacked him.

    1. "Exchanged words" means "exchanged words," David. Not what you want to stretch it to mean.

    2. no, it's what the Oxford Dictionary (and pretty much every other dictionary of the english language) defines it as meaning:

      "Not what you want to stretch it to mean."

      if you can't get a basic fact right, why should anything else you say have any credibility? and you got this very clearly wrong.

      to "exchange words" has always meant "to argue", otherwise, we'd just say they spoke. and the actual police report doesn't say they argued, because that isn't what mr. zimmerman told them happened.

      buy a dictionary, or use one online, before making a fool of yourself publicly.

    3. Oh. There was no argument before Martin allegedly punched Zimmerman and Zimmerman definitely shot Martin.


      Now go back and make up tommorow's embellishment. Zimmerman's story needs all the "help" it can get.

    4. Yo, Horatio! Your philosophy ain't all that!

  5. "As Times readers scanned this report, many drew a false impression about what occurred."

    "Many", Bob? How many? Areh't you always lambasting the press now for making unsupported statements like that?

    And do you really think "Times readers" are so dumb that they would get a "false impression" whatever that means, from one story in the NYT, as if that were the only newspaper in the world covering this story?

    This is where the new Bob Somerby has truly gone off the rails. You really, down deep in your twisted soul, believe people ARE that stupid and easily misled, even AFTER this story had been covered, cussed and discussed DAYS before this NYT report ever saw the light of day.

    Bob, people are smarter than that. They've been sorting through the wheat and chaff printed in whatever "media" of the times was prevalent, long before your granddaddy was born.

    And that includes the wheat and chaff in your very own blog.

    1. And do you really think "Times readers" are so dumb that they would get a "false impression" whatever that means, from one story in the NYT, as if that were the only newspaper in the world covering this story?

      Anyone who is still watching and defending MSNBC, who also reads the New York Times, is that dumb.

  6. And now, let's parse an hour-long live special for everything Soledad O'Brien said that doesn't meet Bob Somerby's new standards of 100 percent precision and perfection.

    And by all means, let's not even begin to attempt to even discuss the campaign to turn the dead kid into the perpetrator and the gunman into the victim. Wouldn't that also be a key part of the "american discourse" on this issue? And at least as revealing how such "discourse" is conducted these days?

    Of coure not. Nothing to see here. Move along.

    After all, Lawrence O'Donnell, the New York Times and now Soledad O'Brien are behaving badly.

    1. Yes, Mr. Somerby, please follow Anonymous' advice and ignore the failings of the New York Times, MSNBC and CNN. Thanks!


    2. Yes, Mr. Somerby, please follow Swan's advice and fix your gaze obsessively on the failings of the New York Times, MSNBC and CNN, based on combing volumnious reports for anything that doesn't match yours and Swan's ever-changing standards of perfection and precision

      After all, that's the real issue here, and we certainly have nothing else to learn from the Trayvon Martin case.


    3. If only it were true, as you would have it, that the outlets Somerby has been focusing on had merely failed to be "perfect and precise." Then your bullshit, Anonymous, might have some merit.

      But of course, that's not what Somerby has been pointing out, a lack of perfection. Nor has Somerby been demanding his own "ever-changing standard."

      What Somerby has called for is something you haven't named, probably because it should embarrass you to admit that Somerby is correct when he says "those duties are amazingly basic."

      "The broadcaster shouldn’t make factual claims which are untrue... shouldn’t make factual claims which remain unproven and... ought to correct or challenge her guests if they make factual claims which are false or unproven."

      That's Bob Somerby's outrageous standard you oppose, Anonymous.

      That you cavil so when he points out that the "paper of record," CNN and MSNBC not merely fail to achieve that (hardly lofty) goal, but in fact come nowhere close to it discredits you, not Somerby.

      As for your sarcastic "that's the real issue here, and we certainly have nothing else to learn," you certainly have pointed to nothing else we might learn. But beyond that, your sarcasm is unwarranted because Somerby never suggested there are no other lessons. That's your own straw-man hallucination.

      You keep having these fantasies and hoping the rest of us will confuse them with reality, but it isn't happening.

    4. Swan, let me explain how journalism works in the real world. It's an ongoing process. Very, very, very rarely in reporting about a crime, especially a homicide, do you ever have all the facts nailed down 100 percent.

      So you report what you have. And you make mistakes. And you don't phrase things exactly it happens.

      But you report. Under deadline pressure. In an age where there might be 100 bloggers out there putting their own versions out before your paper goes to press or your evening talk show goes on the air.

      That is hardly unique to this case. Or even to this particular age.

      So excuse me if I don't by fully into Bob Somerby's Chicken Little Theory of Modern Journalism and the fate of humankind as a result of mistakes he can find in the reporting of the Trayvon Martin case.

      I am going to keep my eyes on the large issues this question raises, among which, is is possible for a black kid to walk down a street without a white guy thinking he's suspicious? What does that tell us about the state of race relations?

      Is it really a good idea of having so many guns in the hands of so many untrained people around that a black kid can get shot for walking down the street?

      If "Stand Your Ground" means that all a white guy has to do to get away with shooting a black kid for walking down the street is to come up with a story that makes him the victim, is it a good time to rethink those laws?

    5. Have any of these "journalists", sweating and struggling to meet their deadlines, had the balls to take on the the people who push ludicrous laws like "Stand Your Ground"?

      The National Rifle Association. I've seen it mentioned as a contributing factor in the tragedy just once, in passing, by Mark Shields on PBS News Hour.

      Whatever your position on the details of what happened and why, the NRA played a major part in destroying the lives of both Martin and Zimmerman, and countless others.

    6. Oh, good lordy yes! Do a little background research. There were newspapers pushing back hard, while of course, other newspapers supporting them.

      And I agree. Regardless of your on the details of this particular tragedy, and especially regardless Bob Somerby's relentless search for misbehaving journalists, we have now before us a case of real-life consequences of Stand Your Ground.

      We aren't theoretically talking about how this law is needed to protect a homeowner from a burglar in the middle of the night.

      We are talking about a case in which Stand Your Ground has played out tragically in two persons lives, one of them quite dead.

      Even the author of the Florida law has said publicly that this isn't what he had in mind, and maybe his state needs to revisit the statute.

      But ignore all that, because Soledad O'Brien said something that Somerby doesn't like. By all means, focus your attention on the vile Soledad.

    7. Who said to ignore it? The voices in your head? Do you go and post on recipe web sites and berate people because they aren't discussing the health effects of high fructose corn syrup?

    8. When has Somerby, in his obsessive search for anything not said perfectly by MSNBC, the NYT, and now Soledad O'Brien, ever mention that there is a heck of a lot of evidence against Zimmerman, including a dead kid with Zimmerman's bullet in his chest?

      Or does he really think the national outrage over this case was simply another example of millions of stupid people easily misled by the media?

    9. In other words, you don't care about the mistakes in the reporting. Bob Somerby should stress instead that Zimmerman shot Martin.

      For you, press malfeasance is irrelevant because racism exists, even if you can't show it in this case.

      Your anger that Somerby won't present the "heck of a lot of evidence against Zimmerman" is premised on the idea that this blog is currently trying to exonerate him. Again, your hallucinations have taken control of you.

    10. Anon seems to believe that you're either with us or against us. There is nothing orthogonal.

  7. Sorry, but no—the Orlando Sentinel didn’t report that Zimmerman said he “returned to his S.U.V. after he was unable to find” Martin.

    Last night his father told Hannity that after George said "oh shit he ran" he walked down the sidewalk that runs between the two parallel streets, toward the street on the opposite side of the townhomes to get an address after the dispatcher asked him for an address, and he responded "it's a cut through so I don't know the address."

    At this point, if Martin ran between the rows of townhouses he would have gotten a good look at Zimmerman out of his truck, even heard the sound of his non intimidating voice, and decided to confront him.

    Zimmerman sounded cautious and nervous throughout the entire 911 call, including an urgent request to "get an officer over here" and saying he was afraid to give the dispatcher his home address aloud. When Martin encountered him even closer, he was likely very confident he could take this much shorter, nervous boy. In fact he was right until the gun factored in.

    1. Well, if Zimmerman's father said that, it must be true.

      And now new evidence introduced to the grand story: Zimmerman "sounded cautious and nervous."

      Story just keeps getting better and better with every new telling of it.

    2. The verbal content of his call evinced nervousness and caution to people whose brains function.

    3. Maybe to people whose brains function like yours.

      But until you wrote it, nobody, not Joe Oliver, not Zimmerman's lawyer, not Zimmerman's daddy, not Zimmerman's brother ever bothered to mention how apparently nervous and cautious Zimmerman sounded during those 911 calls.

      And even if he was nervous and cautious? Is being a scaredy-cat with a gun now going to be part of his self-defense claim?

    4. "if Martin ran between the rows of townhouses he would have gotten a good look at Zimmerman out of his truck, even heard the sound of his non intimidating voice"

      That's just so fucking ludicrous I assume you must be joking. Or hoping for a cable news show.

    5. Zimmerman was attacked between the townhomes, close to the sidewalk that runs between the street Zimmerman's truck was parked on and the other street Martin ran toward. After leaving his truck he had been on the phone walking down that sidewalk to the other street, and anyone between the townhomes would have seen and heard him.

  8. From last night's Daily Show:

    Larry Wilmore: Everyone feels the need to condemn or defend George Zimmerman. To the right, he's an unfairly victimized Dudley Doright; and to the left, he's Elmer Fudd, hunting down black people. 'Shhh, be vewwy quiet, I'm wacially pwofiling negwoes.' ...Look, somehow the death of a 17 year old kid got turned into a chance to score idealogical points.

    [series of video comments]

    Jon Stewart: So the right has this idea they've got to defend people who are maybe legitimately sick of being called racists, and the left is defending people who are legitimately concerned about racial profiling - but it seems that we can't even begin to talk about this actual case because it just devolves into people leveling or defending themselves against charges of racism.


    Occasionally the Daily Show just states the obvious, and because that has grown increasingly rare in public discourse, stating the obvious feels like they hit one out of the park.

    1. Yes it's vewy twue-Comedy Central is the only network with real journalists on a fake news show

    2. Oh, I also pray for the day when black kids can walk down the street without some white guy with a gun thinking the kid is suspicious.

      But until that day comes, how can we discuss this case without discussing some very serious race issues that we would like once again to sweep under the rug and pretend those issues are all in the past.

    3. I pray for the day when we have discussions of race issues in America that aren't just a response to a highly emotionally charged single case. Do you know that there are more African-Americans in jail right now in this country than there were slaves just before the civil war? Most are incarcerated because of non-violent drug crimes?

      Is it because in this case we have someone to despise? Is it because we want to punish more than we want to love?

      How many of the true anti-racists that care so deeply now were two months ago asking for the repeal of these racist drug laws? This is systematic government oppression in the north, south, east, and west. When this sensational story fades, will the people who wear their anti-racism on their sleeves now, be worried about the young black father who just got ten years for a pot charge?

      I apologize, this post is in the wrong place.

    4. KTW, will you pray for the day when white people will stop thinking they are better than other races, when the statistics say convincingly that wealth is the determining factor, not race.

    5. KTW, praying involves compassion.

    6. The statistics don't say that, actually. The statistics say that even when economic factors are accounted for, blacks still exhibit more criminal behavior. But we don't need statistics. Just examine your apprehension when you step into a black neighborhood. Is it 'racism', or is it survival instinct?

      Hahah, just kidding. White liberals don't visit black neighborhoods. That's why they're liberals and not 'ignorant' racists.

    7. "KTW, praying involves compassion."

      It's misplaced compassion. White-on-black crime is exceedingly rare. Black-on-white crime, less so. There is no epidemic of Bernhard Goetzs chasing and shooting innocent blacks who love hard-shelled candy and iced tea. There is, however, a very big problem with crime in black neighborhoods -- a problem which is spilling out into white neighborhoods, as the recent 'flash mobs' in Chicago proved.

    8. It sure is a lot easier than judging a person by their character.

    9. Unfortunately I didn't have any means of perceiving the character and good deeds of the six foot 4 black male with gang tattoos who decided that 3 AM was a good time to walk down my street and utter drunken obscenities. I decided to call the cops instead. I'm sure he was a great guy though, despite my awful racism.

      What a pitiful outlook -- to walk around life with these Hallmark platitudes permanently etched onto the region of your brain responsible for common sense and intuition. It must be so disorienting to you when reality constantly challenges your facile misconceptions. It's probably not unlike a schizophrenic.

    10. KTW -

      This "liberal white guy" lives in the deep south in the middle of a city and has been in black neighborhoods on a regular basis. Guess what? Most of the kids on the corner don't try to pull my off of my bike as I commute to work. They typically are surprised to see some white dude on their street who doesn't look shit scared by "all the big tattooed black people".

      You realize your suggesting that encountering a predominantly black neighborhood would require you to be racist in response is, itself, racist, right?

      Many of those deviant, incarcerated black people didn't shoot and beat people to get into jail. They got picked up off the street for using/dealing illegal drugs which is something that, statistics say, white people do at similar rates ( White on black violence happens in courtrooms daily, but we all know that doesn't count.

      What a pitiful outlook -- to walk around thinking large groups of people in your community are out to get you. Must be debilitating.

    11. Right. Because I must be a paranoid asshole if I take facts about the criminality of young black guys into account when I choose, say, where to move to or what neighborhoods I walk through. I must be some racist piece of shit if I prefer to live among my own kind because it's statistically safer and implies a higher quality of life. I must think every single black person on earth is out to get me because I don't have my head in my ass and don't think that every black guy is like the token educated nice guy minorities you see on sitcoms and TV dramas.

      It's great that you happen to live in an interracial idyll, but unfortunately yours is a unique case. And it's not a coincidence that most of your fellow white Southerners have some, well, unsavory racial attitudes.

      In fact, there's a good chance that you live in a bad neighborhood and you're just one mugging away from being a conservative. Then again, liberals aren't very amenable to reality and you'll find some way to blame your fellow whites -- for creating food deserts that denied your mugger a chance to get proper diet and nutrition, maybe.

    12. Oh, I'm just amazed that at 3 a.m., KTW could study the tattoos on a drunken black guy walking down the street and determine they were gang tattoos.

      He wouldn't just be making up a story, would he?

    13. KTW-

      I thought of you last night. After our weekly game of pick-up basketball, we went to the pub. There we were, four white guys and four black guys, talking and laughing about the movies we just saw, stories about old girlfriends, crazy people we have to deal with at our jobs, and other really normal stuff. Keep thinking that this is some aberration, but this is the real world. Yes, you cowering in your segregated community is the real world, too, but if you get out a bit more, life will be more rewarding.

    14. How adorable -- your four white friends and your four black friends (equally matched!) play pickup basketball together and have fun times at the pub. Have you thought about perhaps pitching a sitcom based on your unique and heart-warming interracial friendships? You could call it something like (I Have Black) Friends.

    15. "Oh, I'm just amazed that at 3 a.m., KTW could study the tattoos on a drunken black guy walking down the street and determine they were gang tattoos.

      He wouldn't just be making up a story, would he?"

      Sure, I could be making it up. Or maybe I really did see a six foot four black man with THUG LIFE written across his shirtless chest standing underneath my porchlight and screaming to nobody in particular. It's strange how liberals always cast doubt on stories that don't corroborate their infantile view of the world. That's why Zimmerman has struggled to vindicate himself despite being by all accounts fully innocent of the charges being lodged against him. His version of events involved a black man doing something bad, ergo he's lying.

    16. KTW-

      How does calling my actual life adorable make your point? I take you at your word that a big black man scared you once. Yes, there are bad things out there, and good things, too. You have decided that it is smarter to listen to your fear. Good luck with that.

    17. it's like having a guest contributor from the VDare site! it reminds me of an episode of Bill Maher's politically incorrect late in the run. Crystal T'Kmyeah?? mentioned that one of Admiral Peary's team going to the North Pole was black. Another guest, Lainie Kazan, with great sympathy in her eyes and voice said to her "oh no dear.. honey that's just a fantasy someone made that up" and Bill Maher joined her.. "yeah some black historian came up with that". and both of them talked over her until she was silent. about 10 minutes later one of Maher's staff came out with a note confirming the story and mentioning Matthew Henson by name.

      Being online is amazing because the attitudes are completely unvarnished. I once chatted with a white woman who said she walked out of the movie Waiting to Exhale because all of the black women portrayed were too rich... one was even a paramedic and that couldn't be true.

      After reading John Derbyshire's speech at this year's CPAC and listening to his "Derb" podcast a few times in the last few days in addition to the Trayvon story... I guess nothing ought really surprise me anymore about the black thing. that the fact that 40,000,000 people in this country are not gang thugs roaming the streets strikes some people as a politically correct fiction to prevent the Mike Tyson psycho next to you at Starbucks from pounding you or something. And of all things... to cite TV sitcoms like Friends which, due to this very bias, didn't even feature black EXTRAS in any realistic concentration until the last 3 seasons of its existence and introduced a total of one black character in a series set in the New York City of the 1990s?

      He calls your life adorable cuz he has to put up with REAL blacks.. the fat noisy violent kind.. while you get to hang out with your well tamed post ivy league grad friends.. lucky you!!!

  9. Thanks to Sharpton it's looking like Trayvon's legacy will be a dozen black teenagers spending the next decades of their lives in prison for avenging Trayvon by beating innocent old white men.

    1. Thanks to Zimmerman Martin is dead.

    2. Thanks to Zimmerman the metamorphosis of a black man from a child to a full-blown criminal thug was stopped midway. They caught him in the wannabe stage, when the young black male is a neophyte that is just learning how to intimidate others and commit crimes.

      Thank you, Zimmerman.

  10. sorry mr. somerby, but this is pretty much correct:

    "The most relevant fact in Trayvon's death, they said, is that Mr. Zimmerman chose to pursue Trayvon, who was unarmed and walking home, despite a police dispatcher's advice to stay in his car."

    you are quibbling here, and you know it, or should know it. per the 911 tape, the police dispatcher told mr. zimmerman "you don't need to do that." when he told her he was following mr. martin. this is pretty close to "don't do that". so, let's say she advised him not to follow, or strongly suggested he not follow mr. martin. the bottom line here is that, had he followed her advice, and stayed where he was, we probably wouldn't even be having this discussion.

    unfortunately, mr. zimmerman, who comes across as a wannabe cop, didn't follow her sage advice, and we know how that movie ended.

    1. Or was she covering her ass just in case Martin was armed and dangerous, and she sent in a clown - sorry - she sent in a "civilian" who turned out to be incapable of handling the situation?

    2. "unfortunately, mr. zimmerman, who comes across as a wannabe cop, didn't follow her sage advice [to stop following Martin]"

      This supposed fact has been widely reported, but there no evidence that it's the case. According to Zimmerman, after he was given this instruction, he stopped following Martin and walked back toward his vehicle.

    3. Why are you both referring to the dispatcher as a female? It is a male voice.

      Secondly,after the dipatcher stated 'we don't need you to do that", Mr. Zimmerman states, "O.K." After approximately 5-6 seconds, the background wind dies down as does Zimmerman's heavy breathing, so it sounds like Zimmerman follows the advice. Someone can't disregard someone's advice before it is given which is how the Times article reports the facts, and how you present it as well. There is no evidence that,"Mr. Zimmerman chose to pursue Trayvon, who was unarmed and walking home, despite a police dispatcher's advice to stay in his car."

      So, no it is not very much correct.

    4. Right. Zimmerman is just some wannabe cop loser who disregarded the dispatcher's suggestions to go act like Batman. Except that the neighborhood did have a history of criminal activity, that Zimmerman had a regular and respectable day job, that the locals appreciated Zimmerman's efforts, and that there's no evidence that Zimmerman disobeyed the dispatcher or even followed Trayvon immediately prior to the confrontation. In fact there have been several attempts to map the events of that night, and many of them came to the conclusion that Trayvon, after running away from Zimmerman in between the row of homes, doubled back and confronted Zimmerman as he had just finished his phone call. See:

    5. David in Cal: "According to Zimmerman.....". Of course he has no reason to lie.

    6. No evidence except for that troubling time line from the phone records of both the 911 calls and Trayvon's girlfriend, and the time the cops arrived.

      Everything that Zimmerman claims Martin did to him happened in a matter of seconds. Really?

    7. The phone call with the girlfriend ended at 7:16. The first police unit at the scene arrived at 7:17.

      Zimmerman had plenty of time to lay down on the sidewalk to inflict injury to his head, bribe witnesses, and arrange the evidence to support a self defense claim.

  11. I dunno Bob, if you choose to watch a CNN “Live Event Special”, particularly one with a title like “Beyond Trayvon: Race and Justice in America”, shouldn't you expect a crapfest?

    After all, CNN's got to try to keep up somehow.

  12. Advise to black people in states that allow it: Buy a gun.
    Come follow me.

    1. advise to black people in states that allow it.. get the F*** out.. the only thing that buying a gun will accomplish is turning you from a dead unarmed man into a dead ARMED man. the ugly reality that the Zimmerman shooting reveals is that there are people you are allowed to shoot and kill based on your supposition of their intent and the risk they pose.. and people who you'd better not even approach no matter what their intent.

      Imagine how well Trayvon would have fared if HE were standing there having just shot George Zimmerman or in an area of the country even LESS sympathetic to his presence as a black kid in the wrong neighborhood. Thus far the only black commentator who has even posited the reverse situation was Thomas Sowell who claims to have pulled a gun on a white man who was following him too closely in Boston some years ago. For this alone... you have to love the special place that the horsemen of the right wing black apocalypse Sowell, Walter Williams, Alan Keyes, Shelby Steele, Clarence Thomas, and lesser known cranks, hold that he could spin such a tale of fearless armed strict constructionism and how that must have gone over in the minds of the right wing whites who worship him!

  13. Gallup poll shows

    Blacks, Nonblacks Hold Sharply Different Views of Martin Case

    Blacks more likely to believe race is a major factor