CHILDHOOD’S END: The New York Times employs Zimmerman's car!


Part 4—Where ditto-heads get bogus facts: For decades, we liberals got to pretend that we were smarter, more nuanced, less gullible.

We were better than the ditto-heads, those rubes in the other tribe.

That childish dream has come to an end in the course of the past month. Alas! We now have a set of “liberal” news organs which have cast themselves in the traditional Rush Limbaugh mode.

They've churned reams of bogus facts—and our own ditto-heads now rush to repeat them. So it was when Kevin Drum offered this perfectly sensible post about the dueling video close-ups in the matter of George Zimmerman’s alleged injuries.

Drum asked for comment about the images which have appeared on MSNBC. Before too long, several commenters were churning a familiar bogus fact, one of the many we've been fed about this important story:
COMMENTER A (4/11/12): If the police did their job, they would have taken crime scene photos of all the participants. Compression artifact laden, hour later video is crap.

COMMENTER B (4/11/12): Given this police force's history of racism and the obvious incompetence with which they handled the situation, I am not inclined to trust them. I would, however, have trusted any crime scene photographs. That they did not take them leads me to believe that they handled Zimmerman with kid gloves because his dad was a judge.

COMMENTER B: I'm not trusting the video. I'd trust the crime scene photos that the police should have taken. The fact is, this case cannot be prosecuted because the police didn't do their jobs.

COMMENTER C (4/11/12): I have only one question. I have numerous family members in law enforcement, and they raise the question. If Zimmerman sustained injury during this altercation why weren't pictures taken of his injuries when he was taken in? The case is strange to a certain degree. If there are pictures, release them to shut up the public and let justice proceed.

COMMENTER D (4/11/12): Racists trolls in general, please respond. No pictures of injuries when police investigating a fatal shooting. Seems strange, don't you think? I'm waiting with bated breath to hear your twisted justification (I know you'll come up with something) of this detail.
These commenters spread the word about "this detail:" The Sanford police didn’t take any photos! Other commenters seemed to agree, relating this alleged fact to the alleged general failure of the Sanford police to stage a real investigation.

By now, of course, this pleasing claim doesn’t exactly make sense. We liberals also like to note that the lead investigator at the scene of the shooting wanted Zimmerman charged with a crime.

Why would this man stage a fake, phony probe? Inquiring minds may want to know, but tribal minds don't really care. Our various claims no longer make sense. But we repeat them all the same, just as Limbaugh’s much-reviled ditto-heads always have done.

We used to laugh at the ditto-heads. Now, mega-dittos are us!

The Sanford police didn’t take any photos! In fairness, It’s understandable if our "liberal" ditto-heads think this claim has been established; this is one of the thousand bogus facts our liberal "news organs" have blared in our faces. That said, is there any actual reason to believe that no photos were taken? We know of no evidence to that effect—and the New York Times reported this in its long news report on this matter:
BARRY (4/2/12): Less than half an hour after Trayvon Martin died face-down in gated grass, a privileged crowd of 17,000 rose to their feet at the NBA All-Star game in Orlando, 20 miles to the south, to sing the national anthem. Then, while people enjoyed their after-parties, his body, not yet identified, was taken to the medical examiner's office in Volusia County.

Mr. Zimmerman, meanwhile, was taken to Sanford police headquarters, where, he told his father, the police took many photographs of his injuries. His father said that he had a broken nose, a swollen and cut lower lip, and two cuts on the back of his head.
Is that true? Did the Sanford police take many photographs of Zimmerman’s alleged injuries? We don’t know, but we’ll be surprised if it turns out that they didn’t.

Were photos taken of Zimmerman’s head? Like us, those commenters simply don’t know. But we liberals have our own ditto-heads now; as Limbaugh’s acolytes always have done, we simply repeat the claims we hear from our tribe’s “news organs.” Are these liberals aware of all the claims at these news orgs which have turned out to be bogus—fake, false? People! Remember when Salon's Joan Walsh offered this two-fisted groaner?
WALSH (3/27/08): The fact is, whatever turns out to be true, the president was right: This case looks like too many others where a young black man was gunned down for being a young black man. A 17-year-old was shot to death, and no one was taken to a police station to be questioned about it. It then took police three days to locate the dead boy’s family. Now they’re sliming him with anonymous leaks.
As you can see, a twofer lurked in that pitiful paragraph. Zimmerman wasn’t taken to the police station! And this:

It took the Sanford police three days to notify Martin’s parents!

Both claims were false—disgracefully so. (As of March 27, it was already abundantly clear that Zimmerman had been taken in for questioning.) But so what? Fifteen days later, no corrections appear on Walsh’s bungled report.

Sorry, ditto-heads! Life-forms like the imperial Walsh no longer bother with actual facts. False factual claims serve a very good end. They make us ditto-heads mad!

Alas! A childish dream has come to an end—a dream in which we liberals were the smart, honest, nuanced players. Walsh is now the purveyor of bogus facts—the Limbaugh figure in this drama. And the rubes who keep churning claims like hers have been cast in the ditto-head role.

Have we mentioned the fact that it’s understandable, though unfortunate, when ditto-heads churn these bogus claims? Everywhere today’s liberal looks, he is being misinformed and misled on the basic facts of this case.

The modern liberal’s most trusted sources keep making bogus factual claims. Just consider the editorial in today’s New York Times.

In our view, Andrew Rosenthal doesn’t seem to be up to the task of running this editorial page. This morning, an editorial makes a string of false, misleading or unproven claims about the Martin-Zimmerman case. Eventually, we get this classic howler:
NEW YORK TIMES EDITORIAL (4/12/12): Angela Corey, the special prosecutor, declined to discuss details of the case but said that if the Stand Your Ground law is invoked by the defense, “we will fight it” with evidence that the shooting was unjustified. In this case, Mr. Zimmerman exited his car to follow the teenager despite a 911 dispatcher’s warning: “We don’t need you to do that.”
Classic! We would have assumed that every serious observer agreed by now that Zimmerman had already left the car by the time the dispatcher made that statement. Here's why we would have thought that:

When the tape of Zimmerman’s 911 call was released, many pundits noted the fact that you could hear the car door open when Zimmerman left his truck—that you could hear him huffing and puffing as he followed Martin on foot. They noted that these events occurred before the dispatcher’s comment.

Was Zimmerman already out of his car, following on foot, when the dispatcher made that comment? Al Sharpton told the story that way on March 23, just after playing the 911 tape:
SHARPTON (3/23/12): Again, let me play this 911 tape, because there’s nowhere in this 911 tape does Zimmerman even remotely act like he’s being threatened or has to defend himself. In fact, he’s saying the guy is running and he’s running behind him. Listen to this:

(begin audio clip)
ZIMMERMAN: These (bleep)-holes, they always get away.
911 DISPATCHER: Are you following him?
911 DISPATCHER: OK. We don’t need you to do that.
(end audio clip)

SHARPTON: So he’s following him, you can hear him huffing, “Yeah.” He’s told, “We don’t need you to do that,” he says, “OK”...
According to Sharpton’s narration, Zimmerman was already out of his truck and huffing a bit when he responds to the dispatcher's comment. Rather plainly, the Grio’s Joy-Ann Reid presented the sequence the same way earlier on that same program. (To watch this whole segment, click here.)

Many observers told the story this way when the 911 tape was released. But for those who want to heighten the fury of us rubes, the story works better if Zimmerman is still in his truck when the dispatcher makes his remark. And so the story has often been told that way, in the best tradition of fact-pimps like Limbaugh and Hannity.

Was Zimmerman still in his truck at the time of that comment? We know of no evidence that this is true. Quite plainly, the 911 tape seems to suggest that this version of the story is wrong on the facts, and Zimmerman's reps have always told the story a different way. In their account, he was following on foot when the comment was made, and he then turned back.

The Zimmerman story may not be true, of course—but we know of no evidence that he was still in his truck when the dispatcher made his comment. But so what? There it is again this morning, presented as an established fact—in an editorial in the New York Times, our greatest American newspaper!

Can you really blame us liberal rubes for repeating false or unfounded claims? Can you really blame us liberal rubes when the lords conduct business this way?

They let Zimmerman walk away with his gun! The Sanford police didn’t take any photos! He wasn’t taken down to the station! And oh yes:

“Mr. Zimmerman exited his car to follow the teenager despite a 911 dispatcher’s warning.”

Can you blame the nation’s liberals for believing various bogus claims? Is it surprising that our side crawls with ditto-heads too, when leaders in the “journalistic” world refuse to stop acting this way?

Tomorrow: Piers Morgan, James B. Stewart, journalism’s end


  1. Bob, you've already demonstrated quite clearly that Trayvon Martin means nothing more to you than a convenient club to beat your hated "liberal" media personalities with.

    But on the day after charges were filed in this case, couldn't you have given it just one day's rest?

    1. nomatter_nevermindApril 13, 2012 at 3:49 AM

      The media's mis-handling of the Trayvon Martin case may be the worst such debacle I've seen in my fifty-plus years. It would be dereliction for a media critic not to cover it.

  2. The race baiters and tribal rubes salivated over the prospect of the Great White Defendant, only it turns out he isn't so white. Oh noes.

  3. "The race baiters..."
    Anybody else here miss Ronald Reagan?


  4. Last night in Los Angeles, Rachel Maddow came to sell her book. She sold a lot of books. Her book is a serious effort, on a serious subject. Many, many liberals came out and bought her book.

    Were they idiots who will not real it, but will flock to any properly pitched TV Star? It's possible. It's also possible Maddow is shedding some light on the single most important and ignored story of our time.
    But, we will never know from the Daily Howler. He has a horse to beat into it's third or forth death.

    1. Bob Somersby doesn't care whether you buy Rachel Maddow's book. He is trying to get these millionaire columnists in the NY Times to clean up their act. If he stops commenting whenever they fail to do their work properly, they will have little incentive to (1) correct mistakes in previous columns; or (2) fact-check their own columns before they publish them. He is trying to embarrass them. If you want to discuss Maddow's book, I'm sure there are plenty of other blogs where you can do that.

    2. 9:25, sarcasm is often hard to pick up in a com box. If that's what you are doing, it's brilliant.

      However, if you are serious . . .

    3. No, no, no.

      There's No Other Place that could or should be discussing Maddow's book.

      If Somerby doesn't talk about Maddow's book very soon, it will be condemned to obscurity.

      By not discussing Rachel Maddow's new book, right now, Bob Somerby proves he's worse than useless, he's evil.

      [/Anonymous idiocy]

    4. It goes to the question of how far this blog has strayed over the years, from a serious examination of the media's role in substituting trivia over discussion of important issues, to a discussion of trivia spouted on cable TV talk shows at the expense of important issues.

      Rachel Maddow is a frequent target here. Now she has written a book that debuted at No. 1 on the New York Times best-seller list about how Congress has ceded its war-making authority to the executive branch and how the public is systematically shielded from the horrors of combat fought by "volunteers".

      The response from Somerby: [crickets].

      But hey, the next time Maddow says something about the Trayvon Martin case that's not exactly, precisely and definitively the way Somerby decides it should have been said, he'll be all over her again.

    5. So, you're saying the topic of the book is nothing at all to do with the press?

      Yes, it is a crying shame Bob doesn't do what you tell him to.

      A crying shame.

    6. I'm saying no such thing. I am saying that since 1998, Somerby's theme has been that a "millionaire pundit class" has taken command of the "american discourse" and focus their attention on trivia (from Gore's cowboy boots to Romney's dog) instead of the very serious issues we should be discussing, and that he has identified Rachel Maddow as a member of that millionaire pundit class.

      Now he is confronted by a very serious book on a very serious topic written by Maddow. He could do one of several things. He could congratulate Maddow for doing what he's been asking "millionaire pundits" to do for 14 years. Or (in new Somberby fashion) he could parse the book for every phrase she wrote that doesn't perfectly suit his high standards, thus "proving" once again how vacuous and thoughtless she really is.

      Instead, he chooses, to date: [crickets].

  5. Bob? Was it a 911 call? One report surfaced that it was a call on a non-emergency line.

    I was a local block-watch captain in two communities, one incorporated and one unincorporated.
    In the incorporated city, the policeman lecturing the block watch meeting told us to call 911 only in emergencies. He gave us a non-emergency number to call to report suspicious activity or trespass.

    Same with the unincorporated area. The Sheriff gave us a non emergency number, and the Deputy in charge of block watch gave us his number.

    Neither numbers were the dispatcher's number.

    Did Zimmerman call 911? Virtually even source refers to the 911 tape recording, including you.

    Did Zimmerman call the Dispatcher? Did he call the non-emergency number?
    Are non-emergency calls routinely recorded?

    If these questions were asked of Angela Corey at yesterday's press conference, I didn't hear them, and I heard it live and again on tape.

    1. Could you please explain why the answer to this question makes any difference at all? What would it change about the situation? Clearly the call was recorded because the tape has been released to the public. Does it matter what the exact phone number dialed was? If so, why?

    2. Don't you know? Whether it was a 911 call or not is exactly the reason Al Gore wasn't elected president 12 years ago.

    3. It would have tremendous implications if it factored in to Corey's crack headed politically motivated decision, but if the calls are routinely recorded it does suggest it is legal to do so.

    4. "Corey's crack headed politically motivated decision"

      Hardly needs any rebuttal, does it?

    5. This comment has been removed by the author.

    6. I'll give you two reasons.

      In a homicide investigation, every fact is relevant.

      Referring to the "911 call" is an act of laziness by reporters and by all of us.

      I have read that there were nine 911 calls after the shooting. I don't know if this is true,
      The jury pool could be contaminated by having read confusing accounts in the media, then being presented with possibly ten recordings in a trial.
      George Zimmerman's freedom could be affected by what information jury members have been exposed to before the first testimony is presented to them.

      This blog is about media inaccuracies.
      if Bob wants to criticize the media, he has to be accurate himself.

      I'm surprised Bob's critics haven't thrashed him over this one.

    7. Thank you! I'm not alone!

      I brought this up on an earlier thread.

      You can check this for yourself. Listen to how the dispatcher answers the call. Compare to the actual 911 calls.

      A 911 dispatcher identifies him/herself as such. In Sanford they ask 'Do you need police, fire, or medical?' (The last time I called 911 in Nashville, my own location was the first question asked, so this isn't standard across the country.)

      The vast majority of press reports are getting this wrong. It's outrageous for a journalist whose beat is crime to miss this.

      In Nashville, if I were to call 911 to report a 'suspicious character', the dispatcher would politely but firmly tell me to get off the line and call the regular police line. I know because that's what happened when I once called 911 to report a burglary that was already over.

      Maybe it's different in smaller towns. But the idea of a 911 dispatcher spending four minutes taking a 'suspicious character' call should raise a question mark for any crime reporter.

    8. The biggest reason this matters, is that if a reporter doesn't get the easy stuff right, there's no reason to trust him on the hard stuff.

      It also matters to the question of whether Zimmerman is a nutty vigilante. Calling 911 on a 'suspicious' is a nutty vigilante thing to do.

      This image of Zimmerman has also been bolstered by many press accounts that falsely characterize Zimmerman's earlier non-emergency police calls as 911 calls.

    9. @anonymous 9:27

      Maybe age is just a number. But the difference between a 911 call and a non-emergency police call, is definitely more than just a number.

    10. gravymeister:

      I'm surprised Bob's critics haven't thrashed him over this one.

      The thrashing has begun.

      I'm a critic because I'm an admirer. This is way below Bob's usual standard. It's a 'you of all people' moment.

      Come on, Bob. Correct this. And in the next post on Trayvon Martin, spend a paragraph on this.

      As I said above, the vast majority of reports get this wrong. That means that, as I said in the earlier thread, this is by far the most common error in the coverage of the case.

    11. Well, the biggest reason that it's NOT important is that the call was made. By Zimmerman. And recorded. Moments before he shot Trayvon Martin. Whether it went to a 911 or a non-emergency dispatcher (who did sent cops to the scene) really doesn't add or subtract to its weight as evidence. It will speak for itself.

      The second biggest reason that it's NOT important is that nothing the media has said or written about this case will be admissible as evidence in court. Absolutely nothing.

      Now if you want to use it as evidence that Somerby holds others to standards that he won't hold himself to, go right ahead. But I guarantee you that both Mark O'Mara and Angela Corey couldn't care less.

    12. Whether a person calls an emergency number or a non-emergency number is an indicator of their state of mind at the time, and that is relevant in a homicide case.
      I guarantee that Zimmerman's state of mind that night will be an issue in his trial.

      As far as Somerby is concerned, he simply took the lazy way out, and will probably do it again. I really don't care one way or the other.

  6. Bob -

    Come on, when are you going to stop writing this blog the way you do and start writing it the way "Anonymous" wants you to? And if you do, you should change the name, since "The Daily Howler" implies that it's about media faux pas, and you know Anonymous doesn't like that.

    It's amazing what a faithful reader he is, given that the blog is so disagreeable to him. Although, given the frequency of his comments it's also amazing that he doesn't want to identify himself in some way. It's very confusing to read a series of comments by Anonymous after Anonymous writers, who seem to be disagreeing with one another, at least some of the time.

    1. This complaint about using an anonymous identity comes up a lot on various blogs. Those of us who post anonymously do not want people to try to squelch their participation by hunting down posts and using details in them to try to out the person in real life. A comment should stand and contribute to a discussion based on its content, not who said it (or what label they chose to apply to their comment). Focus on discussing content, not on attacking or discrediting people and it will be amazing how little it matters which anonymous said what.

    2. And isn't it odd that frednich pipes up in a post in which Somerby complains about "other" ditto-heads.

    3. Anonymous Apr 12, 2012 12:16 PMApril 12, 2012 at 3:16 PM

      My god, Anonymous of 9:30, that almost makes sense.

      And yet, it makes no sense.

      Pick a damn pseudonym, that way people can make sense of the conversation!

      If you're so afraid what you said two days ago will bite you in the ass, just use a new pseudonym each day. You can make one up, you're smart enuff!

      Me, I've picked mine and I'm sticking with it for good!

    4. So what pseudonym have you picked and are sticking with for good, anonymous of 12:16 PM?


  7. "It's amazing what a faithful reader he is, given that the blog is so disagreeable to him."

    Yeah, isn't it a shame that Somerby can't restrict his blog to true believers like you are to save you all that troublesome exposure to opinions different than the ones Somerby gives you.

    1. M: An argument isn't just contradiction.
      A: It can be.
      M: No it can't. An argument is a connected series of statements intended to establish a proposition.
      A: No it isn't.

    2. Anonymous Apr 12, 2012 12:22 PMApril 12, 2012 at 3:22 PM

      Anonymous of 9:28 AM, how do you *know frednich is a "true believer?" -- your disparaging term for people who quite reasonably don't share your knee-jerk, baseless loathing of Somerby.

      I mean, how do you know??

      Are you stalking him?

      My god, it's just as Anonymous of 9:30 AM feared!!

      Well I've now decided I'm going to have to change my pseudonym right away so you don't stalk me, too!

  8. The old Bob Somerby once complained of the journalistic trick of saying, "Democrats disagree with party leadership . . ." then quoting two or three people.

    The new Bob Somerby cherry-picks five comments from four different people from a combox containing 97 comments as his "proof" that "ditto-heads" run rampant on "our" side.

  9. What proportion of the 97 should he be quoting? Have you considered that the number of comments may have been different when he visited the page compared to when you visited it, and that the proportion will vary as the number of comments increases. Have you considered that the proportion of dittoheads will be artificially decreased due to the inflated number of trivial arguments and off-topic posts. How exactly should this be reported?

    1. The newest comments in that box were two days old.

      You would have known that had you taken the trouble to click onto Bob's link to actually know what you are talking about.

      And if you had further bothered to read those comments, you would find most of them to be quite calm and reasoned, even if you do disagree, and hardly evidence of "ditto-heads" --- unless you cherry-pick the ones you want.

    2. Anon 11:33,

      Commenting on a post whose chief emphasis was detailing where and how disinformation was spread within the media and blog community, you are so upset by the over-the-top verbiage that you prove with statistics (4 out of 97) that if one extended the exaggerated language into claims not actually in the post, those claims would be false. Do I have it right?

    3. And yet you didn't answer my question.

    4. That's because your question was irrelevant to the point I was making that the new Bob Somerby refuses to hold himself to standards set by the old Bob Somerby, and is fact guilty of the same "tricks" of cherry-picking comments to find the ones that suit the rather weak point he was attempting to make.

      Now if you want to know what portion of the 97 comments he should have quoted, go ask him. It was him who used to complain about drawing broad conclusions from a handful of quotes --- unless, of course, he is doing it.

    5. Anon 12:23,

      Then how about this question: What broad conclusion is he drawing from 4 out of 97? If you read carefully, I believe you will find he comes to the conclusion that some parrot false information, which actually wasn't the main point of the post. The trust of the piece was where and how this misinformation was being spread.

    6. I'll let Somerby answer that himself:

      "We used to laugh at the ditto-heads. Now, mega-dittos are us!"

      Based on five comments from four people in one 97-comment combox on one blog.

    7. You really don't understand hyperbole, do you?

    8. Oh, I see. When Somerby does it, it's just hyperbole. When others do it, they are threatening "american discourse" at grave risk to the future of the republic (to paraphrase some more oft-repeated Somerby hyperbole).

      I'm just glad you're here to set the record straight about when Somerby is being serious and when he is not.

  10. Wow.

    I cannot believe how twisted and bigoted this discussion has been and remains.

    Let me remind everyone of all the things that we were told were true but weren't.

    We were told that Zimmerman was never in police custody.

    He was in police custody.

    We were told that they didn't take away his gun.

    They took away his gun.

    We were told that there were no signs of injury.

    There were signs of injury, most conspicuously a wound on the back of his head.

    We were told Zimmerman was a typical white racist.

    He's half Hispanic.

    We were told that Zimmerman volunteered to the dispatcher that Trayvon was black, thus proving him a racist.

    In fact, Zimmerman did not mention Martin's race until asked.

    We were told he called Trayvon a "coon."

    The recording is so distorted no one can reasonably claim to know what the hell he said at all.

    And we've been told that the 911 recording supposedly proves that Zimmerman chased Trayvon.

    Bullshit. I just heard it uninterrupted w/o left-wing commentary for the first time. It not only supports Zimmerman's side of the story; it OBVIOUSLY supports Zimmerman's side of the story to a degree that is nothing short of staggering. To think the recording in any way shows Zimmerman hunted Trayvon down and killed him is nothing short of demented.

    The actual recording:

    A transcript:

    Zimmerman clearly says that Martin is first staring at him, then coming to "check [him] out" and then agrees police dispatch's assesment that Martin is running adding that it's "Down toward the other entrance of the neighborhood."

    Zimmerman is telling police dispatch where to find both him and Martin. He wants the police there on site; otherwise why call them?

    Now comes the key part backing up Zimmerman's version.

    At 2:20 of the recording you can hear Zimmerman huffing as he starts following Martin. THAT is quite obviously what prompts the dispatcher to ask Zimmerman if that's what he's doing. Zimmerman says yes and the dispatcher tells Zimmerman that they don't need them to do that. Zimmerman agrees and says, "OK," which is very strange behavior indeed for a man who now is supposed to have chased down Martin and killed him.

    We then hear Zimmerman huffing and puffing some more but then at about 2:45 the sound stops and it no longer sounds like he's moving, which seriously contradicts any idea that he ignored police dispatch and was still following Martin. Not only that but Zimmerman is arranging for the dispatcher on how he and the police are going to meet up. That also contradicts the notion that he wanted to go all vigilante on Martin.

    At 3:30 dispatch asks Zimmerman his address and Zimmerman starts to give it out but stops on the grounds that he doesn't know where Martin is and fears that Martin will hear him say it.

    Wow. That sounds both paranoid and the flat-out opposite of a guy looking for a fight.

    They then hang up at 4:05.

    So to surmise: Zimmerman has stopped following Martin for at least one minute and twenty seconds (thus giving him a significant lead ahead of Zimmerman), has expressed fear of encountering Martin and has arranged to meet the police presumably so they can handle it.

    And this is the evidence that "proves," Zimmerman hunted down Martin and shot him?

    There still remains the possibility that Zimmerman is as guilty as claimed but--Jesus Christ--what the freak is wrong with everybody?

    PS: I have to travel and have no idea when I'll be able to get back to my computer so please do not take any silence on my part as evidence that I've been blown away by your superior logic.

    1. Please. All that rationality deprives us of our deeply pleasurable hate for Zimmerman, made all the more pleasurable because it makes us feel like we care about the black folk more than the others do.

    2. "And this is the evidence that "proves," Zimmerman hunted down Martin and shot him?"

      Ah, the Great Hieronymous Braintree is privvy to all the evidence Angela Corey had when she filed her charges! And it all came from MSNBC and the New York Times, Somerby's favorite whipping posts!

      Here's a hint for you: Everything the press may or may not have gotten right during the course of reporting the Trayvon Martin tragedy didn't mean shit to a tree.

      And please. You may be dumb enough that you can't deal with conflicting media reports. But that doesn't mean the rest of the world is that dumb.

    3. Anonymous Apr 12, 2012 12:36 PMApril 12, 2012 at 3:36 PM

      I like the way you argue, Anonymous of 12:30!

      Everybody's just dumb if they don't see it your way.

      "The Great Hieronymous Braintree is privvy..." HILARIOUS! You put him away, didn't you!

      And Somerby's sheep, you've got their numbers!!!

      Imagine, relying on ANYTHING from the NYT if something from there has been shown wrong! *You're* not that stupid though, too bad for the sheep. They stand no chance against your rapier wit and command of logic.

      Keep it up, Anonymous of 12:30, you're doing fine!

    4. Well, here's where you go off the rails. I'm not asking ANYBODY to "see it my way."

      That's Hierynomous's schtick, as he knows, without a doubt, that Zimmerman is innocent from his own review of the 911/non-911 tapes. And anybody who can't see Zimmerman's obvious innocence -- presumably including Angela Corey -- is just so dumb that they fall for all that false media reporting.

      Go back and read his screed.

    5. Anonymous Apr 12, 2012 12:55 PMApril 12, 2012 at 3:55 PM

      You did a great of job of showing him up already!!

      Your new post is just the icing on the cake.

      As always, Anonymous of 12:47, you don't resort to insinuation or anything other than the straight-up stone-cold facts! Well, that and your superior logic, of course.

      Keep it up!

      What gave it away for me, Anonymous of 12:47, was the was that Braintree said "There still remains the possibility that Zimmerman is as guilty as claimed."

      "Without a doubt" you are our top commenter, Anonymous of 12:47!!

    6. Ah yes. One sentence negates everthing else he said.

      Such as:

      "Zimmerman clearly says that Martin is first staring at him, then coming to "check [him] out" -- Which must be true, since Zimmerman said it.

      "Zimmerman agrees and says, "OK," which is very strange behavior indeed for a man who now is supposed to have chased down Martin and killed him." Except for the inconvenient little detail that he did shoot Martin. I guess Martin is just "supposed" to be dead.

      "At 3:30 dispatch asks Zimmerman his address and Zimmerman starts to give it out but stops on the grounds that he doesn't know where Martin is and fears that Martin will hear him say it." Utterly unsupported by anything. And since Zimmerman is obviously packing and willing to use it, what is he so afraid of?

      "So to surmise: Zimmerman has stopped following Martin for at least one minute and twenty seconds (thus giving him a significant lead ahead of Zimmerman), has expressed fear of encountering Martin and has arranged to meet the police presumably so they can handle it." Except for the inconvenient little detail that he didn't wait, did he?

      So you tell me what he is saying here. He went to youtube and knows more about this case than Angela Corey does?

      The hubris of this is beyond jaw-dropping.

    7. Anonymous Apr 12, 2012 1:32 PMApril 12, 2012 at 4:32 PM

      Yup, quoting Zimmerman proves "without a doubt" that you accept his full and complete truthfulness about everything!

      You show 'em, Anonymous of 1:07!!!

      Also, duh, they keep forgetting Martin is dead! You know they forgot that!!!!!!

      The hubris, you said it!

  11. Question: I am walking home, being followed by someone (first in a vehicle, then on foot). Am I allowed to "stand my ground"?

    1. Anonymous Apr 12, 2012 12:30 PMApril 12, 2012 at 3:30 PM

      We don't know; need more facts.

      (Are *you* being stalked by Anonymous, too?)

      Maybe we'll see you, in court, or on a casket.

      Good luck!!!!

    2. Kin, not according to the Zimmerman Defense Team that now haunts the one and only "true liberal" Daily Howler.

      The moment that the stalked stands his ground, he becomes the "aggressor" and the stalker gets to shoot him.

    3. "The moment that the stalked stands his ground, he becomes the "aggressor" and the stalker gets to shoot him."

      I know it would be awesome if I could cite ONE post to that effect, but, of course, I can't!!!

    4. Am I white, black, brown or yellow? Am I wearing a "hoodie"?
      I am an old man. My three children are all college graduates. All gainfully employed.
      I love my (so far) only grandson.
      I fear no man.
      Woke up this morning; got myself a gun.

      p.s. Anonymous is not even willing to use a pseudonym. So no, I am not worried about being stalked.

    5. Anon 01:27PM, don't be such a weak minded chicken-shit. Answer the question. Am I allowed to "stand my ground" if someone is following me as I walk home?
      Woke up this morning; got myself a gun.

    6. 1:27 obviously doesn't realize that "Martin attacked me" AFTER Zimmerman left his vehicle with a loaded gun is the crux of Zimmerman's "stand your ground" defense.

    7. No one who has a gun can be attacked by someone who doesn't have a gun -- it's obvious?

    8. Sure he can. And if I just chased and shot a kid, that's exactly the bullshit story I'd tell the cops.

    9. Or, it's true. I just don't know. But you do, of course.

    10. I don't know anything except that Trayvon Martin is dead and George Zimmerman is charged with second degree murder.

    11. Sure sounds to me like the kind of bullshit story and armed man would come up with to explain him shooting and killing an unarmed man.

      Could he be telling the truth about Martin running away then coming back to confront him, then being a weenie who couldn't put up a good fight against a kid until the cops he called arrived?

      Sure. Anything is possible, and he can now tell all that to a judge and jury.

      But have you ever heard of Occam's Razor?

    12. Yeah, that's what all juries are instructed to use to decide if a proof burden has been met beyond a reasonable doubt.

      Whatever explanation is simplest to believe must be true.

      And if I have to make some stuff up and disregard evidence I don't like to make conviction simpler, that's they way to go!

  12. Based upon the affidavit from police investigators that was released today, they dispute Zimmerman's version of the facts in at least two ways that would appear to me to be potentially key.

    First, they do indicate that he was already out of his van when the dispatcher told him that he did not need to follow Trayvon. However, they indicated that Zimmerman continued to follow Trayvon on foot even after being so informed.

    Secondly, they describe him as confronting Trayvon, which is in contrast to Zimmerman's account, in which he was supposedly walking back to his van when he was attacked from behind by Trayvon.

    There is very little detail provided as to how the investigators reach these conclusions. They are our generalized allusions to numerous witnesses, but no direct attribution to rely on witness accounts to reach these conclusions.

    Plainly, this is only a side of the evidence, although there is at least some suggestion that Zimmerman contacted the state attorney and may have given his account. It's unclear whether that actually occurred. But that is what's in the affidavits of the investigators. That would suggest that they have at least some evidence to that effect

    1. We'll learn the prosecution's full case at trial, and probably not before. Unless Zimmerman cops a plea.

      And there is a good reason for that. The prosecution does not want to try its case in the media and face an appeal over the issue of a poisoned jury panel.

    2. Harvard Prof. Alan Dershowitz: Zimmerman Arrest Affidavit ‘Irresponsible And Unethical’

      “Most affidavits of probable cause are very thin. This is so thin that it won’t make it past a judge on a second degree murder charge,” Dershowitz said. “There’s simply nothing in there that would justify second degree murder.”

      “I think what you have here is an elected public official who made a campaign speech last night for reelection when she gave her presentation and overcharged. This case will not – if the evidence is no stronger than what appears in the probable cause affidavit – this case will result in an acquittal.”

      “But it’s worse than that,” said Dershowitz. “It’s irresponsible and unethical in not including material that favors the defendant.”

      “This affidavit does not even make it to probable cause,” Dershowitz concluded. “everything in the affidavit is completely consistent with a defense of self-defense. Everything.”

    3. So, Prof. Dershowitz, did the judge kick Zimmerman loose this afternoon? He'd have to if he found the probable cause affidavit wanting.

    4. Dershowitz said, "A good judge would throw this case out." Maybe the judge in this case isn't good, in Dershowitz's opinion.

    5. nomatter_nevermindApril 13, 2012 at 2:19 AM

      However, they indicated that Zimmerman continued to follow Trayvon on foot even after being so informed.

      Secondly, they describe him as confronting Trayvon . . .

      Both of these could be based on the statement of the girlfriend, 'Dee Dee'.

      The location where Martin's body was found is about as far as it can be from the nearby buildings. The prosecution will need to explain how Zimmerman was 'cornering' Martin.

    6. nomatter_nevermindApril 13, 2012 at 2:31 AM

      One thing in the affidavit surprises me. I didn't think the prosecutors would claim that Martin was the one screaming, given the strength of the contrary evidence. But it may be that they expect to lose before trial, and are just going for PR.

    7. nomatter_nevermindApril 13, 2012 at 2:43 AM

      That would suggest that they have at least some evidence to that effect.

      As Dershowitz says, a probable cause affidavit can be very thin. The credibility of witnesses is an issue for trial. One witness making a claim is evidence enough for probable cause.

      Dee Dee says Martin told her Zimmerman confronted him. The mother says the voice is Martin's. That's all they need to support those allegations, and none of it is new.

    8. nomatter_nevermindApril 13, 2012 at 5:44 AM

      They are our generalized allusions to numerous witnesses, but no direct attribution to rely on witness accounts to reach these conclusions.

      The affidavit has direct attributions to Dee Dee, described only as 'a friend'.

    9. nomatter_nevermindApril 13, 2012 at 5:50 AM

      David in Cal:

      Maybe the judge in this case isn't good, in Dershowitz's opinion.

      I would think the governor of Florida would use his informal influence to make sure the judge is good. You know, reliable.

    10. You know, O'Mara will have a field day if he finds out that the governor has used his "informal influence" on the selection of a "reliable" judge.

    11. What is the source of this information that Gov. Scott selected the judge? I don't think that's accurate. He selected the prosecutor, but I have seen nothing to suggest he selected the judge

    12. "The affidavit has direct attributions to Dee Dee, described only as 'a friend'."

      But it does not attribute any conclusion to her. The only witness is directly attributed his Trayvon's mother, in terms of voice identification

    13. I would never rely on Dershowitz, who is a publicity hound. I doubt he is even look at any relevant provisions of Florida law.

      Here are some passages from recent pronouncements of Florida courts, including the Florida Supremen Court. It does seem like second-degree murder will be a bit difficult to prove, as opposed to third-degree murder, which seems very provable facts.

      The second factual scenario in particular seems to show some interesting parallels, although they do focus on the threat posed by those that were killed, and you seem to show that they initiated the encounter. That would be contrary to the facts here which may be a distinguishing factor. I did not research too greatly, but I think an instinctual nonlegal distinction that many of us have intuited is that the person that initiates the confrontation should be a relevant consideration, although the Tampa Bay Times having article a few weeks ago summarizing numerous cases in which the "stand your ground" defense was successfully employed even by someone who seemed to be the original aggressor

    14. Here are the case excerpts

      We conclude that under Florida law, the crime of manslaughter by act does not require that the State prove that the defendant intended to kill the victim.

      Conduct that is “imminently dangerous to another and evincing a depraved mind” is characterized by “an act or series of acts that: (1) a person of ordinary judgment would know is reasonably certain to kill or do serious bodily injury to another, *256 and (2) is done from ill will, hatred, spite or an evil intent, and (3) is of such a nature that the act itself indicates an indifference to human life.” Bellamy v. State, 977 So.2d 682, 683 (Fla. 2d DCA 2008) (quoting Duckett v. State, 686 So.2d 662, 663 (Fla. 2d DCA 1996)).

      Manslaughter, a lesser included offense of both first-degree and second-degree murder, is defined as “[t]he killing of a human being by the act, procurement, or culpable negligence of another, without lawful justification ... in cases in which such killing shall not be excusable homicide or murder.” § 782.07(1), Fla. Stat. (2005). Section 782.07(1) states as follows:

      We affirm the defendant's convictions for the weapons charges. However, after reviewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the State, we conclude that the evidence was insufficient to sustain convictions for second degree murder. Instead, the evidence established an impulsive overreaction to an attack, which warranted convictions for manslaughter.

      At trial, the evidence established that on August 25, 2006, the defendant attended a large “keg” party, where most of the guests were high school students or had recently finished high school. During the party, Bunting and Lott approached the defendant, who was either sitting on the hood of his SUV or leaning against the vehicle. Lott was angry that someone had bumped him earlier while walking past him. Lott and Bunting, along with Lott's brother and several of their friends, formed a group which surrounded the defendant in a half-circle. A short time before the confrontation, the defendant had armed himself with a gun in the midst of an apparently unrelated dispute with other individuals regarding a keg.

      A prosecution witness acknowledged that it looked like Lott was trying to start a fight with the defendant. Bunting, who was trying to encourage the fight, asked Lott whether he was “going to let him [the defendant] talk to you like that?” At that point, Lott struck the defendant in the face with his fist. The defendant was hit “pretty hard” and fell back against his vehicle.

      After the defendant was punched, he quickly pulled out a gun, shot Lott once and shot Bunting once.FN1 Lott and Bunting were, at most, two or three feet away from the defendant. Lott died from a single gunshot wound to the chest, and Bunting died from a single gunshot wound to the abdomen. After the shootings, the defendant jumped into his vehicle and drove away.

      According to the medical examiner, the path of the gunshot wounds was consistent with the decedents leaning forward as they were shot. Lott and Bunting were both at least one foot away from the shooter. Lott had a blood alcohol level of 0.249 grams per deciliter, over three times the legal limit for driving. Bunting had a blood alcohol level of 0.05 grams per deciliter, and also had Xanax in his blood, in an amount described as being within a therapeutic range. Lott, who was heavily tattooed, had a roll of coins wrapped in black electrical tape in his pants pocket. There was also evidence at trial that both Lott and Bunting had a reputation for violence. One witness claimed that Lott and Bunting were known to jump people and they liked to fight, not always fairly.

  13. nomatter_nevermindApril 13, 2012 at 1:16 AM

    The version of the story that has the dispatcher telling Zimmerman 'to wait for a police cruiser, and not leave his vehicle', goes back to a March 13 ABC report, published before the tapes were released.

    This report is interesting for other reasons. It seems to be the only source for the claim that a police investigator 'corrected' a witness who thought the screaming voice was Martin's. As far as I can tell this anonymous witness hasn't been heard from since, or ever from anyone other than ABC.

    Note that the report doesn't quote this witness as saying she thought the voice was Martin's because it sounded youthful, like the three witnesses who have expressed this opinion publicly. It just says she thought it was Martin's, without explaining why.

    This ABC report also says that Austin Brown saw both Martin and Zimmerman, contradicting his 911 call and all the other interviews given by him and his mother.

  14. nomatter_nevermindApril 13, 2012 at 1:24 AM

    I don't think Ms. Corey's decision to prosecute tells us anything.

    Probably the governor of Florida has decided the case must be prosecuted for political reasons. If Corey loses, her reputation will take a hit, and the governor will owe her big.

    1. nomatter_nevermindApril 13, 2012 at 1:32 AM

      Actually, Corey's reputation may not take the hit that usually goes with losing a high-profile case. There will be a massive campaign to blame the 'shoddy' police investigation, a 'cover-up' by the white power structure generally, and who knows what else.

      To her credit, Corey herself has so far taken the high road with regard to criticism of the Sanford police.

    2. I hesitate to speculate about the strength or weakness of Corey's case, or her motives for filing the charges that she did, because I have no basis for doing that.

      I do know that we amateurs sitting on the sidelines have been conditioned by TV cop and lawyer shows to expect that one piece of evidence to suddenly appear that proves guilt or innocence beyond ALL doubt, not just reasonable doubt.

      Well, it seldom works like that in the real world. Real life investigations are far less dramatic, and are more like putting a jigsaw puzzle together, except you don't have the picture on the box to guide you.

      And even then, you may have pieces that don't fit the puzzle you are trying to solve. Even eye witnesses standing side by side can give conflicting accounts.

      So you search for corroborating evidence, which is seldom a single "smoking gun" (bad analogy in this case, since we do have a smoking gun) that proves the case one way or the other.

      These are most often small pieces that mean little by themselves, but when put together, a fairly clear and complete picture emerges.

      Now a piece of unsolicited advice. If you are ever a suspect in a homicide case and the cops take you in (God forbid), the only words out of your mouth should be, "I want a lawyer."

      You'd be surprised of the holes defendants dig themselves into when they think they are clever and can talk their way out of it.

  15. You're right Bob. In fact, over at Talk Left, Jeralyn has deleted comments that link to actual audio clips where individuals can hear for themselves whether the word "punks" can start with a "c" and have an "oo" sound in the middle (or even if there's nothing but noise there, as some of her posters claim without her disputing).

    Some smug liberals are truly be the equals in bias with the far right. But here is one 12 second revealing link (among others) deleted:

  16. Oops..Wrong link above: