The New York Times in Sanford, Day 2!

FRIDAY, MAY 18, 2012

Thanks to MSNBC, everyone knows except us: This morning, for the second straight day, the New York Times reports on the legal case involving the killing of Trayvon Martin.

Yesterday, prosecutor Angela Corey released “a trove of new documents and photographs,” Serge Kovaleski reports. Some of this material adds a great deal to the public knowledge of the facts of this case.

But good God! At the end of his news report, Kovaleski authors a truly stunning piece of “journalism.” Even from the New York Times, this is stunningly bad news judgment:
KOVALESKI (5/18/12): The reports may give rise to other mysteries as well, including the identity of a woman who called another investigator, less than two full days after the shooting.

The woman refused to identify herself or give any callback numbers, but told the investigator that Mr. Zimmerman “has racist ideologies and that he is fully capable of instigating a confrontation that could have escalated to the point of Zimmerman having to use deadly force.”

The police were never able to track her down.
Truly, that is hard to believe, even from the Times:

An anonymous person called the police, making a lurid anonymous claim. Incredibly, the New York Times has now reported this anonymous person’s lurid claim, describing it as one of the “mysteries” of the case.

Anonymous claims of every description have been made in this case. But then, lurid and/or crackpot claims are made by anonymous people in every high-profile case. And guess what?

By the norms of journalism, newspapers don’t report them! But this morning, the New York Times does.

The Times is truly astounding. On Monday, an important new fact became known; George Zimmerman did sustain a broken nose in his confrontation with Martin. Anyone who has followed this case will know that this has been a key point of contention, with hustlers on MSNBC insisting that this couldn’t have happened.

This week, the truth emerged—and the New York Times slipped this fact by its readers in a parenthetical remark in paragraph 27 of yesterday’s lengthy report (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 5/17/12). By way of contrast, it devotes three paragraphs today to a lurid anonymous claim.

Your lizard brain will urge you to defend this conduct. Your lizard brain will be wrong.

Several other points stand out in this morning’s report. Incredibly, Kovaleski includes a fact which cuts in Zimmerman’s favor. According to police reports, Tracy Martin, Trayvon’s father, said the voice crying for help on the audiotapes wasn’t the voice of his son.

(This doesn't mean he was right, of course. But the Martin camp has repeatedly said that Trayvon's mother said it was her son's voice. The father's apparent reaction went down the memory hole.)

On the other hand, Kovaleski offers the following account of the confrontation which resulted in Trayvon Martin’s death. As journalism, this is almost as bad as his report of that lurid anonymous claim:
KOVALESKI: [Trayvon] Martin had been visiting other residents of the complex and had been out that rainy evening to go to a nearby store. He was returning with some iced tea and a bag of Skittles when Mr. Zimmerman saw him and considered him suspicious.

Mr. Zimmerman called the police before leaving his vehicle and pursuing Mr. Martin. The confrontation then occurred.
As everyone knows, the events leading up to that confrontation lie at the heart of this case. In the highlighted passage, Kovaleski ignores Zimmerman’s account of these events. (Zimmerman says he was returning to his car when Martin confronted him. We have no idea if that’s true.)

Kovaleski finds time to mention the (irrelevant) iced tea and Skittles, but he fails to explain the various accounts of the key confrontation. In his account, the blame for the confrontation seems to rest quite directly with Zimmerman. At some point, someone at the Times may have seen this problem. This account, from our hard-copy Times, has been improved on-line—has been made more impartial.

What actually happened that night? Slowly, some facts are emerging. But at our greatest American newspaper, Kovaleski included a lurid anonymous claim in this morning's report—and he still hasn’t gotten around to describing Zimmerman’s injuries, which have now been documented.

Just a guess: There isn’t another news org in America which will report that lurid anonymous claim. No one plays games like the New York Times does. They’ve been like this for some time now.

MSNBC clams once again: Last night, this new information was all over cable—except at MSNBC.

Night after night, week after week, MSNBC spread reams of disinformation about this tragic case. They toyed and played with race; they toyed and played with life and death itself. One small example, of many: The disgraceful hustlers at this channel kept insisting that Zimmerman couldn’t have sustained a broken nose that night. Now, when the actual fact emerges, this horrible channel keeps quiet.

If you get your news from MSNBC, you still haven’t heard about the broken nose. Last night, you didn’t hear about the “trove of new documents” at all! You haven’t been shown the various photos showing the injuries to the back of Zimmerman’s head. For weeks, MSNBC kept telling you there were none!

MSNBC has disgraced itself with respect to this case. Right from its hustler Rhodes Scholar on down, this channel should be made to explain its ridiculous conduct. Who knows? Maybe Howard Kurtz can get off his big fat ascot this Sunday and discuss this rolling disgrace.

Don't hold your breath!

This week, MSNBC has continued its horrible conduct. We liberals! Everyone gets to learn the facts! Everyone except us!


  1. If only the anonymous caller had left her message in Gail Collins post box, then we could grant her all significance!

  2. The Times reports what it reports. It's news judgment can always be questioned but it's a daily newspaper, not an Oxford debating society where points can be endlessly debated without the benefit of deadlines. This information is out there. We get to make of it what we will.

    1. I also kind of lean toward having more information not less, and it certainly seems like Kovaleski put this one in proper context, allowing readers to make of it what they will.

      But of course, Somerby apparently thinks we're too stupid to do all that thinking for ourselves and must be shielded from all information that can't be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt.

    2. I agree, as it happens, with the Daily Howler, the phone call had no place in this story. And I'll say the uncomfortable: the entire coverage of the story certainly smells like pandering to Media's Black and guilty liberal readership.This has gotten The Times into trouble before. I would suspect Fox News and the like to be doing the same thing on the other end, but I admit not to not really knowing. No one has been worse in this area, we might note, then Bill Maher, who may have actually gone BEYOND MSNBC, and it has earned him 30 lashes with a wet noodle from the Daily Howler.

    3. Well, there is just one troubling thing that Bob forgot to tell his readers.

      The three rather brief "anonymous caller" sentences appear at the very end of Kovaleski's rather lengthy piece.

      Now if it were his lede and the headline was something like "Anonymous call proves Zimmerman a bigot" Bob might have a better point.

      But apparently even Kovaleski thinks it's something interesting that should be given mention, but hardly important enough that it couldn't be hacked off the very end of his story.

    4. CORRECTION: Somerby does say it's "at the end of his report". But still gets his panties in a wad over it.

    5. For reasons that Bob clearly explains: There are crackpots who make false claims on virtually every ballyhooed case. Anonymous claims are worthless.

      He was, as he explained, questioning the Times' news judgment. Apparently you missed that.

  3. Did the sole credible witness, the anonymous caller who revealed Zimmerman is a racist, mention his myspace page full of photos of him with black people and warm positive references to black people whom he no doubt later killed?

    1. No, nor does it mention that had he been alive at the time, Zimmerman would have certainly offered Rosa Parks his seat on the bus and would have crossed the Edmund Pettis Bridge with Martin Luther King Jr.

      I guess each side gets to make up its own stories.

    2. But the race hustling side ascribes racial motives where they have no proof. Or where they have proof to the contrary as in this case (Zimmerman's social circle and activism on behalf of a black homeless man beaten by police).

      The decent and moral side presumes nothing about racial motives without proof.

      Zimmerman took the initiative to post flyers on cars when a black homeless man was beaten by police in Sanford so he would likely be marched with civil rights activists.

      Sorry if this throws a wrench in your disgraceful feel-good race baiting:

    3. Liberals take notice. Regardless of your view on race or past activism, never defend yourself if attacked by a person of color, even if you fear serious injury or death, because Al Sharpton, Jessie Jackson, and your fellow "compassionate liberals" will lie about you, ignore and invent facts, and try to convict you of murder.

    4. Citizens take notice. When you see a person of any skin tone following you on a street you both have a right to be on, he has a right to follow you and ask you a question, and might be a concerned citizen of the kind you hope to have keeping an eye out in your neighborhood, particularly if it has been plagued with recent burglaries.

      If you decide to attack him, break his nose, and beat his head into the ground, he is entitled to defend himself and you should be advised he is justified in using his gun to do so.

    5. Only pussies defend themselves from brain damage or death if the person attacking them is black.

  4. I thought it was interesting that the coroner said Martin had been shot at an "intermediate" range. I kept waiting for an explanation as to what that might imply, but never heard nothing about it from nobody. Still waiting. Much more was made about the small wound on his finger (an abrasion, was it?), but that could have happened when he opened his tea. Not that I any longer look to MSNBC for any cool-headed coverage of this incident. Not when the following happens...

    Last night O'Donnell spent a chunk of air time taking Ben Stein to task for suggesting Nixon was smarter than Obama on the previous night's O'Reilly. Gist of O'Donnell's counter argument: Nixon couldn't be smarter than Obama because the former was an anti-Semitic criminal who kept us in Vietnam and ordered wage & price controls. Now there's an IQ test you won't find on the web.

    Who would want to take such lousy talking points to the water cooler. Back to Thom Hartmann.

  5. Really? Try taking "Gail Collins and Maureen Dowd are the worst abominations in the history of journalism and the reason the nation is heading to hell in a handbasket" to the water cooler and see what kind of stares you get.

    1. By putting it in quotes, I pretend Somerby said it -- but of course even though none of you sheep are the free thinkers *I* am, you still all realize it's my own straw argument again. God, I'm a bore.

    2. Straw argument?

      OK, use your own words. Given the vast store of information you have learned aboud Dowd and Collins over lo these many years of reading the Daily Howler, try striking up a conversation about them at the water cooler.

      After all, Somerby has spent years telling you about them. They must be important.

    3. Was I talking again? I put myself to sleep. Sorry.

  6. The important thing?

    Something other than the fact that MSNBC is crap and that Somerby has the temerity to point it out.

    Maybe... LOOK, over there! Rachel Maddow's new book!

  7. Martin's family wanted a day in Court, they are going to get it. Excesses in the left press, and in one instance I feel played for a sucker, will only hurt them now. I see no reason why Zimmerman won't get a fair trial. The next time Somerby takes (now inevitably a liberal) to task for sexism we should remember his dismissal on Maddow as a "hustler" ,while refusing to read her book.

    1. Rachel, is that you??

    2. I always thought that whatever injuries Zimmerman did or did not have were utterly irrelevant.

      If Martin beat the hell out of a guy who was stalking him, good for Trayvon.

      I wish we had a more kids able to beat the hell out of stalking strangers.

    3. So you believe that a neighborhood watch person who calls the police while trying to determine the location of someone he believes does not live in the neighborhood, by following that person, should be beaten by the person he is in the process of following and reporting to the police.

      People who believe such nonsense are known as "uncivilized thugs."

    4. "If Martin beat the hell out of a guy who was stalking him, good for Trayvon.

      "I wish we had a more kids able to beat the hell out of stalking strangers."

      Right, because the fact that Martin is dead and Zimmerman's life is ruined is just so much applesauce compared to righteous satisfaction of having your oh so enlightened revenge fantasies satisfied.

    5. Zimmerman's life is hardly ruined. He was an unemployed, late- 20 something guy working as an unpaid security guard. How can such a life be ruined? Once he gets out of this, he'll try to market himself as some kind of hero, write a book, beg for more money, go on the wingnut welfare circuit (he's already tried), and so on. This was his big break.

    6. I wish we had more kids able to beat the shit out of arguments based on the word "pussy."

      This thread could be their big break.

      I still have something more stupid to say, blah blah, wait for it... "how can such a life be ruined," etc.

      There, did I make a big enough fool of myself yet?

    7. Zimmerman will always be known for killing Trayvon Martin. And not only known, but hated. It's one thing to have a pathetic puny life. It's another thing entirely to be a national pariah. While you're bringing up his attempt to get wingnut welfare, you might want to consider the immense legal bills he's going to have to pay w/o it. Also, it's unclear just how well or how long this is going to work out or that he's even a conservative.

      Apparently, you don't see George Zimmerman as a normal human being with comprehensible emotions. Glad to see you're so enlightened.

  8. WaPo gave a clear explanation of "intermediate range"

    Neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin from a very close range, according to documents a Florida prosecutor released Thursday that indicate a hand-to-hand struggle occurred before the teenager was killed.

    A lab report, based on an examination of the two sweatshirts Martin was wearing, found holes and gunshot residue consistent with a “contact shot,” meaning the gun was pressed against Martin’s chest. An autopsy report said that the gunshot wound indicated he was shot from an “intermediate range,” which experts say is between one and 18 inches away.

  9. The undisputed fact is an unarmed kid only carrying skittles and an iced tea was shot dead that night. That's the bottom line here.

    I typed that out to see how it felt to advance it as an argument. I felt my IQ drop 50 points. But I do feel the need to point out Chris Matthews and Lawrence O'Donnell are awesome and everyone knows Zimmerman defenders are racists.

    1. That's trouble, because I don't think you had 50 IQ points to spare.

  10. Hey, what happened to my comment moderator? It was about the case, contained no profanity and was completely fact-based. What gives? Exactly what rule was violated here?

  11. "George Zimmerman did sustain a broken nose in his confrontation with Martin"


    He 'sustained' any injuries AFTER the fact.
    The police video (Zimmerman exiting the cop car) CLEARLY shows this...NO blood, no wounds, NO NOTHING.

    Anyone actually believing George 'sustained damage during the confrontation' is BLIND and willingly stupid.

    1. And all the cops who documented the injuries to his harped and face that night at the scene made it all up. ROFL

    2. *head and face