THE STORY BEGINS: Two shots were fired in a yellow wood!

MONDAY, JULY 22, 2013

Part 1—The color refers to the journalism: On Sunday, July 14, public editor Margaret Sullivan gave the New York Times high marks for its coverage of the Zimmerman trial.

She briefly discussed the way the Times covered the case last year, when the story rose to national prominence.

As we’ve noted on several occasions, this public editor has become a bit of a cheerleader for her famous employer. This was her general assessment of the Times’ recent trial coverage:
SULLIVAN (7/14/13): While hardly going the way of CNN's near total obsession, :The Times gave the Zimmerman trial a great deal of daily attention, including frequently updated courtroom coverage on the Web.


The Zimmerman trial coverage was solid. But foremost, The Times has showed its trademark strength with in-depth, enterprising pieces exploring the broader issues of this shooting and its aftermath.

Last week, for example, Lizette Alvarez wrote skillfully about the racial issues that had emerged, noting that ''race lingers awkwardly on the sidelines, scarcely mentioned but impossible to ignore.'' That article appeared on the front page, the first during the trial to do so.
In Sullivan’s view, coverage of the trial was solid, with skillful analysis work. For what it’s worth, we disagree with her view of that Alvarez piece, for reasons we will discuss by the end of the week.

To Sullivan, the trial coverage was solid. As she continued, you gave her assessment of the Times’ performance early last year, when the death of Trayvon Martin became a national story:
SULLIVAN (continuing directly): In the first weeks after Mr. Martin was killed, on Feb. 26, 2012, The Times lagged behind, seeming not to recognize the broader implications and the way the teenager's death had captured public interest. But on April 2 it published an exhaustive and well-written account by four reporters that started on the front page and filled two full pages inside. It explored the polarizing effect of the shooting.

Soon after that, a front-page piece by Serge Kovaleski investigated the police missteps after the shooting. (Some critics of The Times believe its motto should not be ''All the News That's Fit to Print'' but rather ''More, Later.'')
Again, we’ll disagree. The Times published its first news report about the killing of Martin on March 17, 2012. On that same day, Charles Blow published the first of his columns about the case. (Other columns by Blow appeared on March 26, April 7 and April 14.)

Given its role as a national paper, we wouldn’t say that the New York Times was notably late to the story. And trust us: It’s clear that the Times “recognized the broader implications” from its first day on the case.

Alas! The Times’ real failure surfaced, egregiously, in that first news report. Sullivan didn’t mention this problem as she looked back on the Times’ overall performance.

Somehow, Sullivan managed to see no evil, even in the face of some work which was outrageously misshapen. Did we mention the fact that this public editor tends to lead cheers for the Times?

As she continued last Sunday’s assessment, Sullivan turned again to her newspaper’s coverage of the trial itself—and at this point, real insight appeared. Sullivan quoted an editor, Charles Strum, who offered accurate assessments about the challenges posed by this high-profile topic:
SULLIVAN (continuing directly): Given the enormous overload of coverage elsewhere, The Times tried to provide something distinctive. Charles Strum, the deputy national editor handling the story, told me that his aim had been ''to bring more light than heat, because, over all, this is a situation with more heat than light.'' While editing articles in the New York office—most of them written by Ms. Alvarez, the Miami bureau chief—he spent his days wearing headphones so that he could listen to live streaming of the trial.

''There are a lot of accusations, a lot of misinformation and a lot of conspiracy theorizing,'' he said.
Strum's observations were right. Press coverage of the Zimmerman trial did have to deal with a lot of heat and perhaps a bit less light. There has been “a lot of misinformation” surrounding this high-profile case.

Accusations have been widespread, against a range of persons. (Police chief fired! Jurors in hiding!) Conspiracy theories have appeared, if only in comment threads. (George Zimmerman broke his own nose, hurling himself at the sidewalk!)

Strum was right in his observations. Sullivan seemed to think that the Times had lived up to his sensible journalistic concerns. But in the process of praising the Times, Sullivan failed to note a very important fact:

Much of the misinformation which still defines this case entered the journalistic bloodstream through the New York Times! That misinformation dominated the paper’s early reporting, when the Times engaged in some truly egregious misconduct.

This newspaper’s early news reports generated much more heat than light about this deeply unfortunate case. And it’s obvious where reporters were getting their heat, and their misinformation.

Again and again, those bogus facts seem to have come from the Martin family and especially from their attorneys. In the case of the New York Times’ first news report, that includes one false claim so egregious that it ought to shock the conscience.

Let’s repeat that:

The New York Times’ early reporting ought to shock the conscience. That said, the chances are very slight that it will. Meanwhile, Sullivan skipped this egregious misconduct as she issued her typical words of praise for the work of her famous employer.

Your press corps has worked this way for decades, especially at the Times. As we’ll note again later on in the week, all good career liberal players agree not to notice this fact.

All week, we’ll review the New York Times’ early reporting—reporting which included some truly egregious misstatements. We’ll even be able to answer a basic question:

With respect to this high-profile national story, where did the basic parts of the press corps’ Standard Story come from? More specifically, what was the source of the New York Times’ astounding array of misinformation? What was the source of the New York Times' heat-seeking frameworks and language?

The answer to those questions is obvious. Something else is obvious too. Right from its very first news report, the Times engaged in egregious misconduct in its reporting of this case. Its journalistic malpractice should shock the conscience, but almost surely it won’t.

Two shots were fired in a yellow wood! Or so the New York Times reported. The Times attached a lurid suggestion to its egregious false fact.

The color refers to the journalism. But where did that false fact come from?

Tomorrow: For a long list of errors, just click this. But where did those “errors” come from?


  1. Ah, yes, the problems is liberals and their agenda regarding this case. There's NONE of that on the other side, where it's all Purity and Truth!

    "On the heels of reports that the Justice Department is placing a hold on all evidence in the case, including the Kel-Tec PF-9 9mm pistol Zimmerman used to kill unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin, the Buckeye Firearms Foundation announced that it is raising money to buy the former neighborhood watch captain a new gun."

    When do the NRA ads come out? I can't wait.

    1. Wuth the death threats and all, he might want to have a gun.

    2. Although all Zimmerman supporters are not gun nuts, all gun nuts seem to be Zimmerman supporters
      A political aspect of the case that has not been examined.

    3. So the terrible work done by the msm and the left is okay because the right is worse? Huh?

    4. It's probably true that liberals who were not part of the lynch mob, who favor increased gun regulation, also do not want to exploit this case as one that proves their point.

      In fact, the incident more strongly supports the opposition's arguments. That some people who carry guns are sometimes very lucky they did, and that it is anything but progressive to insist on disarming people who can't afford the type of security Lawrence O'Donnell has around his neighborhood.

    5. Zimmerman needs death threats to be paranoid? Since when? Isn't he the guy that carries a loaded gun to drive to Target?

    6. Anon @ 12:55

      Conjecture on your part to say he carried the loaded gun "to drive to" Target. With the rash of burglaries in his neighborhood and the many years he had been calling 911, Mr. Zimmerman may have needed to loaded gun to drive in his neighborhood. Or he may have
      simply put it on early, but wanted it for cruising the lucheon foods aisle inside Target.

    7. It isn't paranoid to carry a loaded gun to Target in crime ridden areas. Or where violent dogs are frequently loose. Reportedly he originally bought the gun on the advice of an officer who responded to his call after his wife was cornered by a pit bull in their yard.

  2. Where did Bob (or anyone else) say "there's NONE of that on the other side, where it's all Purity and Truth?"

    Can it not be the case that there is ugly behaviour from both sides? I consider myself a liberal, as I believe Bob considers himself. Why can't we demand more from the people who claim to be, at least in some sense, aligned with us in our outlook?

    Does expecting more out of the people who claim to be fellow liberals make one a conservative?

    1. C'mon, Currypuff, get with the program! You're either with Team Trayvon or Team Zimmerman. So join on up and start chanting your team slogans. There's really no room for wafflers or doubters on either side. So make your choice and Believe!

  3. My burning question this morning is was the dead kid part of the "Choom Gang"?

    That's the latest ridiculous accusation based on absolutely nothing. Truth!

    1. Perhaps it is based on the presence of THC in his tox screen, indicating he used marijuana.

    2. indicating he used marijuana some time in the last 30 days.

      The gun laws in this country are bad enough, are we now making believe the marijuana laws are good too?
      And if so, this will definitely open the racism can of worms.

  4. Has there ever been an omnibudsman ever who wasn't a rubber stamping corporate shill for their employer?

  5. IMHO the broader implications are the ones Bob has been writing about: A few determined rabble-rousers, along with a compliant media, started with an unprejudiced liberal Hispanic -- someone who took a black girl to the prom, who volunteers to tutor black students, who helped a black neighbors in trouble with the police. By a series of specific actions, they turned this tolerant, helping person him into the epitome of an evil racist -- someone who would hunt down and murder someone just because he's black..

    The Times nevers covers this sort of back story. In Times view, the demonstrations and publicity somehow come from nature, without human planning and organization.

    1. In your HO, stated elsewhere in this blog, there is also a ton of "evidence" presented in the trial that Trayvon Martin "viciciously attacked" Zimmerman. As has been pointed out to you, the only evidence for that is Zimmerman's own version of events.

      You are like the compliant media in stating this HO, turning a dead boy into a criminal thug.


    2. Quaker in a BasementJuly 22, 2013 at 12:52 PM

      Dave, are you telling us that Zimmerman is the "real" victim?

    3. I think you mean "the only evidence aside from the physical evidence and the eyewitness."

    4. Well, Zimmerman's version and his broken nose, bashed head, and screams

    5. Both Anon's @ 12:54

      One eyewitness supported Zimmerman's contention that at some point in that confrontation he was getting beaten, and the physical evidence confirms his injury.

      None of that confirms who started the fight.
      Mr. David in Cal continues to state as fact that Martin viciously attacked Zimmerman, and that a ton of evidence supports it. Only Zimmerman's version does that. He may be telling the truth, but he certainly had a self interest in laying blame elsewhere.



    6. Logic doesn't confirm who started it but supports it to a reasonable certainty.

      We do know Martin viciously attacked and was seen viciously attacking. To a reasonable certainty. He could have been picking weeds around Zimmerman's head.

    7. Anon @1:14

      We also do know Zimmerman fatally shot someone he followed with a loaded gun based on the fact the person was "acting suspicious" and was the kind of "fucking punk" "asshole" who always gets away.

      That does not provide any evidence who attacked who. Martin's "viciousness" with his fists during the cofrontation was certainly matched by the fatal "viciousness"
      of Mr. Zimmerman's firearm.


    8. quaker, rick -- Your comments are not relevant to what I wrote here.

      Zimmerman has as liberal a record on racial tolerance as is conceivable. Yet, the race-hustlers and the media convinced much of the country that he's another Simon Legree. So much so that a woman whose phone number is similar to Zimmerman's has gotten nearly 100 threatening phone calls and death threats.

      I would add that these same groups wrongly convinced much of the country that Trayvon Martin is a saint.

    9. David in Cal

      You are right about the irrelevacy of much of my comment. It was as irrelevant as your interjections of Obama from time to time, or your attempts to retry the case from time to time when the issue is media coverage. This time your comment was on point and mine wasn't. Aplogy owed and given.


  6. The two shots error does not seem as bad to me as the "he was told to stay in his car" error.

    I believe the error of the two shots comes from one of the 911 tapes. There ARE two "bang" sounds on the tape, both of which sound a little bit like gun shots. It was explained to me that the first "bang" noise was actually a slamming door, but the fact remains that there were two gun-like noises on the tape.

    I once had a co-worker call the police to report gun shots after I had slammed the metal lid on a dumpster twice. How much harder is it to discern which is a shot and which a slamming door when both noises are background noise on a recording?

    But I notice in the link, they do not bother to add a correction explaining the two "shots". As Heinlein wrote "I shot an error into the air. It's still going - everywhere."

    1. The two shots error is one error too many for Mr. Somerby. Make an error on a topic and he will figuratively pummel it blogger style. Ask anyone whose head hurts from joining the press stalking of St. Gore.

    2. The 'two shots' error, combined with the narrative suggesting the gunshot victim was executed while screaming and pleading for his life, definitely helped create the false narrative about George Zimmerman as a Bronson-like enforcer taking the law into his own hands. No evidence was presented at trial that proved or even suggested that this point-of-view was correct.

  7. Has the Times issued any corrections?

    1. Not on the "warning shot," then "kill shot" error (which was stated in their own reporter's voice as if it were just a know fact, not attributed to the source, the hardly-disinterested and factually wrong Martin attorneys) they haven't.

      If anyone claims that's a *minor* error, they are lying to you.

  8. Zimmerman Pulls Man from Overturned Truck in Crash

    Probably a white man.

    1. I find it interesting that the account of this event makes note of this being "the first sighting" of Zimmerman since the trial. Is he a candidate for sainthood or is this the beginning of the Elvis-ization of poor George Z. forced to live on in the public imagination through random spottings here and there?

      I also note that ABC was tipped to the story by a Sanford police captain, but the Florida Highway Patrol is handling the incident. Kind of reminds me that much of the kindling for this issue catching fire was provided by the way the Sanford police were perceived to handle it.

    2. Update on St. Elvis/George sighting.

      The ABC report has Z. rescuing a man from a truck according to a Sanford PD captain.

      Somerby's next post contains an article from Baltimore. His link contains a link to the Orlando Sentinel account of Zimmerman's rescue. In it, Z. and another man help a family of 3 exit, uninjured, from an overturned SUV at a different location than reported by ABC. One man rescued by George. Three gender unidentified rescued by George and another man.

      One shot or two?

    3. Race hustlers claimed to perceive mishandling of a clear case of self-defense. There was no such mishandling and there was no racial element. It was just another hoax by the race hustlers, bought by gullible rubes on the left.

  9. Part 1 of 3:
    This is in response to some of the pro-Zimmerman comments that have been posted on this blog recently.

    While I agree that there was not enough evidence to "prove beyond reasonable doubt" that Z did not act in self-defense, it seems to me that some of you are a little too sure of yourselves in other regards.

    1. You don't know how the confrontation between Z and M started. Period. I'm familiar with the evidence supposedly showing it was M who threw the first punch (injuries to Z but not to M, etc.). There are two problems with that line of argument: a) it's inconclusive . . . for one thing, more often than not, punches miss or are (at least partially) deflected and therefore don't leave marks on either knuckles or faces (especially punches thrown by crackers [that's a joke; calm down]); and b) even if it could be proven definitively that M threw the first PUNCH, that doesn't mean that was the first physical MOVE made in the altercation . . . Z still might have made some other type of threatening-seeming move (including reaching for his gun or phone) before the first punch was thrown. You. Don't. Know. No one does. That has been one of the biggest mysteries all along -- there is a brief gap in the timeline during which the physical altercation started. Just be honest and admit that, like the rest of us, you simply don't know how it started. And if you're incapable of coming up with a plausible alternative narrative about how the fight started, one in which Z provokes it, you simply aren't motivated enough to try. Here is just one possibility: Z was clearly dead set on not letting M get away before the cops got there, based on his words and actions during his call to the dispatcher (and possibly even immediately after the call ended). Given this fact, plus the fact that Z knew he had a gun to fall back on if things got out of hand, PLUS the fact that he knew the cops were on their way, it is very plausible that he might have tried to prevent M from getting away -- whether by blocking his path, or ordering him to stay put and then making some move towards him, or perhaps even grabbing a sleeve or something of the sort. That's pure speculation, but it's plausible and consistent with all the evidence that I'm aware of. Again, no one knows! [continued below]

  10. Part 2 of 3:

    2. Any beliefs or statements along the lines of "M was more to blame than Z," or "M behaved more irresponsibly than Z" are mere opinion, and there is plenty to support a different opinion. Regardless of what you think M may have done "wrong," plenty of people are of the opinion that there were many things Z did "wrong." For example, they think: A) There wasn't enough of a basis for being suspicious of M in the first place (and this is assuming Z's account of what M was doing initially is even accurate - a big assumption); B) Z shouldn't have followed M in his car (and he obviously wasn't very stealthy about it either, since M clearly knew that someone was following/watching him); C) Z shouldn't have gotten out of his car (under the specific set of circumstances, Bob Somerby, not in general); D) Z shouldn't have chased after M on foot, even more so since he was armed (many people are of the [wise] opinion that you have to be even LESS risk-taking when you're armed, knowing that if an "incident" occurs the odds that someone dies goes way up when a gun is involved); E) Z should have stopped IMMEDIATELY when asked to do so (it seems pretty clear from the background noise on the call that he continues his pursuit for at least a good 10 seconds after being asked to stop; and the fact that he was still apparently hanging around near the intersection of the sidewalks when the fight occurred seems to indicate that he did not immediately head back to his truck even after ending the call with the dispatcher, judging from the timeline: ); and F) Z should have, as early as possible, identified himself as part of the Neighborhood Watch and said something along the lines of he was just doing his job, making sure nothing was amiss. You put all of those things together, and they form a pretty compelling case that Z acted just as irresponsibly as M.

  11. Part 3 of 3:

    3. Many of you seem so very eager to take Z's side, not just legally but morally. The impression I get from reading the comments here is that you seem to think that, assuming M threw the first punch, he was clearly in the wrong and Z was not only LEGALLY justified in shooting him but also MORALLY justified. Well, that too is purely a matter of opinion. There is plenty of reason for a less definitive opinion -- or a different one altogether. I suggest a thought experiment: Imagine if all of the known facts of this case were exactly the same except that it was your one and only son who had been killed -- by a black man, if you are white. Would you be so quick to take the shooter's side? So quick to see everything from his point of view? Would you be so dismissive of the other side? Would you not think that maybe your son was justified (morally, and possibly even legally from a "stand your ground" perspective) in physically responding to someone who had exhibited the aggressive, predatory, "creepy" behavior that Z engaged in?

    Probably anyone in M's position that night would experience at least two emotions: fear . . . and MORAL OUTRAGE. "What the fuck is this guy's problem?!" is probably pretty close to what most people would be thinking to themselves if this happened to them, if some strange man (again, if you're white, imagine it's a black man to make it more analogous), on a dark and rainy night, shined his headlights on you as you walked home, then followed you in his car, then even GOT OUT of his car to pursue you ON FOOT -- undeterred by rain and darkness -- when he was no longer able to follow by car. Most females, and perhaps even most males, would likely be terrified and would want to just get the hell out of there, despite whatever moral outrage they might feel. But if your son were 17, tall, athletic, and confident in his ability to hold his own in a fight, can you not see how he might let that moral outrage trump his fear and decide to "stand his ground"? Would he really be so clearly in the wrong? Additionally, M had good reason to believe (as he apparently did) that Z was a predator of some sort: Z was in a "civilian" vehicle, he was not wearing any kind of uniform, and he did not identify himself or explain himself. If M's understandable belief about Z being a predator had turned out to be true, wouldn't you have thought he had done a morally (if not legally) justifiable thing by kicking the guy's ass?

    1. When I'm asked "imagine... killed by a black man, if you are white" I am invited to join in "imagining" that everything is to do with race.

      I'll choose not to do that, thanks anyway.

    2. That's OK. You can still see the fantastic job Mike L. did showing the folly of those who only see Zimmerman as the victim without doing so.


    3. First, there is no evidence Zimmerman didn't identify himself as Neighborhood Watch. We don't know what he did or didn't say to Martin. Second, you ignore all of the evidence about the previous interest in fighting. You also minimize the importance of burglary statistics and previous crimes in the neighborhood and seem to be suggesting that it would be foolish to for Zimmerman to behave in his role as watch caption at all -- something it is his right to do. Third, when there is uncertainty about what occurred, there is no more or less reason to give Martin the benefit of the doubt than Zimmerman. You seem to think that only Martin deserves the benefit of any doubt. why?

      If people discussing Martin had acknowledged the negatives in both the scenario and his background and engaged in an even-handed weighing of what may have occurred, people wouldn't feel the need to assert Zimmerman's case so strongly. The point here has been that the media outright lied about the facts of the case in order to portray Zimmerman as a racist murderer. THAT is why so many people seem to be bending over backwards to support the possibility that Zimmerman may not have been as awful as he has been portrayed. Mike, you ignore that media context as well when you refer to the comments that have been appearing here.

    4. Should the people discussing Zimmerman acknowledge his run-ins with the law and his predilection to violence and paranoia, and engage in and even-handed weighing of what may have occurred?
      If so, they might find themselves justly skeptical of the guy who made sure not all the "punks" get away with it.

    5. "there is no evidence...": if you're going to be honest, you will admit that if Z had identified himself, at some point in the year and five months since he shot M, he would have mentioned this somewhere along the way. It's nearly inconceivable that he would not have mentioned that at least once in all that time, especially given that it would have helped not just his case but possibly his portrayal in the media and assessment by the public.

      "you ignore all of the evidence about the previous interest in fighting": 1. Assuming those reports are accurate, they don't allow you to draw any specific conclusion about what happened, for example how the altercation started. Even if M was eager to fight, that doesn't mean he was the one who made the first threatening-seeming move (see my first post above about this). 2. Z also had an "interest in fighting," in that he was practicing MMA according to a lawyer on "Morning Joe." Does that allow us to draw any specific conclusion about what happened?

      "it would be foolish...": Assuming that M was in fact doing something that a reasonable person would consider suspicious, that still wouldn't justify much of Z's behavior beyond making the call and MAYBE trying to follow M inconspicuously from a distance in his vehicle. But as far as getting out of his car, chasing after M, not immediately following the suggestion of the dispatcher, and apparently hanging around after the call,...the wisdom of all of that is still open to question, even for a Watch captain.

      I haven't suggested that Z not be given the benefit of the doubt; I was responding to those on here that appeared to not give M any benefit of the doubt. As I stated, I think that the jury got the decision "right." I wanted to try to show that answers to some of the non-legal questions being debated were not so clear-cut as some on this blog seemed to be supposing.

      None of what I wrote was about the media coverage. I wholeheartedly agree that they have been horrible and that Somerby is right to call them on it.

    6. Anonymous on July 22, 2013 at 2:03 PM,

      So you "choose" not to imagine that everything has to do with race. In fact, I'll bet you get to choose that almost nothing has to do with race. That's not a luxury that everyone gets to enjoy. And that's why Mike L's invitation to reverse the races in inapt.

      I think we can acknowledge this and the anger and resentment associated with this case without losing track of the fact that there seems to be no evidence of racial motivation for the shooting and no evidence of racial animus in Zimmerman's life

      Or we can pretend there's no larger context beyond the night in question, and suggest, as one commenter has, that anyone who's got a problem with that can shut the fuck up until the next MLK holiday, when they can yak it up all they want since the rest of us will be on vacation anyway.

    7. There is no larger racial context. There is arguably a gun-related larger context. Arguably.

    8. AnonymousJuly 22, 2013 at 4:05 PM
      "First, there is no evidence Zimmerman didn't identify himself as Neighborhood Watch. We don't know what he did or didn't say to Martin"

      You mean other than Zimmerman's own admission to the police during his lengthy questioning that he never identified himself as Neighborhood Watch?

      Another Anonymous Ass pipes up.

    9. I thought we weren't taking Zimmerman's word for anything?

    10. Anonymous @ 6:59P,

      Dead black teenager shot one night in a confrontation that came about partly because someone thought the kid was acting "suspicious." The wheels of justice grind to a halt before the sun comes up. I was just so afraid that some members of the national community would see this through a glass different from yours, perhaps one more darkly.

      But what a relief. "There is no larger racial context." And, poof! The hurt, anger, and distrust are gone. If you weren't posting anonymously, I'd nominate you for an NAACP image award.

    11. "The hurt, anger, and distrust largely ginned up by erroneous reporting."


      Or would you like to pretend that the erroneous reporting, continuing, uncorrected, even to the present day, is not a significant source of the perceived racial dimension to the case? Seriously, rat?

    12. Anonymous @ 12:43P,

      Whew! And I thought maybe black people were able to make their own judgments based on their own experiences. But thanks to you, we know it's all due to "outside agitators." Long history of those.

      Thanks for solving the problem. All gone now.

    13. So you have to transform "largely" into "all due to" in order to feel you can run off from your sinking ship, rat?

      So much of what you've written has been admirable -- why not own up here?

    14. Anonymous @ 9:42,

      Oh, sorry. My bad. Note to self: don't use hyperbole with the literal-minded.

      Black people don't make their own judgment "largely" due to outside agitators -- so much less condescending.

      (rat, sinking ship, heh, heh. But only the live ones leave.)

    15. It is seriously odd for you to pretend you're taking the high ground against condescension by asserting that black people wouldn't be influenced by hearing wrong "facts" and by not hearing suppressed facts, deadrat.

    16. Anonymous @ 6:07A, 6:35A

      In the first place, 6:07, we're not on a second-syllable basis. Secondly, where have a made any comments about media influences on white people? After you've answered that, you can tell me where I said that black people have any special sense. Your pal @ 28 minutes later can jump in on that one if you need help.

      I have objected to the condescending attitude that characterizes a community as particularly susceptible to demagogues or that communal anger and distrust is "largely ginned up." Is it so difficult to think that members of the black community might come to their beliefs in the same way as normal, flesh-colored people? By making their own judgments based on their own experiences, however limited, and through their own filters, however faulty? That they're not any more susceptible or more easily goaded because you disagree with them?

      It is not required that you agree with people whose views oppose yours. Or to deny the existence of demagogues and hustlers who live on agitation. But I think it is necessary not to misstate my argument to say that black people aren't influenced by media. And I think it best not to dismiss my argument with the use contemptuous terms like "magic negro," especially when you don't really understand what they mean. And I'd prefer if you didn't attribute pretense to me when you can't bother to characterize my statements correctly.

      Unfortunately, none of this is seriously odd. In fact, it's just SOP.

    17. "characterizes a community as particularly susceptible"

      Where did that happen, outside your imagination?

    18. Further, the most egregious mischaracterization going on here, other than the one adverted to above at 1:13, is the one you engaged in at 7:28, and then pathetically pretended was mere hyperbole rather than a fundamental alteration of my statement.

      I'll repeat for you my "argument":

      "The hurt, anger, and distrust were largely ginned up by erroneous reporting."

      What you've contributed since that point has been quite sad.

    19. Anonymous @ 1:17P

      Please spare me your sanctimony. If my contributions depress you so much, then don't read them. If you can't see the condescension in your "largely ginned up" argument, then so be it. At least I can spare you the pretense that the benighted opinions of ignoramuses sadden me.

      Neither is your literal mindedness my problem.

    20. Anonymous @ 1:13P,

      I was responding to MC: "I know being hassled by security is an odious experience and black people get it much , much worse than white people. I would suggest that makes the black community all the more susceptible to demagoguing on this issue."

      If you can't be bothered to read the thread, kindly keep your thoughts about my imagination to yourself. Thanks in advance.

    21. If you can't bother to acknowledge that "erroneous reporting" could predictably lead to increased "hurt, anger and distrust" -- if you find that to be condescending, sanctimonious, too bad for you as it's merlely factual.

    22. Rather than argue your (ridiculous) position on that against me, here, in this stale thread, maybe you'd consider arguing it against Somerby, as it's essentially the thrust of one of his column's today.

      You've already commented in that thread, but you took the very low road of slagging off on David in California (an easy target), and didn't address what Somerby wrote at all.

      If you can't be bothered, etc. etc.

    23. Last word here is yours for the taking.

  12. Imagine if all of the known facts of this case were exactly the same except that it was your one and only son who had been killed -- by a black man, if you are white. Would you be so quick to take the shooter's side?

    This is why we don't put parents of deceased on juries. If it were someone else's white son, I would think he was morally and legally innocent, and that his parents probably failed by not teaching him not attack people, and if they have 4 minutes, take 11 seconds of it to go home or elsewhere instead of starting a fight.

    1. "teaching him not to attack people"..."starting a fight": as I tried to make abundantly clear, no one knows who made the first move in the altercation. But even if we assume it was M, your wording fails to do the context of the attack justice. Even if you teach someone that, IN GENERAL, you don't "attack people," that's different from the specific context in which this "attack" occurred.

      "if they have 4 minutes, take 11 seconds of it to go home or elsewhere": I've seen some form of this statement again and again, and it amazes me that someone would be so focused on a 17-year-old's possibly poor judgment, and never mention all the possible instances of poor judgment on the part of a 28-year-old head of a Neighborhood Watch. That just blows my mind, and though I can't possibly know, I strongly suspect there's an element of racism involved.

    2. What poor judgment on Zimmerman's part? Clearly there is something worse than mere poor judgment on the part of someone who has 4 minutes to travel 80 yards but doubles back to attack someone. Maybe it's racist not to believe there is an exception to "no attacking" if it involves a black and a white or "white Hispanic."

    3. "What poor judgment on Z's part?" You're kidding right? If not, see "Part 2 of 3" above -- just for starters, getting out of his car to chase after a stranger he knew he had already provoked when he is not a cop and the REAL cops were already on their way -- especially knowing he had a gun, which is a reason to be even less risk-taking for the reason I stated above. You're obsessed with the 4 minutes T supposedly had to avoid the final outcome; how many minutes did Z have? And how many opportunities did he have -- for example, to explain who he was and why he was following M, to not get out of his vehicle, to not chase after M on foot, to not (apparently) hang around the "T" after the dispatcher call ended? And how long between the end of his call to the dispatcher and the start of the fight did Z have to leave the area in which the fight occurred? But that's OK, you just stay focused on what the black boy might have done wrong and never on what the white man might have done wrong.

    4. He thought the person was long gone, and he was trying to take a look on the outside chance he could spot him. No poor judgment there unless you're a judgmental elitist who can rely on police and other security to do what they failed to do in that community. He didn't double back anywhere to attack TM, he doubled back to return to his car. He had no time to see and retreat from TM, and the obviously timid GZ who had already indicated he was in fear on his call would not have attacked knowing he had a gun that TM could find and shoot him with.

      No poor judgment except perhaps where his own safety was involved, but only in retrospect.

    5. Mike said: "it amazes me that someone would be so focused on a 17-year-old's possibly poor judgment, and never mention all the possible instances of poor judgment on the part of a 28-year-old head of a Neighborhood Watch."

      That is part of why people here give more credence to the statement of the 28-year-old head of Neighborhood Watch's version of the event. It makes a lot less sense that he would have attacked a 17 year old for no reason other than racist paranoia than that he would have been attacked by an aggressive teen and had to defend himself. Trayvon does have stuff in his background making the version that exonerates his participation less likely than that things happened pretty much the way Zimmerman described them.

    6. Uh, what things in Martin's background are you talking about?

      Do you mean when he was arrested for assualting a cop? Or when he had an order of protection placed against him for abusing his ex-fiance? Oh what that was Zim, as far as I know Martin has no history of actual violence.

    7. "He thought the person was long gone" -- you're either lying or you haven't listened to the call closely enough. He did not think M was long gone -- when the dispatcher asks for Z's address, Z starts to give it to him but then stops and says, "Oh crap, I don't want to give it out loud; I don't know where this kid is."

      "judgmental elitist" -- oh, sweet irony. If that ain't the judgmental, 4-minute-obsessed pot calling the kettle black...

      "He didn't double back...return to his car": you don't know WHAT he did between the time he ended the call and the time the fight started, except that he apparently was still near the intersection of the sidewalks. There is likely a good two minutes between those two events, judging from the timeline, and that is MORE than sufficient time for Z to get back to his truck if that's what he had intended to do.

      "He had no time to see and retreat" -- pure speculation. And regardless, as I just stated, it's likely he had plenty of time to get completely away from the area before any confrontation occurred.

      "The obviously timid" -- whatever evidence there is (and there is some) to suggest Z was "timid," there is every bit as much to suggest he was very bold -- so bold as to get out of his vehicle and start chasing after M, alone and in the dark. You even implicitly admit as much when you say, "No poor judgment except perhaps where his own safety was involved." Right, most people would NOT have been so bold (some would say "stupid") as to get out of their car in such a situation and follow a "suspect" on foot. And he apparently hung around after the call for up to two minutes before the fight started, even though his flashlight was apparently not working. Does that seem "timid" to you?

      "would not have attacked": once again, we're back to who made the first threatening-seeming move. First of all, we don't know, even though I would grant that it was more likely M than Z, we still don't know. I gave a very plausible scenario as to how the altercation might have started above, one in which it is Z who makes the first "move." Also, in the video reenactment with Z, he claims that he reached (rather frantically is my impression) down his right side to search for his cell phone. That easily could have been interpreted by M as reaching for a weapon. Given that M had no reason to think Z was not a predator as M suspected (no marked vehicle, no uniform, and Z never identified himself), M's attack might have been perfectly reasonable if he thought Z was reaching for a weapon.

      "No poor judgment" -- pure opinion. In many (maybe most?) people's minds, there is one or more decisions Z made that night that would be labeled "poor judgment."

    8. Hank, I am referring to the contents of Martin's cell phone, his suspensions from school, and the comments of his friend Jeantel.

      There are a series of defamatory accusations made about Zimmerman, most exaggerated into the ugliest possible terms on various websites. If you read sites more favorable toward Zimmerman, there are explanations of the circumstances of those events that suggest Zimmerman was far from eager to engage in any kind of violence. Not so for Martin. The more you delve into his life, the more it suggests he was capable of being the aggressor.

      When he supposedly assaulted the copy, he was drinking and stepped in to an ongoing altercation to defend a friend. Charges were reduced and he went to anger management classes. In terms of the ex-fiancé, she had a restraining order against him but he also had one against her. There is no evidence he abused her and it is almost routine for fighting couples to seek such an order these days. You left out the accusation about molesting a cousin -- why leave that one out? These ugly accusations are intended to discredit Zimmerman's account of what happened and there has been no investigation of whether they are true or not, or what the circumstances were of any of them. If you don't know that Martin bragged about hitting a school bus driver, you aren't keeping up with the news. The contents of Martin's cell phone are at the center of the accusation that the prosecution withheld evidence from the defense during the trial. The defense chose not to present that evidence at trial because it wasn't necessary since the prosecution had failed to make its case and it would have opened the door to presentation of character evidence about both parties -- they didn't want to expose the jury to the character assassination of Zimmerman that has been ongoing in the media.

    9. 4:51, so a teenager pretending he's a fighter to his buddies, or getting suspended for cutting classs and smoking dope proves the kid was a violent thug (no character assassination there!). But a grown man actually getting arrested for assualting a cop proves nothing as it's just a misunderstanding and any reference to it is character assassination?

      I see.

      And, i'm not sure where you're from, but having an order of protection placed on you by an ex is NOT routine.

      Nice try though...

    10. "...she had a restraining order against him but he also had one against her.'

      And stop calling him paranoid!

    11. Don't go too far out on that "he wasn't a thug" limb especially with certain photos and texts involving buying and selling of guns. All of that will come out as will the real reason for his suspension.

    12. Wow! 5:29, has some double secret information about the "real reason" for Martin's suspension. He also implies the dead teenager was buying and selling guns.

      Funny, the only one who has a history of violence was the killer. The only one who had a gun, was the killer. The dead kid had a history of smoking pot, graffiti and cutting class... i.e., a history of being a teenager.

    13. Anonymous July 22, 2013 at 4:51 PM,

      So the more you know about Zimmerman, the more you know that he actually was an aggressor before the fateful night; and the more you know about Martin, the more you know that he was "capable" or aggression.

      But the more you think you know these things, the amount you know about what actually happened that night increases by not a jot.

      The defense didn't choose not to present the "evidence" in Martin's cell phone. The judge ruled it inadmissible.

    14. I am not sure it is true that the judge ruled the contents of the cell phone inadmissible but that can be checked. My understanding is that the defense was upset because it didn't have sufficient time to investigate the information belatedly supplied to it and could not address the ruling properly. The cell phone contents came to light because of the whistleblower who provided info that the prosecution had not turned that potentially exculpatory evidence over to the defense. It would have been a basis for reversal, had a different verdict been given.

      The strongest evidence for me that Zimmerman was unlikely to have been the aggressor is his lengthy record of calls as a Neighborhood Watch captain. From the police records made at the time of each of those calls, he appeared to be doing his job without the kind of vigilante over-enthusiasm attributed to him as a copy wannabe. As to his studying martial arts -- so do many people interested in defending themselves, including little old ladies and young women who are disproportionately the targets of violent crime.

      It is unclear to me what you gain by claiming that Martin lied to his friends when bragging about assaulting the school bus driver. If he is a liar, then Jeantel's testimony is further undermined.

    15. She essentially ruled it inadmissible and would not allow time to authenticate the texts on TM's password protected phone as coming from TM.

    16. This attempt to rehabilitate TM and further vilify GZ just won't work. When our brains operate logically, they tell us things with levels of confidence.

    17. Mike L.

      I appreciate what you've done here. It is proper to defend Martin and the possibility that he behaved decently if not heroically at the end. Your scenario of how he was resisting Zimmerman is plausible, but highly unlikely. Armed security never initiates physical contact. They always keep their distance. Nothing about Zimmerman's demeanor and behavior and history suggest that he is some kind of macho idiot. You need some basis for your conjecture.
      I watched the tape of his reenactment that you recommended. His actions all seemed pretty understandable to me. It's easy in hindsight to take things apart, but he did not do anything especially weird, at least there is no evidence for it, and it's not easy and takes considerable luck to fake evidence. Sure he should have stayed in his car but how realistic is that? Easy to say now but most security will proceed on foot otherwise they would be pretty limited in places like that.

      I know being hassled by security is an odious experience and black people get it much , much worse than white people. I would suggest that makes the black community all the more susceptible to demagoguing on this issue.

      I don't think you have a basis to criticize those who were defending Zimmerman except insofar as we were getting our facts wrong. Generally the substance of his story holds up and generally so does his character. To defend Martin you are having to presume guilt on Zimmerman's part--that he began the physical assault and lied about it all. But to defend Zimmerman, we don't have to presume anything. The evidence supports Zimmerman. Legally, it's an unusually clear-cut case of self-defense. What we were angry about was the possibility that the evidence was being distorted and overlooked in such a way that Zimmerman gets demagogued into a totally unsupportable guilty verdict. That is how the old-fashioned lynch trials worked, as in To Kill A Mockingbird.
      Again, I appreciate your writing and I realize that Trayvon Martin also deserves the presumption of innocence

    18. Anonymous @ 6:33P,

      You're not sure it's true that the cell-phone records were ruled inadmissible, but you concede it could be checked out. But you didn't bother. It checked out on May 28. Go here:

      On the other hand, you are sure of things like the failure of the prosecution to hand over the cell-phone records would have been grounds for a reversal had the verdict been guilty. Which is nonsense. No judge would have admitted such irrelevant material.

      For you, Zimmerman's prior record of calls is "strong" evidence of his not being the aggressor, but you can't understand why teenage boasting isn't considered reliable evidence.

      Go figure.

    19. M Carpenter: I disagree with most of what you wrote, but I'm too burned out on all this to address it all, so I'll just hit a couple of "highlights."
      "Armed security never initiates contact." That's just laughable. First of all, "armed security" are human beings. Human beings are capaple of doing things they're not supposed to do. Secondly, even if Z did not "initiate contact," he still could have done something to make M feel threatened, like try to stand in his way . . . or, an even more likely scenario, and one that not only fits all the known facts but also has at least a bit of evidence to suggest it, is this: in that video, Z claims that right after M asked him "you got a problem?" and right before M punched him, Z reached for his phone but was having trouble finding it. He demonstrates how he reached down his right side, where his gun was. It is more than plausible to think that that could have been the final tipping point that made M attack Z. He (very reasonably) thought Z was some type of "predator," and if he thought Z was reaching for a weapon, M would want to pounce before Z had a chance to use it.
      "To defend Martin you are having to presume guilt on Zimmerman's part--that he began the physical assault and lied about it all." Wrong. I said that the evidence did not prove conclusively that Z did not start the fight or at least make the first threatening-seeming move that provoked the fight. But then I went on (and on) and said that even if M made the first move (in other words, even if Z's story is true, and he did nothing against the law), M's actions could still be seen as justifiable (I'm not talking legally here, but in a broader, human sense of the term) given the very specific set of circumstances that I tried to make everyone vividly imagine -- dark rainy night, walking home alone, unmarked car, no uniform, no identification, following in vehicle, then even on foot, reasonable belief that Z was some type of predator, the presumed predator quickly reaching for something down his side when confronted. In other words, M may have not been acting like a "thug" and "viciously attacking" someone unjustifiably as some people on this blog have claimed or implied. M's actions may very well have been perfectly justifiable when you look at things from his perspective.

    20. M Carpenter,

      You know that being hassled by "security" is hateful, and you know that black people are hassled much, much more than white people. And your conclusion from this: black people are more susceptible to demogoguing. The mind reels.

      Generally, you say, the substance of Zimmerman's story holds up as does his character, or shall we say the story of his character. Except for that assault charge and the restraining order thing. The key word here is "story," although that doesn't mean it's necessarily wrong.

      No one has to defend Martin. He's long past being put on trial. But to recognize that we don't know some crucial facts about the night in question isn't to presume guilt on Zimmerman's part.

      In your narrative, it's an unusually clear-cut case of self-defense. Legally, since the defense didn't offer an affirmative defense of justification, it's a clear-cut case of reasonable doubt.

      I suggest you read Harper Lee's 1960 novel, or watch the classic film made two years later. Perhaps then you'll understand the grotesqueness of your reference. At least, you'll be able to understand the contradiction in the phrase "lynch trials."

      It's mighty white of you to accord Martin the presumption of innocence, but he had no need of it as he was never charged with a crime.

    21. Obviously the whole left-wing liberal press has been subject to demagogueing on this issue so why not the black folks too. What I am saying is the well-proven assumption of this website.
      It is indeed an unusually clear-cut case of self-defense. Rarely is the defendant in a self-defense trial on the phone to 911 immediately prior directly reporting the actions of his eventual assailant. If Zimmerman had been a woman, there would have been absolutely no controversy.

      Mike L.

      You have to realize the psychology of armed security--they always keep their distance. The fear of being sucker-punched or knifed is paramount. Your presumption is highly unrealistic. I have been out there and in that very situation.
      And really, you know that Trayvon was not threatened by Zimmerman, he was fucking pissed off and he clearly showed it.
      The point is, it is possible to justify Trayvon's actions, but the resulting story is very unlikely.
      If you believed that Zimmerman was a racist thug from the get-go, then you did not see that this was exactly like an old-fashioned lynch trial. If Zimmerman had been black and had been equally caricaturized and abused by the press you would too would be saying the same thing, no doubt. The left-wing press race-baited, defamed and slimed George Zimmerman and this case all over the place. If he had had negligent lawyers as used to be common, Zimmerman would have been convicted just based on the emotions of the case, no doubt. No they would not have dragged him out and hanged him, but they would have thrown him into a small cage for a lot of years. That's bad enough.

      Deadrat cut it out with the racist "mighty white of you. I don't deserve that. There was nothing condescending or racist in my remark that even Martin deserves a presumption of innocence. It was a reminder to myself and others that even though our defense of Zimmerman often entails making Trayvon into the aggressor, he may still have been innocent of any aggressive intent. Where do you get off implying that I am some kind of patronizing white racist for saying that? Yours is a very ugly response.

    22. M. Carpenter:

      1 of 2 parts:

      Just to be clear, I have never made the slightest suggestion that Z was a "racist thug." I have also never said or implied anything about "faking evidence." And I haven't said anything about the media's handling of all this, except a very brief statement about how I agree that they've been horrible and deserve Somerby's criticism.

      Any claim or assumption about how ALL security guards ALWAYS act is patently absurd. If you cannot see the absurdity of basing an argument on a premise such as, "Armed security NEVER initiates physical contact. They ALWAYS keep their distance," there is no point in us debating. To state the obvious, YOU may have acted a certain way as a security guard, and other security guards you know may have acted similarly, and maybe MOST security guards can reasonably be assumed to act that way, but that doesn't mean every security guard everywhere in all instances throughout all space and time acts the same -- let alone everyone who has ever participated in a Neighborhood Watch. And by the way, Z is not technically "armed security," since security is usually a paid gig and therefore comes with different motivations/mindset from that of someone who volunteers to be the head of a Neighborhood Watch.

      Another argument you make is about how Z's character, history, and his demeanor and behavior on the night in question all support his story and make it very implausible or unlikely that he would do anything to provoke a physical confrontation. You also seem to think he's very credible. Neither of us knows enough about Z to conclude anything about what he might have done that night. But there are some facts that would seem to undermine the perfect picture you paint of Z: 1. Z's previous assault charge for shoving a cop, resulting in his having to attend an anger management class, 2. the domestic violence charge and restraining order against him, 3. his practicing Mixed Martial Arts (i.e., fighting), 4. the anger he apparently felt towards M that night, reflected by "fucking punks" and "these assholes always get away," 5. his zealousness in pursuit of M that night, including leaving the safety of his vehicle to pursue a "suspect" he knew he had already provoked, 6. even his pursuit of a Criminal Justice degree MIGHT indicate a different mindset from that of your average Neighborhood Watch participant, and 7. Z is very likely lying at one or more points in that video reenactment (judging from where the body was found, and judging from the timeline of events that has been established). None of this proves anything about the incident, but it does make your claim that Z wouldn't have done anything to provoke a fight and then lied about it less certain than you make it seem. [continued below]

    23. Part 2 of 2:

      "And really, you know that Trayvon was not threatened by Zimmerman, he was fucking pissed off and he clearly showed it." Please. I made it abundantly clear that I think M was (justifiably) outraged by Z's predatory behavior (as most of us would be); that doesn't mean he didn't also feel threatened by him. He did run away at one point, after all. It is not contradictory to say that he was pissed off but also felt threatened.

      Lastly, I don't know how much clearer I can make this, and this really is the point I wanted to drive home the most: Even if Z's story is completely true, my argument is that M may very well have been acting within his moral rights (not legal rights) when he attacked Z, based on the combination of 1) M's reasonable belief that Z was a predator of some sort, and 2) the very specific set of circumstances leading up to the confrontation and which I have detailed twice above (nighttime, being followed by a "civilian" vehicle, Z's not having a uniform or identifying himself, his pursuit on foot, his supposed reaching for his phone when M confronts him, etc.). So you are misreading what I've written when you say things like, "To defend Martin you are having to presume guilt on Zimmerman's part" and "it is possible to justify Trayvon's actions, but the resulting story is very unlikely."

    24. M Carpenter,

      At this point, I think I'm supposed to cede you the high moral ground and abjectly apologize for calling you a racist. Or at least pretend that I'm ceding you the heights and issue one of those non-apologies by saying I'm sorry if you're offended.

      I'm not gonna do either. In fact, I'm gonna double down and hope that you read to the end of my comment. You're offended at the thought that somebody would suggest that you're a racist? Good. Maybe that means that you'll spend a little more time thinking about your words. You find that suggestion ugly? Good. Maybe you can still recognize the grotesqueries behind your claims. You say don't deserve my scorn for your attitude? No, you deserve that and more.

      That said, let me make clear what your defensiveness has blocked from your view. I'm not calling you an evil person or a closet Kleagle or a white supremacist. I'm not saying that you hate black people because you defend Zimmerman from unfair vilification. I'm not even complaining about your dedication to the narrative that not only was Martin not threatened, but that I know he wasn't; that Martin was not only angry but he "clearly" showed it; that Zimmerman was in danger of conviction in Florida for killing a black teenager in the circumstances of the night of February 26, 2012. Because of the "left-wing" press or because of the former prevalence of negligent lawyers or something. After all, we love stories, and we love our own stories best.

      When I say it's "mighty white of you," I'm calling out the color that paints your preconceptions, the same ones that make "mighty white" a somewhat-archaic and now-ironic synonym for fair play and honest dealing. You think it's not condescending to state that you "realize" that Martin deserves the presumption of innocence? That's a legal term of art to describe the official demeanor the courts present to someone charged with a crime. Maybe Zimmerman should never have been charged, but Martin in fact wasn't. I'm sure you knew that since you're apparently on a first-name basis with him. Since you just got done telling me that Martin wasn't provoked and that we both know that for a fact, am I even supposed to believe you've had this "realization"?

      You say you understand that black people have a "much, much worse" experience with "security," which I'm sure we can agree includes coercive officialdom at all levels. But the conclusion you choose to draw is not that their experience informs their views just as your experience informs yours, but rather that they are more open to demagoguery. Not like you. You're an autonomous person unlike the easily manipulated. And you can't hear the condescension dripping from these words? What are you, tone deaf?

      (continued in deadrat's next comment)

    25. (continued from deadrat's previous comment)

      Let me spend a moment on "old-fashioned lynch trials" and To Kill a Mockingbird. In that fictional story, after the black defendant, Tom, is convicted of raping a white woman, he's killed while supposedly trying to escape from custody. So the fictional community tries Tom and then lynches him. In the real world during The Golden Age of Lynching (ca 1870 - ca 1940), trials were dispensed with and mobs moved directly to the extra-judicial killing entertainment, and I mean that last word literally. If you didn't know that, why not? And if you did, why would you employ such an inapt phrase? I'm assuming that you wouldn't describe the inability of non-Indians to run casinos as an economic Trail of Tears for white people or the refusal of school boards to teach creationism as a Holocaust of values for fundamentalist Christians. But a scrupulously-run trial, from the recusal of the first judge, to the careful consideration of the admissibility of evidence, to the favorable jury instructions, to the sequestration of the jurors, a trial that results in an acquittal -- this you choose to call a lynching.

      "Lynch trials" has another connotation, namely trials for those accused of lynching. Like the trial of two men in Mississippi in 1955 for killing Emmett Till. The jury took about an hour to acquit them, one juror saying it took so long because they took a break to drink sodas. Jurors said afterward in interviews that they knew the two men were guilty but the statutory punishment for murder was inappropriate for any white person who killed a black one. If you didn't know that, why not? And if you did, why would use words with those echoes to discuss the Martin killing?

      Let me tell you where I get off, right where your words take me, and if you think the landscape is ugly, at least that's something. None of this precludes recognizing that Zimmerman isn't a villain, that the evidence supports a plausible judgment that he's innocent, or that his detractors, including some demagogues and a politically-motivated prosecutor, have treated him shamefully and woven their own unsubstantiated narratives.

      White in America has often included more than a little cluelessness, amnesia, unseeing, and tone deafness. When I say that it's white of you, I just mean that it's white of you.

    26. Any possibly of your considering that your response to MC is only marginally different than MC's to Travyon Martin, deadrat?

      MC returns fire on what he sees as a politically motivated social narrative by turning the tables with his own rigid summation of the other side's ollective psyche and you respond to him via an invoking of white privilege.

      You concede that Zimmerman may have been mistreated by the media, but that doesn't mean that you're going to countenance MC's right-wing sentiments without a summoning of a melanin-based caricature.

      That's the trouble with the crap, it turns us all into sociology majors with minors in psychology. (I have a degree in a field of study even LESS useful).

    27. CeceliaMc,

      Sure let's consider this. After all, I've been wrong before. Last time was 1965. It was May, third week, I think.

      When MC returns fire by pointing out narratives that unfairly malign Zimmerman, I agree with him. I find no evidence that Zimmerman was or is a racist, or that the shooting was racially motivated, or that evidence proves he was the aggressor. And I really don't have the time or the patience to call someone on absurd reifications like "the left-wing press."

      But I'm not invoking a corresponding "collective psyche" to counter his, so my treatise isn't a sociological one. I explicitly disavow a caricature of MC that's "melanin-based." (I assume you mean one based on a melanin deficiency.) That is, I reject a portrait of him as a bigot and a crypto-klansman. And I certainly don't speculate on why he writes and thinks the way he does. So, minor or major, this isn't about psychology.

      I object very particularly to the words he uses and the carelessness or ignorance that underly the positions he expresses. If you'd like to dissect the examples I chose, I'd be happy to hear your analysis. No matter what you studied in college.

    28. "White in America has often included more than a little cluelessness, amnesia, unseeing, and tone deafness." Let me get this straight deadrat-- are all of us white people this way? Is it because we are white? Are you here to help us see the error of our ways? Have you ever considered that all people, not just white people, are a little clueless, forgetful, tone deaf, etc. You are implying that you are less clueless, more seeing, and more in tune because you are not white. Pretty arrogant.

      You are racist and you are venting your racism on me.

      If you are saying that I am racist because I believe that the black community is susceptible to demagoguery on this issue then I think you are naïve about the true tribal state of our country. You might check out Al Sharpton and the Brawley case as an example of what I am talking about. Demagogues distort the truth to further their own agenda. Do you really believe that this case has not been fraught with demagoguery aimed at anyone who has an emotional hatred of racism? Does my saying that about the black community on this issue really justify a charge of racism? Because you are basically disallowing all meaningful political discussion if we cannot talk about social groups that way.

      Your kneejerk race bomb throwing is really stupid and part of the problem. In fact you are doing the same goddamned thing the media did to Zimmerman. Discredited him by calling him a racist.

      You know in most of those lynchings back then, the people doing the lynching thought they were doing a good thing, protecting some white woman's honor or whatnot. The lynch mob mentality gets stupid and loses the ability to judge fairly.
      A lot of people thought they were making a stand against racism when they stood up for Trayvon Martin and denounced Zimmerman. Those people--much of the left-wing--basically assumed a lynch mob mentality,manipulated by false journalism to see all kinds of evil in Zimmerman. You, deadrat, don't even realize yet that you are part of the lynch mob, running around calling people racist, throwing fuel on the fire.

      Really the case against Zimmerman was pathetically thin and the murder charge was prosecutorial malpractice no doubt.

    29. Cecelia

      You may say I am giving a right-wing narrative, but that is just a coincidence. I am seeing this through George Zimmerman's eyes, because this was his trial. I believe that it is the liberal, progressive position to defend the right of an individual to receive a fair trial. There was no evidence, except that ginned up in the press to justify a murder charge. That was a political charge and as a liberal I am angry in the same way that lynch trials used to make liberals angry. The principle that I care about is not fairness for black people before the law, it is for All people. I think the left abandoned their principles in this case.
      I believe there is real racism in our country, I think the drug war is racist, but making a martyr out of George Zimmerman was stupid, and a serious setback for the cause against racism. The ease with which left-wingers presumed the police and detectives of Sanford to be incompetent and racist was horrible. The right wing has long caricatured the left-wing as a bunch of self-righteous academics with no street smarts. Well, I have got to say that this case has proven them correct.
      Also, as far as to how I have talked about Trayvon Martin. George Zimmerman was on trial for his life. A defendant has the right to try and pin the blame on another. That is quite often a fundamental part of a defense, to show that another person was actually culpable. It makes no sense to defend Zimmerman without exploring the possibility that Martin was something more than a sweet kid. Yet,if Martin had survived and was on trial I would have also bent over backward to see this thing through his eyes.
      A hypothetical question--If it had turned out that Zimmerman was racist, that his cell phone had Nazi crap and texts about stalking and shooting black kids, do you think for a second that the whole left-wing would not be screaming about it? Why then, is it so impermissible for the right-wing to pay attention to the very incendiary trail that Martin left on the internet? I am getting called a right winger for even mentioning evidence that seems to be pretty legit and really greatly works in Zimmerman's favor. I want to know the whole story as much as possible not the left or right side of it.

    30. Mike L.

      Your interpretation is plausible and if it were Trayvon Martin's trial, I might agree that there could be reasonable doubt, that his attack on Zimmerman may have been a reasonable response. I think you are very correct in making that case.
      My point about security is only that your story is the less likely story and in the absence of any proof, the breaks go to the defendant, Zimmerman
      Where I disagree with you most is your statements that those of us defending Zimmerman were wrong to surmise that Martin's intention may have been felonious. The defendant has the right to do that. It would have been totally foolish of me to defend Zimmerman without looking into the possibility that Martin was an aggressive jerk because that is Zimmerman's defense.

    31. MC, I'm rightwing too.

      Whether you agree with the verdict of the trial or not, if there's anything you can take away from how this matter has been handled on this blog, it is that some things just demand a detachment that is as nonideological as can bed managed

      That just not just a pretty thought, in certain matters it's the only way to keep from maligning a dead man, railroading a defendant, and giving ground to some really egregious demagoguery on both sides.

      That's what we can take away from this blog on this matter.

      Oh, and we can hope that we have the discernment to know to when that sort of detachment is required in the future.

    32. M Carpenter,

      Am I saying that all white people are more than a little clueless? No, I'm saying that you are more than a little clueless. So you can stop hiding behind the "we are white." It's also true that everybody regardless of race has their moments of cluelessness. But I'm not talking to everybody, I'm talking to you. So stop hiding behind the errant human collective. I'm not implying that I'm less clueless than you are about your commentary here. I'm stating it outright. Stop hiding behind my "arrogance."

      A brief review of my peerless prose will reveal that I've never called you a racist. This is something that your defensiveness has invented and ironically, turned on me. Stop hiding behind your outrage.

      I happen to agree that the case for murder 2 was thin, and that the prosecution was politically motivated. I also agree that demonizing Zimmerman is disgraceful.

      But here's the thing. I also know I'm not part of a lynch mob. And not just because I don't agree with venal journalists and demagogues who have pilloried George Zimmerman. I know that I'm not part of a lynch mob because I know what a lynch mob is and I know a bit about the history of lynch mobs in the United States. Thus I know that "lynch trial" is a contradiction in terms, and that there's a touch of the grotesque in your riding the term as a metaphorical hobbyhorse. Apparently these things are either unknown to you or unimportant to you.

      It seems to me from reading your comments that you're perfectly capable of responding to the substance of what I write. If you don't agree with what I've said, fine. But leave off the rhetorical outrage at someone you don't know, whose opinion can't possibly cause you any real angst, and who hasn't defamed you in the way you've claimed.

    33. "White in America has often included more than a little cluelessness, amnesia, unseeing, and tone deafness. When I say that it's white of you, I just mean that it's white of you."

      You have identified me and the contents of my character by the color of my skin. I guess that is reality.

    34. M Carpenter,

      Have I identified your race correctly? I think I have, but I haven't said one word about the content of your character. I don't know you; I've never met you; I have no idea about your character. Ih fact, I specifically disavow any claim that you're a bigot because that would require knowing your character.

      I have registered my objections to your words. Now, why don't you drag yourself off the fainting couch, and address what I've actually written instead of continuing to swoon over imagined insults to your character?

    35. "White in America has often included more than a little cluelessness, amnesia, unseeing, and tone deafness. When I say that it's white of you, I just mean that it's white of you."

      This is precisely how racist logic works. Here is another version of your speech

      "Jewish in Germany has often included more than a little venality, deception, selfishness,and degeneracy. When I say you are jewish. I mean you are jewish."
      deadrat, circa 1933, Germany

      Pretty pointless talking to such a proud racist

    36. M Carpenter,

      Congratulations, you have just had Godwin's law invoked on you.

      If you don't want to address the specific points I made about your words, that's OK with me. If you'd like to defend the proposition that being white in America doesn't involve cluelessness about race, that's fine with me too. But stop pretending that I mean that the obtuseness is part of some genetic flaw.

      You're the only one tossing the word "racist" around. Let that give you some pause.

    37. Would you really ever say it's mighty white of you to a white person in real life? I know what you mean but I won't use the word.

      You have to consider my position. I am defending a white guy who shot and killed a young black man. The President has identified with the victim. The whole left wing seems to have basically made a saint of Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman's defense absolutely required us to contemplate the possibility that Trayvon Martin had serious behavioural problems. On the left it was taboo to say anything bad about Martin, which left Zimmerman undefended. In order to defend Zimmerman I had to introduce evidence that made Martin look bad. For that I get "Mighty white of you." and all kinds of comparisons to rightwing nuts. Obviously by defending Zimmerman and talking bad about Trayvon Martin I must be a clueless white guy. I know for a fact though, that there are a whole lot of smart black folks out there who have lived the life who got Martin sized up pretty good but it just is not politick to speak out in Zimmerman's defense.
      Well, I think the left-wings refusal to look at the trail of bad behavior left behind by Martin is in itself a form of racism. It's easier to pretend he was a cute kid than an acting out rebellious angry young man. I think the President and all the left wing threw Zimmerman under the bus. And your mighty white of you comment tells me you would gladly help with the throwing.

    38. MC,

      I really have said IMWOY to white people in real life, although it's debatable whether I actually have a real life. I can't say that anyone was terribly amused, but I'm fairly sure nobody called me a Nazi either. This seems to be to be a rather gentle gibe as opposed to say, "racist motherfucker." What do you think it means other than "as a member of the group that sets the norms for this society, not to mention owning everything, you've got some blinders on"?

      I have considered your position. In fact, I've adopted some of it. If you want to know which parts, I won't make you go back and read my matchless prose. Ask and I'll give you a list. But you don't help your case with the pieces of your program that are absurd and the parts of your rhetoric that are tone deaf.

      The people who beatify Martin and demonize Zimmerman adopted a narrative. But the proper defense of Zimmerman isn't the opposite narrative. The converse of the stories that one set of ignoramuses tell each other isn't necessarily the truth. It's often just stories that a different set of ignoramuses tell themselves. Contrary to what you claim, making Martin look bad doesn't make Zimmerman look good. There's precious little evidence that Martin had serious behavioral problems. Since his past behavior could have had no legal bearing on Zimmerman's position, how much less could the "possibility" of his behavioral problems have had?

      The proper defense of Zimmerman begins with the recognition of his ethical failings: he chose to be armed in a public place without the slightest effective training and plan for dealing with a confrontation that could turn violent. His defense continues with a staunch presentation of his legal position -- there is evidence that contradicts some elements of the crime he's charged with, and no evidence that rises beyond a reasonable doubt for other elements. He's neither sinner nor saint. And likely that night, Martin was neither as well. And if there's reasonable doubt about who started the fight and whether Zimmerman feared for his life, then the jury made the right choice.

      I don't think you're a clueless white guy for defending Zimmerman. I don't even think you're a CWG if you trash-talk Martin. That just puts you in bad company but on the other side of the field. What makes you a CWG is how you go about it. Let's chat about your claim that the trial just concluded was like the infamous, but as it turns out non-existent, "lynch trials" of times gone by. There were no lynch trials, just lynchings. And Zimmerman's trial wasn't a lynching, not least because he's alive, but also because the proceedings were scrupulously fair. If you don't realize the grotesqueness of your metaphor, then you might be a CWG. That doesn't make you a racist, that makes you ignorant.

      You have an excellent but unused argument that Zimmerman was charged inappropriately. I spent some time yesterday listening to the direct examination of the prosecution's star witness, Ms Jeantel. From the time she finished spelling her name until the prosecution handed her to the defense, can anyone tell me a single relevant statement she made that wasn't hearsay? I heard but one statement she made that a judge would have ruled admissible on challenge from the defense. Forget about her black English, her attitude, and her inability to project and articulate her speech. Even forget about her credibility problems. Let's even grant that she reported her cell phone conversations with Martin accurately and that he told her the truth about what was happening. Can anyone tell me more than that single statement that supported the proof of any of the elements of the crime of murder 2?

      (continued in deadrat's next comment)

    39. (continued from deadrat's previous comment)

      Let's review: murder 2 required showing that 1) Zimmerman killed 2) Martin 3) unlawfully and with 4) a depraved mind. Since there was no dispute about 1 and 2, and Zimmerman claimed he shot Martin deliberately, what's left is to show 3 (self-defense with lethal force was not a possibility) and 4 (that Zimmerman's mental state was one of animus or gross negligence). Even granting my conditions, how could any of Jeantel's testimony demonstrate that? And if her testimony was that useless, how is it possible for a prosecutor to ethically maintain the top charge?

      The advantage of this line of argument is that it doesn't rely on narrative. All can listen to Jeantel's testimony for themselves.

      Maybe "left wings" are addicted to the narrative of the cute kid Martin, but there's really no solid evidence for your counter-narrative of the devil-without-a-cause version. And it doesn't help your case if you're right. Regardless of how many joints he smoked or how may fights he boasted about, the question we need answered for a definitive resolution is what happened just after the two came face-to-face and Martin said to Zimmerman, "What's your problem?" And absent that, our system dictates an acquittal.

      When the President says that the verdict is final, that violence in response is intolerable, and the most likely outcome is that there will be no legal proceedings beyond the recently-completed local trial, then it's not much a bus for throwing Zimmerman under. And the fact that you're angry with a comment I made doesn't make me much of a thrower either.

    40. That is a very tepid defense of Martin you are offering. If he were your brother, of course you would want all evidence showing Trayvon Martin's record of drug abuse and violent behavior. It is absolutely relevant. One of the first things Zimmerman said to the dispatch was he looks like he's on drugs.
      Now did you see this? Because this is the evidence you are up against, the evidence that you say is not solid. I agree that it is not solid, but mostly it is not solid because the left did not want to countenance it.

      I guarantee you that if George Zimmerman had left a trail on the internet that exposed him as a racist thug, that you, me and everyone else would have taken it into account and it would have been much easier for me to see him as guilty of a hostile motive towards Trayvon Martin. But the fact is the racial motive attributed to Zimmerman was either false or a lie and Zimmerman actually has a pretty good track record as a non-racist. Of course all this matters. I say that you in your heart have not truly considered George Zimmerman's position. You are still judging him, not his case. You are doing to Zimmerman exactly what I am doing to Trayvon Martin. The difference is I am overtly advocating for Zimmerman because it was his trial and most of the public was not getting his side of the story. They were either getting Martin's side of the story or a sort of neutral version like yours, one in which Zimmerman made mistakes but it was all just a misunderstanding. That is a very weak defense of Zimmerman. I showed just a touch of what a real defense of him looks like. That there is indeedsolid evidence on the internet that Martin was hooking up for drug recipes and getting off on bloody brawling and his discipline record at school was highly problematic, including I believe a very recent suspension. Are you really telling me that is not relevant to his defense? I understand that courts have all kinds of safeguards to try and prevent prejudging, but I think you and the left are trying to have it both ways. George Zimmerman--anything goes, Trayvon Martin--hands off, don't look at the right-wing lies.

      You use Zimmerman's past against him, his lack of gun training, his even having a gun, all of which is irrelevant to the case, since the gun was actually totally legal and he used it legally as a last resort for self-defense. That has been proven. I mean I hate guns, but this case probably has bolstered the sale of guns because so many believe the gun saved Zimmerman's life. The truth is, if Martin really was in an attack mode--if Zimmerman's story is true--then the hypercritical analysis of Zimmerman's behavior that night has been largely a defense of Trayvon Martin; yet, it is Zimmerman's trial. There seems to be this loss of perspective on Zimmerman to the point where even his being a volunteer is a bad thing. Zimmerman acted like a pretty typical security patrol that night actually. There is no evidence that he did anything nasty to cause Martin to attack him. Of course if this were Martin's trial I would also indulge in all kinds of conjecture to see the possibility that Zimmerman did cause it all. My point all along is that I was defending Zimmerman because it his trial, not Trayvon Martin's. You were very wrong with that white of you comment. You used my race to demean the legitimacy of my position. The racist club is, ironically, open to all races.

    41. MC,

      When we discuss public events, what's the best way to confront narrative that's misleading or unfair and get close to the truth of matters? You think that counter-narrative cancels narrative, and I think facts trump narrative. I would suggest that this difference in point of view explains why we seem to be talking past each other.

      Your method has an obvious advantage: narrative is easy to come by, and sometimes facts are elusive or unobtainable. "That is a very tepid defense of Martin you are offering," you say at the outset, in what I take is a Freudian slip for Zimmerman. And that's true, the burning facts that I'd like to know and that might make my defense of Zimmerman more fiery are not known to me. You boast that you showed "what a real defense of him looks like." So if people spin a tale of Zimmerman as an aggressive racist, you can balance that with a tale of Martin as a violent druggie. This is the Fox News theory of "fair and balanced" -- since people have their thumbs on the left-hand balance pan, we will help by putting our thumbs on the right-hand balance. Well, at least they have the common courtesy to lie to themselves while they're lying to you.

      If lefty blogs are telling untruths about Zimmerman -- and they are -- you've got the cure: right-wing blogs like realclearpolitics. I watched the Whittle video at the url you posted, and its host reports that the NAACP and some radio host I don't listen to have said that Martin died as the result of a lynching. How to set the balance of nature back in place? Claim that Zimmerman was the lynching victim. There! The two false comparisons cancel!

      And they are false. To be exact, Roslyn Brock, Chairman of the NAACP National Board of Directors, compared Emmet Till's murder to Martin's murder. Neither was lynched, but it's still a misleading and hateful thing to say. Whittle's solution, and one I take it you endorse is to say, referring to Zimmerman, "An innocent person was tied to a tree, a kind of a tree anyway and was destroyed before he could be tried. This is exactly what happened." But there were no trees involved, literal or metaphorical, and a lynching is not exactly or even approximately what happened. Zimmerman was undestroyed, showed up at his trial, and walked out, acquitted. And Whittle's account of the news coverage of Zimmerman -- "criminal fraud or criminal negligence." But he's is lying to you again. Fraud requires the misappropriation of property, and there is no statute that criminalizes even the worst news coverage. But that doesn't matter -- a false accusation of criminality against Zimmerman has been countered with a false accusation of criminality against his accusers, and the universe is back in balance.

      (continued at deadrat's next comment)

    42. (continued from deadrat's previous comment)

      The problem with my approach is that sometimes it's hard to get started because some things remain unknown, and that forces my conclusions to tentative or "neutral" or "weak." The trouble with your approach is that you can't stop. Look at the things that you claim to know but can't possibly: Martin was on drugs because Zimmerman said he looked like he was on drugs; evidence is not solid because leftists wouldn't consider it; you know what's in my heart; I'm judging Zimmerman and not his actions; I'm treating Zimmerman the way you're treating Martin; I've claimed "it was all just a misunderstanding"; Martin got off on "bloody brawling, "his discipline record was "problematic, and that's relevant to Zimmerman's defense"; it has been proven that Zimmerman used his gun in self-defense.

      Some of these things are absurd on their face -- the solidity of evidence is unaffected by the political views of factions. Some are simply speculation: you wouldn't know what's in my heart even if I told you. And some are demonstrably incorrect. It's a reasonable inference that the jury decided that there was reasonable doubt that Zimmerman did not act in self-defense. But even that isn't known for sure, and certainly self-defense hasn't been proven.

      But perhaps your most egregious mistake is your claim that what I'm doing to Zimmerman exactly what you're doing to Martin. For instance, it's Zimmerman who had the interest in MMA, it's Zimmerman who has an arrest record for violence, it's Zimmerman whom the court sent to anger management classes, it's Zimmerman whose wife took out a restraining order against him. And I'm telling you that I think all of those things are completely irrelevant to determining his guilt. I have always maintained that the evidence shows that Zimmerman was following Martin, not chasing him or stalking him, that Zimmerman was within his rights to carry a weapon, and to follow Martin, and even to confront him. I have further maintained that there is no evidence of racial animus in Zimmerman's actions that night or in his life, and no evidence that he started the fight. In addition, I think bringing murder 2 charges was an unethical abuse of prosecutorial power, and the verdict was the logical conclusion from the trial and the jury instructions.

      This doesn't prevent me from thinking that Zimmerman owed an ethical duty that he didn't fulfill. I think the same about Martin.

      This doesn't stop me from correctly observing that Martin had every right to be where he was that night and every right to confront Zimmerman. And that there's no evidence that he threw the first punch.

      I understand that this leaves an unsatisfactory picture for people like you who want your narrative to neutralize others' narrative. If it's any comfort those others don't like my position either.

      Finally, let me return to my white comment. That comment did not demean the legitimacy of your erroneous positions. Those positions are demonstrably wrong independent of your race and my comment. I've discussed some of these above. By the same token, the comment cannot demean the legitimacy of your correct positions, for instance that there's no evidence that Zimmerman did anything to provoke an attack.

      IMWOY means that your race has influenced your perspective so that you use inapt, ignorant, and potentially hurtful language and draw potentially erroneous conclusions about others. I have discussed the "lynch trials" example at length. On the substance of the white comment, you have returned not a single word.

  13. Dave in Ca displays little interest in how the journalistic debacle that was the IRS scandal, the story that made him right wing sucker of the year, occurred.

  14. Here's what today's news says:

    Embattled IRS chief counsel met with Obama 2 days before agency changed targeting criteria

    10:26 AM 07/22/2013

    Patrick Howley, Investigative Reporter

    The Obama appointee implicated in congressional testimony in the IRS targeting scandal met with President Obama in the White House two days before offering his colleagues a new set of advice on how to scrutinize tea party and conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.

    IRS chief counsel William Wilkins, who was named in House Oversight testimony by retiring IRS agent Carter Hull as one of his supervisors in the improper targeting of conservative groups, met with Obama in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on April 23, 2012. Wilkins’ boss, then-IRS commissioner Douglas Shulman, visited the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on April 24, 2012, according to White House visitor logs.

    On April 25, 2012, Wilkins’ office sent the exempt organizations determinations unit “additional comments on the draft guidance” for approving or denying tea party tax-exempt applications, according to the IRS inspector general’s report.

    Between 2010 and 2012, the IRS sent letters demanding groups’ training materials, personal information on groups’ donors and college interns, and even the content of a religious group’s prayers.

    Note that this news story is based on sworn testimony of a long-time IRS agent.

    1. DAinCA,

      No, that's not what today's news says. That's what you found on a right-wing site called The Daily Caller, and it's the kind of thing that's given you the reputation among commenters here as a tool. TDC (not to be confused with TDH) was founded by Tucker Carslon and is an outlet for such luminaries as Newt Gingrich and Andrew Breitbart. The "Investigative Reporter" is Patrick Howley with a long string of credits in the right-wing noise machine -- WSJ, NR, Hannity, American Spectator, The Free Beacon.

      Now, this doesn't mean everything TDC writes is a lie. I'm sure, for instance, that Howley actually posted his piece on July 22. But reasonable people would do a little checking. That would leave you out, apparently. Listen to me: "reasonable people." Reasonable people don't read this crap to begin with.

      "Embattled IRS chief counsel." Embattled? With whom?

      "House Oversight testimony." That's Darryl Issa's committee. Isn't he guy who asked the IRS for a report on teahadist applications, and then when he got it, claimed that only teahadist organizations had been targeted?

      "William Wilkins." Follow your second link to find that horrors! Wilkins defended the United Church of Christ against a bogus claim that it violated it's tax exempt status when Obama spoke at the church. That's Jeremiah Wright's church, TDC notes. And he defended the church pro bono, which everybody knows is short for criminal Pretty damn suspicious, eh?

      The IRS "scandal" is yesterday's news. It lost traction when it turned out that whatever the IRS did wrong, it did wrong to applicants across the political spectrum. And whatever it did wrong to applicants across the political spectrum had no effect on the organizations' ability to run their political programs under the guise of being "civic leagues."

    2. deadrat, you are correct that the IRS scandal is yesterday's news, being covered only by the conservative media. I don't think the lack of coverage is because there's no scandal. I think it's due more to media bias. After all, Carter Hull's testimony is that the Tea Parties were treated differently.

      However, you are certainly correct that the media aren't treating this like a major story.

    3. David, what were they (they being Obama, the chief counsel, and the 13 other people in the meeting) discussing when they met?

    4. Currypuff - Your guess is as good as mine.

      If they did discuss extra scrutiny of Tea Party applicants, how could we find out?

    5. It IS a trifle ironic to have the "it's not being covered in the media" card pulled on this blog, in a thread about massive press misinformation. Just a trifle, though.

    6. deadrat, I think the alleged IRS mistreatment of candidate Christine O’Donnell deserves to be big news. Don't you?

      The IRS watchdog that uncovered the tea party-targeting scandal is looking into whether Christine O’Donnell was unfairly scrutinized by the IRS during her failed...tea party-backed run for the Senate in 2010...

      ...the same time period that tea party groups were found to have been singled out by the IRS.

      “We’re now talking about an individual candidate — not just the tax exempt and government entities unit, so it would be a broader concern if it turns out that there was something fishy going on,” the Grassley aide said....

      O’Donnell says a TIGTA official informed her in January that a Delaware state employee inappropriately accessed her tax information the day she announced her Senate run on March 9, 2010.

      That same day, the IRS put a tax lien in her name on a house she no longer owned, arguing that O’Donnell owed the government $12,000, according to Grassley’s office.

      O’Donnell told Grassley’s office that she provided the IRS with documents needed to clear her tax record “four or five times, and they kept getting ‘lost,’” the aide said.

      The IRS later said it had made a mistake, which the agency said was the result of a computer glitch, and removed the lien.

      The lien is significant because O’Donnell’s opponents cited it as evidence that she was financially irresponsible even though she espoused financial stability for the federal government.

    7. DAinCA,

      Issa is involved again, isn't he? And a Republican Senator, whining about Christine O'Donnell's loss in Delaware in 2010. No, I don't think it deserves to be a news story at all. Mostly because it had nothing to do with O'Donnell losing.

      The claim here is that there was an IRS lien "mistakenly" taken out against her property and that was used to show she was unreliable on fiscal matters. But the unreliability came from her not paying her mortgage. Perhaps there should be a big news story about her violation of campaign finance laws for using political contributions for personal expenses. Whaddya think?

      O'Donnell lost the general election because she beat Mike Castle in the Republican primary in a campaign in which her people accused Castle of having a homosexual affair. Castle was an extremely popular ex-governor. He won a second term as governor in 1988 with over 70% of the vote. He then served 10 terms as a Congressman, winning his last race with over 60% of the vote. This is in Delaware, a state that hasn't voted for a Republican Presidential candidate since 1988 or elected a Republican Senator since 1994. That put her in the general election with one foot in the bucket, and unfortunately for her she was running against Chris Coons, a very popular county executive who'd won one term with nearly 60% and ran unopposed for his next term.

      Coons trounced her with 57% of the vote, and her IRS troubles had nothing to do with the result.

      But history says you'll believe anything as long as it agrees with your prejudices.

    8. Issa is involved again, isn't he?

      Today's liberalism is better at demonization than they are at the values they supposedly believe in, such as helping poor blacks to advance.

      Issa has aggressively sought evidence of Democrat wrongdoing, so the liberals have successfully demonized him. They just know that Issa is not to be trusted. A similar dynamic exists for the Koch brothers. A single mention of "Koch" is enough to tar any organization with which they're associated.

      How many falsehoods has Issa told? In these columns, Bob has shown us dozens of blatant falsehoods from the New York Times. Various fact-checking sites have pointed out many incorrect statements by President Obama or his Press Secretary.

      By comparison, deadrat, how many lies can you point to told by Issa and the Kochs? I don't mean political stands or allegations you don't agree with, but objectively provable falsehoods? Can you point to 3 or 4 for each of them? I doubt it. But, no matter. They're demons. Anything they do is automatically evil.

    9. DAinCA,

      1. Last May Issa said that groups allied with the President weren't targeted. Not true. CJR has examined the 200 or so groups that received extra scrutiny. If fact, more were so-called "progressive" than so-called "Tea Party."

      2. Issa said that the scrutiny was ordered through a White House enemies list to shut down conservative political activity. He relied on an interview with an agent in the Cincinnati office, but refused to release the full transcript. When minority member of the committee released it himself, it turned out that the agent said that he and a colleague had decided on the extra scrutiny because the groups were setting precedents that could affect future IRS rulings. As I've explained, the IRS delays had no power to shut down political activity.

      3. Issa called WH Press Secretary Jay Carney a "paid liar" for saying the IRS delays were the fault of "local rogue" agents. Carney was quoting the IG's report.

      4. Issa said "I’ve never said it came out of the office of the President or his campaign." The "It" being the IRS "scandal," but of course that's exactly what he's been saying.

      5. Issa falsely accused Ambassador Thomas Pickering of refusing to testify before his committee about Benghazi.

      It would be harder to find 3 o4 times that Issa has told the truth. But why ask me? You can find this stuff online for yourself. And until you do you'll continue to be manipulated by liars like Issa.

      The Koch Brothers are harder to pin down. They fund astroturf organizations that fund political attacks. Organizations like Americans for Prosperity that ran ads opposing the ACA with actors like "Julie" saying ”If we can’t pick our own doctor, how do I know our family is going to get the care they need?” But of course, nothing in the ACA restricts anyone's choice of doctors.

      Nice bluff, by the way.

  15. If you don't know how to handle a confrontation, you shouldn't set up a situation where a confrontation is likely, i.e. following a stranger you suspect of criminal activity in the dark with a loaded gun in your pocket.

    1. Sooooo, don't try to see where a running stranger in your own neighborhood is headed?

    2. Follow whoever you like, but be aware that being followed can trigger defensive actions, which you should b prepared to handle, if you're going to undertake that role as an amateur.

    3. Be prepared.

      Someone may "defend" themselves from being followed!

      They may "defend" themselves from being followed by engaging in an assault on you.

      They may just do that.

      Thanks for that notice, 1:39!