SOCIETY DOWN: What happened in Sanford that night?


Part 3—How life can become a cartoon: On Saturday night, the jury reached its verdict in the Zimmerman trial.

One night earlier, Piers Morgan had conducted his latest discussion of the high-profile trial. As he started, he boasted about his “stellar panel.”

It included Judge Glenda and Judge Alex, the hosts of two syndicated programs!
Morgan is one of the dumbest people on the cable dial. His history in Great Britain was so noxious that CNN simply knew they had to import the chap.

At one point in last Friday’s discussion, a wonderful moment occurred. After an emotional presentation by attorney Ben Crump, Morgan challenged Jeff Toobin about what the jury would do.

“When you hear Ben Crump talk like that, it's very hard to see how this jury can basically say to George Zimmerman, I think, ‘Off you go,’” Morgan said.

Toobin said the jury would follow the evidence. Professor Marc Lamont Hill basically said the same thing:
MORGAN (7/12/13): When you hear Ben Crump talk like that, it's very hard to see how this jury can basically say to George Zimmerman, I think, “Off you go.”

TOOBIN: Oh, I don't know. I mean, I think this jury will do exactly what they think is right...I think that the initial sign we get is that they are going to be very meticulous, asking for a list of evidence, suggest they're going to look at the evidence with a considerably amount of care. They're going to let the chips fall where they may, and I don't think they are going to be focused on the public reaction. I think they're going to be focused, as they should be, on the evidence.

MORGAN: Marc Lamont Hill, do you agree with that?

HILL: Yes, I think they're going to be focused on facts. Obviously, their own biases, their own interpretations and their emotions are going to weigh into that. But at the end of the day, they're going to make the best decision that they can based on the evidence they've seen on the case.
We don’t know why Hill thought he knew what the jury was going to do—why he felt he knew that they would focus on facts and the evidence.

But at this point, Morgan wasn't able to tolerate this high-minded talk any more.

First, Morgan offered a cartoonized version of the evidence, of the available facts. Then, he authored a truly wonderful statement:
MORGAN (continuing directly): Six women, five of them mothers, some of the stuff today from rebuttal directly aimed at that fact that they are all female, they're all—many of them are mothers. This is a 17-year-old boy, you know, walking home to his family who was unarmed and got shot dead.

Just on— Forget the evidence for a moment. Just on a human level, isn't that going to be incredibly powerful with an all-female, mother-related jury?
“Forget the evidence for a moment!” Finally, in a wonderful moment, this foolish, morally challenged Brit expressed his true heart and soul.

With respect to the killing of Trayvon Martin, Morgan has been trying to “forget the evidence” for a long time now. Alas! The evidence makes this story complex and murky, as human events often are.

Sloths like Morgan always work best when events are made into cartoons.

“Forget the evidence for a moment!” Before Morgan made that deathless suggestion, he had offered an account of this case in which he himself “forgot” a large chunk of the evidence. Throughout the annals of human history, the mob has always assembled its stories this way.

Here's the account of that fateful night offered by Morgan, a man so slimy that he pretty much had to flee his native land:

“This is a 17-year-old boy, you know, walking home to his family who was unarmed and got shot dead.”

At least in this country, 17-year-olds aren’t normally described as “boys” or “girls.” But aside from that bit of special pleading, everything Morgan said was basically accurate.

Martin was 17 years old. To all appearances, he was walking to the home where he and his father were visiting.

He was unarmed. And he did get shot dead.

Essentially, Morgan’s facts were accurate. His account of the case became a cartoon because of the facts he omitted.

Most significantly, he omitted the pattern of injuries which were incurred before the fatal gunshot. He omitted the eyewitness testimony which said that Martin was pummeling Zimmerman, MMA-style, just before he was shot.

Is that what happened in Sanford that night? We don’t know! Like the reptilian Morgan, we weren’t present in Sanford. But as soon as this horrible incident gained the attention of “journalists” like Morgan, they started cartoonizing the facts, in precisely the way The Mob and The Clan have done through the annals of time.

By and large, the nation’s “journalists” and pundits developed a Standard Account of the case, as they have done in a wide range of matters over the past thirty years.

Your “press corps” loves Standard Stories! And as they have shown again and again, they long for the chance to tell their tales as a group. They love to invent simple-minded tales populated by villains and heroes—silly, simple-minded tales they can All Tell The Same Way.

They’ve done this in their treatment of various tabloidized crime stories—in their treatment of the killing of Chandra Levy, the abduction of Elizabeth Smart, the so-called Duke lacrosse case.

Even more consequentially, they’ve done this in their Potemkin assessments of the nation’s most important political figures. In just the past twenty years, they have created Standard Cartoons about President Clinton’s raft of deeply troubling scandals; about Candidate Gore’s strange inability to tell the truth; about the straight-shooting straight-talk of Saint John McCain; even about the way Mitt Romney once mistreated his poor abused dog.

In some of these instances, their ludicrous conduct has changed the course of world history. And here’s the part that is so remarkable:

No one will tell you about this conduct by the press corps! No matter how ludicrous their Group Conduct gets, their Standard Group Conduct goes unremarked. Even the best and the brightest of professional analysts refuse to tell you about it.

Kevin Drum will tell you many things, but he won’t talk about this. Paul Krugman has never been willing to tell you.

None of the Jonathans will talk about this—not Chait, not Alter, not Capehart, not Cohn.

Gene Robinson won’t tell you. Neither will the increasingly clownish multimillionaire star, TV's Rachel Maddow.

The high Lady Collins won’t tell you about this. Joan and David won’t tell you either. How could they? The thought is absurd.

No one is willing to discuss this hugely consequential part of modern “press corps” culture. This is very bad behavior on the part of the silent lambs.

People are dead all over the world because of the fact that the press corps engages in this rather obvious group conduct. Surely, those people all know this is true. But none of those people will say so.

This brings us back to the Cartoon Story told by Piers Morgan last week. It takes a stupid person to tell this story that way—or it takes a member of a mob.

But all around the entertainment/news complex, people have offered cartoonized versions of what happened in Sanford that night. This practice is tremendously common, yet it goes with almost no comment.

Consider the version of that night’s events offered on Monday evening’s NewsHour. Judy Woodruff’s first question that night went to the Christina Swarns of the NAACP.

Swarns said justice wasn’t done by the Zimmerman verdict. Whatever you think of that assessment, we’ll ask you to focus on her account of the events on the night of Martin’s death:
WOODRUFF (7/14/13): I want to ask each one of you the same question, starting with you, Christina Swarns. Was justice done here?

SWARNS: No. I think that’s quite clear. Justice was not done. I don’t think you can say, when a child is walking down the street doing nothing wrong, buying candy and iced tea, and gets shot and killed in the street, largely because he is African-American, and there is no one held accountable for that death, is justice. So I think it`s quite clear no, that justice was not done in this case.
Was justice achieved by the Zimmerman verdict? People will have different views about that. But please note:

If we accept Swarns’ account of the facts of the case, very few people would disagree with her moral judgment. If we go by her account of the facts, that “not guilty” verdict will seem quite astounding.

But what about her account of the case? According to Swarns, this is what happened:

A child was walking down the street doing nothing wrong, buying candy and iced tea. He was shot and killed in the street, largely because he was African-American.

If that’s what happened in Sanford that night, very few people would approve of a “not guilty” verdict. But is that what happened in Sanford that night? Has something perhaps been “forgotten” as we watch Swarns tell the tale?

It’s hard to know what purpose is served by the promulgation of cartoonized stories. But this is now one basic way our so-called “press corps” functions.

In the 1990s, they created sets of cartoonized stories about Bill Clinton in Arkansas. From March 1999 through November 2000, they promulgated an endless set of Standard Cartoons about Candidate Gore’s deeply puzzling “problem with the truth.”

Your modern “press corps” creates Standard Cartoonized Stories in much the way other folk breathe. Even your most intelligent analysts agree that they mustn’t discuss this.

Last Friday, Morgan offered a cartoonized, bowdlerized account of the events of that night in Sanford. On Monday, Swarns told the same cartoonized story, though she added a Standard Irrelevant Fact when she mentioned the Skittles, as Morgan constantly does.

The Skittles have always been part of this Standard Group Story, right from the time the story was invented. So too for an inaccurate claim advanced by Swarns a bit later—the claim that Zimmerman was told to stay in his car that night.

In March 1999, a Standard Group Story was quickly invented about Candidate Gore. For the next twenty months, the beasts recited that story quite brilliantly.

People are dead all over the world because of what those people did. But everyone from Krugman on down has agreed that this can’t be discussed.

In the realm of tabloidized crime, there have been other Standard Group Stories. Again and again, these stupid stories have turned out to be wrong.

Last March and April, with great speed, a Standard Group Story was assembled concerning the killing of Martin. To some extent, this Standard Story was built on irrelevant facts, and on factual claims which were false.

To a large extent, the Standard Group Story relied on the use of highly evocative language. Undesirable facts were forgotten. These were the facts which would make the story complex.

Some facts unravel cartoons. For the beasts we still call a “press corps,” such facts must be disappeared.

When Charles Blow wrote this early column on March 17, 2012, the basic elements of the Standard Story were already taking shape. That same day, this news report about the shooting appeared in the New York Times.

It was the Times’ first news report on this matter. The report is riddled with obvious errors, as anyone can see.

Before long, the Cartoonized Standard Account of this incident had been locked into place. What were the elements of that story?

Where had that story come from?

Tomorrow: The love of irrelevant facts


  1. Quaker in a BasementJuly 18, 2013 at 11:26 AM

    You want to complain that others are leaving out some of the facts, Bob? Then tell me where you cite these:

    Zimmerman took one look at young Mr. Martin and sized him up as "a punk" and one of the "assholes who always get away." Zimmerman followed Martin in his truck and, for a short while at least, on foot. Zimmerman carried a gun with him as he sought out Martin.

    If we're going to insist on the complete story, let's have the complete story. Leaving out the facts you don't like while chiding others for doing the same is the very definition of doublespeak.

    1. With your "contribution," is that now the full complement of facts, Qib?

      Oh, wait -- how are you sure it was only "one look?" What did Zimmerman see Martin doing in that "one look?" Could it have seemed suspicious?

      Zimmerman carried a gun with him as he sought Martin. I guess that is a fact. It's also a fact that he carried a gun with him when he didn't seek Martin. Not that helpful a fact, then. But, as they say, QiB, It's The Way You Tell The Story.

      (You're a pretty crap storyteller, although such opinions may be subjective!)

      But while we're looking for facts about looking, how many looks did it take for Zimmerman to be "sized up" racially as a "cracker" by Martin?

      Other facts we might look at: what other injuries did Martin sustain before he was killed? What about Zimmerman -- any injuries? You haven't mentioned this.

      Are there any other facts missing, you doublespeaking douchebag?

    2. When did the media not report what Zimmerman said?

      Are you upset that Somerby isn't bemoaning the verdict rather focusing on the reporting of the story?

      What tune is he supposed to be dancing to here?

    3. Zimmerman was right. Martin was a violent punk. What is your point about Zimmerman calling law enforcement and trying to keep an eye on the punk who early on he was convinced was probably long gone?

    4. Dear QiB,

      I've gotten shit for repeating this but here goes:

      TM was seen by GZ standing on someone's lawn looking at their residence in the rain. In a neighborhood that had had repeated burglaries that is very suspicious behavior. When asked the race of TM, Zimmerman said, "He looks black." That is, GZ wasn't really sure.

      Upon being seen by GZ, Martin first glared at him, then approached GZ and then ran off.

      That's very suspicious behavior by any standard regardless of race.

      According to Rachel Jeantal, TM actually got to his father's residence yet the fatal confrontation occurred about four or five buildings back in the direction from where TM came. And remember, TM was a high school football player. A thin high school football player which means that he could probably run. And yet, we're supposed to believe that he couldn't escape a 28 y.o. GZ who had no athletic accomplishments to his name?

      If Martin didn't track back and attack Zimmerman then how did the fight wind up so far from home if he made it home?

    5. Double crickets.

    6. Oh, sorry. I didn't hear the crickets. Missed my cue.

      We have only Z's word that M was standing on someone's lawn looking at their house in the suspicious rain. Likewise for M glaring at him, approaching him, and running off. Rachel Jeantal has some hearsay to deliver. This isn't to say that M was acting in a way that any reasonable person would regard as suspicious. But you have to rely on the word of a very interested party.

      Maybe M reached the home where he was staying. (Still not his father's, but so what? That's a part of HB's story and he's sticking to it.) Maybe he "tracked back." If that's true, it was a tragic mistake. In any case, it wasn't illegal.

      We can be fairly sure that M punched Z shortly after they encountered each other. What we don't know is whether M was provoked, in which case his attack was within the law.

      I have no idea why it matters whether M could have outrun Z.

      If you believe that M was a violent punk out to pick on what turned out to be the wrong guy, then you tell yourself the story HB just repeated. If you think Z was a violent predator out to track down and deliberately kill his prey, you tell a different story. The stories agree on known facts -- Z was armed; M wasn't. There was a confrontation, then an altercation, which M was winning before Z shot M. But the stories diverge depending on the favored beliefs. And that's fine as long as the storytellers realize what's narrative.

      I have to believe that HB does. I love his use of the passive voice: "TM was seen ...." acting suspiciously. By GZ of course and only by his own account. But it sounds much more definitive that "On a dark and stormy night, GZ claims that he saw TM, a figure in a hoodie whose race he claimed he couldn't even be sure about, acting in a manner that GZ though suspicious."

  2. They cartooned Gore, they cartoooned the Duke lacrosse team, they cartooned George Zimmerman, they cartooned Gary Condit (Chandra Levy), they cartooned Mitt Romney (Seamus the dog) -- why are you so one-sided, Somerby!?!

    No, just kidding -- No one could be so brain-dead as to take that approach to dissing your column today. True?

    [Start again!]

    "He was shot and killed in the street, largely because he was African-American."

    Anyone who would criticize such a clearly thoughtful and reasonable statement is no longer worth reading! I *used* to love your blog, but the kind of people you're attracting with this material --- well, I just can't take it anymore. I'll be leaving, except for rare and notable exceptions.

    Just kidding again!
    God bless my fellow commenters!

    1. Interesting choices on that list. Well, our legal system and press ARE noted, after all, for their historical fair play for blacks. Why, just look at straight shooting our First Black President got on the IRS scandal, hey Bob, remember the IRS scandal?

    2. Great comment So Old, and should be repeated any time someone tries to bring up Somerby's alleged biases.

    3. Yeah, right, Somerby was born in a manger uttlerly without biases.

    4. Yeah, Marcus, anticipatory snark in lieu of any original thoughts is always the way to go.

    5. Definitely not anticipatory snark, r.z. In fact it probably too late rather than too early to parody the sort of stuff ridiculed at 11:33.

      On the other hand Anonymous 2:28 is back on the approved comment track:

      Agreeing with Somerby is equivalent to calling him Jesus!

  3. Not quite complete. Zimmerman took one look at young Mr. Martin AND HIS BEHAVIOR (which included going off the sidewalk, loitering in the rain, and glaring at him in an aggressive manner) and sized him up as a punk. He didn't refer to assholes always getting away until Martin ran.

    Zimmerman didn't "carry a gun as he sought out Martin." He carried a gun routinely and in this case as he was on his way to Target to shop. He didn't seek out Martin on that occasion but came across Martin engaging in suspicious behavior as he was on his way to do that errand. THAT is the complete story, including some facts you apparently don't like.

    1. "THAT is the complete story..."

      Well, no. Though you admirably included facts missing in both Somerby's column and QiB's tantrum, there are more facts still missing. And adding them still will never make the story "complete."

      But that's all to fall into QiB's stupid game, in which it's somehow invalid to criticise the omissions and distortions of these media stars unless you also (impossibly) mention everything else. That's why QiB's a douchebag.

    2. He sized him up as the kind of punk who might burglarize homes or beat someone up. He was right.

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

    5. Right. I always pack my gun before I go to Target.

    6. Many people do, without any intention of going out and shooting anyone. Some lock up businesses late at night or carry money as part of their work. Some have restraining orders against exes. Some were victims of violent crime in the past and want to feel safer. Some are off duty law enforcement workers of various kinds. Some prefer to be prepared for any eventuality, no matter how unlikely. Some grew up wearing guns because they lived or worked outdoors (never camp in Canada without a firearm -- bears!), some do it to reassure a loved one who is fearful for their safety, some may believe they are prime targets for kidnapping, and so on. There are legitimate reasons for carrying a gun, even if you don't see the need and do not want one. I don't either, but I know many women who do carry a gun in their purses, legal or not, and I can see their point, if not agree with it.

    7. Of course you're supposed to pack your gun before you go to Target. Why do you think they call it "Target"?


  4. Every once in a while it's important to remind us all what this blog is all about. Today's entry provides a valuable refresher for all readers.

    Groundhog day, indeed.

    Somerby has been at his best on the Zimmerman/Martin affair. He has been standing up for factual truth and demanding as much from the Press, even at the risk of appearing to be standing up for George Zimmerman and auditioning for a spot on Fox News.

    It's possible to see the Zimmerman verdict as correct and defensible and still believe something's terribly wrong with Florida's self-defense law.

    News as entertainment and feelgood groupthink has contributed incalculably to our collective mental laziness.

    Well done, Bob. As I get older, I think I'm becoming more of a Huxleyite than an Orwellian.

    1. You will only be accused of auditioning for Fox by people who think that all principles and ideals are a team sport.

    2. It is currently being debated whether the terms Mother and Father should be stricken from the written law, because those words hurt the feelings of homosexuals.

  5. One night in my town a couple of years ago a couple of teenaged children of 16 and 17 grabbed a woman and dragged her into their apartment where she was raped and held hostage. She was able to call 911 and when law enforcement finally arrived the 17 year old child opened fire on them. He was shot dead.

    Rumor has it the child who was shot had purchased a bag of Skittles on his way to his home. It broke everyone's heart how a young child like that couldn't just do nothing more than go out to buy some candy without ending up shot dead! In his own home!

    1. That's not analogous to Martin's behavior.

    2. It's entirely analogous. Martin was on his way home from buying skittles and ended up shot dead on common property in his own complex.

    3. You'd make a terrible witness to a crime. You wouldn't know the difference between a beating and firing on the po po, or to distinguish them from a guy in the yard.

    4. What are you talking about? What beating?

  6. The coke sacker cannot be accurate himself, although he is always needling others about it

    this is what the testimony actually was:

    O’Mara: OK. And do you stand by that today, that what you saw is was a Ground-and-Pound event?

    Good: It looked like that position was a Ground-and-Pound type of position, but I couldn’t tell 100% that there were actually fists hitting faces.

    O’Mara: But you did see [reading] “the guy in the top in the black hoodie pretty much just throwing down blows on the guy kind of MMA-style.”

    Good: Meaning arm motions going down on the person on the bottom. Correct.

    O’Mara: You’re’ not going to tell the jury here today that you saw fists hit flesh or face if you didn’t actually see it, right?

    Good: I wouldn’t tell them that anyway, because i didn’t actually see it.

    O’Mara: Great, thanks very much , no further questions.

    End quote

    but in the words of the coke sacker

    "He omitted the eyewitness testimony which said that Martin was pummeling Zimmerman, MMA-style,"

    Which is Goebbelsian stretch of the evidence - putting out a suggestion that TM had MMA training and was using it in the fight.

    And WTF is this "ground and pound" crap- schoolyard fights existed before MMA and typically the winner and loser end up that way - what a turd this coke sacker is to swallow this crap and regurgitate it.

    1. If I see something dropped from a height, I can assume it completed its action and hit the ground, even if I didn't actually see it do so. Do you imagine Martin was pulling his punches so that he threw them but didn't actually hit Zimmerman? How then do you explain Zimmerman's injuries?

      What does "coke sacker" mean? I assume it is some kind of intended insult but we on the west coast don't hear it.

      You are aware of course that kids occasionally die in schoolyard fights. Calling them "schoolyard" may make them seem innocuous but kids are capable of doing physical damage to each other, even unintentionally. Trayvon Martin was 6 ft and weighed 160 lbs. That makes him adult in size, if not in judgment or experience.

    2. marquis of queensburyJuly 18, 2013 at 2:57 PM

      "Trayvon Martin WAS 6 ft and weighED 160 lbs."

      Vicious brute, he WAS.

    3. Anon 2:24

      If you don't know something, google it.

      Since the our sock tucker host is nitpicking "librulz" he should hold himself to the same standards he expects of them.

      There was zero, zilch, nada testimony that TM was "pummelling" Z "MMA style."

      I don't have to explain Z's injuries. By a bizarre quirk of the law - a massive assumption - that Z reasonably feared for his life - was given to him for free by the presumption of innocence. By the way, no injury is required to claim self-defence.

      The prosecutors faced an impossible burden of proving a negative - that a reasonable man would have found nothing in the situation that was life-threatening.

      What was violated was TM's right to be left alone - it stands to reason that he took to his fists in response - Z should have take the richly deserved whupping and gotten TM arrested for assault and battery and it would have been a ho-hum case.

    4. "Z should have take the richly deserved whupping and gotten TM arrested for assault and battery"

      I think we now have someone's honest answer to the question:

      How long must you have your head beaten against the pavement before you can respond with potentially deadly force if it is available to you?

      Until the person beating you decides they are done!!!

      Good luck getting the law changed to reflect that "thinking," Anonymous 3:14.

    5. Anon 3:14, I missed your reference because I don't move my lips when I read.

      You don't have the right to be left alone when you are voluntarily out in public. Further, being left alone doesn't extend to forbidding people to look at you. You definitely don't have the right to punch someone because they looked at you or even because they said something to you that you didn't like. Zimmerman could perhaps have gotten Martin arrested after such a beating but that assumes he survived it.

      You seem to live in an alternate reality where everyone whupped lives to tell about it. Too bad that isn't true -- there'd be fewer people in jail for manslaughter during bar fights, fewer boxers dead of brain injury following fights, fewer people dying from head injuries during sports (the actor's wife who died skiing, for example), fewer women dying from wounds inflicted by husband during domestic brawls. Skulls are not meant to protect against concrete.

    6. "Trayvon Martin WAS 6 ft and weighED 160 lbs."

      Vicious brute, he WAS.

      Well, he outweighs me. Zimmerman is about 100 lbs heavier now and shorter than Martin. Martin was an athlete -- Zimmerman not. In a fight, aggressiveness matters too. Evidence suggests Martin was "interested in fighting" (a euphemism), because his cell phone texts show he talked about hitting a school bus driver and about knowing how to drop someone with a single punch. The prosecution wisely decided not to introduce character witnesses on behalf of Martin, because it would open the door to that evidence.

    7. "The prosecutors faced an impossible burden of proving a negative - that a reasonable man would have found nothing in the situation that was life-threatening."

      If it was impossible they'd never convict anyone. This is apparently the new approach, act like Zimmerman was acquitted due to some byzantine legal technicality so you don't have to deal with the facts.

    8. Anonymous on 7/18/13 @ 6:01P,

      Great addition to the narrative! The prosecution decided, and wisely too, not to introduce character witnesses on behalf of Martin.

      Character witnesses testify for the defendant. Martin wasn't on trial. Somehow the judge decided (wisely?) that prior bad acts aren't admissible, so the "door to that evidence" was slammed shut in any case.

      Oh, yeah. Let's keep in mind that "that evidence" was a teenager texting stuff.

  7. The male juror who ended up being an alternate was convinced of Zimmerman's innocence. Think the lynch mob will continue to only discuss the jury of "six white women" even after learning one wasn't white and the male would have voted with them?

    1. I think that the media will make pariahs of the jury to the point where they will all start dissembling.

      You can understand the dynamics of our national dialogue from this comment section. There is no understanding of reasonable doubt, a concept that would have been elucidated to the jury.

      Zimmerman must either be complete saint or complete sinner. A cartoon.

    2. Well,CeceliaMc, I think you're a very sensible person. But I don't see much if any evidence that GZ did anything wrong. The charge that he continued to follow TM after being told not to is hardly conclusive and GZ denies it. I wouldn't call him a saint, no one is, but I really don't see he did much wrong.

      I will happily examine any proof you offer to the contrary.

    3. I don't know if he did nothing wrong, and that doesn't conflict with a presumption of innocence.

      I can believe that Z. has not been proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, and give nod to some of the arguments of his critics, though they don't know either.

      There's a lot of parodying of both sides here that suggests saint or sinner it must be.

    4. As Bob pointed out, a false suspicion is not morally wrong. Nor is trying to keep a person under observation as you remain on the phone with law enforcement, especially when they ask for information about activities of your suspect. No legal or moral wrongdoing on GZ's part.

    5. I haven't seen anyone here trying to portray Zimmerman as a saint.

    6. Well, you know, now that I think of it he is sort of a martyr, isn't he?

    7. I've said Zimmerman, who lost 16 months of his life and has lost a substantial degree of freedom in the future, is a martyr for justice. He has a good family who will assist him in understanding this fact, which is good.

  8. It’s hard to know what purpose is served by the promulgation of cartoonized stories

    I believe our President's purpose was to get a larger black voter turnout, by promoting fear and hatred of whites among black Americans. It worked. The large Dem portion of the media aided in this effort. The smaller Republican media didn't.

    A few posts ago, Bob discussed the creation of new myth, that the jury was "all white." This reminds me of an early myth created about the Tea Party. I recall one article describing the demonstrators as "mostly white." Duh! We live in a mostly white country. A more valid description would have been "mixed race."

    However, the Dem media continued to dishonestly demonize the Tea Party with false charge after false charge. They succeeded in weakening the Tea Party as a political force.

    1. You believe our President had a purpose in doing what, exactly?

      You can call me rick, David.

    2. Oh, Anon, you don't get it. Obama isn't allowed to say anything about anything ever. If he does, he's clearly fomenting racial hatred or pushing socialism or curtailing freeeeedoommmm!

    3. It does seem pretty foolish for a President to comment on a local court case like that.

    4. Anon @ 2:27

      It may "seem preety foolish" for a President to coment on a local court case. It is stupid for a commenter to suggest it is foolish that a President answer a question about a growing national controvery asked by a national television network correspondent in an open press conference.

      Note I did not say it "seems pretty" to describe the stupidity.


    5. Rick, just because a reporter asks a question doesn't mean the president must answer it. Obama is an attorney -- that means he can be expected to know he shouldn't prejudice a pending case by commenting on it.

    6. Anon @ 5:53.

      Just because a commenter can write doesn't mean he has read. Go read Obama's answer to the question asked, copy it, come back here and reprint it, and highlight exactly what he said that prejudiced this case in that comment.


    7. Obama's comment on this case was repulsive both because he knows he should not comment on a pending case but because we know he planned to do so in advance (because we know in other cases he has punted with "ongoing investigaton/pending case" language).

      What makes it even more repulsive is that enough evidence was out by then that he knew, like many of us, we were watching a lynching of a scapegoat in a SIMPLE case of self defense.

    8. DAinCA,

      Sadly, no. "Mixed race" is not a "more valid" description of the teahadists. A CBS poll finds that they 89% white and 1% black. Go here:

  9. I just thank my lucky stars I haven't run into any fucking punk assholes that always get away while on my
    way to buy the weekly lunch supplies from Target on a Sunday night. If I had they would probably have gotten away again because on each such trip I have been unarmed. I can't live with the guilt of what might have happened to my neighbors due to this act of carelessness in my essential equipment for a shopping excursion.

    1. Just throw a "Nate Berkus for Target" $25.00 hand towel in the parking lot and they' ll die in the ensuing melee.

  10. "He omitted the eyewitness testimony which said that Martin was pummeling Zimmerman, MMA-style, just before he was shot."

    And you omitted the forensic evidence that there were no signs of any fighting on Trayvon's hands( there were a couple of small abrasions on the 4th & 5th fingers of his LH). Or that eyewitness testimony did not agree on who was on top.
    Or that the "MMA" witness backed off that claim on the witness stand and in any event only saw a portion of the struggle. He was not watching when the shot was fired, as was one witness who said the man on top stood up after the shot.

    1. You have omitted the testimony that there was a failure to bag Martin's hands at the scene and that the rain may have washed off evidence. The testimony was also that those abrasions were consistent with having been in a fight. Further, the main eyewitness (Good) was sure who was on top/bottom. The others were unsure (not contradictory) because they didn't have as good a view. Good did not testify about the shot because he didn't witness it, but he did not back off his claim. He said he didn't see the blows land but saw them being thrown. A witness who says the man on top stood up after the shot is not inconsistent with it being Martin who was on top if he did not die instantaneously.

    2. Not one piece of physical evidence or absence of it was inconsistent with Zimmerman's story. Not. One.

  11. "there were no signs of any fighting on Trayvon's hands( there were a couple of small abrasions on the 4th & 5th fingers of his LH). "

    Just thought the insanity of that sentence bore highlighting.

  12. dutiful syncophantJuly 18, 2013 at 12:50 PM

    Zimmerman Prosecutors To Face Whistleblower Lawsuit From Fired Florida State Attorney Employee

    NEW YORK, July 16 (Reuters) - A former employee of Florida State Attorney Angela Corey's office plans to file a whistleblower lawsuit against George Zimmerman's prosecutors, his attorney told Reuters on Tuesday.

    The action will put pressure on Corey, who already faces criticism from some legal experts for the unsuccessful prosecution of the case, which led to the acquittal of Zimmerman for shooting unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman's defense has also called for sanctions against her and her prosecution team.

    Ben Kruidbos, Corey's former director of information technology, was fired after testifying at a pre-trial hearing on June 6 that prosecutors failed to turn over potentially embarrassing evidence extracted from Martin's cell phone to the defense, as required by evidence-sharing laws.

    "We will be filing a whistle blower action in (Florida's Fourth Judicial District) Circuit Court," said Kruidbos' attorney Wesley White, himself a former prosecutor who was hired by Corey but resigned in December because he disagreed with her prosecutorial priorities. He said the suit will be filed within the next 30 days.

  13. "MMA style" in this case is known as "ground and pound". It's intention is to pound an adversary into unconciousness via brain trauma, or until a referee intervenes.

  14. This post shows that The Daily Howler, at it's worst, degenerates into childish ranting. Could Bob really not understand that with his hectoring of this case he's aiming at the same nasty impulses out their as Morgan?

    1. Yeah! Whether you decide to do that with the facts or you decide to "forget the facts" -- What's the difference?

      Are you now determined to show us what a douchebag you are with Every Single Post you make, Greg?

  15. rick wrote: You believe our President had a purpose in doing what, exactly?

    First, there was his comment about Trayvon Martin looking like his hypothetical son. That helped to "angelize" (if that's the opposite of "demonize") Trayvon.

    Then a little-known unit of the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Community Relations Service (CRS), was deployed to Sanford following the Trayvon Martin shooting to help organize and manage rallies and protests against George Zimmerman. That's awful. A defendant is supposed to be presumed innocent. We now know that Z was innocent. Yet, an arm of the federal executive was out promoting hatred of him.

    Now, the Justice Dept. continues the attacks by setting up an e-mail site and asking the whole world to submit anything that might make Z look like a racist. Z has already been acquitted. And, the FBI already investigated Z thoroughly and found nothing at all racist in his background.

    Why is Zimmerman getting this treatment, rather than guilty defendants who have done horrendous things? Making a public request for background info is dubious practice, because it invites false reports. But, if Obama's Justice Dept is going to to this, why not start with Major Hassan, who killed a lot of people, not in self-defense? Our President is treating Z as worse than Major Hassan.

    1. If GWBush had mentioned that a recent shooting victim looked like he might have been his son, nobody would even have noticed or mentioned it.

      But apparently, black persons aren't allowed to say such things because.... well, just because.

    2. Quaker in a BasementJuly 18, 2013 at 1:50 PM

      the Community Relations Service (CRS), was deployed to Sanford following the Trayvon Martin shooting to help organize and manage rallies and protests against George Zimmerman.

      Your assertion is suspect. The documents Judicial Watch obtained say CRS deployed to Sanford "to work protests". Other entries in the documents say CRS deployed to provide technical advice to law enforcement and to provide mediation with protesters. There is no evidence to support the charge that CRS helped organize or manage any of the rallies.

      Once again, Dave, you're quoting the most inflammatory interpretations from unreliable sources.

    3. David.

      The fact that you inject Obama into a thread, then interpret all actions of any governmental body as his, and supply a negative, hateful purpose to it explains a lot about you, not Obama.

      Obama's comments about Trayvon looking like what his son would look like are played repeatedly, usually without the larger context of the full comment he made. That comment was in response to a question he was asked by a white reporter for a television network. The questioner injected the issue of race, not the President, and his "son" comment was directed at Martin's parents.

      Would you and all who cite this comment prefer Obama simply answer the question with
      "No comment?"

      The right wing blog you link as "proof" of the DOJ CRS efforts is laughable.

      Your final point, the continued efforts of DOJ to look into the case, turn your original comment on its head. If Obama's purpose was to fan racial flames to increase black turnout, what purpose does this action now serve since he was easily re-elected for a final term?

      There may be reasons why Zimmerman profiled
      Martin other than race. I am not sure what your reason is in profiling Obama in this post.


    4. Hot damn! I agree with QiB! Write it down!!!

    5. DAinCA,

      Obama said that TM would have looked like his son in the context of the tragedy of the death of one family's son.

      No, the CRS didn't organize rallied against Zimmerman. They're a mediation unit sent to communities in crisis. This nonsense is just crap in the rightwing blogosphere you swallow whole. I've followed the links: no evidence, just a lot of "allegeds."

      The DoJ set up a site for people to talk to them about Zimmerman. That's one of the things this country is about, allowing people to petition their government. Investigating civil rights cases is part of what the DoJ does. I know you think Zimmerman has been proven innocent, but that's not really true. I know you think no reasonable person could think Zimmerman guilty of violating Martin's civil rights, but you'd be wrong about that too. I know you're angry that anybody in law enforcement had the audacity to indict Zimmerman, but there are also a bunch of people angry about about other aspects of the case. I know you think the DoJ should just drop the whole thing and ignore those other people, but, well you get the idea.

      Or not.

  16. I'm no fan of Obama but I think you're completely wrong in trying to politicize this. Very irresponsible.

    1. Gonna assume this is sarcasm

    2. Not at all. And that's not to suggest that others aren't playing this up to suit their own agendas. It's wrong regardless.

  17. Would you and all who cite this comment prefer Obama simply answer the question with "No comment?"

    Yes, indeed. He shouldn't have commented without knowing all the facts. BTW I didn't like his latest comment. He expressed sympathy for the Martin family, which is fine. But, no sympathy for Zimmerman and his family. Considering that Z has been tried and acquitted and that he and his family have suffered quite a bit, I was disappointed in the President's one-sided comment.

    Mr. Obama embarrassed himself early in his Presidency by making an inappropriate comment about a confrontation between a policeman and a black Professor. More recently, he made an inappropriate comment that will hamper the trials of military people accused of sex crimes.

    1. Yes indeed there is no end to the wrongs of Mr. Obama when answering direct questions. Best he simply keep his mouth shut for fear of expressing sympathy that might be interpreted by those who are above racism as fanning racism among those who are "his people."

      Of course you overlook that most of his comments in the first instance you cited were about thoroughly investigating the Martin killing to get the facts. But to have included that would undermine your premise of fanning racial hatred for political purposes.


    2. DAinCA, Sadly, no. It's you who's embarrassed yourself, not Obama. Obama said that the police had acted stupidly in arresting Henry Louis Gates for disturbing the peace on his own property. Absent fighting in your front yard or lobbing bottles from your porch into the street, it's just about impossible to disturb the peace when you're home. Obama was being polite: the arrest was stupid and illegal.

      And, of course, defense lawyers are yapping about the President's comment about people who commit sexual assault in the military. But that's what defense lawyers do. And naturally you bought it because it's a chance to bash Obama. The irony is that for the President's comments to apply to the defendants, those defendants would have to be guilty of assault.

      But on second thought, maybe you're right. How dare the Commander in Chief set a policy against sexual assault in the military! What was he thinking?

  18. quaker -- Judicial Watch is a better source, because it has some direct quotes. I don't want to clutter this space, so please read the full post here.

    I want your honest answer. If the Justice Dept. had taken all these same actions in support of anti-Trayvon demonstrations, wouldn't you have found that objectionable?

    (BTW anti-Trayvon demonstrations might have been more appropriate. Zimmerman committed no crime. Martin probably committed aggravated assault.)

    1. David. Thanks for not cluttering the space, but shame on you for linking to just Judicial Watch, whose twisted interpretation relies upon distorting an Orlando Sentinel article which detailed, contemporaneously with events, the role of the CRS in Sanford.

      Since you included the CRS activity as proof Obama's purpose was to enflame black hatred to increase black voter turnout, I thought linking to this article would allow readers to review exactly how crackers such a notion really is:


    2. rick, your source says,

      They [the CRS] even arranged a police escort for college students to ensure safe passage for their 40-mile march from Daytona Beach to Sanford to demand justice.

      "Demand justice" is a euphemism. It means, "Demand that Zimmerman be punished." We now know that Zimmerman was not guilty. There was no case. The CRS wasn't working for justice. They were simply helping to drum up anti anti-Zimmerman feelings.

      There was a similar case in 2009, except the shooter, Scott, was black and victim (who was a criminal) was white. Like Zimmerman, Scott was acquitted of manslaughter on self-defense grounds.

      Now, suppose a white group had organized anti-Scott marches and demonstrations, not so much because of the facts as because of the race of the two people. Would you have considered the demonstrators to be racists? I would.

      Suppose the authorities aided the demonstrators? I would feel that the authorities were trying to railroad an innocent man into prison because of his race. Wouldn't you?

    3. Ah how the Obamobssessed love to be selective! Lets quote another portion from my source concerning the CRS of the DOJ.

      "The peacekeepers have a specific mandate outlined in the 1964 Civil Rights Act to go into conflict zones within American communities that perceive discrimination or feel wronged because of their particular race, color or national origin.


      They negotiate, ameliorate and communicate "under strict confidentiality," Monroe said.

      City officials said when battle lines were drawn and dialogue broke down, they called in the conciliators."

      "They work behind the scenes and in the trenches to make contact with the various organizations that are represented," Sanford's Community Development coordinator Andrew Thomas said. "They make the connections others in the community can't."

      So you see, my friend, the were invited to come by Stanford, to keep a tense situation from exploding. Hence making sure police kept a march from having incidents which might make matters worse.

      I am not familiar with the Scott case. I assume he was charged with manslaughter only after whites protested?


    4. DAinCA,

      Wrong again. As usual. Don't you get tired of it? Zimmerman committed no crime, eh? Actually he was found not guilty of two crimes. No one knows who started the fight after Z and M came face to face, but in any case, it's highly unlikely that M committed aggravated assault even if he was the aggressor. In Florida aggravated assault requires a weapon or the intent to commit another felony. It doesn't apply to fistfights.

  19. Those are pretty words, but if their goal was to keep things from exploding, they could hardly have done a worse job. The Zimmerman family has had to be in hiding. George wears a bullet-proof vest. Many people expect him to be assassinated or publicly hope so.

    IMHO what they should have done to reduce tensions was to explain publicly why GZ was the opposite of a racist. That he was partly black; had been raised with blacks, voluntarily tutored black children, took a black girl to the prom, helped black neighbors. They also could have explained to the demonstrators the true facts of the case -- facts that led to his acquittal on all charges.

    Instead they encouraged demonstrations based falsehoods spread by racial hate-mongers.

    1. P.S. This article is just one example of how bad a job the Justice Dept. did of reducing tensions, if you believe that was really their aim.

      'Flash mob' of thieves causes chaotic night in Hollywood

      ...Investigators were looking into the possibility that the group included people who participated in the Crenshaw violence and an earlier episode in Hollywood on Sunday night.

      The upheaval took place against the backdrop of several days of protests against the acquittal of George Zimmerman, a former neighborhood-watch volunteer who fatally shot unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin in Florida.

      Police sources who requested anonymity because of the ongoing investigation said they had uncovered Twitter messages from days before the Zimmerman verdict, in which people were discussing the idea of going to Hollywood to cause trouble. The acquittal, however, seems to have given the group a cause celebre and motivated more people to join.,0,220764.story

    2. Quaker in a BasementJuly 19, 2013 at 11:10 AM

      Wait. You're concluding that the CRS' efforts to keep peace in Florida failed because of something that happened in California?

      Good golly.

    3. You're very smart, Quaker. You know that I meant that the violence in California demonstrates the failure of the CRS to calm passions.

      CRS's key failure was to treat the demonstrators as a civil rights group. IMHO they're more like a hate group. Before Z was charged, they claimed to want justice. They got justice. They demanded a fair trial and they got one. Are they happy? No. They're more belligerent than ever. They're out promoting a false version of what actually happened and demanding that an innocent man be punished.

      Furthermore, as Bob keeps pointing out, the usually-responsible media continue to spread falsehoods, which IMHO encourage the hate-filled mobs. However, the media are uneven. Here are two recent links to the New Yorker. One, from Jeffrey Toobin blog, is sensible.

      The other, by Amy Davidson, is ignorant.

    4. DAinCA, Would it hurt you to be informed about a subject before you have an opinion? The CRS is in the business of mediation. They step in when they're asked to by public or private organizations.

      Justice and due process are different things. It's hard enough for people to agree on the latter, which at least has case law. Some people don't think justice was done or that the trial was fair. Promoting and demanding are protected by the 1st Amendment, even when the promoters and demanders are wrong, even when they're willfully so.

      You haven't seen any hate-filled mobs in this affair. You want to see hate-filled mobs? Go here:

      About two minutes in and following.

    5. Quaker in a BasementJuly 19, 2013 at 3:50 PM

      You know that I meant that the violence in California demonstrates the failure of the CRS to calm passions.

      I do know that. I also know that you were commenting on CRS activity in Florida and faulting that activity for not preventing an outbreak in California.

      Did you have a point?

    6. CRS's key failure was to treat the demonstrators as a civil rights group. IMHO they're more like a hate group. Before Z was charged, they claimed to want justice. They got justice. They demanded a fair trial and they got one. Are they happy? No. They're more belligerent than ever. They're out promoting a false version of what actually happened and demanding that an innocent man be punished.

      Your little rant is overpopulated by They. Who are you talking about, exactly? Demonstrators in Sanford, FL? Blog posters? Civil rights organizations? "They" are more like a hate group? Don't beat around the bush, Dave. Tell us who you mean.

  20. "If you believe that was really their aim."

    Just what we need- the right wing to add their own special blend of conspiratorial paranoia to the mix. Amp it up by all means.

    Just as many current day knee-jerk liberals claim a self-satisfied, special gift for rooting out racism, right wingers have the same keen nose for "subversion", "anti-Americanism" and ulterior motive. Both tribes, if they squint hard enough, think the worst of those who might disagree, and cock their heads just right, are quick to spot it in each other. Two sides, exact SAME coin.