Home Featured Trial by Media: George Zimmerman to be charged in Trayvon Martin shooting

Trial by Media: George Zimmerman to be charged in Trayvon Martin shooting


Poll Source: Washington Post.

The Washington Post reports George Zimmerman, shooter of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in February 2012, will be charged by Florida’s special prosecutor, Angela Corey as early as this afternoon. If you read my first write-up on this story, you’ll note I have never asked for anything more than for George Zimmerman to be arrested so that all the facts can come out in a court of law instead of the court of public opinion.

From the Washington Post:

Florida special prosecutor Angela Corey plans to announce as early as Wednesday afternoon that she is charging neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman in the shooting of Trayvon Martin, according to a law enforcement official close to the investigation.

It was not immediately clear what charge Zimmerman will face.

George Zimmerman (left) and Trayvon Martin.

Despite my original charge for arrest, I have remained noticeably quiet as I observed the George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin trial by media circus unravel before me. If  Mr. Zimmerman is arrested today, I know this will not be the end, but only the beginning. Frankly, the media’s portrayal of this case – with few exceptions – disgusted me. The media took a murky issue and capitalized on an opportunity to divide the nation along racial lines. They manipulated stories, used doctored 911 tapes, and alternated between inaccurate photos of young black males who turned out not to be Trayvon Martin and Zimmernan’s 2005 arrest photo versus his clean cut dress suit photo as they saw fit to force their varying story’s agenda on us. The media did not use this opportunity to educate the public. They used it to infuriate.

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However, the media is not completely to blame. All they did was expose many of our own underlying stereotypical insecurities. We, the public, are just as complicit. Some of us wanted to believe a white man hunted down and murdered a young 17-year-old black boy, case closed. Others wanted to believe a hapless Hispanic man shot a 6’3, black thug in self defense, case closed. Few of us on either side wanted to bother waiting for facts. Instead, we wanted to rely on preconceived notions, racial insecurities, and an underlying paranoia of one another’s motivations. All the media did was capitalize on these insecurities for money, TV views, and page clicks. We complied. Therefore, I blame everyone, because everyone is culpable.

I’m not sure what will happen next in this case. I hope we can collectively rely on facts, rather than emotion. Sadly, given my observations over these past few weeks, if not years, I do not believe that will be the case. We are not at that point and I worry we never will be. When top news organizations continue to rely on headlines like the one I saw on CNN this morning, Study: Republicans, whites more tired of Trayvon Martin coverage, I am not optimistic for the future or that of our children.

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In 2012, I would hope – in vain it seems – I would see headlines along the lines of “America Unites to Understand Circumstances Surrounding Tragedy Affecting Both Families.” Clearly, I live in a dream world. In the real world, regardless of the absence of facts, people still choose to view the world through the only two colors that matter to them: black and white.


  1. Unfortunately, you’re correct. I can do nothing more than shake my head and hope that one day… One day…. I would hope that the general public was (dare I say) intelligent enough to gather their information from multiple news sources in order to gather intelligent, fact based opinion. Far toomany people look at the pictures, read the headlines and take a headlong leap into “fact” as they see it…. the media spins….. It’s what they’re paid to do. Recognition of that makes their “spin” less malignant. But, that’s just my opinion. Good write up, WIM.

  2. What's interesting to note is at the time of the shooting, George Zimmerman was told by dispatchers to remain in his car as authorities were on their way. So why then did Mr Zimmerman choose to defy those orders and start chasing after the boy again? He was after all just a volunteer, not a career detective or even a paid security guard with a role to fulfill, nor was his or anyone's life at that time threatened.

    Could it be that Mr Zimmerman was acting out some sort of vendetta against a minority figure and would show the world that he at least could keep the neighborhood clean, that despite the trauma of race tensions in the community at least he could get the job done- at any cost. Is this what Mr Zimmerman was thinking when he once again set out for the boy with a gun in his hand??

  3. Actually, young heaux, I think those numbers are kinda reasonable.

    Shows how in the middle the white community is.. and shows how they aren’t quick to believe our claims, which we already know.

    Trial by media includes social media and the truth is…. ninjas didn’t always act in the best ways or take the most logical approach to this matter. Overall its good to see people care enough to move mountains.…… just saying every stone was not moved with class. Some of our comments from slim’s post a while back I was outright disgusted by.

    1. Reasonable. Really? What kind of f***ing insane, inappropriate question is that, "Do you think the shooting was justified?" The kid is DEAD. The fact that the WaPo can ask whether or not it's justified that Trayvon was shot, resulting in his death, shows how f***ed up this is. Ain't no middle, man. That's not a question anyone should ask about a person's death. Unless they're a nazi or something.

  4. The day will never occur because people inherently are not completely rational and logical. We have emotions, thoughts, dreams and fears that will blend into our beliefs. The facts will come out, but our interpretations of the truth will always be skewed. I don't view it as a negative, but a human factor that will always be a part of our nature.

  5. this entire piece… though eloquent and sincere is bogus…. this is why black people will never "make it". i feel you are urging blacks to turn the other cheek YET AGAIN. they kill us we sing. they kill us we march. I can muster NO SYMPATHY for gz…. why should I. " i wish the headlines would have said usa unites over tragedy and finds facts while being compassionate to both sides" (paraphrase)…excuse me but NIGGA PLEASE…. truth hurts… you cant rewrite things as they would be in the ideal world…. this type of thinking is part of the problem. they dont understand us and they fear us…enough to still want to kill us…. and we are dumb enough to think because its 2012 that means something….wake up

  6. Excellent post.

    It's not just this case, it's all the cases where the MEDIA decides how we're supposed to react to something, and they twist and mislead us so much that they succeed. Media literacy and criticism should be taught in schools. You should never believe what you read in the papers, because it is never the complete truth. It's only the truth that benefits that reporter most. Anyone who has ever been interviewed for a newspaper knows that even the most innocent, simple comments can be taken out of context and made to seem something they are not.

    In other words, I'm waiting for the result of the investigation on the matter before I judge anyone. Like you Wim, an investigation was all I wanted.


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