Remember when the media obsessively reported on every tiny detail of the Trayvon Martin shooting, to the point of… shall we say… extrapolating certain details to keep the story humming along? NBC News fabricated audio to make George Zimmerman, who stands accused of second-degree murder, sound like a racist. ABC News doctored video to make it look like Zimmerman was lying about the injuries he received at Martin’s hands.
Sloppy reporting was transformed into incendiary rhetoric by hustlers like Al Sharpton. A story about a callous white racist randomly shooting an angelic, innocent black boy, and getting away with murder because the cops were either racist co-conspirators or bumbling clowns, was howled into bullhorns.
Zimmerman’s trial for second-degree murder was painted as the latest trial of the century, sure to capture the public imagination for months to come. When Florida special prosecutor Angela Corey announced the charges, it became a stop-the-presses, interrupt-the-afternoon-soaps media event.
But all of a sudden, we stopped hearing about the Zimmerman trial. The media never gives it headline treatment any more. Why is that, do you suppose?
Well, it might have something to do with the fact that the entire media storyline has disintegrated. All the news lately has debunked the breathless, pulse-pounding “news” reports from months ago. There was a brief flicker of interest when Zimmerman got in hot water for concealing assets during his bond hearing, but it quickly subsided. Zimmerman was chastised for his behavior, but he was issued a new bond ($1 million, of which he had to pay $100,000) and he was released again.
Now the Miami Herald reports, “After interviewing nearly three dozen people in the George Zimmerman murder case, the FBI found no evidence that racial bias was a motivating factor in the shooting of Trayvon Martin, records released Thursday show. Even the lead detective in the case, Sanford Detective Chris Serino, told agents that he thought Zimmerman profiled Trayvon because of his attire and the circumstances – but not his race.”
Serino thought Zimmerman might have “a little hero complex,” but he wasn’t a racist, and there did not appear to be enough evidence at the time of the shooting to file any charges.
That’s a devastating blow to the second-degree murder case, which has to prove malevolent intent on Zimmerman’s behalf, and of course presumptions of racism have suffused the story from the moment it broke. There are various details of unusual behavior by Zimmerman in the report – some of which an ex-girlfriend attributes to his reaction to an acne medication he was taking – but none of it supports the racial angle that made this story a national obsession in the first place, and it doesn’t support the charges filed against Zimmerman.
Speaking of detective Chris Serino, another Miami Herald piece says he “told the FBI that a sergeant and two other officers tried to pressure him into making an arrest in the controversial case – even though he didn’t think there was enough evidence.” The officers who allegedly pressured Serino have also been questioned for leaking information to the media. Since everything else about this story has been soaked in racial issues, it’s worth noting that the Herald’s sources claim that the sergeant and one of the officers are black, while the third is “married to an African-American man.” This is rather different from the media portrayal of the Sanford police department at the height of the news frenzy.