Targeting George Zimmerman: Edit-Gate Worse Than Rathergate
The media dishonestly going after the president of the United States is wrong, but it goes with the territory, and the target in that case is the most powerful man in the world. That is something completely different from the media using lies and half-baked information to label as racist and a liar a private citizen while he's in hiding for fear of his life.
In the final months leading up to the 2004 presidential election, the CBS program "60 Minutes Wednesday" aired a hit-job about then-President George W. Bush's record in the Texas Air National Guard using documents that were quite easily exposed by new media as fraudulent. After this fraud was laid bare, for days the scandal became one of the biggest stories in the country, and as a result of an internal investigation, a number of CBS employees lost their jobs.
Not long afterwards, Dan Rather, who was then the long-time anchor of the "CBS Evening News" and the reporter who presented the phony story, would "retire" early under a cloud of scandal.
What Dan Rather and his cabal of left-wing media hit-men (and women) did eight years ago was serious, but not unprecedented. Every day of the week our corrupt media tells lies of commission and omission in order to damage Republicans and aid Democrats. What was different about Rathergate, though, is that the stakes were enormous. Dan Rather's phony documents not only could have made the difference between Bush being re-elected or not (which was probably the idea), but CBS was caught red-handed. When a major network attempts to bluff a sitting president out of office, the story is impossible to ignore and the fallout inevitable.
While it might be a sexier story, that doesn't mean, though, that Rathergate is a greater media sin than what's become known as Editgate -- which is shorthand for the duplicity and malicious behavior we've seen these past few weeks from ABC, NBC, and CNN with respect to the racially-charged story of George Zimmerman allegedly shooting 17-year-old Trayvon Martin
Up until now, I thought the worst thing I had ever seen the media do was in 2008, when Politico's Jonathan Martin ran interference for His Precious One by publishing oppo-research against a private citizen whose only sin was asking then-candidate Obama a simple question that forever after ensured a President and his teleprompter would never part.
Editgate, however, is something much, much worse.
In the case of ABC News, even though the network knew it had the capability to eventually enhance surveillance video of Zimmerman's arrest, the network still chose to release the un-enhanced video with this declarative headline: "Trayvon Martin Video Shows No Blood or Bruises on George Zimmerman."
Translation: Zimmerman is a liar who hunted down and murdered an unarmed teenager.
What CNN did was even worse. "The Most Trusted Name In News" told America that, according to their audio expert, Zimmerman called Trayvon Martin a "fucking coon" just prior to shooting him. They've since backpedaled, but the gasoline had already been gleefully thrown on the racial fire. And like ABC News, here's another situation where a major network shot their biased mouths off, knowing there was better technology at their disposal to report something closer to the truth later.
Translation: Zimmerman is a racist who killed an unarmed teenager because he was black.
But the Editgate gold medal goes to NBC News. The Peacock Network didn't "misinterpret" what was in front of them and they didn't jump the gun. What NBC did was ALTER what they had to make Zimmerman look racist.
On the storied "Today Show," NBC News told America Zimmerman said this on the 911 call:
Zimmerman: This guy looks like he’s up to no good. He looks black.
When the truth is that the unedited audio actually went like this:
Zimmerman: This guy looks like he’s up to no good. Or he’s on drugs or something. It’s raining and he’s just walking around, looking about.
Dispatcher: OK, and this guy — is he black, white or Hispanic?
Zimmerman: He looks black.
TRANSLATION: George Zimmerman racially profiled the unarmed black teenager he shot.
When it came to Rathergate, CBS was targeting a powerful public figure with the resources to fight back. With Editgate, three major networks have targeted a private citizen, a man who does not appear to be wealthy, who has not been charged with a crime, who is innocent until proven guilty, and who is currently in hiding with a bounty on his head.
Worse still, these malicious attempts to paint Zimmerman as a liar and racist are not only attacks on Zimmerman, but through the intentional enflaming of racial divisions based on false and half-baked information, this is also an attack on the American people--especially the people currently sitting in the front row in Sanford, FL.
After the investigation we all want to see, it may very well be discovered that George Zimmerman committed a crime. But if it comes out that he in fact did act in justifiable self-defense, he'll probably have lawyers beating down his door for a piece of ABC, CNN, and NBC.
Regardless, in their haste to see Obama re-elected and to aid and abet his divisive and cynical national community organizing, these three news outlets and the media watchdogs who refuse to hold them accountable (The Washington Post's Erik Wemple being a notable exception), have hit a low that makes Rathergate look like just another piece of biased reporting.