NYT Revives 'Zimmerman Is Racist' Meme with Unverifiable Anecdote
In an otherwise unremarkable and inconclusive New York Times report on the latest released findings in the Trayvon Martin shooting incident, the liberal rag decides to drop an unverified, practically un-sourced bomb on George Zimmerman.
When police officers arrived on the scene of the shooting of Trayvon Martin on the rainy night of Feb. 26, they tried frantically to revive the 17-year-old, who had been shot in the chest and was lying motionless behind a row of town houses in a gated community in Sanford, Fla.
Authors Serge F. Kovaleski and Campell Robertson conclude a rambling "he said, she said" nothingburger with this:
The reports may give rise to other mysteries as well, including the identity of a woman who called another investigator, less than two full days after the shooting.
The woman refused to identify herself or give any callback numbers, but told the investigator that Mr. Zimmerman “has racist ideologies and that he is fully capable of instigating a confrontation that could have escalated to the point of Zimmerman having to use deadly force.”
The police were never able to track her down.
Anyone can pick up a phone and say anything to the police, as this apparent non-person did. It's nothing more than an un-sourced quote lacking corroboration, let alone substantiation. Why put it out there? If there were anything to it, why didn't the two reporters here do some legwork so that they might offer some substance to back up such an incendiary claim?
Kovaleski and Robertson did nothing akin to serious reporting, as opposed to simply reading a document to regurgitate whatever bits of it they desired. Then, they dug out one of the most potentially damaging yet fully unsubstantiated elements to leave for readers to ponder. Not only that, but it's perfect for know-nothings convinced they already know what happened that night, making Zimmerman guilty in their eyes. It's also a plum for any who want to cast Zimmerman as a racist and will now attempt to cement hearsay as fact by repeating it without explaining its utter lack of substantiation.
It's not serious journalism, but it's perfect for provocateurs, race baiters and propagandists, which is what the New York Times itself seems to be these days. That's why so many intelligent, unbiased fact-seeking news readers simply ignore the tittering old "grey lady" when it comes to reading solid reporting and allied editorial content found in new media. Most reputable bloggers operate with better judgment and more honestly disclosed biases, political and otherwise, than does the Times today.