Timeline: How the Press Prosecuted Zimmerman While Stoking Racial Tensions
As we await the verdict in the trial of George Zimmerman, the Florida man who claims to have shot and killed teenager Trayvon Martin in self-defense, this seems the perfect time to reflect on the media's cynical and dishonest role in turning a local crime into a national obsession.
As you will see below, by hook and crook, the mainstream media did everything in its still-potent power to not only push for the prosecution of Mr. Zimmerman (the police originally chose not to charge him) but also to gin up racial tensions where none needed to exist.
It all started with the anchor of a major television network (Al Sharpton) inserting himself in the story to spread division and hate; it continued straight through to the closing days of the trial when another major news network, desperate to keep a fabricated racial narrative alive, propagated the portrayal of Zimmerman as part of a racial group that doesn't exist -- the "white Hispanic."
In-between, there has been an astonishing amount of malicious fraud and lies, all in an effort to serve a president, stir racial hatred, and influence the justice system.
February 26, 2012 - George Zimmerman Shoots and Kills Trayvon Martin
Zimmerman claims self-defense. After an investigation, the police agree and decide not to press charges.
March 8, 2012 - The AP Falsely Describes Zimmerman as "White"
The story of the grieving parents of Trayvon Martin demanding Zimmerman be arrested first achieves national attention on March 8 when CBS This Morning runs a report.
Later that same day, the Associated Press throws the first log on the racial fire by inaccurately describing Zimmerman as white.
March 13, 2012 - NBC's Al Sharpton Uses MSNBC Platform to Stoke Phony Racial Narrative
Breitbart editor-in-chief Joel Pollak:
Sharpton devoted a portion of his program on MSNBC, PoliticsNation, to the Trayvon Martin case. He interviewed Martin family attorney Benjamin Crump, who reiterated the accusation that Zimmerman was “white”: “We think Trayvon Martin didn’t know who the heck this white man was who approached him before he got killed.”
Earlier that same day, Sharpton's National Action Network released a statement calling for...
...a “complete and thorough investigation” into Martin’s death. He added: “[W]e are told that racial language was used when the young man reported his suspicions to police[.]”
The story about Zimmerman's use of racial language was false.
March 13, 2012 - ABC News Reporter Claims Trayvon Shot Because "He Was Black"
About ten days before Al Sharpton and President Obama would launch the Zimmerman story into the stratosphere, Matt Gutman, an ABC News correspondent based in Miami, Florida, was already (and without a shred of evidence) laying the track for a racial narrative.
Gutman covered the case for the network, and his Twitter feed at the time was full of falsehoods, innuendo, and irresponsible speculation. In one tweet, Gutman came right out and claimed Trayvon was shot "bc [because] he was black."
Gutman would also recklessly accuse Zimmerman of "stalking" and shooting down Trayvon.
March 19, 2012 - CBS News Falsely Claims Zimmerman Is White
A small detail that the Obama administration and the media apparently missed was that the white versus black racial narrative they were preparing to invest so much into was missing just one thing: a white person.
Proof of this is that CBS News falsely claimed Zimmerman was white about a week before the story exploded.
In their venomous zeal, the media and Democrats likely assumed that someone with the last name Zimmerman had to be white. But they were wrong, as Zimmerman is Hispanic.
Never ones to back off a good narrative, rather than use this revelation to tamp down tensions or correct their reporting, the media simply made up out of whole cloth a new racial category: the "white Hispanic."
March 22, 2012 - Zimmerman Described as a "White Hispanic" by The New York Times
Just in the nick of time, before the story was engineered to explode the very next day with the Sharpton rally, The New York Times put its stamp of approval on the term "white Hispanic."
March 21, 2012 - CNN Falsely Accuses Zimmerman of Saying "F**king Coon"
Knowing full well the phony racial storm brewing around the Zimmerman case was about to have gasoline thrown on it the next day, CNN went to extraordinary lengths to claim Zimmerman had uttered the racial slur "coon" when he had not.
This has to be watched to be believed.
CNN wouldn't officially retract their defamation until April 5th, long after it was too late.
March 22, 2012 - NBC's Al Sharpton Goes to Florida
Though the police had investigated the shooting and saw no reason to charge George Zimmerman, in March of 2012, President Obama's reelection chances looked dim. He would need the crucial swing state of Florida to win another four years, and nothing brings out the Democrat vote like a good old racial bonfire.
With the help of thousands of dollars from Obama's Justice Department, it was then that Rev. Al Sharpton (anchor of MSNBC's Politics Nation) held his incendiary rally:
At the protest, Sharpton was flanked by Martin's parents. "Trayvon could have been any one of our sons," he said. "Trayvon could have been any one of us."
"We are tired of going to jail for nothing and others going home for something. Zimmerman should have been arrested that night ... you cannot defend yourself against a pack of Skittles and iced tea. Don't talk to us like we're stupid! Don't talk to us like we're ignorant! We love our children like you love yours. Lock him up!"
Sharpton said that he would stay on the case.
"We cannot allow a legal precedent to be established in this city that tells us it is legal for a man to kill us, tell any story he wants, and walks out with the murder weapon," he said.
March 23, 2012 - President Obama Repeats Sharpton's Talking Point
The day after Sharpton held his rally and said, "Trayvon could have been any one of our sons," President Obama made huge news when he stepped before the cameras, demanded action in the Zimmerman case, and famously said, "If I had a son, he would look like Trayvon."
In just two days, a network news anchor and an American president had blasted the Zimmerman case into the nation's top story and did so based on a racial narrative without a shred of evidence to support it. Almost every other major news outlet would now commit every journalistic sin imaginable to fabricate evidence.
March 24, 2012 - Reuters Describes Zimmerman as a "White Hispanic"
To keep the white versus black narrative alive, Reuters jumps on the ridiculous "white Hispanic" bandwagon.
Many others would follow.
March 27, 2012 - NBC News Edits 911 Audio 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.
After the fraudulent editing was discovered by the New Media (first by Breitbart News), former NBC News president Steve Capus would claim that the edit was "a mistake and not a deliberate act to misrepresent the phone call."
Eventually, several NBC producers would be fired (without being named), and Zimmerman would file a lawsuit against NBC; it remains unresolved.
March 28, 2012 - ABC News Falsely Claims Zimmerman Wasn't Injured Night of Shooting
The day after NBC News released its falsified 911 bombshell, ABC News released a phony, hyped-up story of its own. Using grainy surveillance video of Zimmerman at the police station on the night of the shooting, ABC News claimed, "A police surveillance video taken the night that Trayvon Martin was shot dead shows no blood or bruises on George Zimmerman."
Obviously, if true, this would go a long way towards proving Zimmerman was not in fear of his life the night of the shooting and had lied about being beaten up.
The only problem is that the ABC News story was not true -- not even close. The network didn't bother to enhance the video before breaking the news. Had they, Zimmerman's bloody head would have been quite apparent.
It would take four days for ABC to retract its falsehood.
March 28, 2012 - Boston Globe Falsely Describes Zimmerman as White
By late March it was widely known that George Zimmerman was Hispanic. This did not stop the Boston Globe from using its pages to describe him as "a white neighborhood watch captain."
This error has never been corrected.
March 29, 2012 - NBC's Chris Matthews Contradicts Guest to Claim Zimmerman Not Injured
By the next day, ABC's false story about Zimmerman not being injured had already gone viral. However, some were already doing the job ABC apparently didn't want to do: enhancing the video. A guest on MSNBC's Hardball told the show's host, Chris Matthews, that his enhancement did show bruises on the back of Zimmerman's head. MSNBC even broadcast the enhancement, which clearly showed cuts and bruising.
Regardless, during the same show, Matthews stridently claimed:
George Zimmerman says he shot Trayvon Martin after Trayvon broke his nose and repeatedly slammed the back of his head into a concrete sidewalk, but newly released video tape of Zimmerman arriving at the police station--we're looking at it there--appears to show no evidence of a broken nose or obvious wounds to the back of Zimmerman's head.
Late March, 2012 - Zimmerman's "Black Friend" Vilified by Media
Even though Zimmerman is Hispanic and there was no evidence of any racial motivation behind his actions, the media's racial-hysteria was, at this point, in full bloom. To try and tamp things down, Joe Oliver, a black reporter who had worked with CNN and an Orlando television station, started doing the national media interview rounds to speak on behalf of his friend, George Zimmerman.
The counterattack in the media (CNN, New York Times, and MSNBC, among others) was exceptionally vicious, personal, and effective.
Oliver went away.
April 1, 2012 - The New York Times Maliciously Edits Zimmerman's 911 Call
Although the NBC News malicious edit of Zimmerman's 911 call broadcast on the Today Show had already been loudly and publicly debunked, days later the New York Times did the same thing on its front page.
By rearranging the words of the call, the Times falsely made it look as though Zimmerman had profiled Trayvon as black:
Here is the 911 call transcript:
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.
911 DISPATCHER: Okay. And this guy, is he white, black, or Hispanic?
ZIMMERMAN: He looks black.
And here is what the Times reported:
“Hey, we’ve had some break-ins in my neighborhood,” Mr. Zimmerman said to start the conversation with the dispatcher. “And there’s a real suspicious guy.”
This guy seemed to be up to no good; like he was on drugs or something; in a gray hoodie. Asked to describe him further, he said, “He looks black.”
The print edition of the story was even worse than the online edition.
April 9, 2012 - PBS Anchor Gwen Ifill Describes Zimmerman as "White"
Desperate to keep a non-existent racial narrative alive, during a broadcast of the PBS Newshour Gwen Ifill falsely stated:
Martin, who was black, was on his way to a convenience store in a mostly white gated community when George Zimmerman, who is white, shot and killed him after a disputed altercation.
Note Ifill's reporting of Zimmerman's gated community. The condos in Zimmerman's neighborhood sell for about $120,000.
April 11, 2012 - George Zimmerman Is Arrested, Charged with Second Degree Murder
After the arrest, and as the trial date neared the following year, NBC would allow Al Sharpton to turn his primetime MSNBC show into a platform dedicated to convicting Zimmerman.
CNN would continue to refer to Zimmerman as a "white Hispanic" and broadcast all of Zimmerman's personal information, including his social security number, address, and telephone number.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC.