Bill O’Reilly finally got around to discussing the racially-charged Trayvon Martin shooting - but he somehow left out the racial component! To listen to O’Reilly and his guests tell it, the case was only about vigilante justice gone wrong. Racial stereotyping, the relationship between African American communities and the police and Florida’s “stand your ground” law which has a liberal standard for justifiable homicide are integral parts of the tragedy that has caught the nation’s attention in a red-hot controversy. That is, those in the nation who don’t watch Fox. And, funny, but O’Reilly questioned whether or not African-American Martin had any criminal record but not his white or Hispanic killer.
As it was, O’Reilly and/or his producers did their best to minimize the coverage. The discussion was brief, aired late in the show and as the second part of an “Is It Legal” segment. Still, there should have been enough time to point out what’s at the heart of the intense public interest: Not just that an unarmed teenager was shot and killed by an armed, neighborhood watch captain who has claimed he acted in self-defense. But that young Martin’s most “threatening” behavior was likely being black.
O’Reilly and guest Kimberly Guilfoyle touched on the issue surrounding Florida law. O'Reilly called the law “very strange” and Guilfoyle explained how anyone who feels threatened has no duty to retreat but can stand one’s ground, defend oneself with a gun and “use deadly force if necessary.” O’Reilly noted that in Florida it’s not hard to get a license to carry a gun. But nobody mentioned that the case has thrown a harsh spotlight on the law and a Florida state senator has called for hearings to clarify what constitutes self-defense.
O’Reilly did note that the shooter, George Zimmerman “takes advantage” of the law. O’Reilly then played an edited version of Zimmerman's call to 911 that just so happened to have the racial parts edited out. In the complete 911 recording, the police dispatcher’s first question about Martin was to ask what race he was. Also, Zimmerman later described Martin’s suspect behavior as having “his hand in his waistband. And he’s a black male.” Even worse, some people think Zimmerman used a racial epithet during the call. None of that made it into the O’Reilly segment.
What O’Reilly did play could only have been designed to put the best spin on Zimmerman’s behavior:
Zimmerman: He’s got his hand in his waistband. EDIT.
Zimmerman: Something’s wrong with him. Yup. He’s coming to check me out. He’s got something in his hand.”
O’Reilly quizzed his guests (who also included an obviously upset Lis Wiehl) as to whether or not Martin had done anything wrong. O’Reilly asked: Was Trayvon Martin carrying a gun? Was he carrying any weapon? He had no weapons at all? Did he have a record? Had he done anything wrong?
But O’Reilly never questioned anything about Zimmerman or his conduct. As Mother Jones reported, it would have been standard police procedure to test him for drugs and alcohol but they didn't. Mother Jones also reported:
(P)olice initially told Martin’s father that they hadn’t pressed charges because Zimmerman was a criminal justice student with a “squeaky clean” record.
That wasn’t entirely true, however; in 2005, Zimmerman was arrested for “resisting arrest with violence and battery on a law enforcement officer”; those charges were dropped. Media investigations and Martin family attorneys suggest that Zimmerman was a vigilante with “a false sense of authority” in search of young black men in his neighborhood. Police records show Zimmerman had called 911 a total of 46 times between Jan. 1 and the day he shot Martin (2/26/12).
None of that was told to the “no spin zone” viewers.
Video available at Mediaite.
Thinking about it… WAS that story on Fox News before the racial angles came up?
The story ran for a while, the assault itself died down, but it has legs on the wire as a talk about Kansas City’s arson problem, and the safety of the school will bring it back before much longer.
Now that you’ve been answered, you wanna talk about how Fox News is twisting the Trayvon Martin story, or do you wanna keep wasting our time?
From what I read, it sounds like Zimmerman initiated the problem by stalking and chasing Martin even after being told to back off. It sounds like a fight then happened between the guys and that Zimmerman then shot Martin in the chest during the fight. Is that essentially what happened here?
The first question to be asked about a Fox News story, always, is, “Am I getting the full story here?”
When Scary Black People ain’t doing Bad Things the Racist Whites are no where to be found. See, it fixes itself.