Keeping racism alive

There is an adage among crusty old journalists to never let the facts get in the way of a good story. It’s what they say when others, based solely on perception, insist their position is correct. Damn the facts.

Sadly, it’s a perfect statement for how many in the national media played the Martin-Zimmerman trial. It was, and remains in many instances, an embarrassment to our profession. And it is yet another example of bowing to the god of Political Correctness and doing everything possible to make a story go national by playing “the race card.”

Damn the facts.

But first, let’s all admit there are only two people in the entire world who knew what happened that fateful day when George Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin. Tragically, one is dead. The other, after being acquitted, is back in hiding, fearing for his life.

Everyone is entitled to an opinion, but unless one watched or attended every second of the trial, pored over every police and investigative report, read all the witness statements and other discoverable information, your view of who was guilty remains only a guess. And even those who had all the information above can’t agree.

When media reports of the shooting first came out, the initial photographs of Martin were of a smiling junior high school kid wearing a red shirt. Let the race card begin. It was obvious a white man killed an innocent black kid. Of course, Martin was 17, but looking at that photo, one would never know. At some point even the national media realized that was a little too much, and finally came up with a photo of an older, good-looking Martin wearing a white hoodie.

But few saw the other photos of Martin that anyone with a second-grade education in computers could easily pick up. Ones of him holding guns in typical gangsta styles, giving the finger to the camera and blowing large billows of smoke that we all know was from cigarettes, right? And did you know that Martin had traces of marijuana in him the day he was shot?

But it was that original photo that set the stage. President Obama even stepped into the fray with the comment, “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.” Thank you, Mr. President. You pretty much set the tone on how this was going to play out, being commander-in-chief and all that.

Because it’s all about race — white versus black. Except there’s a little problem there the national media took some time to figure out, and even then, couldn’t bring themselves to deal with straight. See, it turns out Zimmerman has a white father, but his mother is from Peru. On his Voter ID card, Zimmerman (who many media types initially thought was Jewish because of his last name) is marked “Hispanic.”

No problem. The national media had to keep the race card going, so Zimmerman is now referred to as a “white Hispanic.” Please. Why don’t we keep it apples to apples? Obama has a white mother, so is he really our first black president? Or shouldn’t we refer to him as the country’s first white/black or white/African-American president? They are both biracial. Why is one black and the other a white Hispanic?

The coup de grace, so to speak, was NBC’s deplorable editing of the original 911 tape: (Zimmerman:) “This guy looks like he’s up to no good. He looks black.”

There you have it. We told you so. It was all about race. That is, until you hear the unedited version:

(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.”

Who cares about the facts? Let the peaceful protest demonstrations begin. But they haven’t. Daily we hear of riots — people blocking intersections, jumping on cars, breaking into stores and beating up random whites. Police in Los Angeles have resorted to donning riot gear and firing rubber bullets. Zimmerman’s parents have gone into hiding and recently told Barbara Walters they are receiving hundreds of death threats.

Now that’s the way to honor Trayvon Martin — with violence. Wasn’t that what the whole case was about, two people fighting?

Peaceful protest is a precious right guaranteed to the American people. Our judicial system is not perfect, but it is better than anywhere else. If people are upset about the ruling, then focus on changing the laws, not beating others up because of their race.The only time race should ever be involved in a trial is when it is a clear-cut case of intentional racial attack.This case was not, and should not have been, based on race.

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