George Zimmerman: From Killer To Plagiarizing Scam Artist?

What do you do as a follow up after killing an unarmed teenager and getting off with no punishment whatsoever? Well, If you’re George Zimmerman you start out by domestically abusing your girlfriends and then proceed to perpetrating an eBay hoax to net yourself a cool hundred grand.

Trayvon Martin’s killer is in the news again, this time because he has posted for sale on eBay something he calls an “original” painting. However, there appears to be something fishy about the whole thing.

George Zimmerman

The picture that Zimmerman claims to be an original, hand-painted work of art looks suspiciously like a stock photo from Shutterstock. It has undergone a bit of modification through standard Photoshop filters, but it is clearly a derivative work and there is no attribution or credit for the source. In fact, Zimmerman signed it as his own and made this statement on eBay:

“First hand painted artwork by me, George Zimmerman. Everyone has been asking what I have been doing with myself. I found a creative, way to express myself, my emotions and the symbols that represent my experiences. My art work allows me to reflect, providing a therapeutic outlet and allows me to remain indoors.”

Apparently Zimmerman believes that copying someone else’s artwork is a creative way to express himself and that plagiarism is a therapeutic outlet.

As of the publishing of this article, the bid for Zimmerman’s item is at $110,000. That’s a pretty sweet deal for a work that seems to be a copyright violation. The folks at Shutterstock will probably be interested in this if it actually sells. As will the buyer, unless it is someone who is seeking to funnel funds to Zimmerman through some backdoor, anonymous channel. After all, there is something awfully suspicious about anyone assigning a value this high to a Zimmerman knockoff.

Zimmerman has responded to a few questions on eBay from supporters who express their admiration for him as a hero. In one such response, Zimmerman attacks the people (including Trayvon’s family) who sought to hold him accountable for the shooting death of a kid walking home from the market with an iced tea and a bag of Skittles. Zimmerman says that…

“The system is broken, an innocent man should not spend one second without his God given liberty, solely because a small sect of uneducated loud mouths.”

For someone who has been in trouble with the law on several occasions since his famous acquittal, Zimmerman has an abundance of gall to insult the family of his victim and the civil libertarians who believe that a teenager’s death should not be swept under a legal carpet. And for him to come out with what appears to be a plagiarized work of “art” in an effort of profit from his infamy, and another family’s tragedy, is further evidence of his depraved character.

eBay should not permit this auction to proceed. It is an affront to a family still in mourning and a violation of the copyright of Shutterstock and the artist who provided the original work. Should the auction conclude, the funds should be sequestered and held until the resolution of any wrongful death suits that may be filed by Trayvon’s family.

[Update 5:52pm:] There have been a dozen canceled/retracted bids so far today, bringing it down 10 grand, but it’s current bid is still above $100,000. Some rich, sick individual obviously wants to give this killer a gift. I wonder who.

h/t Mediaite

Still In The Dark: Fox News Continues To Misunderstand The Tragedy Of Trayvon Martin

When news broke about the brutal and senseless killing of Chris Lane, a young Australian studying in Oklahoma, there was universal disgust and sympathy. It was the sort of random crime that leaves everyone struggling to comprehend how it could occur. Everyone except Fox News, who immediately set out to politicize it to advance their racist agenda.

Fox News

Almost without hesitation, Fox News, as well as other right-wingers like Rush Limbaugh, Allen West, etc., began misinforming their audiences by falsely alleging that the attack on Lane was racially motivated. Not only is there no evidence to suggest that, but one of the three attackers was white.

Nevertheless, Fox and the rest of the conservative circus commenced to question what civil rights activists Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, as well as President Obama, had to say about the murder. This was an obvious and nauseating attempt to transform the tragic incident into a political issue. They asserted that there was a connection between Lane’s murder and the killing of Trayvon Martin by the overzealous neighborhood watch captain, George Zimmerman.

The absurdity of that comparison is evident to anyone who was paying attention to the Martin case. The reason that people were so infuriated was that Zimmerman had been briefly questioned and then released with no further legal accountability. The protests that erupted were aimed at securing justice: an arrest, an investigation, and if warranted, a trial. That’s what was missing in the Martin case, and that’s why people were speaking out about it.

In the Lane case, the perpetrators were identified quickly, arrested, and remain incarcerated awaiting trial. So justice is being served. It is proceeding in an appropriate manner without the need for the public to intercede. So what exactly do the folks at Fox News want Sharpton and Obama to say? Do they now believe that every crime ought to elicit a comment from the White House? Or is it just the ones that conservatives can spin as racially inflammatory?

The Fox News mentality is still trying demonize Trayvon Martin and to excuse the Florida authorities for failing to hold Zimmerman accountable in the early stages of the affair. They have no grasp that what incensed people was that a black teenager didn’t seem to deserve the respect or protection of the law. Chris Lane’s murder has been handled completely differently. The suspects were not sent home with a pat on the back. They are going to be subjected to the full weight of the legal system and to any appropriate punishment if found guilty.

Had that happened in Martin’s case it would not have been a national news story. And the only thing making Lane’s case a national story is right-wing media latching onto it in order to disparage their ideological foes. Lane is being used as a pawn in their game of race-baiting. This murder has nothing in common with Martin’s murder, and the rank exploitation of it demonstrates how utterly ignorant conservatives are about the core issues in the Martin case. It also demonstrates that conservatives are bent on inciting racial animus at every opportunity, whether there is justification or not.

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Fox News Black Out: No Reporting On Juror Who Said Zimmerman “Got Away With Murder”

Fox News George ZimmermanIt’s not bad enough that Fox News openly rooted for George Zimmerman before, during and after his trial. Nor that they denied that race could have played any part in the crime or the subsequent proceedings and coverage. Nor that they shamelessly, and without foundation, demonized Trayvon Martin as a violent thug. Nor that they insulted all African-Americans by insisting they would resort to massive rioting after the acquittal (which did not occur). Nope. Now Fox is brazenly perverting the news landscape by what they choose not to report.

Yesterday, ABC News aired an interview with “Maddy,” a woman who sat on the Zimmerman jury and made significant news with her remarks. She told Robin Roberts that she believed that Zimmerman “got away with murder.” She went on to express sympathy for Trayvon’s parents and said that “in our hearts we felt he was guilty.” In the end, however, she felt that the state had not proved its case and she voted to acquit along with the other jurors.

Maddy’s statements were obviously newsworthy and were covered by most legitimate news outlets. Her observations were in sharp contrast to the previous juror who came forward, identified only as B37, shortly after the trial concluded. B37’s interview was covered broadly by the media including Fox News. Additionally, Fox’s Sean Hannity interviewed an alternate juror, E54, who said that he agreed with the verdict and believed that Zimmerman was justified in shooting the unarmed teenager.

Somehow Fox has decided that the only juror to go public with comments sympathizing with the Martin family was not suitable for coverage. In my research I have not found a single report broadcast on the network since Maddy’s interview with ABC News. This cannot be regarded as an accident. Given the broad-based coverage elsewhere, it is clear that Fox made an editorial judgment to black out Maddy’s story and deprive their audience of critical information.

This is blatant evidence of how Fox manipulates the news and their gullible audience. It is further confirmation for why Fox News viewers are repeatedly shown to be the most ill-informed audience when compared to other news sources, or even to those who don’t watch news at all.

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[Addendum] No sooner did I post this example of Fox editorializing by omission than Media Matters posts three more examples: Fox fails to report the racist comments by GOP Rep. Steve King and Fox fails to report on voter fraud when committed by Republicans and Fox fails to report on the conservative cabal Groundswell after obsessing over the liberal JournoList.

[Update] Fox News finally addressed Maddy’s interview on The O’Reilly Factor with guest host Laura Ingraham, whose contribution to the discussion was to say she doesn’t like post-trial interviews and that juror opinions don’t matter.

Demonizing Trayvon: Racist Editorializing With Graphics On Fox News

On his Friday program on Fox News, Sean Hannity invited Martin family attorney Daryl Parks on to discuss the aftermath of the Zimmerman trial and verdict. The interview itself was uneventful, with Hannity arguing throughout that Martin was responsible for his own death. However, when Fox posted the video online it featured a cover photo and headline that had nothing whatsoever to do with the interview.

Fox News

The headline was a question, “How Should Trayvon Martin Be Remembered,” that was never asked or addressed in the interview at all. The entire segment was a rehash of the arguments presented in the trial and Hannity’s concurrence with the defense position. Where Fox came up with the notion that Martin’s legacy was relevant to the video is a mystery.

Nevertheless, Fox attached the unrelated headline to a photo that cast Martin in a decidedly negative light with a bullet hanging prominently over his face. That photo was also unrelated, and unnecessarily incendiary, as it did not appear anywhere the video. The purpose of this visual messaging was clearly to implant a memorial image of Martin as inherently violent.

After conducting a little research, I discovered the source photo that Fox had used. Their editors had cropped it to feature a close-up of Martin’s face and the bullet. But the original picture plainly shows that the photo was of a t-shirt being worn by someone attending a rally in support of justice for Trayvon. The bullet was an accessory worn by the rally participant and had nothing to do with Martin. Furthermore, contrary to the impression given by Fox’s biased photo editing, the t-shirt also had a message of peace and understanding: “It’s not a black or white thing. It’s a right or wrong thing.”

This sort of graphic editorializing is nothing new for Fox. Even specifically with regard to this story, Fox News had once posted a photo that they had deliberately altered to make Martin appear more sinister.

Fox News

The obvious racist intentions of Fox News literally scream out at you in both of these photo incidents. They are playing to the emotions of their audience that is predominantly white, with only 1.38% of their primetime viewers being African-America. And that’s why they believe they can get away with this sort of blatant prejudice in the guise of remembering Trayvon.

Zimmerman Verdict A Victory For Trayvon? Here’s Why.

This evening the jury in the trial of George Zimmerman returned a verdict of not guilty for the charge of murder in the second degree, and not guilty for the lesser included charge of manslaughter. Many will be surprised that the jury did not consider what occurred at least manslaughter given the fact that Zimmerman had pursued Trayvon Martin, who had done nothing wrong, and later shot and killed the teenager he had called a “fucking punk.” However, there is a reason to be grateful for the verdict and it is simply this: There was a verdict!

What people need to remember about this case is that there almost was no case. Immediately after the shooting, the Sanford, Florida police department abdicated their responsibility to conduct a proper investigation. They did not interrogate Zimmerman as a suspect. They did not interview witnesses. They did not collect evidence. They did not even test Zimmerman for drugs or alcohol. The police simply bought Zimmerman’s story, concluded that he had a right to shoot Martin under the “kill at will” law (aka “stand your ground”), and closed the case.

If there was any indication of racism, it was with law enforcement in Sanford. Their neglect of duty resulted in turning this local crime into a national drama. And eventually, justice was served when the people rose up to demand it, and the Republican governor of Florida agreed to appoint a special prosecutor who found that there was sufficient evidence to try Zimmerman. What’s sad is that it took a month for authorities to make an arrest.

Zimmerman - Martin
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That’s what this is all about. And now there has been a trial and the jury has spoken. It was not perfect by any means. The prosecutors failed on many levels to make a convincing case. The jury cannot be faulted for the shortcomings of counsel. But the very fact that a trial has been concluded when at the start of this whole affair it was not even considered, is a victory. Trayvon deserved to have his day in court, and while the decision is not the one his advocates had hoped, at least his killer was put before the bar of justice. That nearly didn’t happen.

And this is still not over. In a post-verdict press conference, the defense attorney said that Zimmerman would not have to see the inside of a courtroom again, but that is not true. There is a federal case pending for the violation of Martin’s civil rights. There will also likely be a civil suit for wrongful death on behalf of the Martin family. In the civil suit Zimmerman cannot decline to testify. There may be some interesting new evidence unveiled due to that alone. Also, a civil suit does not require a unanimous decision by the jury to find a defendant liable.

It should also be noted that the vile cretins who predicted race riots were, as usual, wrong in their presumption of bad behavior by disappointed citizens. Just the fact that scumbags like Rush Limbaugh entertained the notion is proof of their inherent racism. The unfounded fear mongering about violence, and even worse, the suggestion that everyone from civil rights activists, to liberals in the media, to President Obama, actually wanted an adverse verdict so that they would have an excuse to act out with wanton destruction, never panned out. But those who spewed such repulsive predictions will forever be stained as the bigots that they are.

I believe that Zimmerman should have been convicted of manslaughter, at least. I believe that the prosecutors dropped the ball in several instances, while the defense seemed more motivated and better prepared (except for that stomach-turning knock-knock joke). I believe that Trayvon deserved better than to have his killer acquitted and that justice failed him in that respect. But I also believe that, as Martin Luther King Jr. said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” And the fact that the people demanded and got a trial, after the law had brushed it aside, is a profound victory that should not be dismissed in the midst of these other defeats.

While there is much to regret in this outcome, it is important to remember that Zimmerman was not found innocent. When members of the jury come forward for interviews I expect that they will tells us that the state did not overcome the legal burden of reasonable doubt. And given the state’s poor case construction, I can’t say that I blame them. Prosecutors allowed their own witnesses to advantage the defense. They unnecessarily conceded much of the defense’s version of events (i.e. that Martin was on top during the struggle). They failed to offer a compelling story that explained what happened the night of the shooting. Zimmerman’s acquittal was due more to the inadequacy of the prosecution than to the status of the facts. A more aggressive, competent prosecutor could have got a conviction, but the absence of that is still not innocence.

Hopefully what people take from this is a more conscientious perspective of conflict resolution. I suspect that George Zimmerman will not pull out his gun so easily in the future. And anyone else in a similar situation should also think more than twice. While Zimmerman was not convicted, he did endure 16 months of criminal litigation, and his trials are far from over. I doubt anyone would want to go through that, particularly when another jury in another case might arrive at a different verdict.

And that’s what makes this verdict a victory. The fact that there was a trial and a verdict may help to prevent another tragedy such as the one that befell Trayvon Martin. We could not have said that if the Sanford authorities, who originally chose to do nothing, had their way. But the people’s voice was louder and we got the trial we demanded. And if we stay united and committed there will more and fuller victories to come.

Memo To Fox News: Trayvon Martin Won’t Be Testifying Because He’s DEAD!

Throughout the trial of George Zimmerman for his role in the death of seventeen year old Trayvon Martin, Fox News has been conspicuously prejudiced in favor of the defendant. The theme most prominent on Fox has been a regurgitation of Zimmerman’s legal team that portrays their client as a hapless victim and Martin as a violent thug. Today Fox went further down that path to pass judgment on Martin with an editorial titled: “Trayvon Martin’s testimony wouldn’t have changed anything in Zimmerman trial.”

That is one of the most disgusting expressions of disrespect for a crime victim you’re likely to ever hear. Because there is one change that would be glaringly obvious were Martin’s testimony to be available. It would mean that he was alive. For Fox to publish an editorial dismissing out of hand what a dead kid might have said about the man who shot and killed him is astonishingly cruel and insensitive.

The author of the column was not an authority on crime or civil rights, it was the notorious gun nut John Lott, who has made a career of advocating for the most extreme deregulation of guns, including the “kill at will” laws that were at the center of the Zimmerman case from the start. Lott has been taking Zimmerman’s side of this debate since it first became public last year. More recently, he published an editorial on Fox News last week saying flatly that “The Zimmerman trial is already over,” and that it should never have been brought to trial. That’s been the position of Fox News for months, and their community web site, Fox Nation (aka Factory of Lies) has posted numerous articles pleading on behalf of Zimmerman-as-victim.

Lott’s arguments in his new column were just as repulsive as the heinous headline. He begins by asking a leading question: “Is there even one piece of convincing evidence that Zimmerman did not act to defend himself from a threat of ‘imminent death or great bodily harm’?”

The answer to any objective person is “Yes.” In fact there is a great deal of evidence that Zimmerman was the aggressor. He was stalking Martin, who had done nothing wrong. He left his car to follow him after the 911 officer advised him not to. The ensuing confrontation occurred only because of these facts, which are not in dispute. You cannot claim self-defense if you are the aggressor, even if you end up on the losing side of the battle.

Lott further reveals the bias in his argument when he sets up a hypothetical scenario to make a point: “If both Zimmerman and Martin had both been white or if Zimmerman had been darker skinned, this case would never have gotten to court.”

Of course, there is no way for anyone to know whether that is true. But the telling thing about Lott’s selection of scenarios is the one that he left out. The scenario that Lott wants his readers to ignore is: What if Zimmerman were black and Martin were white? Were that the case, it would almost certainly have resulted in the arrest of the shooter.

Zimmerman/Martin

Most of the rest of the column was Lott’s misreading of the evidence presented in court and his one-sided analysis of his own slanted version of events. But the most egregious overstepping of decency was his assertion that were Martin alive to give testimony it would have meant nothing. For some reason, Lott thinks that Martin’s word is worthless. He thinks that if Martin had described a confrontation wherein Zimmerman had assaulted him after having followed him, and then shot him only after he was unable to subdue him, that none of that would have been relevant to the jury or the administration of justice. What is it about Martin that makes Lott regard his testimony as absent of any value? Would Lott apply that same standard to any other victim?

There has been much debate over the apparent racial aspects of this case. Lott himself raises it at the end of his article by declaring that the episode “has left lasting damage to race relations in the U.S.” But there is an undercurrent in these events that may be even more significant than race. There is a reason that a prominent gun advocate is taking such a visible role in Zimmerman’s defense, and that Fox News is providing him the platform. The gun lobby has taken a strong interest in this case as it impacts their long held beliefs that everyone be allowed to carry weapons at all times, in all places, and be excused if they use them to kill other people.

The commencement of this trial was deeply rooted in racial politics when the local Florida police never bothered to arrest Zimmerman or make reasonable efforts to ascertain what happened, to preserve evidence, or to conduct a legitimate investigation. But the outcome of this case may revolve more around guns and their place in a civilized society. And the evidence of that is apparent when gun nuts like John Lott are leading the parade for murder defendants, rather than experts on race or crime.

Why Is The Fox Nation Rooting For George Zimmerman?

For the past week a murder trial in Florida has fixated the nation and the media. This sort of thing is not unusual as the past trials of Jodie Arias, Scott Peterson, Casey Anthony, and all the way back to O.J. Simpson have proved. What is unusual is the lengths to which Fox News has gone to cheerlead for the defendant.

From the very beginning Fox has sought to portray George Zimmerman as the victim who was only acting in his own defense. At the same time, they cast Trayvon Martin as a violent thug who must have been up to no good. Take a look at the graphic editorializing Fox engaged in early on:

Fox News Racism

In reporting on the court proceedings this week, Fox continued to demonstrate their overt prejudice in favor of Zimmerman. Nearly every commentator Fox put on the air found fault with the prosecution and managed to spin the witness testimony as beneficial to the defense. And the headlines at the Fox Nation Lie Factory tell the story that Fox is desperately trying to implant in the weak minds of their viewers:

  • Zimmerman Blockbuster: Witness Saw Man With ‘Lighter Skin Color’ Getting Pummeled ‘Ground And Pound’ Style
  • ZIMMERMAN PROSECUTION WITNESS IMPLODES
  • Zimmerman ‘Elated’ at Prospect That Trayvon Fight Was Recorded
  • Prosecutors ‘Must Have Had a Stroke’ Over Detective’s Testimony
  • AP: Trayvon Martin’s Legal Troubles Reportedly Covered Up By Police
  • GRETA: THE ZIMMERMAN PROSECUTION HAS A GIANT PROBLEM
  • Travyon Martin’s Friend Grilled By Defense

This parade of pro-Zimmerman analysis is reminiscent of last year’s election analysis on Fox, where every discussion leaned heavily in favor of a Romney victory. Fox irresponsibly led their audience to believe that President Obama was irredeemably unpopular and bound for defeat. Fox would only present disreputable polls that showed Romney ahead, while ignoring all the other surveys (including their own) that forecast an Obama victory. When reality set in on election day, Team Fox and the gullible dupes who watch the network, were dumbfounded at a result for which they were entirely unprepared.

The same thing is happening now with this trial. The obvious zeal that Fox is expressing for a Zimmerman acquittal is not incidental. It fits into their mission to demonize minorities. Try to imagine what Fox’s (or the rest of the media) reaction to this case would have been if the races were reversed. Do you think Fox would be defending a black man who had shot and killed an unarmed white kid walking home with Skittles and iced tea?

Zimmerman-Martin

The consequences of Fox’s disinformation could be troublesome. If Zimmerman is convicted, the response by the racially biased viewers of Fox will be shock and awe. Just like after the election, they will be unable to grasp how a jury had concluded that Zimmerman was guilty when everything they had seen on Fox News convinced them that he was innocent and that there was no chance of a conviction. Fox appears to be priming their viewers to rise up in outrage at a verdict they never saw as even a remote possibility.

On CNN and MSNBC there has been a much more balanced presentation of the court proceedings. When the prosecution flubbed an argument, it was reported as such, even on Al Sharpton’s show, despite the clear bias of the host. When a witness contradicted a defense assertion, that was reported as well. The reason for this is that unbiased journalists do not have a stake in the outcome. Liberals, from the outset, have only wanted justice to be done. They were appropriately disturbed at the start of this affair when Zimmerman was let off without an arrest or investigation. The protests that erupted were focused on those ends, not on railroading Zimmerman into jail.

Now that the people are getting their trial, the judgment of the jury ought to be respected. But That is not the tone that Fox is advancing. The hunger for absolution on Fox is palpable. They are convinced that a black youth with no record of violence or criminal activity initiated an unprovoked attack on a conscientious neighborhood watch captain. And until the jury rules, that is the position Fox is sticking with. If that isn’t racism, then what the hell is it?

Zimmerman Defense Lawyer Makes Callous Attempt At Comedy

In one of the most stunningly idiotic opening statements ever presented in a court of law, Don West, co-counsel for the defense of George Zimmerman, somehow managed to conclude that it would be appropriate to tell a knock-knock joke at the commencement of a murder trial with the parents of the deceased teenage victim sitting a few feet away (video below). West prefaced his turn at comedy by saying that “Sometimes it is necessary to laugh to keep from crying.” This was obviously not one of those times as West proceeded to strike out with the stunned jury.

West: Knock knock. Who’s there? George Zimmerman. George Zimmerman who? All right. Good. You’re on the Jury.

George Zimmerman
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The only plausible explanation for this severe mental aberration is that the defense is already trying to set up a cause for appeal based on incompetent counsel. The jury sat in such abject silence after the alleged joke that West beseeched them for a response pleading “Nothing?” Then, after a break, the lawyer returned to continue his opening remarks, but started off with an apology and blaming his delivery for the lack of comedic punch.

That apology is further evidence that West has no idea what was wrong with his tasteless behavior. This was not a problem resulting from the joke not being funny enough, or that it was delivered poorly. The problem was that it was a joke. The problem was that a murder trial is not the same as open mike night the Laugh Factory.

What’s worse is that the point of this particular joke is an overt insult to the members of the jury. It was a slap at the ignorance of the panel for their having been selected based on how little they knew about current events. He was telling the jury that they were sitting in this courtroom because they are a bunch of morons who never heard of a notorious criminal defendant.

That’s not exactly the best way to win over an audience. It’s probably premature to presume that this counsel has permanently lost credibility with the jury, but he certainly has dug himself a deep hole that will take considerable effort to climb out of. If this flub signals anything, it’s that the defense has very little of substance to hang their case on, so from the outset they are throwing up irrelevancies and distractions. Look for more of that in the coming weeks.

Fox News Incites Race Riots: Creates Trayvon Martin Controversy From Unrelated Crime

Despite the seemingly constant stream of racist propaganda and rhetoric emanating from Fox News, they still manage to exceed their own repulsive standards with ever more dishonest and hateful distortions of the news. After publishing stories that blame Trayvon Martin’s demise on his clothing, and pictures that deliberately seek to put Trayvon in a negative light, Fox has rocketed to new heights of blatant prejudice and painfully perverse journalism.

In Mobile, Alabama, a white man was hospitalized from a beating by a group of African-Americans after a dispute over the use of the street for a game of basketball. The assault was inexcusably brutal and the police are searching for suspects who deserve to be punished to the full extent of the law. But that would not be a sufficiently sensational reaction for the twisted editors at Fox News. They published their stories on Fox News and Fox Nation this way:

Fox News Trayvon Mob

The facts of this crime are fairly clear. It was an extreme overreaction to a neighborhood argument that concerned only the parties involved. It had absolutely nothing to do with the incident in Florida last month where an unarmed teenager was shot to death while walking home from the market. The only connecting factor was the claim by the victim’s sister that she heard one person say “Now that’s justice for Trayvon.” There have been no other witnesses who have corroborated her account, but even if there were the only significance of it would be that one of the perpetrators was a jerk in addition to being a thug.

That’s not how Fox News sees it. Their headline at Fox Nation veritably declares that the hoodlums who committed the assault were a “Justice for Trayvon Mob,” as if it were a political statement emanating from the Florida incident. Nothing in the facts of this crime point to that in even the most remote sense. The headline on Fox News itself states matter-of-factly that the “mob invoked Trayvon.” However there is only one unconfirmed report that a single witness alleged that a single person brought Trayvon’s name into this. That hardly justifies associating the whole mob’s actions with Trayvon. Fox’s headline also implies that this should be designated a hate crime despite any evidence of that being the case.

The entire purpose of these overt distortions is to fuel racial animus directed at Trayvon Martin specifically, and to African-Americans generally. There is a stench of incitement in Fox’s words that suggest their desire to stir up other racially motivated crimes or even full-on race riots. It is horribly irresponsible for a so-called news enterprise to sink to these depths of cynicism and antagonism.

From the very beginning of the Trayvon Martin incident, Fox News has tried to advance the impression that African-Americans are animals on the verge of erupting into violence. Fox has suggested that riots would occur if George Zimmerman were not arrested, or if he were not convicted. The view at Fox is that African-Americans are incapable of respecting the progress of justice. And even when no riots ensue, Fox can sit back smugly and celebrate having created the impression that civil unrest was narrowly averted.

It’s a good thing that African-Americans (and most Americans in general) are far more civilized than the bigoted neanderthals at Fox. These brazen tactics are designed to manufacture potentially dangerous hostilities and are more at home in the quarters of Klans and racist militias. How Fox News gets away with this is unfathomable. Their audience should find it revolting and their peers in the press should speak out against this sort of noxious activism. Although it is unlikely to succeed, it certainly can’t help. This isn’t news, it’s hate speech.

Graphic Evidence Of The Racism Of Fox News: Racial Photoshopping

News reports are suggesting that later today the authorities in Florida will announce charges against Trayvon Martin’s shooter, George Zimmerman. Coverage of this story was handled by Fox News in a manner that is revealing and offensive – and wholly unique to Fox News:

Fox News - Trayvon Martin - George Zimmerman

This is a journalistic lynching. And note, this is not Fox Nation. It is the mothership, Fox News. The editors at this alleged “news” network are demonstrating their overt hostility to both African-Americans and journalistic ethics. If this picture doesn’t finally establish the overarching prejudice of Fox, it’s hard to know what will. Their bias is so clearly being exercised with a zealotry that the Klan would shrink from. How do they get away with this?

[Update] Fox News changed their graphic.

Fox News - Trayvon

This is a more impartial photo that does not disparage the victim (although it still is not as overtly cheerful as Zimmerman’s pic). You think they got a few complaints about the previous photo? They must have had a reason for changing it.


[Addendum] A couple of commenters have asserted (without proof) that the lighter picture of Trayvon was the one that was Photoshopped. Let’s say, for argument’s sake, that they are right and that the picture Fox used was not altered (at least by Fox). That does not change the fact that Fox made an editorial decision to use that picture. They had numerous pictures from which to choose of both Trayvon and Zimmerman, and they chose the most negative picture of Trayvon which they paired with the most positive picture of Zimmerman. That was not an accident. It was the result of deliberate editorial judgment. And it tells us everything we need to know about Fox’s editors.

For more on the subject of media and race, check out the excellent book by Democracy Now’s Juan Gonzalez: News for All the People: The Epic Story of Race and the American Media.

There has also been some discussion as to whether making Trayvon look darker was inherently racist. Two points: 1) Making anyone look darker has the effect of making them look more sinister. And making the subject of a photo look more sinister, regardless of race, is blatant editorial bias. 2) Darker skinned African-Americans are not viewed more negatively by fair-minded people who are free of prejudice, but they are viewed more negatively by people predisposed to discriminate on the basis of race – i.e. Fox News viewers. Fox is playing to their audience and they know who they are. Studies show that the African-American segment of viewers of Fox News in primetime is only 1.38%. That compares to 19.3% for MSNBC, and 20.7% for CNN, numbers that are much closer to the 14% of African-Americans in the population at large. Or, as the Simpsons put it…

Fox News - Simpsons

Finally, The question of whether or not George Zimmerman is racist, while important, is secondary here. The real problem is the racism exhibited by the local law enforcement authorities who simply accepted Zimmerman’s claims of self-defense without making an arrest and conducting a proper investigation. Exacerbating that is the overt racism of the right-wing press and their followers. The primary focus going forward should, of course, be the pursuit of justice and the suffering of the victims family. After that the focus should fall on the police and the media as this affair winds its way through the courts. But we should be grateful that concerned citizens spoke out and hit the streets to protest this injustice or there would be no court case at all.