Liz Trotta Of Fox News To Black Reporters: Expressing Yourself Hurts Your Credibility

Remember Liz Trotta? She’s the Fox News analyst who said a few weeks ago that women in the military should expect to be raped. And who can forget her accusation that Seal Team 6 was being used as political operatives when they rescued Americans held by pirates? And then there was the time that she dismissed acts of violence against Democrats by asserting that the victims were whining. She also famously used her Fox News platform to make a joke about assassinating President Obama.

Well now we can add another commendation for contemptuous commentary to her nauseating resume. This weekend Trotta took her place on Fox News to lambaste the media, and particularly African-American reporters, for covering the Trayvon Martin killing. Trotta complained that “NBC News did a show with a couple of their black employees,” including Lester Holt, who she said was her favorite anchorman of all time. However, she charged that Holt and his fellow African-American reporters…

“…had to agree to telling their experiences as a black person, how the cops would follow them, how security and departments would follow them. It was a sorry show. Where’s the objectivity of this? Why do you involve your black reporters and anchors in this kind of framework that can only hurt their credibility?”

Trotta never revealed where she got the idea that these reporters “had to agree” to express themselves as if they had no editorial discretion or free will. And she is curiously critical of the notion that African-Americans are even able to provide news commentary from a personal perspective (you know, the way white reporters do every day). In her remarks Trotta defined “unique perspective” as “reaching really far to make their liberal case without any evidence to black it up.” And yes, after repeated listening it seems to me that she actually said “black it up,” an interesting Freudian slip off the edge of a harrowing cliff. Then Trotta delivered an absolutely ludicrous closing that demonstrated her utter lack of knowledge of the law:

“Why must we convict George Zimmerman before he’s even arrested? The fact that he isn’t arrested, I open that to the court. But let’s not fry the guy before he’s even given a hearing. That’s what he’s getting now, is a hearing. It’s been a disgraceful show from the media.”

There is so much wrong in those comments that it’s hard to know where to begin. First of all, nobody is convicting Zimmerman before he’s arrested. However, he has to be arrested before there can be a full investigation that preserves and analyzes evidence, records statements, and interviews witnesses and experts. Secondly, it isn’t up to a court to decide whether he should be arrested. Why she’s leaving that “open” to the court I have no idea. Third, Zimmerman is not getting a hearing now, as Trotta claims. It’s the justice system that is getting a hearing from the public for failing to act responsibly. And finally, while Trotta, and others in the conservative media, are so concerned about the rights and reputation of Zimmerman, they are quick to smear Martin as a delinquent and a gangster thug.

I would, however, have to agree with Trotta that some of the media reporting on this has been disgraceful, starting with Trotta herself and her colleagues at Fox News. The insult to reporters of color who contribute perspectives that only they are able to, is reprehensible. It’s also hypocritical since it was just that sort of personal observation that Fox News defended when they hired Juan Williams. Apparently Fox News thinks it’s OK for a black reporter to express his feelings when they insult Muslims, but it’s disgraceful and hurtful to their credibility if those feelings are sympathetic toward a murdered teenager.

Breitbart’s Zimmerman Defense Team Discovers Mysterious Shadow That Proves Trayvon Martin’s Guilt

The Breitbrats have been striving mightily to absolve George Zimmerman of any responsibility for Trayvon Martin’s death. Most recently they have posted a video that they claim shows a wound on the back of the head of shooter George Zimmerman. It is their contention that the presence of such a wound proves that Zimmerman was the victim in a scuffle wherein Martin was the aggressor.

It is a pretty long stretch to surmise that a 140 pound teenager decided to attack an armed man twice his size, but that’s the line that the right-wing is peddling. And no one does it with more bombastic zeal than Breitbrat Dan Riehl. In his article he claims to have acquired a new hi-def video that contradicts a police video previously released by ABC News.

“A new High Definition clip from the same video appears to make clear that Zimmerman had a gash, or wound of some kind on the back of his head. That would be totally consistent with his version of events on the night in question and opposite the impression ABC News gave its viewers.”

Notice that the Breitbrats are endeavoring to corroborate Zimmerman’s story. Why conservatives have chosen to align themselves with the shooter in this incident is mind-boggling. Are they just naturally sympathetic toward gunmen who kill unarmed kids? Why wouldn’t they be concerned about the fair and proper administration of justice wherein anyone who shot another person is arrested and investigated to determine if a crime had been committed? For the trigger-happy rightists this is just a political skirmish where they get to put on a phony bravado and spew NRA cliches.

And notice also that they contradict themselves within just a few sentences. First they assert that the video “make[s] clear that Zimmerman had a gash, or wound,” then, in the same paragraph, they declare the video inconclusive. And not just inconclusive, but shoddily and unethically so:

“Given analysis by Breitbart Media and the Daily Caller already performed, the ABC video appeared to be inconclusive, at best. […] any determination beyond the video being inconclusive is shoddy, if not intentionally unethical, Journalism – if not deceptive and misleading Journalism.”

How the Breitbrats can view an inconclusive video and conclude that a wound is clear is more than a little curious. The only shoddy, unethical journalism being practiced here is by Riehl and the Breitbrats. A viewing of the video they posted reveals their deliberate attempt to distort the evidence. Consistent with their history of deceptively misrepresenting videos, the Breitbrats have selectively focused on a single frame of this video to advance their dishonest argument. However, the frames before and after the one on which they focus tell a more complete story:

Click to enlarge.
Breitbart Zimmerman Video

As is obvious from this video, there was no injury on Zimmerman’s head. That is, unless the injury would appear and disappear every few seconds. What’s more, had there actually been an injury, and it was cleaned up at the scene by paramedics as claimed by Zimmerman’s camp, why are there no bandages over the wounds? These are wounds that were described as serious, such as a broken nose and a gash that would require stitches. But according to the Breitbart’s defense team, Zimmerman’s injuries healed completely (but for an alleged bruise) by the time he arrived at the police station within an hour of the incident.

The only thing that any of the critics of the police are requesting is that the normal course of justice be taken. No one is trying Zimmerman on television or pronouncing verdicts. But any decent citizen ought to agree that the circumstances of this incident require an investigation that can only occur with an arrest and the opening of a case. But that’s something the right is dead-set against. We can only wonder why.

Breitbart Whitewashing Zimmerman, Blaming Obama For Trayvon Martin Crisis

The folks over at Breitbart’s joint are feverishly striving to exonerate Trayvon Martin’s shooter, George Zimmerman. Their web sites are plastered with stories that either defend Zimmerman or shift the discussion to other persons or subjects.

In one article, Breitbrat Dan Riehl makes the inane argument that ABC News was “reckless” in their decision to release a police videotape showing Zimmerman arriving at the police station for questioning. The video is significant in that it contradicts prior assertions that Zimmerman had been beaten and bloodied by Martin. There is no evidence of any injury to Zimmerman in the video.

Nevertheless, Riehl advances rebuttals that sound as if he is working for the Zimmerman legal defense team. He begins by suggesting that the video was too low quality to reveal anything conclusive. Then, contradicting himself, writes, “True, there appears to be no blood on Zimmerman’s shirt.” Then Riehl invents scenarios wherein Zimmerman was allowed by police to change his allegedly bloody clothes before arriving at the station, which would be a severe violation of procedure and ethics. What’s more, it makes no sense because a bloody shirt would be evidence of a struggle during which Zimmerman could claim to have felt threatened. Why would police suppress evidence that would have justified their decision to release Zimmerman?

Riehl’s account is blatantly biased and incoherent. And he tops it off by blasting ABC for releasing the video saying that the network “should be ashamed of its reckless highlighting of a non-story.” So apparently Riehl is of the opinion that ABC should have kept the video a secret. That’s how Breitbart’s BigJournalism practices the craft of journalism.

Another article, this time by Joel Pollak, editor of Breitbart’s BigGovernment site, seeks to tie President Obama to the Martin story. Pollak’s theory is a nearly incomprehensible mashup of Martin, Obama, and Derrick Bell, the subject of Breitbart’s failed attempt to expose the President as a college radical.

Pollak’s article is titled, “Critical Race Theory and the Trayvon Martin Case.” Critical Race Theory (CRT) is a legal/academic concept that Bell had written about and studied. It holds that there is more to racism than just the attitudes held by individuals, that it is also ingrained in society via traditional economic and judicial hierarchies. Pollak simplistically and falsely begins his narrative by defining CRT as “characterized by white supremacy–an idea Obama invoked by insisting that Americans ‘examine the laws’ that supposedly led to Martin’s death.” To be clear, Pollak is referring to the comment Obama made in response to a reporter’s question:

“I think all of us have to do some soul searching to figure out how does something like this happen. And that means that we examine the laws and the context for what happened.

“And I think every parent in America should be able to understand why it is absolutely imperative that we investigate every aspect of this, and that everybody pulls together — federal, state and local — to figure out exactly how this tragedy happened.”

I’m not sure how any fair person could object to that. Yet that’s the statement that Pollak regards as an evocation of white supremacy. If anything, the Martin tragedy supports CRT by demonstrating the flaws in the judicial system. This is a case where after an unarmed black teenager was shot and killed, his body was tagged as a “John Doe” and tested for drugs. The shooter, on the other hand, was never tested for drugs or alcohol and was released by police with his weapon and no plans to investigate or indict him for any crime. If that isn’t reason enough to examine the laws than what on earth would be?

Pollak continues saying that Obama “waded in, playing up the racial drama,” and then remarkably writes “Obama–the center of the crisis, and to some extent its intended beneficiary.” Obama is only the center of the controversy in the warped minds of extremist, right-wing provocateurs like Pollak. And where he gets the notion that Obama was the “intended” beneficiary is beyond comprehension. If Pollak actually believes that this crisis was conceived and executed to help the President, he is seriously in need of the psychiatric attention that is now available to him thanks to ObamaCare.

Pollak closes by saying that “To speculate that Zimmerman is guilty based on the available facts is one thing; to convict him based on his supposed race, and on Martin’s, is the classic definition of “prejudice.'” However, the people protesting the handling of this affair are not convicting Zimmerman of anything. They are merely demanding that the ordinary process of justice be observed.

Ordinarily after a shooting there is an arrest and an investigation, which could lead to a trial if the evidence warrants. But the Breitbrats are all fired up to whitewash this crime and sweep it under their racist rug. They load up their web sites with tangential stories about celebrity Tweets, and over-zealous protesters, and bogus accusations of media bias, and absurd connections to a conspiratorial White House that must have planned the whole thing.

All I can say is that it’s a damn good thing that Breitbart wasn’t around when Martin Luther King was assassinated. They would surely have defended James Earl Ray and blamed the whole thing on President Johnson.

Fox News Psycho Analyst Keith Ablow: Obama Has It In For America

Fox News’ resident psychiatrist, a member of the Fox News “A” Team, visited Lou Dobbs yesterday on the failing Fox Business Network. The two of them discussed the Trayvon Martin shooting in the unique manner that is typical of the leader in dishonest, uninformed, hyperbolic, right-wing media.

Much of the conversation focused on President Obama’s comments on the subject a few days ago in response to a question from a reporter. The crux of their criticism centered Obama’s personal reflection that “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.” Both Dobbs and Ablow were incensed that Obama expressed that personal reflection and accused him of turning the incident into a racial matter. They complained that the President should have sought to unite the country and address the shock that all Americans must feel after hearing about this tragedy. And, oddly enough, that’s exactly what Obama did. Preceding the personal part of his comments, Obama said…

Obama: I think every parent in America should be able to understand why it is absolutely imperative that we investigate every aspect of this, and that everybody pulls together — federal, state and local — to figure out exactly how this tragedy happened.

Nevertheless, Dobbs and Ablow only heard the part of the remarks that they could misconstrue as racial. It is still mind-boggling how rightists can so cavalierly assert that Obama is hell-bent on disparaging white people – like his mother. And it’s rather disingenuous for conservatives like Dobbs and Ablow to portray the Martin incident as a tragedy that ought not to be limited by race, when the other half of the time they are discussing it, they don’t regard it as tragic at all, but simply a case of self defense from an aggressive black teenager.

As usual, Ablow distinguishes himself by making an absurdly remote diagnosis of the President, a man he’s never examined or even met. That is an explicit violation of the standards of ethics of the American Psychiatric Association, which Ablow need not worry about since he was forced to separate himself from the APA due to “ethical differences.” Ablow’s conclusion, on the basis of information he gleaned from a paranoid hallucination, is that Obama is an anti-American zealot on a mission to bring the empire to ruin.

Ablow: As a psychiatrist, there is a certain point, when you get a diagnosis, you say, OK look, absent something that refutes this, this is the diagnosis. A president who hangs around with Rev. Wright – whose wife said that she was never proud of this country – has an edge. He’s got it in for this country. And at moments when there’s an opportunity to fracture the unity, he does.

Setting aside the fact that Ablow is lying about Obama’s relationship with Wright and Michelle’s comments on pride, his assertion that Obama has “got it in for this country” is just plain lunacy. Does he really think that Obama raised himself up from a struggling single-parent home, worked through schooling to achieve honors from one the nation’s most demanding universities, applied his skills to both public and private enterprises, and put himself before a grueling campaign that resulted in his being elected president of the United States, all because he has a hankering to tear it all down?

Where do these nutjobs get these unfathomably ludicrous theories? Do all Fox analysts have to have lobotomies prior to going on the air? Any reputable news enterprise would be embarrassed by having someone like Ablow on their payroll. So it’s a good thing for Ablow that Fox News exists.

Geraldo Rivera: The Hoodie Was Responsible For Trayvon Martin’s Death

In another example of how Fox News will turn a story on its head if it doesn’t fit into the network’s mission of division, bias, and anti-liberalism, Geraldo Rivera appeared on Fox & Friends to divert the Trayvon Martin murder story into an indictment of fashion and an exercise in blaming the victim.

Rivera: I am urging the parents of black and Latino youngsters particularly to not let their children go out wearing hoodies. I think the hoodie is as much responsible for Trayvon Martin’s death as George Zimmerman was.

So it was Trayvon’s fault (or his parents) for wearing an article of clothing that exudes some inherent threat and justifies violent reactions against the wearer. I suppose that if Trayvon had been wearing a short skirt that would have been an invitation for Zimmerman to rape him.

Geraldo went on to assert that hoodies are exclusively associated with criminals and asked “What’s the instant identification?” He answered his own question by saying that wearing a hoodie will cause you to be perceived as a gangster and a menace. Uh huh. You mean like these degenerate hoodlums?

Hoodie Hoodlums

Geraldo and his enablers at Fox News need to stop fretting over superficial trivialities and put the blame where it belongs. Firstly on the guy with the gun who shot an innocent teenager in cold blood without provocation. Then on the barbaric “Stand your Ground” laws that permit people to commit murder with impunity. And finally on the media that rushes to divert responsibility from the guilty and place it on the victims. To paraphrase Geraldo, I think it would be more correct to say that “Fox News is as much responsible for Trayvon Martin’s death as George Zimmerman was.” Still not correct, but closer to it than what Geraldo said.

[Update:] Geraldo thinks that if someone is murdered while wearing a hoodie, that law abiding people should alter their behavior to satisfy the murderers, rather than making the murderers stop killing people. It makes you wonder how he would have viewed some other historical events.

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