#Trayvon: NYT complains about “blogger cherry-picking” – glosses over own selective bias

Posted by: ST on March 30, 2012 at 12:09 pm

As noted earlier in the week, the mainstream media’s narratives in the Trayvon Martin case are falling apart one by one, thanks – in part – to the presence of bloggers digging for information the mainstream media has not, and due to New Media outlets like the Daily Caller, which has done an good job on casting doubt on a supposed “smoking gun” video released by ABC that allegedly shows “no injuries” on George Zimmerman post-arrest. The Daily Caller has also posted pictures and transcripts from Trayvon Martin’s two Twitter accounts, which paint the 17 year-old in a starkly different light than the years-old baby-faced photos the MSM have used in reports.

Instead of acknowledging these facts, some in the MSM are suggesting it’s conservative bloggers/websites that are engaging in “cherry-picking” – as exemplified today by New York Times Lede blogger Robert Mackey:

Bloggers Cherry-Pick From Social Media to Cast Trayvon Martin as a Menace

For the second time in a week, a conservative blog has published excerpts from what it described as a Twitter feed maintained by Trayvon Martin, the Florida teenager who was shot and killed last month by a neighborhood watch volunteer patrolling a gated community.

The new blog post on the dead teenager’s social media account, which features an image of him making an obscene gesture and quotes from a message that includes an abbreviation for an obscenity, was posted on The Daily Caller, a site founded by Tucker Carlson, a conservative pundit, and Neil Patel, who once worked as an adviser to former Vice President Dick Cheney.

Like the site’s previous post on another Twitter feed apparently maintained by Trayvon Martin, the information published on Thursday seems to have been selected to reinforce the argument that the victim of the fatal shooting was a menacing figure who might plausibly have been mistaken for a criminal. That impression is reinforced by the fact that while the post mentions and links to what appears to be a MySpace account set up by Trayvon Martin in 2009, The Daily Caller’s editors chose not to display any of the many photographs posted there that show him in a far softer light:

MediaMackey goes on in the piece describing other alleged incidents of “cherry-picking” by conservative writers, but instead of  cutting to media experts for informed commentary about whether or not noting there was a different side to Trayvon Martin than the one portrayed by “respectable” news outlets like the New York Times, Mackey consulted with … Slate writer Dave Weigel. Yes, the same Dave Weigel the Washington Post once hired as a blogger to “represent conservative voices” on that site who,in reality, favored mocking conservatives over “representing” them fairly.

Unsurprisingly, Weigel found no issues with Martin’s writing about using Glocks on females,  crude suggestions about ejaculating, disrespect for women, and apparent fondness for smoking pot.  No, none of that makes him a candidate for “cold-blooded murder” (a term Trayvon fanatics have falsely used to describe his killing), but it doesn’t make him the squeaky clean baby-faced “little boy” being portrayed by the mainstream media, either.   In fact, some of the references to Glocks and beat-downs suggest he could be the type of person who would purposely use violence against someone else.

Critics of my commentary will say I’m engaging in “blame the victim” – not really.  I’m just a proponent of FAIR journalism.  Let’s learn who both parties were – the CURRENT versions. The details of how the confrontation that night started are UNKNOWN, and insinuating that the only victim was Trayvon Martin that night and that  George Zimmerman was not a victim himself that night (if his story is true) is nothing more than irresponsible journalism until these details are somehow confirmed/clarified.

Critics will also point out that George Zimmerman “had a police record” while Trayvon Martin did not. That’s true. Here is the extent of George Zimmerman’s record:

Court documents obtained by msnbc.com show that George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch volunteer accused of killing 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, was previously accused of domestic violence, tussling with a police officer and speeding.

According to the documents, Zimmerman went to court in 2005 and 2006 for these incidents.

Msnbc.com reports that in 2005, Zimmerman was arrested and charged with “resisting officer with violence” and “battery of law enforcement officer.” He was 20 years old at the time and both charges are third-degree felonies.

According to the report, the charges were reduced to “resisting officer without violence” and then waived when he entered an alcohol education program. Msnbc.com reports that accounts indicated Zimermann shoved an officer who was questioning a friend for alleged underage drinking at a bar.

Msnbc.com reports that in 2005, Zimmerman’s ex-fiancee, Veronica Zuazo, filed a motion for a restraining order and alleged domestic violence. Zimmerman counterfiled for a restraining order against Zuazo. Both restraining orders’ were granted.

In December 2006, msnbc.com reports that Zimmerman was charged with speeding — but the case was later dismissed when the officer failed to show up in court.

So since 2005, George Zimmerman has not been arrested for anything that could be remotely suspicious/violent.  In fact, as far as we know, he’s been an upstanding citizen of his community.  We do know he utilized 911 in  his role as neighborhood watchman, including reporting that a 7-9 year old black boy was wondering around alone near a busy street – the 911 call log notes Zimmerman indicated he was concerned for the boy’s welfare.

Yeah, this guy sounds like a boiling cauldron of repressed racist rage, doesn’t he? Not.

MediaBut yet, the narrative set by the media can simple be found in two pictures that are not current of either person.  The photo you see most often used of George Zimmerman is a mug shot from back in 2005-2006.  The picture you’ve seen most often of Trayvon Martin, looking like your average 12 or 13 year old,  is undated but looks several years old, if current pictures are any indication.  Why? Why not show a more current picture of Zimmerman in a suit and tie, and Trayvon Martin with grills in his mouth?

Narrative.  The media want you to think George Zimmerman has this sinister criminal history that would indicate he was “exactly the type” to “murder” a fresh-faced black “kid” walking home with a bag of Skittles and Arizona Iced Tea.    Not only that, but don’t think the description of Zimmerman as a “white Hispanic” isn’t deliberate.  The implicit suggestion here is that Zimmerman’s “white racist side” came out the night Trayvon Martin was killed.   Based on those two pictures and descriptions and nothing more, you would think that’s exactly how this case shakes out.  You’d never think there might be another side to this story, a possible other story that maybe George Zimmerman is closer to telling the truth than the media wants you to think.

None of this is by accident.  It’s not a conspiracy, folks. This is just how the media operates. You see, THEY aren’t biased for showing photos that they know will influence viewer/reader opinion as to implied character of the images shown, but YOU are — not only for pointing it out, but for conducting your OWN investigation and reporting on the side of the story the media has conveniently not done out of a willfully blind sense of political correctness and, of course, a desire to carry out “social justice journalism.”

The mainstream media (note: NOT opinion columnists), who are supposed to be in charge of keeping not only the government honest but who are also supposed to be writing and publishing stories in a way that allows the READER to draw their own conclusions rather than having the WRITER do it for them, apparently hasn’t gotten used to the fact that there are New Media types who exist to keep Old Media honest.

Hopefully one day they’ll get over it. In the meantime, the beat goes on.

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13 Responses to “#Trayvon: NYT complains about “blogger cherry-picking” – glosses over own selective bias”


  1. Sefton says:

    Excellent post ST.

  2. TexasMom2012 says:

    MSM pointing out a speck in conservative media’s eye while ignoring the LOG in its own eye. Typical, and exactly why my husband takes the paper to work every morning. Ever since the Houston Chronicle bought the Post and became the only major paper here, their reporting has gone downhill. Often their stories leave me with more questions than they answer… Hugely, blatantly liberal bias… Nauseating. And besides hubby got tired of indignant, “can you believe this cr@p?” calls from me!

  3. Mitch says:

    Excellent post as usual, ST.
    I’m not a legal expert, unless you consider all the John Grisham novels I have read, but it seems to me this case hinges on one thing and one thing only. Who attacked whom? Everything else is just mindless drivel on both sides of the issue. If Zimmerman attacked this boy while packing a gun, he’s toast. If the boy attacked Zimmerman in a flash of bravado and teenage testosterone and got himself killed in the process, his family will be left with nothing more than the grief of losing a son.
    In either case, it is a tragedy that should not have happened. What sickens me is the attempt by others to take advantage of a young boy’s needless death to further their own goals. The media, especially the New York Times, the race baiters, the lawyers, add your own favorite subhumans to the list. It’s an election year. If you don’t think Obama is going to use this tragedy to help get himself re-elected, you missed your breakfast. “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.” – Rahm Emanuel

  4. Carlos says:

    I still think it would be nice if a current pic of Trayvon was posted, instead of the 5-year old pic of an innocent pre-teen.

  5. Drew the Infidel says:

    Notice the NYT’s use of the Alinskyesque tactic of demonizing those who disagree with their point of view. It is another indication of why the MSM is irrelevant; and a case of the average citizen being far more sophisticated and informed than being given credit for.

  6. SAM says:

    I agree with Mitch (#5). We seem to have little information about the altercation. I laugh at these characterizations that sweet, little Trayvon was “gunned down like a rabid dog.”

    At least one thing working against Zimmerman is that, as I learned yesterday, the shooting occurred around 7:00 p.m. That’s pretty early for neighborhood watching. This would look better for him if we were talking about tracking a slovenly dressed youth (6’2″, by the way) wandering around after, say, 9:00 p.m., but so be it.

    I’m not bothered by Zimmerman’s tracking Williams. The kid was on the move, and Zimmerman was trying to keep 911 informed of his location. At some point, that broke off, and, as I understand it, we’re left with a minute or so of dead time.

    My guess–and it’s only a guess–is that Zimmerman didn’t try to halt Williams. But he may have made enough noise to get Williams’s attention. From that point, I can easily see the gansta attitude kicking in. As far as I’m concerned, Zimmerman’s diligence (or over zealousness) didn’t warrant fists from Williams. Youth–black, Hispanic, white, whatever–need to find a way to respond to questions other than a beat down.

    One thing I’m disappointed about the reporting is that I haven’t heard where Williams got shot–head, chest, where? Also, there seem to be few details about the altercation and the positioning of the bodies just before the fatal shot. If they were standing, Zimmerman probably committed manslaughter–rather than a more serious level of homicide. If they were on the ground with Williams on top, Zimmerman may have a case for justification. In that case, the Florida law on stand-your-ground seems irrelevant. How would you retreat when you have a guy on top of you wailing on you?

    I need more facts. But I don’t see proof of an unprovoked shooting or of stalking.

    In all events, this is only going to get worse. Zimmerman will be charged, but they can’t prosecute him for murder. I’m not that there’ll be enough to convict on manslaughter. At best, Zimmerman might get convicted or plead to some form of negligent homicide. And when he’s sentenced to something like three to eight years, then the roof will blow off around the country because so many people don’t understand criminal law and criminal procedure. The riots won’t come soon, but they’ll come when Zimmerman gets a light sentence.

    When there’s clear guilt in white-on-black murder, I say summary execution. But blacks seem to want payback in all these murky cases, and they just won’t get it. Then, the rioting begins. When will they focus on the real scourge: black-on-black homicide?

  7. Drew the Infidel says:

    To follow up on SAM’s murky case reference, recall the phony Tawana Bradley case where Sharpton was the lead crap stirrer in an incident in which a black woman carved herself up and smeared feces on herself blaming whites for it all. He has also been successfully sued for slander in other cases as well.

  8. Stexas says:

    In England you can’t be tried in the media. None of this would be allowed to taint the jury pool. Only when evidence is given in court is it allowed in the newspaper. This case should worry anyone that is every involved in a crime. There can’t be justice now that story has been played out in the media. I do feel sorry for both families. I don’t think that this will help change anyone’s mind about profiling or race baiting. It is now becoming sad and pathetic.

  9. John Bibb says:

    Hopefully a Grand Jury will be able to sort this out. There may be enough physical evidence and eyewitness testimony to determine what the truth in this is–and who is guilty and who is innocent.
    I think Florida will be able to find 12 honest fair minded jurors to sort this out.
    John Bibb

  10. Sefton says:

    Sam – More specifically on why Zimmerman was following him; he was headed to a specific corner to give the police an exact street name and address, from what I’ve read. After he got it is when he was headed back to his SUV and had the encounter with Martin. That’s where the only word of what actually started the confrontation is from the survivor’s point of view.
    On the fatal wound, Martin was shot in the chest while both (per witness testimony) were struggling on the ground. Both witnesses saw Martin on top of Zimmerman and Zimmerman calling for help. One witness, in fact, was a black kid walking his dog that night.

  11. SAM says:


    Thank you very much. I watch plenty of Fox News off and on, and yet I never seemed to catch a broadcast stating where Martin got shot. I’d think that close-quarters gun shot–especially with the two witnesses confirming that Martin was on top–would refute the absurd claims that Martin was “hunted down like a rabid dog.” You realize, of course, that as soon as witnesses surfaced, the MSM checked the time of sunset that day (I saw CNN report that the sun set at 6:21 p.m., suggesting that a 7:00 shooting was well into the dark). Also, now I’m hearing how unreliable eyewitness testimony is.

    Thanks, also for the details of Zimmerman’s tracking of Martin. I’d heard one report (that most MSM refuse to repeat) that Zimmerman had supposedly returned to his car or was returning to his car. I can’t figure out why the police haven’t released more details of Zimmerman’s story. You’d think that they’d have fleshed this out on the night of the shooting, complete with some kind of diagram of the steps taken, the places where the encounter or encounters took place.

    Look, Zimmerman may have been overzealous in tracking–maybe not. I’m not sure about the wisdom or legality of his carrying a weapon. But I suspect that Martin is dead because he decided he was going to be some teenage bad a** and teach some guy a lesson.

    In the end, I don’t think that Florida’s stand-your-ground law has anything to do with Zimmerman’s guilt. Instead, it’s a question of whether Zimmerman was entitled to use deadly force with Martin on top of him as he was. One thing lost in all this is that even if Martin was put off by Zimmerman’s following him, Martin had no right to pick a fight with Zimmerman. I’m sorry that Martin died, and I’ll be even more sorry as this story drags on and riots and worse tragedies flow from it. But I’m betting that Martin would be alive if he’d just told Zimmerman what address he was headed to or offered to have Zimmerman follow him to his home. Sorry to say, I think Martin paid for his very thin skin with his life.