Evidence: Video fail not the first time @ABC, MSM have shown #Trayvon case bias

MediaFor the last week or so I have been blogging about and Tweeting about the blatant bias on display by the national mainstream media in regards to their reporting on the Trayvon Martin case, bias that has had a clear and direct impact on public perceptions about both Martin and his admitted shooter George Zimmerman.  Most notably was their description of George Zimmerman as a “white Hispanic”, and their bias in the pictures they used to introduce Martin and Zimmerman to the American public: Martin as a baby faced 12/13 year old “kid” vs. a heavy looking Zimmerman in a mug shot from an arrest 6 years ago, an issue even discussed by the AP – even though they don’t acknowledge the bias.    The reality was much different: Trayvon was a 17 y/o teenager & former football player with a slim build who sometimes wore gold “grills” for teeth like you see many rappers do, and Zimmerman is a businessman in his late 20s, and – according to police reports – weighed only about 10 more lbs than Martin.

Since we live in a 24-7 insta-news era, time is of the essence and “hot scoops” and “breaking news” are what the mainstream media craves, especially when it comes to developing stories like the shooting of Trayvon Martin – even more especially when there’s an angle they can exploit, editorialize, and sensationalize to bring in viewers/readers and, more importantly advertisers. This tragic story fits all the criteria.

In the middle of the conservative outrage over the distorted use of older images of both Martin and Zimmerman, the mainstream media pressed on – as was evident by the story ABC News’s Matt Gutman broke that supposedly proved George Zimmerman lied about his head being shoved onto a concrete sidewalk.  The story revolved around a video – compressed – of George Zimmerman as he was brought in to the police station, in handcuffs, for questioning.  Because the video was compressed, it was difficult to see what if any alleged injuries he had sustained from the fight between him and Trayvon Martin earlier that evening.  The video as it stood was at best inconclusive, but not to Martin family attorney Benjamin Crump – who asserted the video was “evidence” George Zimmerman had lied about what happened.  Other mainstream media outlets ran with it without question, implicitly suggesting that it was, as Crump stated in so many words, the “smoking gun” against Zimmerman’s defense claims.

Hours later, the Daily Caller questioned the so-called “smoking gun” evidence, and showed zoom screen-caps from that same grainy video that appeared to show lacerations to the back of Zimmerman’s head.  Daily Caller, however, is a conservative site so naturally the mainstream media ignored them.

Just a few days later, on Chris Matthews’ Hardball, a disappointed Matthews – in a segment on how the video “didn’t appear to show any injuries” – had to sit and grunt “uh huh” as Washington Post investigative journalist Ron Allen talked about how a zoomed image of Zimmerman’s head did indeed show lacerations.  Naturally, it didn’t get much traction with the other national news media outlets who uncritically ran with the ABC report because it didn’t validate the MSM”s narrative that George Zimmerman is a lying “white” racist thug with an itchy trigger finger who set out to “gun down” a black teenager the night of February 26th.

— A narrative NBC’s Today show also tried to perpetuate last week by editing George Zimmerman’s 911 call to make it look like he brought up race, for which they (NBC) have now launched an internal investigation, BTW. —

Fast forward to today, where ABC released a “re-digitized” video (hat tip: Mental Recession) from the police station which ABC journalist Matt Gutman, the one who broke the initial video story, acknowledges shows evidence of head lacerations on George Zimmerman:

Reporter Matt Gutman said the clearer video shows “what appear to be a pair of gashes or welts on George Zimmerman’s head.”

You can watch the video here. Or better yet, check out Bryan Preston’s before and after screencaps here. He writes in response:

So many questions arise from those frames, most of them directed at ABC News. There are two distinct and bloody gashes visible in the frame on the left, even though my capture of it is the smaller of the two, that were not visible in the frame on the right, taken from the version first posted by ABC. That version ratcheted up the tensions in Sanford, and Martin’s parents even claimed that it was the “smoking gun” proving that Zimmerman’s and the police report’s accounts of that night were false. This new version of the video undercuts all of that. The differences come down to color and video compression. The original version appears “lossier,” meaning it is more heavily compressed for display online, and as a result much of its detail has been lost. That lost detail, however, was the entire point of posting the video, and ABC centered its story on the lack of detail seen in the original posted video.

Moreover, those within ABC News who compressed and posted the original video surely had seen the details in the master version that they compressed to post on the Internet. Having seen that detail and knowing it had been lost in the compression, there should never have been an ABC News story about the lack of wounds on Zimmerman’s head. That story was dishonest from stem to stern. It is the video equivalent of a Dowdified quote, an act that MSNBC has apparently committed in the Zimmerman/Martin story. NBC is investigating that instance of evident media malpractice.

Just so we’re clear on my qualifications for discussing video compression, I produced and compressed video for online use both at NASA as well as Hot Air and here at PJ Media and PJTV, so I have spent well over a decade compressing and analyzing video. Having seen both videos, it’s clear to me now that ABC released a version that did not show the truth because it did not show detail that was available to them in the master video file. The Daily Caller and Big Journalism were first to question ABC’s original version, and they were right. ABC must follow NBC’s lead and investigate how this story came to be.

Indeed. Not only should ABC investigate the video, but it also should be concerned about the biased reporting from the journalist who broke the story on their website, Matt Gutman, whose Twitter feed is a textbook example of bias in mainstream reporting.  Examples:

“shot … bc he was black, wearing a hoodie, and walking slowly”? Really? And later:



Yes, let’s solicit for the approval from a black liberal commentator who is already biased against George Zimmerman. Nice. BTW, he tweets to Roland Martin several times on his Twitter feed.



“Stalked, shot dead”? Really? Of course, Trayvon Martin is unfortunately dead but Gutman’s wording makes it sound like Zimmerman stalked him like prey in the woods and “shot him dead.”

Moving right along:

“Stalks him, shoots him down”??? See previous critique. This is opining, plain and simple. NOT unbiased journalism.


The tapes “SHOW” he was “profiled & killed for looking drugged and wearing a hoodie”? Where? The tapes are inconclusive as to who confronted who first – because there is a lapse of about a minute between the time Zimmerman got off the call with 911, the confrontation, and when the police got there (going off memory – there may be a couple more minutes in there). Remember, George Zimmerman says he was walking to his SUV when he was allegedly confronted by Trayvon Martin. We don’t know if this is the truth, but we DO know that Gutman’s assertion is pure SPECULATION disguised as fact.

“Followed, cornered”? Where’s the evidence Martin was “cornered”? Again, WE DON’T KNOW. Keepin’ on:


Two things here: Why send an unsolicited link to a black liberal entertainer who is also biased against George Zimmerman? Secondly – “the only person who really knows what happened to Trayvon”? That’s absolutely false as, as ABC’s own story indicates (emphasis added by me):

In the final moments of his life, Trayvon Martin was being hounded by a strange man on a cellphone who ran after him, cornered him and confronted him, according to the teenage girl whose call logs show she was on the phone with the 17-year-old boy in the moments before neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman shot him dead.


ABC News was there exclusively as the 16-year-old girl told Crump about the last moments of the teenager’s life.

“He said this man was watching him, so he put his hoodie on. He said he lost the man,” Martin’s friend said. “I asked Trayvon to run, and he said he was going to walk fast. I told him to run but he said he was not going to run.”

Eventually he would run, said the girl, thinking that he’d managed to escape. But suddenly the strange man was back, cornering Martin.

“Trayvon said, ‘What, are you following me for,’ and the man said, ‘What are you doing here.’ Next thing I hear is somebody pushing, and somebody pushed Trayvon because the head set just fell. I called him again and he didn’t answer the phone.”

The line went dead. Besides screams heard on 911 calls that night as Martin and Zimmerman scuffled, those were the last words he said.

What do we get from that story? A young girl who was on the phone with him but wasn’t there states that Zimmerman confronted Martin — but we know there’s no way for her to know for sure. She assumes Martin was shoved first. So how could she, who made several assumptions, be the only one who knew “what really happened” that night?

Also, note the last line I bolded: “besides the screams heart on 911 calls that night, those were the last words Martin said” – WHAT? How did Gutman (who wrote that piece) conclusively know the screams were Martin’s? That’s right. He doesn’t. In fact, two eyewitnesses have said it was Zimmerman on the bottom, screaming for help.

And, of course, we have the now-infamous promo of the original video:

He tweets several more times about that video with similar wording. We all know how THAT one worked out, don’t we?

Here’s one I found especially interesting:


There’s video of Trayvon Martin being “stalked from the 7-11 by Zimmerman”?? Who said? Gutman, that I know if, is the only reporter who has written anything about this. Don’t you think other news outlets would be pushing for this tape to be released or at the very least writing about it if it existed?

As a side note, after Gutman and ABC take pains to note that the original video that didn’t show “any visible” injuries now does, they ran with this story tonight, too:


Uh – huh? Which is it? There were visible lacerations or not? ABC and Gutman can’t make up their minds. But it’s probably too late. The damage from their original reporting has probably already been done.

I’ve seen this same type of bias at the New York Times and the LA Times, among other well known national news outlets, right in their ‘straight reporting’ news articles. If I had a few days time to do so, I’d dig up many more instances of this slanted reporting but you get the point.

As I’ve said before, the national media’s irresponsible, sensationalistic reporting on this story has had a devastating impact on public perceptions about this case and has helped fan the racial flames already being stoked by the usual race hustlers. WORDS MATTER. How they are used, which words are used, which words aren’t used (like “police say xyz” rather than “xyz happened” without evidence supporting it). Once again, we have a sterling example of a hot button issue where many in the mainstream media have written opinion articles, Tweet promos for official news stories, etc disgusted as “straight news” reporting, rather than just stating the facts and allowing the READER to draw their OWN conclusions.

Assuming George Zimmerman does get a trial, could it ever be a fair one, considering how the media has already tainted the jury pool with so much misinformation?

I weep.

How to undo ObamaCare? A problem of philosophy

**Posted by Phineas

There’s an interesting article at The Weekly Standard, by Jeffrey Anderson, looking at the difficulties the Supreme Court faces as it decides what to do about ObamaCare. As Anderson describes it, there are five choices:

  1. Upholding the law in its entirety;
  2. Minimally overturning it by striking down just the individual mandate;
  3. Go a little further by overturning the mandate, plus the closely related “community rating” and “guaranteed issue” clauses;
  4. Go through the law page by page deciding which part survives and which is overturned;
  5. Voiding the whole law.

Obviously the first is unacceptable to anyone who cares a whit about the Constitution and the principles on which it was founded. It’s also, thankfully, the least likely result if the questions asked by the Justices during the three days of the hearings are any indication.

But options 2-5 pose problems for conservative justice inclined to overturn the mandate: When dealing with a law this huge in both size and scope, which approach best hews to the principles of judicial restraint/judicial modesty, while still adhering to the Constitution? Options 2-4 pose a couple of problems. The first is that, by picking and choosing among the various parts of the bill, the Court may well leave behind a clanking wreck that does even more harm. The other is that, in doing so, especially in the absence of a severability clause (1), the COurt would wind up acting like an unelected super-legislature and usurping the roll of the elected Congress, something that should give any constitutionalist serious pause. As Anderson points out, none of these choices (except the first) are clear-cut and without question.

My own preference to to void the whole bill; it cannot work without the individual mandate, which itself is clearly unconstitutional. And policy decisions about health-care reform, which is what choices 2-4 amount to, are the duty of the elected legislature, not the Court.

But even these arguments raise a deeper issue; the Court would not find itself confronting these issues if not for the progressive penchant for comprehensive legislation, one bill “to bind them all.” Anderson sums it up neatly:

But we shouldn’t miss the larger point here. The predicament in which the Court finds itself is plainly a product of President Obama and his party’s preference for massive, unwieldy, impossibly complicated legislation—the kind that you have to pass first to “find out what is in it.” Such legislation, as the oral arguments revealed, does not fit within our system of limited government. That’s because, as Charles Kesler has observed, Obamacare violates the basic notion of law in a free society. Kesler writes, “Sometimes the most obvious derangements of our politics are staring us in the face but we don’t see them”—like “calling this voluminous monstrosity a bill. Can you have a bill, a single law, that is almost 3,000 pages long? In the old days, that would have constituted a whole code of laws.”

In other words, it’s not just Obamacare that must go, but rather the whole liberal and progressive notion of “comprehensive” legislation for a nation of 300 million people. Obamacare is the epitome of that confidence in central planning by experts. Whether the Court strikes down Obamacare, or President Obama is defeated and Obamacare is repealed, or the Court strikes down part of Obamacare and a new president and Congress repeal the rest, last week’s historic hearings have made one thing clearer than ever: Attempts at “comprehensive” legislation compromise the very notion of limited government, in which the people’s representatives try to accomplish attainable goals in a free society. Comprehensive legislation is what happens when you have unlimited government. It is that effort, and the attitude underlying it, that need to be repudiated—by the Court and, more important, by the voters this November.

(Emphasis added.)

And that points a way forward for conservatives in the coming months: not only concentrating on sending Obama off into retirement , but electing as many limited-government conservatives as possible to Congress who understand a principle related to judicial modesty, but rarely mentioned — legislative modesty. (2) That is, recognizing what the federal government’s proper role is and doing only enough to fulfill that role, not trying to solve every problem (3) that comes down the pike when they’re better left to the states or the people.

Right now, we’re seeing what havoc  legislative arrogance can wreak. It’s time to put a stop to it before the harm is incurable. As Marco Rubio said, “If we don’t win this election in November — and we get four more years of Barack Obama — I don’t know what that means … But I know it ain’t good.”

He was speaking of Obama, of course, but it applies as much to the progressive influence on Congress.

(1) Severability is a clause Congress usually inserts to allow the courts to strike down provisions of a law without having to kill the whole thing. There was such a clause in an early draft of the bill, but it was removed, indicating the Democrats were betting the Court wouldn’t strike down the whole law because there was no severability. I’m beginning to think they’ll regret that.
(2) Hence Operation Counterwight.
(3) Or any not-problem, something that isn’t their business, but lets them pander to the voters. Such as the BCS.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)