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Trayvon Martin and the murder of America’s Fourth Estate

April 21, 2012

[34th J.P.'s Moment of Common Sense on Broad View, KBZZ 1270 AM and 96.1 FM in Reno.]

I already addressed the Trayvon Martin case back in March, when the controversy first reached hysterical proportions, but there’s an important consequence of this mess that needs highlighting. Namely this: the dishonesty and incompetence of our news media while covering the death of Trayvon Martin was so flagrant and irredeemable that America’s Fourth Estate cannot survive.

The wound was self-inflicted, but fatal. This was the end of the profession of journalism as we’ve known it.

Here’s what the news media did: first, NBC purposely cropped the tape of George Zimmerman’s 911 call to make him sound like a racist concerned about Trayvon merely because he was black. Not to be outdone, CNN edited the same tape to make viewers think Zimmerman used the word “coons.” ABC News showed a video tape of Zimmerman arriving at the police station in handcuffs and claimed there were no injuries to his head. Turns out when you look at a close-up there’s a big gash on the back of his head. Every day for weeks, newspapers used photographs of Trayvon as a little boy, even though more recent pictures were available, and used an old mug shot of Zimmerman even though a more recent picture shows him older, weighing less, and wearing a suit and tie.

Newspapers are still using the outdated photos, still trying to incite trouble.

Even when they showed a more recent photo of Trayvon, the one with the gray hoodie, they used an altered version to make him look younger, lighter-colored, and smaller. Our newspapers, counting on our gullibility, altered a photograph to create a story.

The New York Times, America’s so-called “paper of record,” went from calling Zimmerman white to calling him a “white Hispanic,” a term the newspaper never ever used in a crime story before now – a term used only one other time in the newspaper’s 160-year history, and that was to describe the difference between various groups of Hispanics. In George Zimmerman’s case, you see, they needed him to remain white to fit the storyline they were selling... the storyline that a white man killed a black youngster. Other newspapers have followed the Times example and Zimmerman, whatever else happens to him, is stuck with the silly label “white Hispanic” for the rest of his life.

Most news companies are losing money and many of them will be shuttering their doors and slipping into bankruptcy in coming years, but when future academics study the end of the free press they will point to the Trayvon Martin case as the penultimate event, the signal that we no longer had a functioning Fourth Estate in the United States of America. After this, even the most obtuse and loyal news consumers will be cancelling their newspaper subscriptions, turning off the network news shows, and looking elsewhere for information.

Thing is, why would anybody want news they can’t trust?

This is scary stuff, people. We actually have no idea how to maintain a free country without the press. It might not even be possible. The current paradigm for freedom has the government limited by the Constitution, with the free press watching the government like a hawk to make sure it behaves. That paradigm no longer exists. Legislators routinely pass laws which abrogate constitutional limits and the press seems to operate like another branch of the government, selling the government’s activities to the public like toothpaste salesmen on TV. Huddling in front of government officials, "reporters" wait breathlessly for whatever the government tells them to print on a given day. The Daily Caller recently published a series of articles detailing the way the Obama White House, Media Matters, and various mainstream news organizations actively cooperate, planning their propaganda efforts like General Eisenhower planning D-Day.

This isn’t conjecture or wild conspiracy theory – this is documented fact.

I can’t prove the news media plotted ahead of time to create this controversy in Sanford, Florida, but it sure looks that way. Almost a month after Trayvon died, during which time there was little or no controversy, suddenly over the course of about a week too many reporters created too many lies and spread too many false rumors for this to be coincidence.

And then the White House and the Democrat Party tried to use it for votes.

I’ll say it one more time: this is scary stuff. We’re about to find out whether freedom is possible without the press.

That's... today’s dose of common sense..

"A free press can of course be good or bad, but, most certainly, without freedom it will never be anything but bad... Freedom is nothing else but a chance to be better, whereas enslavement is a certainty of the worse." – Albert Camus

From Reno, Nevada, USA       

April 23, 2012 - Your prediction of the demise of the Fourth Estate coincides nicely with the news that the New York Times is trying to renegotiate its union pension plans to save money. You're spot on that we will be seeing many (more) of these dummies go out of business in the next few years. - Wendy L., Reno

April 23, 2012 - I disagree that: "Oh I agree completely that the media will not change, that they're incapable of seeing themselves for what they are" in your comment response. I think the media see themselves as exactly what they are. I think it is intentional. And they will not stop or change. - Jim M., Connecticut

April 23, 2012 - I would like to be able to say you are right, but I unfortunately know too many people who don't see the Martin case as overt malpractice. Many still have not seen the pictures of Twitter user NO_LIMIT_NI&&A or the AK-47s on his Myspace page. Many don't know about an assault on a bus driver, or his Twitter wisecrack(?) "I hope you kill that MF that lied to you."
Here is my question to you. After the egregious media behavior in the Duke lacrosse case, culminating in the tearful resignation of the despicable Mike Nifong, why should they put two and two together and change their behavior? In their twisted minds, they still believe they pushed the correct "narrative". - Rhode Island Redneck
J.P. replies: Oh I agree completely that the media will not change, that they're incapable of seeing themselves for what they are. I'm saying that news consumers will change. This time the media went too far, and even die-hard newspaper subscribers and TV news watchers (if they're rational) must be questioning their loyalty. My 93-year-old father made a decision last week to cancel his newspaper subscription. For people in his generation, going sans newspaper is a huge life change.

April 23, 2012 - Crump is the pivot point in all this. He's the one with the connections and resources that brought this to a boil. It's no longer about Zimmerman, it's about a show of black power. And there's nothing a white-owned Fourth Estate loves more than an underdog story of "speaking power to the man."
It's who the Press imagine themselves to be: champions, crusaders, kingmakers.
I have been watching the trend throughout my lifetime, long before blogs were invented. I watched Cronkite lie about Tet, I watched my local paper dredge up old controversy and add nothing new to the facts, just a "bumping it to the top" to keep it in front of the masses.
The Press needs controversy and blood in order to survive. They cloak that need in the finery of truth and freedom, but they are merely willful slaves and should be treated accordingly: as creatures unworthy of the raiment of Truth. But they will not go away.
I should note without malice that every blogger that needs cash will become a slave to that need. Thus the world turns... - Joan of Argghh!, South Carolina

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