The media positioning in the Trayvon™ Martin v. George Zimmerman case is in full skulk-like retreat mode. They are quietly trying to distance themselves from the original narrative they sold to the consuming public.
Readers, and those who have followed this story, have an important decision to make. Are you willing to allow the media to backtrack without any consequential accountability for the damage they have caused?
It is an interesting exercise to look back at the original framing to see how the construct of a false narrative was intentionally injected into the media stream. As this entire narrative played out we have kept a close eye on the key strategists responsible for the false storyline and it is worthwhile to revisit and reconsider, knowing now what you did not know then. Two examples of initially toxic and dangerous media framing come immediately to mind.
Ryan Julison (pictured below with Matt Lauer), of Orlando based Julison Communications, was contacted and hired by Trayvon™ family Natalie Jackson on March 5th and joined the team of Daryl Parks, Benjamin Crump and Natalie Jackson.
The first successful media pitch was a Reuters story sold by Media Communications expert Julison on behalf of the Travon™ family and representatives, and injected into the newswire on March 7th. Julison bragged about the success of the story on his company Facebook page on March 10th. He has since scrubbed the references, we assume out of litigation fear, but not before we were able to capture the public images of his boasting. Lets take a look at the framing of that first pitch (emphasis mine).
ORLANDO, Florida (Reuters) – The family of a 17-year-old African-American boy shot to death last month in his gated Florida community by a white Neighborhood Watch captain wants to see the captain arrested, the family’s lawyer said on Wednesday.
Trayvon Martin was shot dead after he took a break from watching NBA All-Star game television coverage to walk 10 minutes to a convenience store to buy snacks including Skittles candy requested by his 13-year-old brother, Chad, the family’s lawyer Ben Crump said.
“He was a good kid,” Crump said in an interview, adding that the family would issue a call for the Watch captain’s arrest at a news conference on Thursday. “On his way home, a Neighborhood Watch loose cannon-shot and killed him.”
Trayvon, who lived in Miami with his mother, had been visiting his father and stepmother in a gated townhome community called The Retreat at Twin Lakes in Sanford, 20 miles north of Orlando.
As Trayvon returned to the townhome, Sanford police received a 911 call reporting a suspicious person.
Although names are blacked out on the police report, Crump and media reports at the time of the shooting identified the caller as George Zimmerman who is listed in the community’s newsletter as the Neighborhood Watch captain.
Without waiting for police to arrive, Crump said, Zimmerman confronted Trayvon, who was on the sidewalk near his home. By the time police got there, Trayvon was dead of a single gunshot to the chest.
“What do the police find in his pocket? Skittles,” Crump said. “A can of Arizona ice tea in his jacket pocket and Skittles in his front pocket for his brother Chad.”
Zimmerman could not be reached for comment on Wednesday evening at a phone number listed for him on the community’s newsletter.
Crump said the family was concerned that police might decide to consider the shooting as self defense, and that police have ignored the family’s request for a copy of the original 911 call, which they think will shed light on the incidents.
“If the 911 protocol across the country held to form here, they told him not to get involved. He disobeyed that order,” said Ryan Julison, a spokesman for the family.
“He (Zimmerman) didn’t have to get out of his car,” said Crump, who has prepared a public records lawsuit to file on Thursday if the family doesn’t get the 911 tape. “If he never gets out of his car, there is no reason for self-defense. Trayvon only has skittles. He has the gun.”
Since Trayvon, a high school junior who wanted to be a pilot, was black and Zimmerman is white, Crump said race is “the 600 pound elephant in the room.”
“Why is this kid suspicious in the first place? I think a stereotype must have been placed on the kid,” Crump said. (article)
Knowing now what you did not know then, how many false statements do you see from that first media pitch.? The level of manipulation is quite remarkable in retrospect.
The racist narrative continued unchallenged, and uncorrected, for over a week. The initial reports of who, what and were outlined within the Julison/Crump story to Reuters also contradict themselves from where they positioned the events in later statements.
After a week had passed the following narrative was created by Julison using ABC’s Matt Gutman and is outlined in another of his
mysteriously intentionally deleted company Facebook posts. Lets take a look at this article:
Orlando Watch Shooting Probe Reveals Questionable Police Conduct – By MATT GUTMAN (@mattgutmanABC) and SENI TIENABESO (@senijr_abc) ORLANDO, Fla., March 13, 2012
ABC News has uncovered questionable police conduct in the investigation of the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a white neighborhood watch captain in Florida, including the alleged “correction” of at least one eyewitness’ account.
Sanford Police Chief Billy Lee said there is no evidence to dispute self-appointed neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman’s assertion that he shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin out of self-defense.
“Until we can establish probable cause to dispute that, we don’t have the grounds to arrest him,” Lee said.
Martin had been staying at his father’s girlfriend’s house during the night of the NBA All-Star game Feb. 26.
The teenager went out to get some Skittles and a can of ice tea. On his way back into the gated suburban Orlando community, Martin, wearing a hood, was spotted by Zimmerman, 28.
According to law enforcement sources who heard Zimmerman’s call to a non-emergency police number, he told a dispatcher “these a..holes always get away.”
Zimmerman described Martin as suspicious because he was wearing a hooded sweatshirt and walking slowly in the rain, police later told residents at a town hall.
A dispatcher told him to wait for a police cruiser, and not leave his vehicle.
But about a minute later, Zimmerman left his car wearing a red sweatshirt and pursued Martin on foot between two rows of townhouses, about 70 yards from where the teen was going.
Lee said Zimmerman’s pursuit of Martin did not of itself constitute a crime. Witnesses told ABC News a fist fight broke out and at one point Zimmerman, who outweighed Martin by more than 100 pounds, was on the ground and that Martin was on top.
Austin Brown, 13, was walking his dog during the time of the altercation and saw both men on the ground but separated.
Brown along with several other residents heard someone cry for help, just before hearing a gunshot. Police arrived 60 seconds later and the teen was quickly pronounced dead.
According to the police report, Zimmerman, who was armed with a handgun, was found bleeding from the nose and the back of the head, standing over Martin, who was unresponsive after being shot.
An officer at the scene overheard Zimmerman saying, “I was yelling for someone to help me but no one would help me,” the report said.
Witnesses told ABC News they heard Zimmerman pronounce aloud to the breathless residents watching the violence unfold “it was self-defense,” and place the gun on the ground.
But after the shooting, a source inside the police department told ABC News that a narcotics detective and not a homicide detective first approached Zimmerman. The detective peppered Zimmerman with questions, the source said, rather than allow Zimmerman to tell his story. Questions can lead a witness, the source said.
Another officer corrected a witness after she told him that she heard the teen cry for help.
The officer told the witness, a long-time teacher, it was Zimmerman who cried for help, said the witness. ABC News has spoken to the teacher and she confirmed that the officer corrected her when she said she heard the teenager shout for help.
The Sanford Police Department refused to release 911 calls by witnesses and neighbors.
Several of the calls, ABC News has learned, contain the sound of the single gunshot.
Lee publicly admitted that officers accepted Zimmerman’s word at the scene that he had no police record.
Two days later during a meeting with Trayvon’s father Tracy Martin, an officer told the father that Zimmerman’s record was “squeaky clean.”
Yet public records showed that Zimmerman was charged with battery against on officer and resisting arrest in 2005, a charge which was later expunged.
Zimmerman has not responded to requests for a comment.
“I asked [the police] well did you check out my son’s record?” Tracy Martin told ABC News in an interview Sunday. “What about his?…Trayvon was innocent.” (the article continues)
Again, knowing now what you did not know then it is quite obvious to see the narrative being sold by Benjamin Crump, Daryl Parks, Natalie Jackson, and specifically Ryan Julison.
All of this would be important, but not as important, if the consequences from the intentionally manipulated narrative were not so damaging. However, given the number of people injured because of the specific intent of inflaming racial tension in the Trayvon™ Martin case the perpetrators of the lies and manipulations must be held to account.
Perhaps worse than constructing and intentionally selling the race-based story, was what they did after it blew up. When the consequences were evident from the horrific racial backlash, they did NOTHING to stop it. Nor did they make any attempt to tell the truth, even when they specifically knew the storyline they sold was seriously flawed.
This time people were hurt, seriously hurt, and we simply cannot allow the media, nor the fabricators that sold the media, to just walk away. They must be held to account.