Interesting and VERY comprehensive construction of the George Zimmerman story by a South African Journalist – James Myburgh. A “mere snippet” reflects:
[…] In the chapter on “national delusions” in his 1852 work Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, Charles MacKay noted how “In reading the history of nations, we find that, like individuals, they have their whims and their peculiarities; their seasons of excitement and recklessness, when they care not what they do. We find that whole communities suddenly fix their minds upon one object, and go mad in its pursuit; that millions of people become simultaneously impressed with one delusion, and run after it, till their attention is caught by some new folly more captivating than the first. “
The Trayvon Martin story is a case study in how, even in the modern day, an advanced industrialised democracy can completely lose its senses; and how difficult it is for it to then recover them. In this particular matter a whole society seemingly fixed its mind on the one object of having George Zimmerman arrested, convicted and sent to jail for life, in reckless disregard of the evidence and the law. The mainstream media, so-called civil rights organisations, the Democrat President of the US, the US Attorney General, the Republican Governor of Florida and his Attorney General, and State Attorney Angela Corey all combined forces in an effort to destroy a single, isolated individual.
Yet, as documented above, we now know that the incendiary claims made by the Martin family team – which ignited and then fuelled this state of national hysteria – were almost all bogus. Zimmerman’s legal team came very close to proving, beyond reasonable doubt, that their client had acted in reasonable fear of his life and great bodily injury in shooting Trayvon Martin; an inversion of the usual burden of proof. The Sanford police knew from the beginning that the evidence tended to support Zimmerman’s self-defence claim which is why they had been reluctant to make an arrest.
The failures of the mainstream media in their reporting on this case were manifold. The claims of the Martin family team should have, from the beginning, been treated with some degree of caution. Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, and their lawyers, had two motivations in campaigning in the way that they did for the arrest of George Zimmerman. The one was obviously vengeance, the other greed. Following the arrest of Zimmerman Benjamin Crump sent a letter on May 9 to the Retreat at Twin Lakes’ Homeowners’ Association announcing the intention of Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton to file suit. This had always been the intention of the Martin family and their lawyers. Natalie Jackson had sent a letter to the HOA on March 14 2012 demanding that they preserve any evidence relating to the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. The Martin team reached a settlement agreement with the HOA’s insurers in early April 2013, which Zimmerman’s lawyers estimated amounted to over a million dollars.
Such precautionary scepticism should have been redoubled once the Martin family team had been caught out, very early on, lying about Trayvon Martin’s school record and the existence of and reasons for his multiple suspensions. Instead, they were repeatedly given a free pass, even by the more critically minded journalists and commentators.
The media should also have known to hold back from judgment during the crucial period in which the Sanford police were not publicly divulging the evidence they had at their disposal. Reporters and editors also needed to keep their cool as the mood of national hysteria started building; instead many lost their heads and ran off to join the mob.
From late March 2012 evidence started emerging both of Trayvon Martin’s troubled recent past and of what had actually transpired on the night of February 26 2012. But while individual pieces of evidence were reported on, the mainstream media appeared to be disinterested in seriously challenging the narrative that had been constructed by the Martin family team. Indeed, much media reporting of this time displayed all the symptoms of confirmatory bias: Poorly vetted and inflammatory stories were run in support of the Martin team’s narrative, while substantive evidence that contradicted it was ignored or its significance downplayed. (read MUCH more and you’d better pack a lunch)