Journalism

[UPDATE] Martin Media Conspiracy Theory Ignores Key Question

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Last Updated on May 6, 2012

UPDATE: Snopes.com now reports that the photo purported to be shooting victim Trayvon Martin flipping off the camera is not of the same Trayvon Martin that was shot to death, but of a different youth with the same name. &nbsp The points about the conspiracy theory outlined below are still valid, and now even more so: &nbsp the same people who seem to want Martin portrayed negatively have been calling for the media to use an inaccurate photo to make the comparison!

If you’re on Facebook, you’ve probably seen the graphic that’s floating around in the wake of the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin. If you’ve looked at the four images, two at a time, side by side, and just read the questions without thinking about it — which is always the goal of conspiracy theorists — then you might even have been taken in by the accusation.

If you’ve really taken time to study the images and think about what’s being asked, you’ve probably realized something very interesting about those raising the questions: they’re clearly just as biased as they accuse the “media narrative” of being.

Take a look at the image:

http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y118/Pattboy92/News/trayvon-media-narrative.jpg

Four Photos
Based on what we know from the earliest reports following the shooting, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was small for his age. The top right photo of him is clearly not a photo of a five-year-old boy. I can’t imagine anyone seriously thinking that looks like a kindergartener. When you compare the size of the head in the top right picture to that of the bottom right, you don’t see much of a difference.

When you look at other photos of the boy online, you see that he looks virtually the same size in most. And the few sites that attempt to date that top right smiling photo list it as being two years old, indicating that he was 15 — not five — at the time that photo was taken.

But what’s a minor, ten-year difference in the life of a boy who only made it to 17? Or, to put it another way, why let facts get in the way of a good conspiracy theory?

Then there are the two photos of George Zimmerman, the self-appointed community watchdog who police say gunned down Martin. Zimmerman claimed he fired in self-defense after being jumped from behind.

The one on the top left is a 2005 booking photo. If he’s 28 now, he would have been about 21 at that time. So why would the media use an outdated photo of the defendant?

The answer is simple, and here’s the reality check: that booking photo is a matter of public record. That means that is easily available to the media. The media do not, as conspiracy theorists might believe, have nice glossy headshots of everyone it reports. Unless news organizations can get their hands on a school yearbook — which in Zimmerman’s case would have produced a photo that would have even been more out of date — or the man’s Facebook page, and be sure that it’s the Facebook page of the real person and not someone else who happened to be named George Zimmerman, their&nbsp safest legal option is to go with a booking photo.

Someone had to send the media the nicer portrait of Zimmerman smiling and in a suit. Or the media found it on their own as the story continued to develop. But such a headshot wouldn’t have been immediately available right after the shooting unless the shooter happened to be a well-known celebrity. &nbsp Zimmerman, as far as we can tell, was not a celebrity.

The fourth photo, the lower image of Martin, appears to have come from a Facebook or Myspace page, and shows Martin wearing a cap, saggy jeans revealing his boxers, and flipping two birds to the camera. A certainly non-angelic, “thug-like” looking pose that seems to play on multiple stereotypes of young African American youth. An interesting alternate choice from the conspiracy theorists.

Two Leading Questions
Let’s look at the text:

Don’t believe in the “Media Narrative”?
Then why are you being shown this…
(5-7 years old)

Instead of this
(current)

The first question is clearly leading: the person asking it has already made up his mind that not only is there a “media narrative” at work here, but that you are falling for it.

But it’s the second question that is even more telling. And the key issue involves one single word: instead.

Why are you being shown a pair of photos, it asks, that depicts the adult as unshaven and emotionless, side by side with a photo showing the victim with an innocent smile? The insinuation is that the Zimmerman photo intentionally makes him look uncaring or cold. Both look like they could be driver’s license or ID photos; we only know the Zimmerman photo is a booking photo because that has already been reported.

When they ask why are you being shown those two images instead of the lower pair. This implies that the second set is more appropriate, or that it at the very least would indicate that there wasn’t a narrative at play.

So now you have a nice looking, smiling adult side by side with a teenager displaying a vulgar hand sign with both hands and dressed in a “gangsta” style.

If this is somehow the preferred set of photos, one has to wonder how anyone could believe that there isn’t some kind of desired “narrative” that someone wants to see.

The Real Question Not Asked
The ultimate proof that this is a conspiracy theory is what goes unasked. In fact, that missing question is so obvious that it amazes me that anyone would pass around such a photo.

If we’re really looking to quash an example of unfairness in the media, the question anyone with such a concern should be asking is why the two smiling shots — the lower left and upper right images — aren’t the ones being shown.

Like this one I found on ABC News’s website:

http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y118/Pattboy92/News/zimmerman-martin.jpg

ABC News, last time I checked, is a relatively large part of the media, and certainly a big player in coverage of this particular story.

In this image, the playing field is level. You have two smiling, presumably innocent people. No expression or gesture to influence one’s opinion about either is present.

No “narrative” to be found.

Why wouldn’t a conspiracy theorist want that on display if he truly had no agenda of his own?

the authorPatrick
Patrick is a Christian with more than 30 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.

18 Comments

  • I think one of the problems with the MSM today is the rush to get a story on the air to be the “First” coverage of a news story. I think in the rush to be the first, they do not have time to verify all of their sources or they do not get the best source. In the Trayvon Martin case, they grabbed to first photos that they found without verifying the photo. The other problem is us, we want instantaneous news, and we want to find out about a news story NOW. I remember the assignation of President Kennedy and as the news reports were coming in from Dallas, Walter Cronkite keep saying that the reports have not been verified. You do not see that now, they stick a microphone in front of a person and it becomes “fact” or the “truth”. If you ask anyone about the photo of Trayvon Martin giving gang symbols if it was Trayvon they would probably say yes. They probably never saw the correction from Snopes and Snopes in their rush to get the story out probably didn’t double check their source.
     
    Is there a bias in the media? Of course, but some are more biased then others and I believe it is up to us the viewer or reader to be able to recognize the bias. It is up to us to sort through our sources to get at the truth. That is why I read a number of on-line sources on a topic so that I can find the “wheat from the chaff”.
     
    Looking at the difference between New Hampshire and Connecticut media, there is an obvious difference in bias. In both states they had identical gender inclusive anti-discrimination bills before the legislature. In New Hampshire the Union Leader and on WMUR they both ran headlines that identified the bill as “The Bathroom Bill” ( http://groups.yahoo.com/group/transgendernews/message/36300 & http://www.wmur.com/r-video/24261295/detail.html ). While in Connecticut the media called the bill the “Transgender Bill” ( http://www.ctmirror.org/story/12662/house-passes-bill-outlawing-transgender-discrimination & http://www.wtnh.com/dpp/news/politics/conn-senate-passes-gender-identity-bill ). While all the bills (CT, MA & NH) were identical, the New Hampshire media called the bill by the oppositions name for the bill and in Connecticut the media called it a more neutral name of the “Transgender Bill” and mentioned the name that the opposition gave the bill in the article. In New Hampshire, the bill was defeated with not even the bill sponsors voting for the bill because of all the negative media, while in Connecticut the bill passed.

  • I think one of the problems with the MSM today is the rush to get a story on the air to be the “First” coverage of a news story. I think in the rush to be the first, they do not have time to verify all of their sources or they do not get the best source. In the Trayvon Martin case, they grabbed to first photos that they found without verifying the photo. The other problem is us, we want instantaneous news, and we want to find out about a news story NOW. I remember the assignation of President Kennedy and as the news reports were coming in from Dallas, Walter Cronkite keep saying that the reports have not been verified. You do not see that now, they stick a microphone in front of a person and it becomes “fact” or the “truth”. If you ask anyone about the photo of Trayvon Martin giving gang symbols if it was Trayvon they would probably say yes. They probably never saw the correction from Snopes and Snopes in their rush to get the story out probably didn’t double check their source.
     
    Is there a bias in the media? Of course, but some are more biased then others and I believe it is up to us the viewer or reader to be able to recognize the bias. It is up to us to sort through our sources to get at the truth. That is why I read a number of on-line sources on a topic so that I can find the “wheat from the chaff”.
     
    Looking at the difference between New Hampshire and Connecticut media, there is an obvious difference in bias. In both states they had identical gender inclusive anti-discrimination bills before the legislature. In New Hampshire the Union Leader and on WMUR they both ran headlines that identified the bill as “The Bathroom Bill” ( http://groups.yahoo.com/group/transgendernews/message/36300 & http://www.wmur.com/r-video/24261295/detail.html ). While in Connecticut the media called the bill the “Transgender Bill” ( http://www.ctmirror.org/story/12662/house-passes-bill-outlawing-transgender-discrimination & http://www.wtnh.com/dpp/news/politics/conn-senate-passes-gender-identity-bill ). While all the bills (CT, MA & NH) were identical, the New Hampshire media called the bill by the oppositions name for the bill and in Connecticut the media called it a more neutral name of the “Transgender Bill” and mentioned the name that the opposition gave the bill in the article. In New Hampshire, the bill was defeated with not even the bill sponsors voting for the bill because of all the negative media, while in Connecticut the bill passed.

  • Patrick,
    I think you misunderstood the “5-7 years old” caption.  “5-7 years old” refers to the age of the photograph itself not the person in the photograph.  You state that the booking photo of Zimmerman is from 2005, 7 years ago.  As 7 years ago corresponds to the upper limit of the age of the two photographs and corresponds to the photo of Zimmerman, it is a reasonable assumption that the “5” the corresponds to the age of the photo of Martin.  If that assumption is correct and Martin was 17 at the time of his death, then he would be 12 years old in the photo.  He does look 12 years old in the photo.
     
    You and I both know a lot can change in a persons life, for better or worse, between the ages of 12 and 17. ’nuff said there.
     
    As far as the “conspiracy”, you’re probably correct that the news agencies did not collude but rather used the first photo that became available.  Conversely, the media does this as a matter of practice using bad photos of people they don’t like or want to portray in a bad light and good photos of people they do like and want to portray in a good light.  Were this an isolated incident I’d be inclined to agree with you.  As it is not and this is a pattern repeated by the media over and over again for decades, it is far more likely that like-minded media personnel acted in a manner which can be predicted by past behavior and acted in a way so as to make Martin more sympathetic a figure and Zimmerman a more aggressive or criminal figure.
     
    As far as your statement, “A certainly non-angelic, “thug-like” looking pose that seems to play on multiple stereotypes of young African American youth.” , it’s not the “conspiracy theorists” wrongfully portraying Martin in a stereotypical manner or imposing a stereotype on him, it is Martin himself behaving and dressing according to the stereotype.  For that one can only fault Martin and not any “conspiracy theorist”. 
     
    BTW, I found your blog while trying to prove or disprove the authenticity of the photo of Martin in the lower right as there apparently have been some photos posted which were mistakenly thought to have been of Martin, but were subsequently removed when it was discovered that they were not photos of Martin.  Are we sure that the lower right photo is actually Trayvon Martin?
     
    Cheers,
    John

    •  @JohnH3 John,
      Even if misunderstood the 5-7 year reference, as best as I can tell, it’s STILL inaccurate, because the photo of Trayvon appears to be only 2 years old.  As I pointed out in the article, it has been reported from the beginning that the boy was small for his age, which could easily explain why he could look younger than his real age, no matter when the pic was taken.
       
      By and large — and this comes from someone who WORKS in the media — there’s no general collusion to intentionally use “bad” photos for people “we don’t like.”  We aren’t even supposed to “like” or “dislike” anyone.  Far more often than conspiracy theorists would have you believe, we do report facts, and it’s the viewers who form their opinions of whether someone is likeable. Based upon THEIR opinions, the use of specific photos gets called into question by people who become easily convinced that we’re intentionally trying to influence opinion one way or the other.
       
      Your own argument about the “thug” image being Martin’s fault valid in that he posed for the photo himself.  But that STILL does not make it a VALID photo to use alongside the suited portrait of Zimmerman IF the goal is fairness, does it?  The conspiracy theorists seem to want to use the second set of photos and not the first, because they imply that the second set would mean that there WASN’T a “media narrative” being constructed.  
       
      My point was and still is that anyone who questions the validity of the Zimmerman photo alongside the non-thuggish image of Martin should be arguing for smiling, “neutral” shots of BOTH, not a reversal of tone from what they perceive to be a negative one of Zimmerman.  To your point about Martin’s photo being HIS fault, Zimmerman was unshaven in the booking photo: HE decided not to be clean shaven on the day he was arrested; that is, likewise, HIS fault.
       
      To your final question, I’m not certain whether the lower right picture actually is Martin.  The meme has enough legs by now that it is being widely accepted to BE Martin, but I don’t know of any significant confirmation that it is.  In any case, my point about the double standard of the message still stands because it still seems to call for an UNEVEN portrayal through the selection of photos.

      •  @patricksplace How about innaccurate representation by using a picture that is not even of Trayvon since that bottom “thug” image of him is a different Martin Trayvon still alive?

      •  @patricksplace Hi Partrick!  Thanks for the reply.  This would certainly be an easier conversation in person, verbally but, writing will have to suffice. I warn you, I get wordy. 🙂
         
        There is so much swirl and misinformation surrounding this tragic story but, I don’t think your article is as much about Martin and Zimmerman as it is about media coverage and perceptions of media coverage, so, let’s pursue that. 
         
        Let me also say that I’m trying not to generalize about individual members of the media.  There are good journalists in the MSM but there also are bad journalists and, yes, there is bias and bias is unavoidable and despite the best attempts cannot be bias can never be completely eliminated. We are only human after all.
         
        Now that I’ve gotten the disclaimers out of the way… 🙂
         
        The conspiracy theorists are not saying that they “want” the smiley Zimmerman and the thuggy Martin, they are asking,  why are we seeing a 7 year old pic of Zimmerman and a 5 yr old pic of Martin?  In fact, the caption on the the photo is “Then why are you being shown this…instead of this?”  That’s far different from “You should be showing this instead of this.” 
         
        My question is, why are we not being shown images of these two people as they are today, at the time of the incident?  Are these these two people the same people they were 5 and 7 years ago?  I don’t know, but I doubt it.  I want to know who they were at the time of the incident. I don’t want the double-smiley picture because that pic is disingenuous also.  If there is a booking picture of Zimmerman from the night of the incident show that picture.
         
        Unless…(now here’s a conspiracy theory for ya) what if any photos taken  of Zimmerman on the night of the shooting showed the broken nose, bruises to the face and head which Zimmerman allegedly received at the hands of Martin?  Zimmerman must have received medical attention for these injuries, wouldn’t there be police photographs in their report or photos taken in the days following the incident by friends or family? Such pics wouldn’t match the narrative of an unprovoked, race-based shooting of an innocent black child by a racist, who for some reason is being referred to in the MSM as a “white Hispanic”, a term I’ve never heard before now. 
         
        Indulge me a digression to discuss the term “white Hispanic”  for a second – Are Hispanics racists?  No, the narrative says that only whites are racists. Simply referring to Zimmerman as a Hispanic doesn’t fit the narrative.  Zimmerman is a child of a white and a Hispanic so, he’s a “white Hispanic”.  That fits the narrative, Zimmerman is now at least half racist.  Can you think of any other circumstance in which Zimmerman, with his parentage,  would be considered “white”?  If Zimmerman came across the border illegally and was deported, his deportation would only be because he was “brown” or Hispanic, because white people are racist.  I guarantee you that had Zimmerman been the victim of an attack by a white man, Zimmerman would most assuredly be “brown” or Hispanic, a victim of a racist white.  Equal Opportunity would consider Zimmerman a minority, wouldn’t they?  But for some reason, in this case, Zimmerman became referred to as a “white Hispanic”.  Why?  It fits the media narrative of the ” typical racist white person”.  (Kinda like what Obama said his white grandmother was.)  Calling Zimmerman a “white Hispanic” is like calling the President a “white African”, isn’t it?  Does either reference make any sense? No, but in one case it helps fit the facts to the narrative of the reporters of the story.That said, if the MSM will create the term “white hispanic” to describe Zimmerman, does it really strain credulity to think that maybe someone or possibly several people in the media picked a booking picture from 7 years earlier of the “attacker” and a smiley picture of the “victim”  from 5 years earlier?  How many people did it take to pick that picture?  Once it was ingested, every media outlet used it..  It’s not a conspiracy, it was just a use of an available resource.  How many people did it take to come up with the term “white Hispanic”?  One? Two? Again, once ingested by the NYTimes and Reuters the term became part of source material used by the rest of the MSM.  Again no conspiracy, it’s just how the business operates.
         
        Patrick, since you work in the media, can you try to get pictures of Zimmerman from the police records or hospital?  I’m thinking probably not as there will be a trial and any such photos aren’t likely be released because they are both evidence and would taint any jury/juror.  It’s worth pursuing, as a journalist, isn’t it?
         
        I understand that there is no “general collusion” in the MSM.  What there is in the MSM though is a dominance of one political ideology (not party, ideology) and a dominance of journalists who share a common education and training.  Like it or not there is a group-think in the MSM.  I understand that journalists are not supposed to like or dislike people but, can you seriously deny that they don’t?  I’m 50 years old, I’ve been watching the MSM and C-SPAN and paying attention for 25 years.  I’ve watched hearings on C-SPAN then watched new accounts of those hearings and wondered if we were talking about the same thing. 
         
        I see from your bio you are a Christian.  I am too.  I pray for you to have the strength to stand for the truth and your Christian principles in your industry and to bring that truth, good or bad, to the public.  (I’m not saying that you are not standing for truth and Christian principals now, so don’t read anything into my statement. 🙂 ) . 
         
        Best wishes to you and thanks for the discussion!  I’ll try to check in for a reply tomorrow.
        John

        •  @JohnH3 John, thanks for the discussion and the disclaimer.
           
          First, let me clarify my work in the media.  There was a time when I was a reporter.  My area of concentration now is more in the area of promotion, so I do not have any say in what my newsroom does and doesn’t cover; that’s a major reason why I can reasonably do commentary on news coverage, as I’m in no direct position (other than on this blog, of course) to dictate what is actually covered.
           
          Having said that, I do believe that IF police had taken photos of Zimmerman on the night of the shooting, we’d have seen those photos already, provided that they are even able to be released.  We’re already getting a look now at surveillance footage apparently from the police station showing him with police officers.  There are no closeups, but he doesn’t appear to be injured; at the same time, it’s surveillance footage taken from a short distance away, so injuries obviously aren’t going to be that obvious unless they were severe.
           
          What I read into the question being asked in graphic is that if there weren’t a “media narrative,” we should JUST AS LIKELY be shown the second set of photos as the first.  The fact that they don’t argue for “neutral” photos for BOTH people, rather than trying to flip-flop the images they consider negative, speaks volumes.  I’ve certainly seen this kind of comparison before; it’s inevitable when you work in television for 20 years: you see and hear every accusation you can imagine, and sometimes it’s positively mind-boggling how far some people will reach to find what they consider some dark agenda.
           
          (And by the way, I still haven’t been able to find a direct confirmation that the Martin photo is of him at age 12. The only sources I’ve found so far indicate that it was taken when he was 15, making that photo 2 years old, not 5.)
           
          I actually have heard the term “white Hispanic” but I’ll grant you that it isn’t used all that often.  I think the issue here isn’t that the media is trying to insinuate that because he is part-white, he’s automatically a racist.  However, reports that he has a history of calling police several times in the past to report “suspicious” persons in his neighborhood, all of whom seem to have been black, does lead some to wonder whether racism is involved.
           
          As for the question of “careful photo selection,” with respect, you make a mistake many people who never have worked in the media tend to make:  you assume that there are enough people on staff at all of the media outlets to actually have time to carefully plan which photos selection will make one character or another look the worst.  I have often joked in the past — and I stress the word JOKED — that I WISH I worked in a medium where there was this level of staffing available; unfortunately, we live in a rough economy that has hit various media, particularly print, very hard, and most of the time, there just aren’t enough editors around to have the time to accomplish such devious plotting.  It’s actually far more credible to suggest that they got the booking photo of Zimmerman because it was easy to obtain and just ran with it.  The photos of the victim came from wherever they came from, certainly the family began supplying them, and certainly the family chose which photos IT provided to the media. 
           
          But let me assure you: if Martin had been a couple of years older AND if a booking photo of HIM had existed, you’d be seeing it as well.  Not because they would want to make the black man seem like he might actually have been “suspicious,” but because that photo would have been easier to obtain.
           
          It comes down to this:  Do I believe that it’s POSSIBLE that someone, somewhere along the line, has a preconceived notion about what did or didn’t happen, and may have unconsciously selected photos that fit into some sort of “narrative?”  Absolutely.  Do I believe that such selections are INTENTIONAL out of the kind of widespread conspiracy the authors of the graphic (and media critics in general) like to suggest?  No. 

        •  @patricksplace Very good!  Seems we do agree on a few things.
           
          I’m sure you have “heard it all” at one point or another in the media business.  Keep in mind thought that even the most vehement media critics, and I’m talking about the talking heads e.g. Brent Bozell, Bernie Goldberg, etc, do not suspect a “dark agenda” or even a conspiracy but rather more of a symptom of the “group think” due to the common political ideology and common training found int he industry.  So, we agree that there is no conspiracy but we likely still disagree that there is still unconscious human bias that does creep in.
           
          It is possible, even likely, that there is race involved as a motivator in Zimmermans following of blacks in his neighborhood.  It is also possible that Zimmerman just has that same gnawing fear, for lake of a better word, of young black men in hoodies just as Jesse Jackson has when he said, “There is nothing more painful to me … than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery, then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved.”  Heck, recall the recent firing of Juan Williams for having a similar “uncomfortable feeling” about someone in “Muslim grab” getting on an airplane.  Don’ get me wrong, there are conscious racists out there but I don’t believe they are in the numbers that guys like Jackson, Sharpton and some members of the media and Congress would have us believe.
           
          I completely understand the photo selection was probably one person.  I’ve been to the WPVI sudios in Philadelphia and was amazed how few folks worked there and how active in the news gathering process the anchors and on-air folks were.  I think we agree that the photos used were the photos most easily obtained.
           
          One last thing, a line from your update paragraph, “the same people who seem to want Martin portrayed negatively have been calling for the media to use an inaccurate photo to make the comparison!”  Now who is the conspiracy theorist? :P  Isn’t it more likely that this is the exact same thing that I’ve been saying has been going on in the MSM?  Group think and “evidence” that fits a narrative?  Yes, it occurs on both sides.  I’d heard that Michelle Malkin had posted an incorrect pic and then removed it with a full apology.  Drudge was accused of posting an incorrect pic but then the accuser (I think a CNN reporter) learned that Drudge’s pic was accurate and he apologized.
           
          Over the coming weeks I would like you to do something.  I’d like you to really observe what is being said by folks on the left and the coverage, or lack thereof, of what they say and do, then compare that coverage to the coverage following the Gabby Giffords shooting in AZ.  I you are honest with yourself you will see the double standard in the MSM andon the Left.  Whereas in Giffords coverage there were accusations of radio talk show hosts “creating an atmosphere” which “incited” Jared Loughner to violence (loughner wasn’t political and never watched news or listened to talk radio), in the Zimmerman case you have Spike Lee tweeting Zimmermans address asking people to retweet.  How inciting is that?  Turns out Lee tweeted the WRONG ADDRESS and now a 70 yr old retired couple has had to flee their home because of the threats on their lives.  The New Black Panthers have put an actual $10,000 bounty on Zimmerman, dead or alive, because he has been convicted under “street law”.  Then there is this tweet that has been up for 4 days, not taken down by twitter, http://twitchy.com/2012/03/29/this-still-exists-killzimmerman-twitter-account/.  The Left would have been shrieking were this the case after Giffords.  And, btw, where has it been reported that Zimmerman was a registered Democrat?
           
          So we have here the contrast between political discourse and actual death threats and, in the Post Giffords coverage it was the political discourse that needed to change.  Where is the outrage about the what is being brought against Zimmerman?
           
          Laslty, and this is more conspiracy, how much of the circus around the Martin-Zimmerman case, the Jackson-Sharpton show, Congressman in the hoodie on the House floor, the race-baiting, black panthers, ad nauseam is just more “not letting a good crisis go to waste”?  Where is the President calling for civility and calm?  The flowery speeches (which were ignored and forgotten less than a week later.)  I fear that if this is allowed to grow, as it is, we’re going to be looking at Rodney King riots on a national scale if Zimmerman is found to have acted in self defense.  By the time this gets to trial Occupy will be back to full strength after their winter break and ready for some “action”.  This is just more gasoline on an already burning fire which cold make for one very hot Summer.
           
          Peace Patrick!  I enjoyed the civil discourse.  You seem to be a good guy.  I’ll check back into your blog sometimes.  And, my apologies for any bad grammar. 🙂
           
          John

        •  @patricksplace BTW, I was just reading your 24 MAR post on Justice for Trayvon and saw this in your timeline, “Zimmerman has a bloody nose and a wound to the back of his head.”  No pics yet, as we discussed, but I didn’t realize that this detail was known as far back as the 24th.
          Cheers!

        •  @JohnH3  @patricksplace Thought you might find this interesting, if you haven’t seen it already.  Seems that the Orland Sentinel, at least, had a picture of Martin in a hoodie much earlier than they had the smiling Hollister t-shirt picture.  Because the hoodie picture was deemed (by whom?) to be “incendiary”, it was replaced with smiling picture.  It seems that the media did alter the content of the news so as to portray a different narrative, opting for a picture of Martin given by his parents rather than that of Martins self-portrayal from his Twitter page. http://www.orlandosentinel.com/videogallery/69125947/News/Behind-the-photos-of-the-Trayvon-Martin-case

        •  @JohnH3 John, now really, did you listen to that video?  Their explanation pretty much confirms everything I GUESSED about in the beginning.
           
          The “hoodie” photo of Trayvon was WIDELY circulated.  The media certainly didn’t hide that picture.  It is the fact that this photo was so well-seen and well-known that led people to post pictures of themselves wearing a hoodie as a protest of the way police handled the case.  So you can’t say that the media didn’t give that photo quite a run.
           
          When you’re talking about a victim of homicide, particularly a child, the media will use a photo the family requests.  That’s not trying to create a “narrative.”  It’s just being human.  If we don’t follow the family’s wishes in such a scenario, then we’re being insensitive.  
           
          Everything ISN’T conspiracy.
           
          As to the “grill” shot of Trayvon, the photo editor does an excellent job explaining the cultural concerns about that.  It’s not a “media narrative” being created, but rather an effort to address concerns that an attempt is made to CREATE a narrative of blacks as the automatic bad guys.  But of course, there are people on either side insisting that no matter what we do, we’re trying to create a “narrative” one way or the other. 
           
          No matter what.
           
          To be honest with you, I really, really wish we could get over this “media narrative” thing.  It’s absurd.  Essentially, as I hope you can easily recognize, there’s NO WAY the media can do anything right in this little scenario.  The real “narrative” in operation here is that there are those who will brand the media as biased no matter what it does.  Because let’s face it: if you look hard enough at ANYTHING to find a flaw, you WILL find one.
           
          And what’s worse, you’ll start seeing them whether they truly exist or not, because you reach a point of being so intent on finding one that you allow yourself to see them based on what you ASSUME someone else’s intent was, without knowing for sure.  And certainly without bothering to ASK first.  (Because anything they say in response, you’re already sure, will be a lie, anyway.)
           
          You invoked religion into the discussion earlier, when you suggested that I should stand for the truth of the matter.  I now return to that notion: PART of the truth, unfortunately, is that people have turned criticizing the media into such a level of sport that no matter what the media do, it’ll be deemed a misstep, and worse, an INTENTIONAL misstep out of some dark, hidden agenda.  
           
          Consider the pattern the arguments take:  If they do this, they’re trying to make you think THAT.  If they respond and change it, it’s ONLY because they got caught and are trying to HIDE what they did wrong.  If they return to the original presentation, now they’re trying to still push the OTHER agenda while trying to suggest that they weren’t wrong after all.  And it goes on and on and on.  But the motive is ALWAYS bad, no matter what they do, right?
           
          Most people don’t want to hear such a thought — and certainly don’t want to take time away from blasting the media to seriously ponder it.  
           
          But I ask you: can you, as a Christian, honestly say that it is fair to treat anyone with such a warped system of scrutiny, with zero benefit of the doubt, and no chance for anything even resembling grace, no matter what they do?
           

        •  @patricksplace Thank you again for the reply.
           
          I think you are overblowing my point.  I’ve said over and over again that there is no “conspiracy”.  I pay a lot of attention to news (too much, if you ask my wife. 😛 ) and I hadn’t seen the b&w photo of Martin in his hoodie until I saw it in the video piece.  I had only ever seen the Hollister T shirt pic.I think it is a significant point to make that the photos were swapped because one was deemed “incendiary”.  Why was it considered incendiary?  By whom was it considered incendiary?  Had there been threats against the station due to the hoodie pic and that’s what they changed  it.  I don’ know which is why I ask.The other night a comparison was done of Zimemrmans 911 phone call.  The comparison was between the audio that ABC aired and the raw audio of the call.  In ABC’s version Zimmerman seems to offer that the person he’s is training “is black”.  When I heard that I, as did many others, thought that there might be a racial component to Zimmermans actions.  In the raw audio, Zimmermans statement “He’s black.” is in response to the 911 Operators question, “What does he look like?”  Holy cow, if that little edit, albeit unintentional, completely alters the listeners perception of Zimmernan and any possible motivation, doesn’t it?
           
          If incidents like this in the MSM happened occasionally, I’d be all over giving the benefit of the doubt, and in many, many cases I do see where something unintentional can happen, I, more often than not and more often than  most, give the benefit of the doubt and grace.  But as I have said before, the frequency in which I see things with my own two eyes and then see/hear them reported on in a manner which in many cases doesn’t even resemble what I observed or doesn’t come close to presenting both sides of a story is, to me, astonishing.  Trust me, I am not a knee jerk anti media person and I think it’s an inaccurate assessment to make after a rather short discussion on just one topic.
           
          The heading of this section of your blog is Double Standards.  I haven’t gone looking yet but I wonder if you have commented on the disparity in coverage given Rush Limbaugh’s recent comment in which he went too far during the course of expounding on the topic of sex, and received national coverage while the vile, intentional, misogynistic statements made by folks from the other side of the ideological spectrum disappear without comment or offense?  Or why George W Bush is a complete idiot while Joe Biden is just “Joe being Joe” or the President is simply “tired” when he mispronounces words like “corpsmen” as “corpse-men” 5 times in a single speech, states that he has campaigned in 57 states or that children with asthma need a “breathalyzer”?  The double standard is there for everyone to see and hear but it is NOT A CONSPIRACY.  It is simply that people are people and have a narrative that one side of the aisle are dopes and the other are always excused because, well, everybody slips up once in a while.  Well, everyone does slip up once in a while – on both sides.  It’s just that one side receives the scrutiny and the other receives the grace, and it’s predictable and consistent.I’m not saying I’m perfect by any stretch if the imagination. I also think that maybe working in the media has given you a forest and trees problem or a blind spot for this sort of thing.  Become and observer, I think what you see will surprise you.

        •  @patricksplace Woops. I wanted to give you a blatant example of bias and false narrative and I’d like your analysis.
           
          Watch this video from MSNBC: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UYKQJ4-N7LI  White racists with guns showing up at Tea Party rallies because Obama is black. Notive how the footage is edited and looped to only show the rifle and pistol.Now, what appears to be the raw footage of the same man with the same rifle at the same rally: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KcJmtZWb3hs
           
          Amazing how that video was “accidentally” edited, removing the portions which showed the face and skin color of the man with the rifle.  Wouldn’t a black man with an AR-15 and a pistol at an anti-health care rally kinda spoil MSNBC’s racism narrative?

        • @JohnH3 Correcting the record.  Two posts ago I incorrectly identified ABC as the network which selectively edited George Zimmermans 911 call to make it appear as though Zimmerman’s actions were based on race.  The elective editing was actually done by NBC (oddly, the same network, for all intents and purposes, that edited the video in the above post to make it look like Tea Partiers were armed racists.  Is this a pattern for NBC?)Excerpted from a RedState.com story on the subject:
          Here is the transcript of the NBC segment:
          Zimmerman says: “This guy looks like he’s up to no good. He looks black.”
          Now if you were to hear only this, there would be little doubt that Zimmerman profiled Martin before following him.The problem with this segment is it is very selectively edited.
           
          Here is the actual transcript of what was said in the real 911 call:
          Zimmerman: “This guy looks like he’s up to no good, or he’s on drugs or something. It’s raining and he’s just walking around, looking about.”
          911 operator: “Okay. And this guy, is he white black or Hispanic?”
          Zimmerman: “He looks black.”
           
          The only other reporting on NBC’s selective editing that I can find is coming from, of all places, RT, Russia Today.  I didn’t see an article even on Fox News website.  It’s widely being circulated in conservative and media watchdog websites but the MSM seems to be ignoring the story.  Mediaite is reporting that NBC is conducting an internal investigation.
           
          Sorry to belabor this point but the darn evidence that some in the MSM alter stories in keeping with a preconceived narrative keep piling up.
           

        •  @JohnH3 I’m going to do a separate post on the footage you recommended with a few points on the way you and others characterize it.
           
          With regard to Rush Limbaugh, I don’t talk a lot about him, because, you see, I don’t listen to him.  Limbaugh isn’t a journalist, nor does he have any ounce of objectivity in anything he says.
           
          I honestly haven’t heard ANYONE defend Biden for some of the things he’s said.
           
          As for making fun of the president, if it was wrong to do it for Bush, I have to wonder why so many are AS willing to do it for Obama.  Two wrongs do not make a right…unless it’s about politics, it seems.

        •  @patricksplace I saw the headline for your separate post and am looking forward to reading it.  Would it be a conspiracy if I thought I was the inspiration for that article? :)I don’t mind making fun of any political figure, oar anyone, including me, for that matter.  I love comedy.  There is a line between good fun and mean spirited attack.  Poking fun at Bush’s “strategery” and such are good fun.  Branding him an “idiot” for common slips of the lip that we all make is another.  It’s all in the delivery.  My other objection is right up your alley – double standards.  Obama says something and he’s tired, Palin says something and she’s an idiot.  It’s not that folks “defend”, they just excuse him.  Gaffes are just part of his colorful character, you know, that kind of nonsense. 
           
          A little on Biden: About Barack Obama, then candidate for President – “I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy,” he said. “I mean, that’s a storybook, man.”  Or, “In Delaware, the largest growth of population is Indian Americans, moving from India. You cannot go to a 7/11 or a Dunkin’ Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent. I’m not joking.”
           
          Seriously, could a Conservative or a Republican get away with either those without being called a racist and facing attacks on the House floor from the CBC and Jackson and Sharpton outside his house?  I think not.
           
          Off to check out your other article!! 

        •  @JohnH3 I will assure you that there’s no intent to poke fun at you — or any other specific person, for that matter — in the new post.  You’ve brought up some good examples that I felt needed their own post.
           
          I understand your concerns about Obama vs. Palin and Biden.  But I respectfully submit to you that this ALWAYS goes on and it ALWAYS depends on your political party.
           
          When Obama makes a gaffe, Democrats excuse him and Republicans call him an idiot.  When Palin makes a gaffe, Republicans excuse her and Democrats call her an idiot.  It’s not like either side truly gets away with anything.

        •  @patricksplace Patrick, no poking, in jest or otherwise was construed.  I think you’re a good guy and I like our discussions. 🙂
           
          My point on the gaffes isn’t that Democrats or Republicans excuse their own guys (or gals as the case may be), it’s that the MSM treats D’s and R’s differently based on the D or the R.  I fully expect it from the politicians.  Sadly, I expect it too from the MSM, but the point is that the double standard should not be there from the MSM coverage.
           
          For example: How many stories were there in the MSM about Rush Limbaugh referring to Sandra Fluke as a “slut” versus how many stories were there about Bill Maher referring to Palin as a “c*nt” or a MILF?  You may have LEXIS/NEXIS (if I spelled that right) available to you at work.  Give it a lookup.  I’ll bet that the MSM coverage of the “outrage” at Limbaugh was at least 2-3x that of the coverage of any outrage at Maher.
           
          Check this video and see if you recall your office processing any stories about any of these: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=5ISKQD7ytSk(Remember, this isn’t about Mahers comments or DWS appearence on Mahers show or Obama’s comments, it’s about the coverage of those comments.
           
          (Aside, just because it’s so egregiously stupid: I stumbled across The Young Turks analysis of the ShePAC spot, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-bGoGP4h-S0 . It’s non-MSM ignorance that I found hilariously, well, ignorant.  Misogyny is OK if you’re a comedian, according to the female anchor. (Limbaugh apparently isn’t a comedian in this instance but he will be again when it’s convenient. 😛 .  Off the subject but it was funny in it’s ignorance of the actual issue.)

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