Within ten days of Trayvon Martin’s death on February 26, 2012, the national media discovered the story on CBS's This Morning. Immediately, news outlets began spinning the tragedy as a “white” on black crime fueled by racial animus and met without legal prosecution.
Enter the George Zimmerman trial. A trial which, by the standards of legal precedent, follows a relatively unremarkable tragedy. A combination of actions of two parties led to fight which turned fatal for one of the individuals. Zimmerman, the defendant, claimed self defense. The prosecution and defense both had the same evidence and presented it to a jury, within the rules of evidence. The jury unanimously agreed to acquit Zimmerman due to the inability of the prosecution to demonstrate anything besides self-defense. There is no police video, there is no ‘black glove,’ and there are no semen samples.
But where the signature evidence lacked, the collective media saw an opportunity in the tragedy — just like Eric Holder did a few days ago — for a hit story with plenty of controversy-rich undertones.
True to form, the media began its barrage of misinformation about what happened, stoking its own sensationalist flames. The misinformation included MSNBC claiming that Zimmerman was not injured by the conflict, the New York Times splicing audio from the police call making it sound like Zimmerman emphasized that Martin was black, CNN claiming that Zimmerman called Martin “a f**king coon”, and, even after figuring out that Zimmerman was in fact Peruvian, multiple outlets referring to Zimmerman as a “white Hispanic”.