As you are well aware by now, cable news is engaged in their full metal jacket (wall-to-wall) coverage of the George Zimmerman trial. Almost every show on CNN, MSNBC and FOX has been focused on the trial; only cutting away to another story when there's some kind of flash political uprising, Snowden bashing or plane crash. I know many pundits are taking this apart, but I doubt most political viewers are shocked by this behavior because we've all witnessed the OJ-ifying of the Beltway media since 1994. But, it's still very unsettling to see Zimmerman's mug on the TV from 6am to 10pm every night.
I've been a media critic ever since 2004 and I've watched more TV coverage than you could ever imagine or ever want to so when I say the coverage is bad, it's bad. How bad has it been, you ask? My friend Jay Rosen has given up entirely on critiquing CNN and writes a post: Criticizing CNN: Goodbye to that. He says sayonara to Jeff Zucker.
FOX News has taken up Zimmerman's cause as if they are on trial and are acting like his very own TV network law practice. Chris Hayes in the above segment outlines how Bill O'Reilly and others are promoting the idea that African Americans will most definitely be rioting in the streets when George Zimmerman is found innocent. They've picked up and thrown away the dog whistle and replaced it with a network bullhorn. It's really sickening, and it's also very dangerous. What is FOX and O'Reilly trying to accomplish by race baiting the trial? Why are conservatives stirring up racial animus in America?
1) Conservatives really, really can't stand being labeled racists. They cringe when pundits discuss the Southern Strategy. They shiver at the mention of one Lee Atwater, who used racial politics to perfection. They have been determined for decades to undermine the term(racist) entirely. The late Andrew Breitbart would just shout the word racist, racist, racist, over and over again to try and dull your senses towards the true meaning of the word. He was crazy enough to actually attack Rep. John Lewis, over racist behavior by the Tea party. (I debated him on this subject once and he was just ugly about it.)
As for Bill O'Reilly, he's always had it in for minorities. Remember back in 2007 when Bill dared to check out the Harlem dining experience? Bill O'Reilly Surprised At Civility Of Black Restaurant Patrons. He was shocked that anyone objected to his depiction of the experience.
Summary: Discussing his recent dinner with Rev. Al Sharpton at the Harlem restaurant Sylvia's, Bill O'Reilly reported that he "couldn't get over the fact that there was no difference between Sylvia's restaurant and any other restaurant in New York City. I mean, it was exactly the same, even though it's run by blacks, primarily black patronship." O'Reilly added: "There wasn't one person in Sylvia's who was screaming, 'M-Fer, I want more iced tea.'" Read more.
He also cried during Romney's defeat that 'The White Establishment is Now the Minority'.
Now with the George Zimmerman trial, Bill has a reason to constantly push through his racial biases on a daily basis.
(Check out Eric Wemple's coverage of Bill for the blow by blow account.)
And with the help of a bizarre poll done by Rasmussen that says Blacks are more racist than whites, Bill O'Reilly's Talking Points Memo on July 9th epitomized his feelings of the trial so far. Baby, he's going gaga over those murderous black racists.
A new Rasmussen poll illuminates that. When asked which racial group was most racist -- 37 percent of Americans say blacks; 15 percent say whites; 18 percent Hispanics.
Even among African-Americans themselves blacks come out as the top racist group -- 31 percent of black Americans say their own race heads the list; while 24 percent consider whites the most racist group. Now the media wants no part of any of that and I guarantee you the poll will not be widely discussed. The only thing the American press will embrace is the specter of oppression. That is, if a white American kills a black American or any other minority, then the story gets covered. That's wrong and causes racial division. We're supposed to be equal in this country. Of course, that's impossible but it is a noble goal.
There's no question the Zimmerman trial is now a racial deal rather than a justice deal. And if George Zimmerman is acquitted, by a jury of five white women and a Hispanic lady, there will be racial animus. Wait and see.
Chris Hayes takes this narrative apart in the above video:
African- Americans come out as a top racist group. 31% of African- Americans say their own race heads the list. The only thing the American press will embrace is the specter of oppression. The question in the Zimmerman trial is now a racial deal rather than a justice deal. And if George Zimmerman is acquitted by a jury of five white women and a Hispanic lady, it will be animus. Breitbart.com blared the headline, Broward County Sheriff's office prepares Zimmerman verdict riot plan.
Joining me now is director of African- American studies at the University of Connecticut. Thank you for being here. Here's what frustrates me, what conservatives are doing to black people at large is precisely what George Zimmerman did to Trayvon Martin. They are suspected of being disposed to to violence in some way more than other races. They are judged guilty before they do anything.
Conservatives do this all the time and since there are no repercussions for this behavior, they have no problem repeating this pattern.
Breitbart wannabe Ben Shapiro writes this story about a new anti-rioting video made by Broward County Sheriff's Office Prepares Zimmerman Verdict Riot Plan. If you check out the new video by Sheriff Scott Israel, you'll notice that they highlight black and Hispanic kids in the video and exclude Caucasians.
2) Conservative ideology has been at the forefront of an inordinate amount of violence that has taken place in our country ever since Barack Obama was elected to the oval office in 2009. (Neiwert and I covered much of this in our book, Over The Cliff) C&L continues covering right wing extremism to this day and let's face it, it hasn't slowed down since then.
Conservatives have been clamoring for an increase in what they would consider left-leaning extremist violence so that they can use the usual Beltway claim that both since sides do it, there is nothing here to see. And it would taste so much better to them if African American racial violence could be sprinkled into the recipe.
3) After the Sandy Hook massacre, the gun control debate took center stage in the political world. The NRA and conservatives in both political parties banded together to form a coalition that was against against any new regulations aimed to try and curb gun violence.
States like Arizona passed gun laws which allow people to carry a concealed weapon without a license. Florida passed a law (Stand your ground) in 2005 which allows you to not only use deadly force to protect yourself in your home, but even if you're in a park, a mall or outside a Wendy's.
That's because of Florida Statute 776.013(3), which took effect five years ago this month. The old law gave you the right to protect yourself with deadly force inside your home. The 2005 law gives you the right to protect yourself in a park, outside a Chili's, on a highway — just about anywhere.
You need only to "reasonably believe" that pulling the trigger or plunging the knife or swinging the bat is necessary to stop the other person from hurting you.
Reports of justifiable homicides tripled after the law went into effect, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Last year, twice a week, on average, someone's killing was considered warranted. The self-defense law — known as "stand your ground" — has been invoked in at least 93 cases with 65 deaths, a St. Petersburg Times review found.
The fact that Zimmerman killed an unarmed 17-year-old African American kid who did nothing wrong other than buy some Skittles and a drink at the local store covers almost the entire spectrum of conservative backlash politics. For conservatives like Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly, it's like letting children loose in a candy store. They're running around on a racial/gun induced sugar high and if African Americans do anything at all on the FOX News outrage meter in Florida if George Zimmerman is acquitted, then they will proclaim to the world that they have been justified in making these claims.
God, these people make me sick.
I don't expect Zimmerman to be found guilty if I believe the talking heads on teevee, but I wonder how conservatives will react if Zimmerman is actually found guilty and it's Caucasians that make a ruckus over it?
(h/t Heather for the video.)