George Zimmerman's trial begins today

Hopefully, the facts will finally have the chance to speak for themselves. Photo: George Zimmerman (AP)

FLORIDA, June 10, 2013 — Today is the day that untold millions of people have been waiting for.

SEE RELATED: Robert Zimmerman on media bias and the Trayvon Martin shooting

Today is the day that an oft-overlooked port city with an unfortunate reputation, despite being surrounded by some of Florida’s most affluent suburbs, will re-enter the world’s spotlight. 

Today is the day that the trial of George Zimmerman begins.

Who could have imagined that the Trayvon Martin incident would generate the sort of media attention which it has? Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch captain, fatally shot the seventeen-year-old on a cold late February evening last year. Evidence suggests Zimmerman suffered some sort of beating; Zimmerman claims that he shot Martin in self-defense.

This seems like the prototypical local story. Unfortunately, it turned out to be anything but.

SEE RELATED: Asking Robert Zimmerman: Who is George Zimmerman?

It seems that certain members of the national media made up their minds about the Martin shooting soon after it took place.

“I remember the day after I first spoke out in March of 2012 I was accused of fabricating [and] obfuscation the next day,” Robert Zimmerman, George’s brother and strong public supporter, mentioned to the Communities Digital News last week. “An MSNBC contributor accused Piers Morgan of abdicating journalistic integrity by not “pressing” me enough. Piers got the contributor to admit that he believed a murder had taken place, while Piers took the position that he’d wait for more facts to come forth.

“It was apparent to me that certain journalists [and] by extension the media generally pretends to reflect public opinion rather than doing their best to inform the public of facts. Their financial interest is in shaping opinion. The media deliberately makes up their mind about how they will portray any event-In short, they portray events based on profitability first, and accuracy second.”

In many respects, one can say that the shooting itself was never really an issue at the national level. Rather, a jumble of agenda-driven reporters and social activists decided they had found a new cause through which their grievances could be peddled. The racial contrast between Martin and Zimmerman was apparently too great an angle for some chatter boxes to ignore. 

SEE RELATED: Zimmerman-Martin trial: Audio experts testify in pre-trial hearings

Only a few months after Martin was killed, his name had become more of a pop-culture icon than anything else.  

“The polite word for “agenda” is “bias”,” Robert explained. “In the midst of an investigation it is normal for few facts to be known because it is essential that the integrity of the investigation is maintained. There are many who profit from perpetuating the idea of racism and are clearly willing to sidestep facts and insert racial narratives because it is in their organization’s interest not to become obsolete.”

What a pity. 

By the time more facts were uncovered about Martin, the narrative had long been established. It mattered little to many that this fellow was hardly an angelic figure, but someone who was suspended from school for truancy, discussed obtaining firearms in a detailed fashion, and admitted to handling marijuana.  

There’s much more, of course, but what’s the point of dredging every last detail up? After all, Martin isn’t the one on trial. 

Independent minds ought to consider something else Robert elaborated on, however: “I think political correctness combined with deceptive portrayals of Trayvon Martin facilitated sidestepping an uncomfortable question: Could Martin actually be capable of doing what he did to Zimmerman? If one were inclined to believe he was, they would be subjected to accusations of insensitivity or racism. The equation would [later] evolve to suggesting that if one believed George had defended his life, the reason is because the person had no compassion for loss of life.”

A tangled web indeed. There is no legitimate reason for it to be.  

The bottom line is this: the Martin shooting has been subject to reckless analyses by individuals who are using the matter for their own gain. Period. If this continues into the future, long after both Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman have faded from the headlines, then the integrity of the American media will be in a dire situation.

I have confidence that Zimmerman’s trial will bring the facts about his shooting Martin to light. What the outcome will be remains in question. The important thing is that the objective truth is discovered, and justice is served.

Who can honestly ask for more?    

Far-left? Far-right? Get realRead more from “The Conscience of a Realist” by Joseph F. Cotto 


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Joseph Cotto

Joseph F. Cotto is a social journalist by trade and student of history by lifestyle choice. He hails from central Florida, writing about political, economic, and social issues of the day. In the past, he was a contributor to Blogcritics Magazine, among other publications. He is currently at work on a book about American society.

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