Each school year I present a media unit, an ever-shortening unit on how the media misinforms the public and the techniques it uses in the pursuit of its favored narratives. It is an ever-shortening unit because each year, due to the demands of mandatory, high-stakes testing, I have less time to actually teach content, but that’s a matter for another article.
One of the most powerful–and horrifyingly funny–parts of that unit is a faux interview I filmed with an assistant principal. The interview is, at first, an innocuous segment about school-related issues. But after just a bit of editing, the real interview plays, the interview in which the principal advocates torturing students for minor disciplinary infractions, and admits to stepping on baby ducks and strangling Winnie The Pooh, and all in his own words and evil laughter. Students quickly get the point: the power to edit is the power to destroy.
And so we have “Maddy,” AKA Juror B29 in the George Zimmerman case, now speaking to ABC News, and apparently, the potentially willing victim of egregious editing. In the screen capture above, ABC’s Robin Roberts is at the left, “Maddy” is in the center and her attorney, David Chico, is at the right. Rachel Quigley at the Daily Mail reports:
The only minority on the all-female jury in the George Zimmerman murder trial said she believes he got away with murder but they could not prove it under the law.
Juror B29 is the only member to have come out publicly after sitting down for an interview with GMA’s Robin Roberts, though she did not reveal her name and was referred to only as ‘Maddy’.
The mother-of-eight revealed she ‘fought to the end’ with the rest of the women as she initially believed he was guilty of second-degree murder and certainly manslaughter.
But even though they all ‘felt in their hearts he was guilty’, the evidence – lack thereof – means they could not convict.
Yet even the heavily edited version of her interview is laughably contradictory:
You can’t put the man in jail even though in our hearts we felt he was guilty. But we had to grab our hearts and put it aside and look at the evidence.
‘That’s where I felt confused, where if a person kills someone, then you get charged for it,’ Maddy said. ‘But as the law was read to me, if you have no proof that he killed him intentionally, you can’t say he’s guilty.’
When asked by Roberts whether the case should have gone to trial, Maddy said, ‘I don’t think so.’
‘I felt like this was a publicity stunt. This whole court service thing to me was publicity,’ she said.
As to the editing, John Sexton at Brietbart.com notes:
The media’s misleading edits of statements connected to the Zimmerman trial continues. Now it seems to have extended to one of the jurors in the case.
Yesterday Breitbart News noted the ABC interview with Juror B29. The big news was that Maddy–her last name was never used to protect her privacy–had told Robin Roberts ‘George Zimmerman got away with murder.’ And indeed if you watch the Nightline edit of the interview she does seem to say that without hesitation or reservation.
However, William Saletan at Slate points out that the unedited interview seems to show something different. Maddy actually hesitates twice when answering Roberts’ question which contains the statement ‘George Zimmerman got away with murder.’ As Saletan points out ‘she looks as though she’s trying to reconcile the sentiment that’s been quoted to her—that Zimmerman ‘got away with murder’—with her own perspective. So she repeats the quote and adds words of her own, to convey what she thinks: that there’s a justice higher than the law, which Zimmerman will have to face.
As is always the case when the media edits an interview to better conform to The Narrative, accuracy suffers:
At the very least, her answer comes across very differently in the edited vs. unedited versions of the interview. Elsewhere in the interview, Maddy says Zimmerman is responsible for ‘killing’ of Martin; however, she also says she does not regret her decision as a matter of law. In another part of the interview she says ‘I know I went the right way, because by the law and the way it was followed is the way I went.’ In fact, as we reported yesterday, she believes that, as a matter of law, the case should even have gone to trial.
So. We learn that the jury deliberated, not everyone thought the same way, emotion was involved, and after correctly applying the law to the evidence, the jury reached a just and consistent verdict. Oh yes, the case should have never been brought to trial in the first place, but speaking entirely emotionally, Zimmerman got away with murder.
Some have tried to make much of the fact that in 2005, Chico was a prosecutor that handled the prosecution of George Zimmerman for placing his hand on the shoulder of a plainclothes alcohol enforcement agent that drug Zimmerman’s friend out of a bar. Regular readers will recall that case was eventually dealt with via a pre-trial diversion program; Zimmerman’s record is clean. This, like B29’s comments, would normally be unremarkable, but since this is the infamous backwards case, everything is remarkable.
It is common for young attorneys to work for the government, usually as prosecutors, early in their careers. It’s a steady paycheck and the best way to quickly get a great deal of trial experience while also making valuable contacts in the local legal fraternity. Eventually, many attorneys go into private practice, and if they remain in the same area, they will inevitably become involved with a wide variety of people and cases that have some connection to events and people from their prosecutorial past. I’ll keep an eye on this issue, but for the moment, it seems to be nothing more than this sort of coincidence.
As to Maddy’s comments, they are truly much ado about nothing. Post-trial, jurors are often ambivalent about their verdicts. Many jurors are confident in their verdict and have no need to discuss it further. They’re content to go about their lives. But there are always some that are conflicted and want to talk about their experience. Combine this very human tendency with a media–and a federal government–intent on playing this case for far more than it is worth, and comments like Maddy’s are to be expected, particularly when the kind of creative editing the media has repeatedly employed in this case is involved.
Ultimately, Maddy’s comments reveal the genius of our jury system. In this case, it worked precisely as it should. Despite their very real emotional responses to the issues, the six female jurors carefully analyzed the evidence and applied the law as it should have been applied. This led to the inevitable acquittal of Zimmerman and to Maddy’s understanding that the case, as a matter of law, should never have been brought to trial.
Race remains, however. Many media outlets maintain the fiction that the jury was “all-white,” despite the presence of the Puerto Rican Maddy, and it is not a stretch to think that Maddy may be feeling some pressures to conform to certain racially-motivated aspects of the narrative–or to at least agree to some degree with those that live or die by The Narrative.
Zimmermann Receives Death Threats: I know what you’re thinking: this is news? Notice the spelling of the last name; it’s not the George Zimmerman who was acquitted. Fox News has the story:
George Zimmermann’s life just hasn’t been the same since that fateful February night in Florida last year.
George A. Zimmermann, a 78-year-old retired pastor now living in DeLand, Fla., has reportedly been receiving death threats since George Zimmerman, 29, fatally shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford on Feb. 26, 2012, WFTV.com reports. Most recently, on Saturday, one caller told him to dig a six-foot hole.
‘Hey [expletive], you’re the one who killed Trayvon Martin, when your [expletive] get[s] out, you’re dead,’ Zimmermann recalled. ‘Wherever you go, you’re dead. Whereever you’re trying to hide, you’re dead … You think you’re free. You’re not.
Zimmermann notes that he tells the callers, several of whom called the night of the verdict at 0100 and 0300, they have the wrong Zimmermann. It will not surprise readers to learn that they do not apologize.
And the death threats aren’t limited to the various George Zimmermans. From ABC News:
Zimmerman’s parents told ABC News’ Barbara Walters they too have received death threats and have been unable to return to their home.
‘We have had an enormous amount of death threats. George’s legal counsel has had death threats, the police chief of Sanford, many people have had death threats,” Zimmerman’s father, Robert Zimmerman said.’Everyone with Georgie’s DNA should be killed’ — just every kind of horrible thing you can imagine.’
An indication of the animosity toward Zimmerman is the number of threatening phone calls being received by a woman in Winter Park, Fla.
Lori Tankel told ABCNews.com that someone had incorrectly posted her cell phone number online thinking it was Zimmerman’s. She said she started receiving threatening calls within an hour after the jury had reached a verdict on July 13.
‘They were saying things like, ‘Zimmerman? Is this George? We’re going to get you, we’re going to kill you,’ she said.
Her cell phone number is only one digit off from Zimmerman’s, she said.
Tankel said she received at least 80 phone calls within one day of the jury’s not guilty verdict. While the threats died down during the week, she said they ramped right back up again on Friday and continued through the weekend.
‘Those phone calls were extremely malicious,’ she said. ‘I think at that point, they kind of knew it wasn’t George Zimmerman’s number, but they were still going to harass me.
Ah yes, those that refuse to accept the verdict occupy the moral high ground. Their cause is just and their motives, pure. But what about that evil George Zimmerman?
Zimmerman Saves Lives: Yes, it’s that George Zimmerman. On July 22, ABC News reported:
George Zimmerman, who has been in hiding since he was acquitted of murder in the death of Trayvon Martin, emerged to help rescue a family who was trapped in an overturned vehicle, police said today.
Zimmerman was one of two men who came to the aid of Dana and Mark Gerstle and their two children, who were trapped inside a blue Ford Explorer SUV that had rolled over after traveling off the highway in Sanford, Fla. at approximately 5:45 p.m. Thursday, the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.
The crash occurred at the intersection of I-4 and route Route 46, police said. The crash site is less than a mile from where Zimmerman shot Martin.
By the time police arrived, two people – including Zimmerman – had already helped the family get out of the overturned car, the sheriff’s office said. No one was reported to be injured.
Zimmerman was not a witness to the crash and left after speaking with the deputy, police said.
Who was that masked man? And as you’d expect, Narrative supporters believe every word the media says when it comports with their warped social justice beliefs, but when it doesn’t, obviously they’re part of a massive conspiracy. From the Examiner:
On Monday, ABC News reported that George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch volunteer acquitted in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, recently helped rescue a family trapped in an overturned vehicle. Predictably, some Martin supporters claimed the accident was staged to improve his image in the media.
‘i’m sorry but that George Zimmerman car accident was staged (sic),’ one person tweeted.
‘I think so too. Next he will save a kitten from burning house (sic),’ one person tweeted in response.
‘Is it just me or does it seemed a lil bit staged that Zimmerman rescued someone from a car accident? Timing seems to be funny (sic),’ added ‘Champ Sinatra.’
‘Zimmerman didn’t witness the accident, but he responded before the police, or paramedics?!? STAGED!! It’s a d**n shame what they are doing,’ one person said without specifying who ‘they’ are.
A search of Twitter revealed hundreds of tweets suggested Zimmerman staged the accident.
Robert Zimmerman Jr.–George’s brother–tweeted:
Since the initial reports, it has become an article of faith that the accident was staged. This is, actually, unremarkable. It is hardly uncommon to come across the immediate aftermath of a traffic accident, and anyone could have had the opportunity to help afforded George Zimmerman. Suggesting that the Sanford Police would be involved in such a conspiracy reveals a lack of knowledge about how police agencies work, to say nothing about how police officers think. In addition, the ABC story was written by Matt Gutman, a reporter in large part responsible for misleading and false stories about Zimmerman. He would participate in a conspiracy to praise Zimmerman?
And what about the people Zimmerman helped to rescue? The Daily Mail reports:
The family rescued by George Zimmerman after a rollover crash in Florida are terrified they will become targets for hate mobs who have made death threats to the neighborhood vigilante.
Mark and Dana Michelle Gerstle told friends they do not want to talk publicly about Zimmerman for fear they will be accused of portraying him as a hero – and face a backlash from those who consider he got away with murder.
‘They are very grateful to Zimmerman for what he did, but they do not want to get involved,’ said a friend, who asked not to be named.
‘There is so much hatred directed towards him they have got to think about their own family. There are a lot of crazies out there. If they say anything in support of him it could backfire…’
Zimmerman pulled the Gerstles’ and their two young children from their SUV after it rolled over in Sanford, Florida near the busy I-4 motorway.
He had been driving past with another man and went to the aid of the couple who were trapped in their upturned vehicle….
Mark Gerstle, a 52 year old pharmacist, instantly recognized Zimmerman when he pulled him from the driver’s seat of his overturned vehicle.
He told firefighters: ‘George Zimmerman pulled me out.’
Zimmerman made sure Gerstle, his 41 year old wife Dana Michelle and children aged eight and four were safe before leaving the scene.
The Gerstles had scheduled a press conference at the law office of Mark O’Mara but cancelled it.
Don’t They Have Enough To Do? As regular readers know, I’ve recently written a bit about Detroit’s troubles. Yet with all of their woes, they have the time to focus on–George Zimmerman? Michael Barone writes:
So the City Council, now incompetent to deal with Detroit’s problems, has decided to weigh in on criminal justice in Florida. It unanimously passed a resolution calling for a federal investigation on whether George Zimmerman should be prosecuted for violating Trayvon Martin’s civil rights. My understanding is that the U.S. Justice Department is already looking at the case, but perhaps the Detroit City Council provides additional moral authority here.
Well of course. I mean, what else should the Detroit City Council be doing? After all, perhaps it will keep the DOJ so busy it won’t be able to investigate them for corruption and malfeasance like so many Detroit politicians before them. There’s that moral high ground again.
Don’t They Have Enough To Do Too? Congress has, once again, done what Congress does so well: create a new “caucus.” This time, it’s the Congressional Caucus on Black Men and Boys, and its first meeting featured Trayvon Martin’s father, Tracy “Fruit” Martin. PJ Media reports:
To have his name, slandered and demonized, I think, as a father, it’s really important that my message to the world is that we won’t let this verdict sum up who Trayvon was,’ Tracy Martin said. ‘I’m going to do everything in my power not to give up the fight for him. Not only to fight for Trayvon, but for many other black and brown boys in this country…
Just to have the life of your son taken away from you, when you’ve molded him to become an outstanding citizen of this country – it’s heart-wrenching. That’s something that you can never get over,’ Martin said.
“…You’ve molded him to become an outstanding citizen of this country?” The epitome of chutzpah is a killer accused of murdering his parents asking the judge for mercy because he’s an orphan. Martin’s statements surely qualify, and The Conservative Treehouse provides proof:
That’s Martin flashing gang sign second from the right.
The father of Trayvon Martin, who has left every mother of his numerous children.
•The father who was texting his son about buying handguns, and dope.
•The father who lied on the stand in the trial of George Zimmerman before the world, and before the faces of the four investigative officers who knew the truth.
•The father who left his “at risk teen son” alone for the weekend so he could attend a convention.
•The father who refused to give police the passcodes/swipe codes to Trayvon’s phone and instead told the police on 2/28/12 to call his attorney.
•The father who lied about how his son got to Sanford.
•The father who falsified a sworn statement to FDLE investigators.
•The father who said he saw he last saw Trayvon at 8:00pm when in actuality Trayvon was shot at 7:17.
This is the ‘representative role model’?
Not exactly a poster father for adult male role models, is he? But hey, whose family photo albums aren’t full of photos of dear old dad flashing gang sign? Tracy Martin‘s street nickname is “fruit,” and it was that Fruit that was writing about obtaining firearms for Trayvon in Trayvon’s social media communications. Regular readers know of Trayvon’s unsuitability to serve as a role model for young adult males of any race. Those that report the truth about both Martins are engaging only in definition of character, and such reporting consists almost exclusively of exposing their own words and actions. By all means take the link to TCTH to see a variety of other photos of Tracy Martin in his natural environment.
Justice: There is indeed justice in the world, but certainly not at the Holder DOJ. As I’ve elsewhere reported, the DOJ has put a hold on all evidence in the Zimmerman case, which includes Zimmerman’s handgun. One might imagine that Zimmerman needs a bit of self-protection these days. Fortunately, there are decent and honorable men and women out there. The CBS affiliate in Cleveland reports:
The Buckeye Firearms Foundation created the “Zimmerman Second Amendment Fund” to raise money to buy him a new gun after the Justice Department placed a hold on all evidence related to the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin…
‘George Zimmerman has every right to get his property back, and if Eric Holder chooses to deny Mr. Zimmerman that right, Buckeye Firearms Foundation will remedy the matter by purchasing a NEW FIREARM for him, including a holster, flashlight, and any other gear he wants.’
The foundation calls Holder’s actions an ‘abuse of power.’
‘This is about more than mere principle. Zimmerman and his family now face daily threats on their lives. More than ever, he has a right to defend himself against those who would seek to do him harm. The threats of federal charges on civil rights grounds is little more than blatant pandering for political gain.
Even best-selling author Brad Thor is involved:
Thor addressed the issue earlier in the day on Chicago’s ‘Windy City Live.’
‘At what point do we let an American citizen get done with the justice process?’ he asked. ‘I mean this is a big deal, this could happen to anybody. If the government can keep hounding you, this guy’s life is ruined at this point. I know we have a dead child here but he was found not guilty by a jury of his peers. Trayvon Martin wasn’t on trial, George Zimmerman was, and he’s not guilty…at what point does he get to recommence his life?’
A panelist on the program asked whether ‘it’s really a good idea to give George Zimmerman a gun back?’
‘He’s not guilty!’ Thor responded. ‘And as a matter of fact don’t you think he needs a gun now more than ever with all the death threats against him?
I certainly do Mr. Thor. I certainly do. Those not familiar with Thor’s work would do well to start with The Athena Project, one of my favorites.
I hope to one day write my final article on this case and its related developments. There is more than enough going on in the world without hearing about George Zimmerman, and I suspect that he and his family would be more than happy to be able to once again fade into the fabric of day to day life, to whatever degree that is possible. For the moment, as long as the DOJ is kicking this particular political football about the field, and as long as civil suits are in the offing, I’ll continue to follow the bouncing ball.
But before concluding this article, we might pause for a moment to consider the nature of moral authority, and to contemplate how or whether it might attach to those that wish to cite Tracy Martin as a model of fatherhood or Trayvon Martin as a model of teenage excellence and citizenship or as a civil rights icon. Perhaps we might see that kind of thinking in the Detroit City Council, even as the fruits of their ideology lay in ruins all around them.
As I was posting this article, I got a call from one of my past students who graduated from high school with sufficient college credit to be a second semester junior in college. She’ll graduate–no doubt with honors–in December and asked me to edit her application essay for medical school. She’s Hispanic. English was her second language, yet she speaks without an accent and writes it perfectly. No excuses for her, just accomplishment. Anyone can and should look up to her, yet too many want to lionize Trayvon Martin or people like him in lack of industry and accomplishment.
That’s what happens when leftist ideology replaces self-sufficiency, individual responsibility and the personal and civic traditions that built America and that do any man or woman honor. That’s what happens when the weak of mind and character hold and abuse the power of prosecution. That’s what happens when thugs are glorified and the honest, altruistic and hard-working scorned.
There are indeed lessons to be learned from this case; they’re just not at all what the media, the Congress and far too many others want us to believe.
And so I continue to write…