ABC Still Corrupting Zimmerman case
In a perverse bit of post-trial agitprop, ABC News somehow recruited the one woman of color on George Zimmerman's "all white" jury and twisted her words to reflect the presumed editorial position of ABC News. In this clip from an exclusive Robin Roberts interview which has played just about everywhere including CBS News, Roberts says to the juror, "Some people have said, point blank, 'George Zimmerman got away with murder.' How do you respond to those people who say that?" In the edited video ABC floated about, "Maddy" answers unhesitatingly, "George Zimmerman got away with murder. But you can't get away from God."
This clip led to headlines like "Juror Says Zimmerman 'Got Away With Murder'" in the New York Times. In the article by Lisetta Alvarez -- the reporter who gave the world the phrase "White Hispanic" -- there is not even a mention of the prompt by Roberts. The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and Chicago Tribune ran comparable headlines.
What none of these publications mentioned -- and kudos to Slate's William Saletan for breaking the story -- is that the producers at ABC edited Maddy's response to have her say something she never intended. In the unedited version, after Roberts asks her leading question, Maddy pauses, starts her response over, and clearly plays back Roberts' question as the stated premise to her own answer, "But you can't get away from God." In other words, this is how she would answer that question if asked. She never implied Zimmerman got away with murder, nor agreed with the premise. In fact, she stood by her decision to acquit Zimmerman.
ABC's reporting on this case has descended to a hitherto unexplored level of journalistic malfeasance. "He called police. They suggested he stay in his car," Robert says in her introduction to Maddy's interview. How, one wonders, could ABC get something so fundamental so wrong at this stage of the game? No, the dispatcher, who is not a police officer, never suggested Zimmerman stay in his truck, nor did he even recommend he go back to it. Disinformation of this caliber has fed black paranoia for more than a year and continues unabated.
This corruption, I suppose, should not surprise. From the very beginning, ABC News took the lead in disinforming America about the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. The Martin family public relations guru, the very white Ryan Julison, was bragging about landing interviews with ABC within two weeks of the shooting in February 2012. "Coordinated interviews with Good Morning America and the family of Trayvon Martin," Julison boasted on his Facebook page on March 10 of that year. "This has certainly struck a nerve around the country."
On March 13, ABC's Matt Gutman violated just about every known rule of journalism, tweeting that George Zimmerman "shot 17yr old teen bc he was black, wore hoodie walking slowly." From day one, Gutman worked under the elitist assumption that the Sanford police were either corrupt, incompetent or both and discounted whatever information led them to refrain from arresting Zimmerman, "likely not 2 be arrested."
Late on March 16 Gutman posted a piece on the ABC News website that helped set the tone of the coverage to come. He based its inflammatory headline, "Trayvon Martin Neighborhood Watch Shooting: 9-1-1 Tapes Send Mom Crying From Room," fully on the word of Julison and admitted as much. In the accompanying video piece for Good Morning America Gutman may have set a new national record for most mistakes of consequence in a two-minute news byte:
GUTMAN: It was February 25TH.
TRUTH: It was February 26th.
GUTMAN: Trayvon was staying at his stepmother's.
TRUTH: Martin was a staying with Brandy Green, a girlfriend of his father's. His mother as well as his stepmother, Alicia Stanley, lived in greater Miami.
GUTMAN: He left for the store at half-time of the NBA All-Star Game.
TRUTH: He left hours earlier. He was dead before the game started.
GUTMAN: The "gunshots" are triggering outrage
TRUTH: There was only one gunshot.
GUTMAN: Trayvon was "100 pounds lighter."
TRUTH: He was less than fifty pounds lighter.
GUTMAN: "You can hear him stalk Martin."
TRUTH: He did not stalk Martin. When the dispatcher said to Zimmerman, who was following Martin, "We don't need you to do that," Zimmerman said "okay" and stopped. ABC edited out Zimmerman's "okay" and followed immediately with Gutman saying, "But then came the gunshots."
GUTMAN: Zimmerman had a record -- "battery on a police officer and resisting arrest."
TRUTH: The charges had been dropped. Gutman did not mention that fact.
GUTMAN: Police have been accused of "correcting one eyewitness, while ignoring another."
TRUTH: Yes, but the Sanford PD did so for good reason. Several eyewitnesses had seen very little. Others had seen a lot. On one 9-1-1 call from Witness #11 desperate cries of "help" are clearly audible for roughly forty seconds until they promptly stop with a gunshot. The investigators knew it was Zimmerman who was crying out. An hour after the shooting, that eyewitness, Jonathan Good, told the Sanford PD that he saw a "black man in a black hoodie on top of either a white guy . . . or an Hispanic guy in a red sweater on the ground yelling out help." According to Good, the black man on top was "throwing down blows on the guy MMA [mixed martial arts] style."
Gutman may not have heard the audio of these interviews, but "Jon" had spoken on camera to a local ABC affiliate the day after the shooting. "The guy on bottom who I believe had a red sweater on was yelling to me, 'help, help,'" Good said. "I told them to stop and I was calling 9-1-1." In the days when real journalists still walked the planet, the case would have been closed right there.
On March 28, one week after CNN's Anderson Cooper falsely accused Zimmerman of saying "f---ing coons" on his call to the dispatcher, and one day after NBC's The Today Show crudely edited that same call to make Zimmerman sound like he was racially profiling Martin (and got sued for it), ABC News tried to regain its rightful place in the false accusation race. Leading the charge was ace fact-twister Gutman. His online lede was a powerful one: "A police video taken the night that Trayvon Martin was shot dead shows no blood or bruises on George Zimmerman."
As Gutman related, the initial police report claimed that Zimmerman was bleeding from the back of the head and the nose, but in the video, obtained exclusively by ABC, "No abrasions or blood can be seen." Although Gutman did not say so, he surely implied that Zimmerman and the police conspired to exaggerate his injuries.
The folks at the indispensable Conservative Treehouse wasted no time in busting this scam. The police surveillance video, which, Gutman boasted, "was obtained exclusively by ABC News" seemed to move as it shadowed the police and Zimmerman. CCTV surveillance video cameras do not move. They are fixed and stationary. Bottom line: this was not the original video or a digital copy of the original. It was video of a video, quite possibly taken by a Team Trayvon ally using an iPhone or something like it and given to Gutman.
In releasing this copy, Gutman failed to mention the obvious reason for the apparent lack of "blood or bruises" -- namely the loss of resolution from the original to the duplicate, not to mention the fact Zimmerman's wounds had been tended to at the scene.
I could go on with another year's worth of deception by Gutman and ABC, but by April 2012 the network had done more than its share in getting Zimmerman arrested. Now, its all-stars -- Gutman and Roberts chief among them -- are doing their best to deny him vindication. In the process, of course, they stir the embers of racial unrest, but when you've got a personal limo driver to take you to and fro, that's apparently not much of a worry.
Jack Cashill's new book "If I Had A Son" is now available for pre-order.