In the race for ratings, it’s all about “race”

July 17, 2013

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Two trials, almost two decades apart, both ending in the same two words: “Not Guilty”.

Both had the nation holding its collective breath while the jury deliberated. Both had millions across that same nation give a collective “gasp” as they came to grips with the fact that the man they all felt would be spending decades behind bars would, in the next few hours, be walking free instead.

One verdict was delivered 18 years ago this coming November, the other just four days passed.

One was accepted as “the rule of law” and our nation’s judicial system at work, the other a “travesty of justice” for not returning the verdict pre-trial invested parties wanted. One resulted in “time to move one”, the other instills calls for “justice no matter what.”

One involved a “black” man, killing two “white” adults, the more recent a “white-Hispanic” killing a “black” teenager. One involved the sports superstar turned actor Orenthal James Simpson, the other a here to for never heard of wannabe cop, George Michael Zimmerman.

Both involved the “race” of the accused and the “race” of the victims, but only one involved a media obsessed with it.

Be it the venerable New York Times, the Associated Press, CNN or the new kids on the block HLN and MSNBC, each to a one has pushed the narrative of Zimmerman the “white” aggressor against Martin, the “black” innocent.

For reasons still not clear, when it was revealed to the Times that George Zimmerman had Hispanic heritage and ethnicity, he magically became a “white” Hispanic. So desperate was the media to keep the race narrative front and center an entirely new “race” was invented to keep it there. That such a misnomer has been so easily accepted as common nomenclature (AP and CNN both are also now using the term) speaks volumes to an agenda driven media. (If George Zimmerman is a “white” Hispanic then why is Barack Obama not the nation’s first “white” African-American President?)

There is no denying that race is still a major issue in American society today yet how much of that “issue” is being exploited for profit by the very same media that claims to lament it?

Is there an intern over at HLN getting carpal tunnel syndrome trying to stay a step ahead of Nancy Grace’s latest “f…ng coon” laced outburst?

Does anyone truly believe that MSNBC gave Al “Tawana Brawley, Crown Heights, Duke La Cross team” Sharpton his own show to further a “national discussion” on race?

If the Zimmerman trial has taught us anything it is that in the minds of far too many network and newsroom executives there is no better “news” than “race” news. And though race “news” may not be good “news”, (or as in the Zimmerman case not even “true news”), it is most certainly “profitable news”.

In less time than Trayvon Martin spent upon this earth, our national media went from reporting on a trial (if it doesn’t fit, you must acquit) to molding it (“white-Hispanic” Zimmerman “profiled” from the beginning) into a device of their own desires.

(Publisher’s Note:  The above is the un-edited, submitted version of the print column that first appeared in the July 17th 2013 edition of the Joplin Globe.  Edited version “In Zimmerman trial, media obsessed with race” can be found here.)

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