George Zimmerman Trial Coverage > Post-Verdict Events and Thoughts

The Case Goes Academic

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RickyJim:
A study by 3 MIT researchers has just come out.  It describes the complicated history of how this ordinary police blotter incident became the media sensation it did.   Perhaps it explains more what happened rather why this case grabbed such attention.  (I still can't figure out also how Justin Bieber made it so big.  :D )  It also is a bit heavy handed in its few references to the actual facts of the case.   For example,
--- Quote ---The audio of the call established that the 911 operator asked Zimmerman not to pursue Martin. Zimmerman ignored this advice and confronted Martin.
--- End quote ---

nomatter_nevermind:

--- Quote ---During the halftime of the NBA All–Star Game on 26 February, Martin walked to a nearby convenience store to get an iced tea and a bag of Skittles for himself and his stepbrother–to–be.
--- End quote ---

The All-Star Game began at 7:30, about the same time TM was pronounced dead. And it wasn't tea.

This is from the first paragraph of the study. I wouldn't put any confidence in researchers who don't bother with facts that are easy to check.

ETA: The third paragraph characterizes Rachel Jeantel as TM's 'girlfriend', a status she denied under oath at the trial.

nomatter_nevermind:

--- Quote ---Crump brought on local lawyer Natalie Jackson, who enlisted the pro bono services of publicist Ryan Julison.

Julison’s pitch did not emphasize the racial element to the story, but underscored agreed upon facts: a neighborhood watch vigilante, who was carrying a gun, shot an unarmed teenager, and was not arrested.
--- End quote ---

I disagree with both claims about 'Julison's pitch'. I think Julison's pitch did 'emphasize the racial element to the story', and asserted many factual claims that were by no means agreed upon. The characterization of GZ as a 'vigilante' is an example of the latter, if it is accurate. I don't actually recall if Julison made the vigilante charge explicitly, and at this point I have zero confidence in the research of these 'academics'.


--- Quote ---Julison was particularly struck by the fact that a neighborhood watch captain would be carrying a firearm with no training of any kind other than a concealed weapons permit (Julison, 2012).
--- End quote ---

This makes no sense, as a 'permit' is not 'training'. Presumably it means no more training than required to get the permit, but it could be interpreted as implying no training at all.

nomatter_nevermind:

--- Quote ---One reader, Kevin Cunningham, saw the Reuters piece shared on a listserv, “Men of Howard,” comprising fellow members of an informal fraternity at Howard University, where he attended law school (Leitsinger, 2012). Frustrated by the relative paucity of media coverage and incensed by the lack of justice, he began a Change.org petition on 8 March.
--- End quote ---

'[T]he lack of justice' is presented by the 'academics' as an objective fact, not just the view of the individual under discussion.

nomatter_nevermind:

--- Quote ---Another development in the story was delivered directly by a mainstream media commentator on 23 March, when TV pundit Geraldo Rivera suggested that Martin’s decision to wear a hooded sweatshirt was “as much responsible for [his] death as George Zimmerman.” There was immediate backlash to Rivera’s comments, including from Rivera’s own son. This moment solidified the ‘hoodie’ as part of the national conversation and battle over the framing of the story.
--- End quote ---

The study doesn't mention that Rivera cited no evidence that the hoodie was a causal factor in the incident. I don't think there was ever any such evidence. The meme may have started with a poorly sourced Gutman report.

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