Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Innocent Until Proven Guilty

Lately, I find myself absolutely hating the media.  All aspects of it, but mostly, local news. 

The code of ethics for Journalists includes: The duty of the journalist is to further those ends by seeking truth and providing a fair and comprehensive account of events and issues.  Far too often, I've found the exact opposite to be true.  It seems now, instead of giving a fair and comprehensive account of events, events are told in a manner that seems to serve a purpose for the journalist or the organization they are reporting on.

I do believe the Trayvon Martin case is an excellent example of what happens when journalists are so irresponsible with what their duties are.  I also believe it is a great lesson to the American people that just because someone on TV says it to be true, does not make it so.

When I first read the story about the racist white, over-zealous neighborhood watchman in Florida shot an innocent black teenager over a pack of skittles, my heart not only went out to his parents, but I wanted to know what I could do to show support over the obvious race crimes.  Even as I relayed the story to Dusty in the car, I couldn't help but question what really happened.

According to how the story was depicted, an innocent kid was walking in a gated residential area, wearing a hoodie and carrying some skittles and Iced Tea.  A racist, neighborhood watchman followed him through the neighborhood.  He was then unprovoked and shot him while saying racial slurs to the dying young man.

To me, that just doesn't make sense.  Zimmerman was 28 years old.  If he was a racist to the extent that he would shoot a teenage boy just for walking through his neighborhood, wouldn't he have had some history of racist actions in his past?  Would he have been arrested immediately?  Why would the police want to cover up any wrong doing?  Is it realistic to assume that in Florida, police do not care if black teenagers are shot and killed?

Rallies held all over the country demanded that Zimmerman be arrested and tried for murder.  Why were the rallies not instead for a more detailed investigation? 

Within the last week, more evidence has surfaced and more case updates have occurred.  Of course, they aren't being reported with the same enthusiasm as the racist white guy story was.

We've learned there were witnesses.  Witnesses saw Zimmerman getting into his car and Martin attack him from behind.  Punching him and breaking his nose.  He then got on top of Zimmerman and repeatedly banged his head into the ground.  While witnesses watched.  Why did no one attempt to help Zimmerman?  Then, there were cries for help.  Some argue it was Zimmerman and some say Martin.  I do not see how voice experts haven't figured out which one it actually was yet.   Martin attempted to get Zimmerman's gun from him (the gun he was legally carrying for protection), they struggled over it.  In the struggle Zimmerman shot and killed Martin.

Those are the facts so far.  I'm sure there are more details.  Some which are relevant and some which are not.

I do not think Zimmerman's race (oh by the way, now he is constantly being reported as having a white father and a Hispanic mother) or Martin's race played a role.  I do not care why Martin was suspended from school, and I do not think it plays a role either.  I do not believe that this is a matter for the stand your ground law.

I do think it is unfortunate that a young man died.  I do think that his parents want someone to blame, someone to hold responsible.  I do think that both parties could have handled the situation so much better.  I do know that I wasn't there.  

I feel for both families.  I am sure that Zimmerman wishes the whole night played out differently, and not because a country wants him in the electric chair.

I worry about what creating witch hunts in today's society with how easy it is to spread information will do for our future.  I do worry about what our country will turn into when "Innocent Until Proven Guilty" is thrown out the window so that the media can sensationalize a story.  I also worry about what effects this will have on throwing around the word racist.

It's bad enough that those who do not support Obama are automatically called racist, as though if your beliefs differ from his you are automatically disagreeing only because he is black and not because you are anti-socialism.  

I wonder now, if I report a suspicious vehicle (such as the white van in our area that was suspected of attempting to snatch children) and the drivers are black, I will be labeled a racist because my mother is white and my dad is Portuguese?  

Gosh, I really wish there was more integrity in journalism. 


crystal said...

I agree with you 100% We live in a sad world.

Danielle said...

I absolutely couldnt agree more!