Black, 17, and Shot Dead in Florida: Why Isn't Jordan Davis Getting the Attention Travyon Martin Is?


Agenda setting in the news has the power to leave news consumers in the dark about timely, relevant and important topics.

Take this developing story, for example.

In November, black youth Jordan Davis, a 17-year-old Jacksonville resident, was the only person murdered after Michael Dunn, 46, allegedly shot into the SUV Davis was inside several times after an argument about the volume of music playing.

According to Dunn's girlfriend, Rhonda Rouer, Dunn had three rum and cokes at a wedding reception. She felt secure enough for him to drive and thought that he was a good mood. On the drive back to the hotel they were residing at, they made a pit stop at the convenience store where the murder occurred. At the Gate Station, Rouer said Dunn told her that he hated "thug music." Rouer then went inside the store to make purchases and heard several gunshots while she was still within the building.

Upon returning and seeing Dunn put his gun back into the glove compartment, Rouer asked why he had shot at the car playing music and Dunn claimed that he feared for his life and that "they threatened to kill me." The couple drove back to their hotel, and claim they did not realize anyone had died until the story appeared on the news the next day. 

On the other side of the case, the defense (baselessly, it seems) argues that the teens in the car may or may not have had a weapon stashed inside of the SUV.

Dunn is being charged with first-degree murder, as well as three counts of attempted murder. Rouer described Dunn as "easy-going" but passionate about politics and gun control. 

The latest news on the case concerns the decision of Circuit Judge Mallory Cooper removing herself from presiding over the case. She is the second judge to leave, after the first judge, Suzanne Bass, was asked to step down in order to ensure a fair trial. Judge Russell Healey is now the third judge to be appointed to the case. The state will not be paying for Dunn's defense fees.

Without solid evidence from both sides and one surveillance video that only shows the story from the inside of the convenience store, this case has a long way to go.

It's more or less the same story all over again: a white man shooting a black teenager dead in Florida in a tragic dispute that perhaps could have been avoided. Yet, why is Jacksonville trial of Michael Dunn and Jordan Davis not receiving the same amount of media attention or criticism as the George Zimmerman vs. Trayvon Martin case?

Do the airwaves, newspapers and Twitter feeds have enough room for the prominence of one type of vaguely race-charged crime? Or crimes that could tie into the debate on gun control? Or goodness forbid, when both topics intersect.

Whatever the reason, there is no one to blame but the national media for more or less skipping this one over.