George Zimmerman Trial: The Media Should be Ashamed of Mob Rule Sensationalism


Does anyone remember the “Brittney’s New Look” episode from South Park?  It starts off with Stan and friends complaining about watching a presidential debate between Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama – they found it too boring.  Fortunately, the debates are interrupted by the “Brittney Watch!” special, and the entire group is sucked into the television.  What follows is pretty gruesome: Brittney Spears is humiliated time and again by the media and is eventually driven to attempt suicide.  All of this is “justified” to the boys by preparation for the ominous “Harvest” – a ritualistic human sacrifice committed via “mass photographing.”  You can see the episode here.

It’s powerful stuff, and I cannot help but see here the face of George Zimmerman.  My mind goes to the news stories in which Trayvon Martin’s smiling, innocent childhood photos were set against Zimmerman’s unshaven, unfeeling portrait.  Who doesn’t remember seeing the photo below on every news station?  The “Hoodie Marches,” the political celebrities like Al Sharpton and Rev. Jesse Jackson, the invention of the term “white Hispanic” – all of it smacks of democratic sensationalism; a mob ready to descend upon its chosen sacrifice.

Angela Corey has officially announced Tuesday that he will stand trial for murder in the second degree.  Now, I do not know whether Zimmerman is guilty of wrongdoing or not.  At the very least, we know that Zimmerman was injured, and we have reason to assume that racial claims being made nationwide are more than a bit dubious.  Then again, we also know that Zimmerman ignored the dispatcher he called and that 911 audio evidence leaves a good deal of explaining to do.  Whether considering the “Stand Your Ground” law or “Shaken Baby Syndrome,” there is certainly a case to be made and argued.

Now hopefully, all of that will be settled during the trial through the arguments of attorneys and witness testimony. That’s how the justice system works. But the outrageous public outcry that has trumped up this idea of malevolent hate crimes and racism is more than shameful, and it should make us question the effects of such sensationalist journalism. 

George Zimmerman is, before all other things, a man. His ex-attorneys Hal Uhrig and Craig Sonner have tried to remind us of this fact by describing the emotional beat-down he’s going through. That we, as Americans who supposedly believe in things like due process and human equality, can be so quick to nationally condemn the man is startling. The pressure of this case has, as Uhrig tells us, been “emotionally crippling” for Zimmerman, and he goes on to raise concerns over Zimmerman’s “emotional and physical safety.” Can we not, in light of all this, have some sympathy for Zimmerman, his family, and his friends?  

Guilty or innocent, it will all come to light in what I’m sure will be an extremely public trial. I can only hope for a more admirable display of public integrity in the days to come.