(UPDATE: See end of post) I didn’t even want to get into the Trayvon Martin George Zimmerman story, but the latest BBC report on the story, about a judge declining a request to raise his bail, is still misleading you on what happened. They’re still telling you that Zimmerman wasn’t charged immediately because of Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law. That was the initial story that was going around, but way too much information has come out since then so that it’s no longer the issue, and hasn’t been for some time. Yet the BBC is still stuck on that. The BBC has been publishing updates on Zimmerman’s situation, yet they’ve left out a huge amount of information, keeping you all not only uninformed, but left with a false impression of the story.
The Stand Your Ground Law, at least in the Florida version, is mostly about defending against an imminent threat. It’s clear from the language that home invasion is a major concern. There is part of it that says a person has no duty to retreat when confronted with physical force, and is allowed to meet force with force, but the main thrust of it seems to be about defending against other situations like breakins and car-jacking, and not a physical altercation. In fact, the law was created in to clear the legal cloud prosecutors said disgusted them after having to charge a man in 2004 who shot and killed someone who had broken into his recreational vehicle.
To further give you the desired impression, the BBC put together four case studies involving Stand Your Ground Law in Florida. Only one of the three involved a physical altercation, where a kid who was bullied brought a knife to school because he was afraid of getting attacked. The others were about a gang shooting, somebody shooting an unarmed man during an argument, and a guy who got into a drunken fight with someone and, after separating himself from the fight, one of them went and got a gun, came back and shot the other in a non-threatening situation. So now you’re supposed the think the law is awful.
But here’s the thing: The so-called Stand Your Ground Law is irrelevant. The statute preceding it in the books is the only one worth talking about. That law is about the “Use of force in defense of person”. It says:
A person is justified in using force, except deadly force, against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend himself or herself or another against the other’s imminent use of unlawful force. However, a person is justified in the use of deadly force and does not have a duty to retreat if:
(1)He or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony; or
(2)Under those circumstances permitted pursuant to s. 776.013.
Which is the next bit about home invasion, etc., which you can read on the same page I’ve linked to above.
Why is it important to bring all this up? Zimmerman was engaged in a physical altercation with Martin. When that happens, it’s down to self defense. There was plenty of physical evidence of that fight, which the BBC has never reported. The only time they’ve acknowledged the notion is in a previous report about Zimmerman’s hearing, when they portrayed it as merely being his claim that there was a fight. But the evidence is real, not just a claim. The mainstream media tried to hide it to keep the racism Narrative going, but reality forced their hand. Since the BBC is unaccountable, they’ve simply kept that false story going without consequence. The evidence was out there, but the mainstream media tried to hide it. So no wonder the BBC News Online producers had no idea at first. But they should and probably do know now.
So here’s what the BBC doesn’t want you to know. It’s all over the news that someone at NBC deliberately edited Zimmerman’s call to the police to make it appear as if he thought Martin was suspicious simply because he was black. Combine that impression with the half-a-story we were all fed at first that the young man was shot in cold blood, rather than during an actual fight, along with that photo the media circulated at first of a smiling, angelic much younger Martin (the photo in that HuffPo link), and many people got the idea that a young black kid was gunned down in the street for no reason other than the color of his skin. We know now that, while Zimmerman did say Martin was wearing a hoodie, there were other signals that made him suspicious. It took several days for the truth to even begin to come out, but by then it was too late. Most people had already formed their opinion by then, including, it seems the BBC.
The gated community he was patrolling had recently been seeing a rash of break-ins by young black men. It was cold and raining, yet there was a young black man wandering around. His actual words to the police – which NBC deliberately edited to create a different impression – were as follows:
Zimmerman: This guy looks like he’s up to no good. Or he’s on drugs or something. It’s raining and he’s just walking around, looking about.
Dispatcher: OK, and this guy — is he black, white or Hispanic?
Zimmerman: He looks black.
NBC, though, cut out the middle bit to make it sound like Zimmerman said, “This guy looks like he’s up to no good. He looks black.”
The BBC never told you any of this.
NBC has since fired the editor responsible, but hasn’t made a real correction or national apology to their viewers. So many people still probably don’t know what actually happened, and have only that false story to go on. Early on, CNN had on a so-called voice expert to claim that Zimmerman used a racial slur in the call, further inflaming everyone’s racial anger. They’ve since had to quietly walk that back.
Then we have the fact of the physical altercation after one of the confronted the other. Zimmeran says that after following Martin, he turned away only to be challenged by him. That’s his side of the story anyway, and we’ll never know Martin’s. But there’s also the physical evidence of that fight: the injury on the back of Zimmerman’s head, and the other evidence of a fight according to the police report. Unfortunately, when ABC initially showed police CCTV video of Zimmerman being brought into the police station, they deliberately fuzzed it up and obscured his head with a big lower third graphic so you can’t see anything. So when they claimed there was no evidence of a fight, everyone believed it, and again racial anger was exacerbated by a deliberate act of a major broadcaster. After being called on it, ABC released an “enhanced” version (i.e. after removing the doctoring they did) which, lo and behold, showed the gash on the back of Zimmerman’s head. Nothing about that from the BBC, either.
The other really sad thing about all this – besides the tragic fact of a young man’s death – is that it seems extremely difficult to get the real facts of this story. Anyone doing a search for the various factors will notice that nearly every search result brings up a lot of partisan sources and precious little from the mainstream media. Try a search for various elements of this story and you’ll see what I mean. So no wonder everyone has a different idea of what happened, and no wonder we’ve now had retaliation violence. Yes, you heard that right. There have been at least one incident of black on white violence where the attacker said it was revenge for Trayvon Martin. Somebody also shot up a Sanford police car near the scene of Martin’s death.
There was supposedly another one, but that one sounds to me like the white guy brought up Martin’s name first and really caused the problem. When you have people like Spike Lee tweeting what he thought was Zimmerman’s home address, Al Sharpton – who has his own primetime show on MSNBC – trying to incite race riots, and the President Himself expressing sorrow and emphasizing the racial angle, you get angry mobs baying for blood. So many people are convinced now that Martin was shot in cold blood for walking while black that if Zimmerman is actually tried and found innocent, it’s going to be a bad scene. All caused by the media.
Since we now know that nearly all the initial Narrative on this story was false, and all that anger was based largely on false reporting and media bias, you’d think the BBC would do a special report on it, considering how important race and racism in the US is to them. After all, Jonny Dymond’s remit seems to be traipsing around the country looking for racists under the bed (see my latest “Life in These United States” for more about him) and the BBC did that World Have Your Say segment not long after the shooting about how white supremacy was a major problem. Plus, we’ve heard over and over again for the last four years how racist the US is, how racist the Tea Party movement is simply for opposing the governing policies of a black President. So now we have this awful racial divide going on over this issue, which was really caused not by the killing itself, but by mainstream media faking material and stoking the flames of racial hatred. The least the BBC could do, I think, is have another honest discussion about what’s actually happened. It’s hard to think of a valid journalistic reason why they haven’t addressed any of this.
UPDATE: A totally different NBC journalist in Miami has now been fired for making his own false edit of the audio. As if by telepathic instruction, this completely independent act of editing took the same false approach. Now the station is going to add a line manager and extra layers of journalism to ensure this doesn’t happen again. Does that sound familiar?
Keep hiring the same kind of people and give them the same sense of superiority and privilege, and they’ll keep doing the exact same thing no matter how many layers you add.
Thank you for lifting the veil of bBC/ Obama pal perversion of reporting. News is just raw material to be reshaped to promote the preferred narrative. Cameron’s “national treasure” is a cesspit. Perhaps he should jump into it. He’ll feel at home.
Could it also be that the same people who are distorting the truth in the media live in ‘gated communities’ and rely on people like Mr Zimmerman to provide some level of security for themselves and their families? If so, I wonder how many Mr Zimmermans are now having second thoughts about being a security guard. If so, and the result is an increase in black attacks on gated white complexes, then who’s to blame? I think you get what you work for.
Thanks for that detailed report, David. It’s shocking how irresponsible and careless of facts and accuracy the media can be.
The BBC has been so keen to push the racial angle of this that they have ignored the evidence. I think a certain sort of “liberal” gets a warm fuzzy feeling when they accuse others of racism. People probably felt the same way in the Soviet Union when they denounced her neighbours for “unpatriotic thoughts”.
One aspect that most of the media followed was the censoring of a sentence in Zimmermann’s phone call; “these assholes, they always get away.” was widely reported as “these *******, they always get away.” thus leaving the viewer to speculate on what might have been under the asterisks. I’m sure lots concluded it was a racial insult, probably the ‘N’ word. The real word that was actually used was not too strong, The censorship was done to sensationalise and inflame the story.
As is often the case with BBC reports the alert viewer can sense when there is more to the story than we are being told. A quick search on the Internet usually reveals the truth. I wonder if any of the BBC staff feel any shame about the current state of what was once a fine organisation, and now is simply not trusted by many.
Feel any shame? They won’t.
national disgraces in both countries
BBC a national treasure?I know Cameroon is out of touch,but that is just on another level
Thanks for giving us such a comprehensive account of the whole sorry saga, David. In a sane world you’d be working for the BBC as an American correspondent, a bit like Alastair Cooke used to be, not constantly having to highlight the factual poverty & slant of the appalling beeboid USA coverage. One commenter on another blog wondered whether that old phoney, Al $harpton, wasn’t kicking himself for backing the wrong minority after money for Zimmerman’s defence began to pour in! Hey! That white Hispanic’s just raised $200,000 in a couple of hours. On the wrong goddam train, man!
Trayvon Martin seems to be the liberals excuse to show their virtue, sneer at those of us who want facts, not another Stephen Lawrence shrine to their own guilt…and to peg up his shroud next to Millie Dowlers.
Then to be discarded when another cause comes up the track…
Grave robbing- grief thieves the liberal handwringers of the BBC and such.
Thomas Sowell’s very measured take on this…
…and this did the rounds a few weeks ago. The language is very forthright…
Taking with a few friends and family about this story, who get there news from bbc bullitens, this is the impression they got
“many people got the idea that a young black kid was gunned down in the street for no reason other than the color of his skin”
Great post, will be interesting to see when/if the bbc have to change the reporting of the case
Several questions seem not to have been addressed. Trayvon’s father lived in the gated community yet seems not to have reported him missing despite him only going out to buy some sweets and then disappearing. Why?
His body was kept overnight by the police before they identified him. Why were they not able to work out who he was by contacting those listed on his mobile phone?
Something is missing here.
I’ve been to Sanford. It is a sleepy, peaceful north Florida town.
My understanding of the legal side (IANAL) is that if Zimmerman’s story is true:
The castle doctrine laws are irrelevant as Zimmerman was not on his own property.
The Stand Your Ground story is mostly irrelevant, as Zimmerman was unable to retreat. According to Zimmerman, when he returned to his car after losing sight of Martin, Martin accosted him, punched him in the nose, breaking it and knocking him to the ground. After that, Martin sat on Zimmerman and started pounding his head into the ground.
From what I am told, the SYG law does play a part in the decision not to prosecute, because it says that if the cops do not have probable cause (the lowest level of evidence), if Zimmerman were unsuccessfully prosecuted, then the state would pay for his defense. So the BBC is right in this, while being thoroughly misleading.
Please forgive any errors, I have just woken up and am going from memory. If you dig around over at the Volokh Conspiracy, you can find a much more detailed analysis of the legal side.
The SYG reason about the State covering costs was the final reason for declining to prosecute originally, not the main one. The reason the authorities figured they’d end up having to pay is because the physical evidence told them they’d lose. So no probable cause is connected to, as I said, the preceding statute. SYG is what legal minds saw as a necessary legal step to supplement that.
The initial police statements given to the Orlando Sentinel – blacked out by the mainstream media for something like three weeks until word finally got out – back this up.
Everybody jumped on SYG precisely because the bulk of the statute doesn’t work in this case, so made for a nice Narrative. The worst part about the BBC coverage is that their audience has no idea that there is physical evidence, and a more detailed call to the police which detracts from the racialist angle.
The BBC is incapable of honest reporting. Having said that, I’m not confident about throwing myself into defending Zimmerman. Seems to me that if he wasn’t such an agressive curtain-twitcher none of this would have happened. For me the obvious floor in the SYG law is that I could threaten you, you take offence and threaten me in return, so I ‘stand my ground’ and shoot you. Then presumably it’s all down to who the victim is and how the police feel about you as to whether it ever gets to court. Anyways, thats why I don’t live in the USA, too many crazy feckers with guns, or chips on their shoulder. Best avoid the lot of em.
You don’t have to think Zimmerman had a right to kill Martin to accept that the reporting is flawed. One could equally say that if Trayvon Martin wasn’t such a gangsta wannabe and wasn’t always in trouble, this would never have happened. Zimmerman had stopped following him and was walking away when Martin confronted him. Twitchy and armed or not.
George Zimmerman is, dare I say it, of Black stock.
he grew up in a racially intehgrated hosehold.
Kinds of spoils the leftist narrative, doesn’t it?
Great post DP: I look forward to reading the comments of the BBC apologists who visit this site concerning this and your other revelations of BBC bias and incompetence. Since your evidence as pretty solid (after all you actually provide checkable references in respect of your statements) I doubt you’ll get much reaction from them on this thread.
However, a further point is that the Trayvon case is not an isolated one. You provide chapter and verse weekly – and I suspect could do it daily if your day job didn’t intervene – concerning the woeful reportage transmitted by the BBC North America team.
Unfortunately, the BBC remains both in denial and, so far, completely invulnerable to any criticism of this sort. Those of us who have recognised the BBC for what it is remain largely impotent to influence its behaviour, let alone its existence. Its complaints procedure is designed to provide a teflon overcoat to any and all inside the magic circle. Complaints to MPs (or anyway complaints to my MP who is far more interested in her day job as Minister of Equality) are completely ignored or, at best, acknowledged and then ignored (the modus operandi of the BBC itself). Even not paying the licence fee has no real effect: 50,000 non-payers means that the BBC is bereft of, what, around 2% of its income – a fleabite.
There is no alternative it seems but to keep on keeping on – as this site does – highlighting the sheer awfulness of the BBC in the hope that the constant drip of evidential water on the stones of public ignorance and BBC arrogance will have an effect. FWIW please accept my thanks to you and your co-posters: you do an invaluable (if not immediately rewarding) job.
So absolutely sickeningly typical of the conveniently half storied BritishBrainwashingCorporation – THAT I HAVE TO KEEP FECKIN PAYING FOR!!!
Yet another superbly informative article!, Mr Preiser.