George Zimmerman is in trouble again, this time from a domestic abuse incident. Presumably the justice system will work, and protect his pregnant girlfriend, as well as give Zimmerman whatever punishment the evidence indicates that he deserves.
In the meantime, the news media should be giving his misadventures back page rather than front page attention. I have heard Zimmerman described in the news media as the new O.J. Simpson, which is a slur (O.J. murdered two people in cold blood, with intent and malice aforethought), but which correctly describes how reporters want to treat him. In truth, he is the new Rodney King. Like Zimmerman, King was a maladjusted individual with poor judgment and a penchant for violence, who nonetheless did not deserve the fate that befell him, and was a reluctant celebrity. After the events and the trials stemming from his arrest (which was warranted), his resisting it (which was wrong) and his brutal beating (which was also wrong), King had more arrests and incidents involving law enforcement. These were news items, but not major ones, and the minor coverage they received was proper and appropriate.
Why is Zimmerman’s arrest the lead on this morning’s cable shows? It is because so many in the media fervently wanted him convicted of murder, and to have an official declaration that he stalked and killed Trayvon Martin out of racial prejudice, although there was, and remains, no evidence this was the case. Now they want to frame his current legal issues as proof that he should have been convicted, which is a biased, warrantless, illogical and unfair assumption. A far more plausible conclusion is that Zimmerman’s conduct and instability today arises from the chaos of his life, which was inflicted on him by a culture-wide, media-assisted effort to turn him into a national villain, and the face of racism in America. Continue reading