The media narrative of the Trayvon Martin case is pretty clear. So far, it's been effective too--a new poll has three-quarters of Americans wanting Martin's shooter, George Zimmerman, to be arrested.
Zimmerman, an overly zealous neighborhood watchman, became suspicious of Martin only because he was black and white people don't want them in a gated community. He followed Martin, whose father lived in the neighborhood. Martin became scared and approached Zimmerman to ask why he was following him. Zimmerman used a poorly worded Stand Your Ground gun law as a loophole to legally shoot Martin point blank in the chest.
At least that's what the media narrative tells us, along with politicians who are eager to whip up racial hatred. However, some new information in the case may completely upend that story.
First, Zimmerman is a Spanish-speaking Hispanic Democrat. So the idea that this is a cut-and-dry example of white conservative racial profiling should have gone out the window pretty early. It didn't.
Next, police found Zimmerman with grass stains on his back, and a bloody nose and face. His lawyer says his nose was broken.
Some witness testimony has the much taller Martin throwing the first punch, knocking Zimmerman to the ground, getting on top of him, and repeatedly slamming his head into the pavement.
One witness, who has since talked to local television news reporters, told police he saw Zimmerman on the ground with Trayvon on top, pounding him -- and was unequivocal that it was Zimmerman who was crying for help.
Zimmerman then shot Trayvon once in the chest at very close range, according to authorities.
When police arrived less than two minutes later, Zimmerman was bleeding from the nose, had a swollen lip and had bloody lacerations to the back of his head.
Zimmerman might not have been the aggressor, if any of that was true. This might not have been "a killing that seems dangerously close to an execution." Trayvon also might not be the innocent the media portrayed him as. They ran pictures of a fresh-faced young man alongside Zimmerman's scary mug and America saw that he really could have been Obama's son, as the president pointed out. The media chose not to run a picture of Trayvon with a slight sneer than the teenager had posted on his Twitter profile. One tweet suggests Trayvon may have hit a bus driver.
The Miami Herald reported that Trayvon had multiple suspensions from school and a school official once found suspicious items in his bookbag after suspecting him of graffiti.
Instead the officer reported he found women's jewelry and a screwdriver that he described as a "burglary tool," according to a Miami-Dade Schools Police report obtained by The Miami Herald.
The day of the shooting, Zimmerman said Martin looked suspicious because he was looking inside windows of houses he passed.
It's starting to look like the media rushed to judgment, yet again, like they did with the white Duke -Lacrosse players who were accused of raping a black stripper. That story also fit the media's desperation to find black people being abused at the hands of white people. The media looked silly by rushing to judgment in that case too. You might say they were prejudiced.
More facts about this shooting are yet to emerge. It may well turn out that Zimmerman murdered Trayvon. Or not. But it shouldn't be up to people like me to lecture season journalists on waiting for all facts to come out before hanging a guilty verdict on someone's head.