We’ve run a lot of posts on the Trayvon Martin killing controversy. And as TMV Guest Voice Columnist Simon Owens notes, there has been a truly shocking lack of coverage of this story from some conservative websites. So it’ll be interesting to see if suddenly — as a further sign of just how everything in American politics must devolve into a partisan and ideological struggle — conservative website suddenly pick up this new twist in the Trayvon Martin tragedy. As of this writing none of the news sites (Fox News, ABC News, CBS News, MSNBC and BBC) are reporting this story. A witness has reportedly come forward and told police that Martin provoked neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman:
Trayvon Martin may have attacked a Neighborhood Watch captain before the man shot dead the unarmed teen in a gated community in Florida, an anonymous witness who spoke to police claimed yesterday.
The witness, known only as John, told Sanford police that he saw Martin on top of George Zimmerman shortly before the fatal shot that has led to a national outcry, including a huge ‘hoodie’ march in Philadelphia last night.
He recounted the details to Fox 35 News in Florida.
The witness told FOX 35 in Orlando that he saw evidence of a fight between Martin and Zimmerman, which could lend credence to the gunman’s claim that he was acting in self-defence.
‘The guy on the bottom who had a red sweater on was yelling to me: “Help, help… and I told him to stop and I was calling 911,’ he said.
Zimmerman was wearing a red sweater; Martin was in a grey hoodie.
He added: ‘When I got upstairs and looked down, the guy who was on top beating up the other guy, was the one laying in the grass, and I believe he was dead at that point.’
This account is drastically different from the portrait painted of Martin by his friends and acquaintances.
Friends of the slain 17-year-old say they cannot imagine him getting involved in a fight, and insist that he was not violent.
‘There’s no way I can believe that, because he’s not a confrontational kid,’ said Jerome Horton, who was one of Martin’s former football coaches and knew him since he was a small child.
‘It just wouldn’t happen. That’s just not that kid.’
Meanwhile, the attorney hired to represent Zimmerman is echoing claims of the Neighbourhood Watchman’s father – that he’s not racist.
What is notable on this to this former fulltime journalist who worked on several newspapers: the fact that none of the news sites (including Fox) are not reporting it suggests a)editors need to confirm the report that was on the local TV station and carried on The Daily Mail b)there is some uneasiness. Sometimes editors will not pick up a “new twist” story if they cannot get confirmation or their sources dismiss it as not solid.
But I’m feeling some uneasiness. I am predicting that once again we will see something become a tool in the 24/7 ongoing partisan ideological struggle. Each side will blast the side that support the side with whom they sympathize:
–Those who feel Trayvon was a teen armed with Skittles and an iced tea who was basically murdered by a person who was a neighborhood watch commander who may have taken that to mean he was a real policeman will feel the eyewitness was a set up or a sympathizer with Zimmerman and lying.
–Those who feel Trayvon was a menacing teen (I will not even link to some of the suggestions made on some websites and in comments on some websites that display utter racism and an automatic assumption that he was on the street to commit a crime) will contend the statement by Trayvon’s girlfriend that she was on the phone when he was trying to avoid a many following him is a lie.
–Those who see a way to somehow turn this into a political football to use in the Presidential election will do so.
I hope I’m wrong. I’m no psychic. But if this account is carried by the mainstream news sites you can place money in Vegas that I will be right.
Three things to watch:
1. Is this account carried by the mainstream media yet? As of this writing it is only being picked up by conservative websites.Check GOOGLE NEWS HERE. Did these website carry any other info on this case or did they ignore it until this account came out? If so, why? Prediction: Mainstream media will report this once they get their own confirmation that this has been communicated to police. It would also explain why Zimmerman’s new lawyer is now contending he can use a regular self defense defense, versus a defense based on the Florida law.
2. How is it playing with talk show hosts? Will they use this latest story to whip it up into a partisan issue?
3. The reaction of people such as Rep. Allen West on Facebook – a conservative who has come out strongly in favor of getting to the bottom of this and has called the case an outrage.