Zimmerman and the media

Noah Millman has bravely taken up the cause of . . . defending the mainstream media in it’s handling of the Zimmerman case. His bravery appears, however, to know no bounds – he’s also courageous to criticize Pat Buchanan’s views of the case. I hope he has bodyguards following him around.

Do they give Pulitzer Prizes for blog posts? They may have to start.

Anyway, let’s take a look at his argument:

The reason we have a criminal justice system is precisely to remove the felt need for private justice – for revenge, personal and collective. Where individuals or distinct groups become convinced that the justice system does not provide adequate recourse, the desire for private vengeance increases. In some cases, that desire boils over into violent action. Such action is unjustified, but that doesn’t mean it is incomprehensible, or that it won’t happen.

That doesn’t mean it will, though, either. It behooves the authorities not to presume too much – or too little. The right answer to perceptions of unfairness is conspicuous fairness, not retribution. If the standard of “justice” is conviction of acquittal, we’ve already lost; there is no chance for peace. A fair trial is the answer, regardless of the verdict – and the government, at the highest levels, should say so, and well in advance of a verdict. That communications campaign is as important as any preparation that local police departments might make.

And here’s the thing. To be able to conduct that communications campaign effectively, the government has to sound credible. Which means understanding why so many people were upset that Zimmerman wasn’t taken in in the first place.

In doing that job, Buchanan’s attempt – and he isn’t alone – to turn Zimmerman into a folk hero has been completely counter-productive. Assuming the goal is to increase confidence in the integrity of the trial, acquitting Zimmerman in the media is just as bad as convicting him. And if that isn’t the goal, then Buchanan has no business criticizing people who fanned the flames.

What happened in this case, is that the authorities looked into matter and decided not to arrest Zimmerman. There is no reason to believe that this earlier, unbiased conclusion was not the just conclusion.

Following racial agitation, from the race hustling lobby, the authorities charged Zimmerman with second degree murder. The point is that absent the need for a "communications campaign" (i.e. propaganda) a fair conclusion was reached by the authorities. No evidence has ever been presented to call this fact into question. Some people didn’t like the result, but that is always the case with a just outcome.

Millman claims that a "fair trial is the answer," but there’s absolutely no evidence that Zimmerman committed second degree murder – the charge on which a trial (though not a fair one) will be conducted. I think there’s an argument to be made – following Millman’s logic – that a fair trial on manslaughter could be valuable. But that’s not in the cards.

Instead, we’re seeing a politically motivated show trial.

If a member of the press isn’t right to criticize that, what is the press for?

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8 Responses to Zimmerman and the media

  1. C.R. says:

    You know, I actually like Noah Millman but damn if his post isn’t smarmy and condescending right from the jump. He starts by telling us the numerous ways in which the case is not important for serious thinkers to think about but then jumps in with his two cents anyway to point out to the unserious thinkers the errors of their ways.

  2. Gilbert Pinfold says:

    Following Millman’s logic, I would be prepared to throw another, oh, I don’t know… four, more innocent Hispanics under the bus, if it’ll will settle the seething masses. What the Hell? Make it four a day in perpetuity.

  3. “Assuming the goal is to increase confidence in the integrity of the trial, acquitting Zimmerman in the media is just as bad as convicting him. And if that isn’t the goal, then Buchanan has no business criticizing people who fanned the flames.”

    No, the goal isn’t to increase confidence in the integrity of the trial. The goal is to have the correct amount of confidence in the integrity of the trial. As it happens that amount is none.

    “We don’t know for sure who started it. We don’t know for sure why. It’s entirely possible that the confrontation was initiated by Zimmerman, which would be entirely consistent with the physical evidence Buchanan talks about, and that Martin was the one acting (as he thought) in self defense.”

    Yes, it’s entirely possible that Zimmerman committed a crime. However, there hasn’t been any evidence shown that this is the case. Lots of things are possible. I’m sure there are plenty of unsolved murders in New York that it’s possible Noah committed. It’s not good practice to put people on trial when it’s possible that they’re guilty but there’s no evidence of it.

    I give it 2 years maximum before Noah is a full fledged admitted progressive.

  4. james wilson says:

    Perhaps the Florida prosecutor is the worlds first brilliant and conniving conservative provocateur. This turkey has no exit strategy and is going to be hanging over the election like Gunwalker and OWS, two more propaganda masterpieces gone wrong.

  5. Toddy Cat says:

    “If the standard of “justice” is conviction of acquittal, we’ve already lost; there is no chance for peace”

    Well, in that case, we’ve already lost, and there is no chance for peace. Of course we already knew that, but this can hardly be laid to the account of Zimmerman’s defenders.

    “Which means understanding why so many people were upset that Zimmerman wasn’t taken in in the first place”

    The reason so many people were upset that Zimmerman wasn’t arrested is that Martin was black, and Zimmerman was (believed to be) white. Full stop, that’s it. Had the races been reversed, you never would have heard about this case, and Millman damned well knows it.

  6. Toddy Cat says:

    “The reason we have a criminal justice system is precisely to remove the felt need for private justice’

    No, dumbass, the reason we have a justice system is to administer JUSTICE, not to diminish the “felt need” for anything. Holy crap, did a sentient human being really write this?

  7. Taggart says:

    Foseti touches on this, but I’m really curious about the manslaughter v. murder idea. I really do wonder why the state went in the direction of murder. If you throw a serious charge at the Z-man it will temporarily settle the race based crowd, but the prosecution (assuming they don’t have any groundbreaking evidence we aren’t aware of), has to know it’s less likely that Zimmerman get’s a guilty verdict (assuming the jury has a reasonable makeup). So are they settling the crowd now knowing that they’ve made it more likely that Zimmerman goes free? If they’d charged him with manslaughter the same crowd would have complained that it wasn’t murder, so it’s largely lose/lose for them anyway. But at least this way Zimmerman will have the line “who was acquitted in the murder of Trayvon Martin” written after his name for the rest of his life.

  8. Bill says:

    If the problem is that Sharpton et al are attempting to incite race riots and that they have succeeded in inciting a number of mini race riots, some involving serious injury and death, then why is the solution to charge the apparently innocent Zimmerman with a crime? Would not it make more sense to charge Sharption et al with incitement to riot and felony murder? And to bring RICO prosecutions against their organizations? It’s not as if paying the Danegeld this one time is going to, you know, rid us of the Dane.

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