Monday, July 15, 2013

Trial by Media, or How to Make Big Bucks

My first question about the trial of George Zimmerman, for the murder of Trayvon Martin, is this: How did it become national news? And I ask the same question about the trial of Casey Anthony, charged with the death of her daughter Caylee. Why would somebody in say, North Dakota, have any interest at all in these cases?

The answer to that question is simple. It's all about money. The news media pushed these stories in just the right ways to get people fired up. All they had to do was play the right cards. In the Anthony case, the media emphasized the abuse and death of a little child. Guaranteed to rile up the public. In the Zimmerman case it was especially easy. They had two angles of attack built into the one victim: Race and age in one package.

Tell the opening stories with the right twist, and TV viewership was in the bag. With increased numbers of viewers, advertising prices go up, and advertisers are hungry to get their products in front of consumers. When interest starts to wane, they pull in experts to stir up a ton of "what if" situations. Opinions are aired from people who have no connection to the story, and don't know anything about the real facts. Twitter hash tags are generated for people to comment on. The news media holds their own trial, with no witnesses and no evidence. The only real trial information people get comes from second-hand outside watchers.

When it comes time for the jury to deliberate, nothing of what they are instructed by the judge is broadcast or explained. People supporting opposite sides of the case are lined up in protest outside the courts. And the news media is right there, milking it for every bit they can get. They cry all the way to the bank from the millions in advertising dollars the story has generated. The only thing better would be if the demonstrators would get into a physical fight, and the police would have to pull out tear gas canisters. Then the media really wins.

Of course, the media will declare that it's not about money at all. That's when you know for sure that it's all about the money.

Finally, when the verdict comes through, the media pushes even further. Somebody is unhappy with the result. Hopefully some poor lady with little children who will cry for the cameras about how she's afraid for their future. Keep pushing those money-making buttons!

The worst part is, American justice always ends up being branded as horrible and evil.

In Zimmerman's trial, the media worked real hard to keep the race issue alive. But Zimmerman registers as Hispanic. His mother's side is from Peru. He has black relatives. Kind of hard to pin racial prejudice on somebody like that. But the media succeeded. Of course, they were sure to show the protesters crying for justice for Trayvon, and holding banners about racial profiling.

TV cameras found the poor young mother they wanted. She has to warn her children not to wear hoodies, lest they be racially profiled. But if you pay attention, you notice just as many white hoodlums wearing hoodies. A hoodie isn't a black culture thing. It's an easy way to hide your face from security cameras. Up until the end of the trial, the media was careful not to show Trayvon's own social networking pictures, showing himself using drugs. They didn't publish his Twitter comments about beating up other people. Just like they kept insisting that Zimmerman is white, that he was a cop wannabe, and that he had prior assault charges.

I'm not defending either side of the case. I'm trying to get you to understand that the media twists it all in favor of their profits. Neither Zimmerman nor Martin were what the media painted them to be. The news was consistently bent for one purpose, to keep people glued to the news coverage. And it worked.

Zimmerman was found "not guilty." That does not mean "innocent." What it means is that the jury could not be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that Zimmerman committed second-degree murder as it is spelled out in the law books.

The key phrase there is "reasonable doubt." I watched the news focus on people outside the court who cried about how the justice system has failed, how it is flawed, how it's evil and needs to be changed. But anybody with a brain knows that if any of those complainers found themselves on trial, they would be begging and praying for "reasonable doubt." They would be praising a God they don't know, if they got it,

On that note, I saw what looked like one, and only one, Christian witness in this whole story. That was Trayvon's mother, and her confirming God's control in the whole situation. The media didn't dwell on her for long, though.

Reasonable doubt is what sets the American justice system apart from the rest of the world. It's there to help prevent innocent people from being punished. Yes, some innocent people find themselves in prison. But not near as many as in other countries. Yes, many guilty people get acquitted. That's a price we pay, and we should be happy to pay it. It's an overused saying, but very true: If anyone thinks there's a better system in the world, they're welcome to move out. I don't see any lines forming.

George Zimmerman was acquitted by a jury. By our country's Constitution, he has the right to be treated as if nothing happened. He has the right to live at home in peace, have a job, raise his family. The same goes for Casey Anthony. What's sad is, people will never let them enjoy that right. Thanks to the news media, the general public has branded them as criminals who got away with it. Well, what if Zimmerman really was defending himself? What if Caylee Anthony was killed by somebody outside the family? Doesn't matter. Thanks to the news media, people hate them. And the media love this, because that means more stories for the future, more money for their investors.

To the media industry, money is way more important than people's lives. They create people who hate instead of love, who judge rather than forgive. People beg for something to believe in, and hunger for someone who will overlook their faults. Yet so few see the one institution in the world, and the one Person, that offers exactly what they're looking for.

More Stuph

stuff:  (/stəf/, Noun)
Matter, material, articles, or activities of an indeterminate kind that are being referred to, indicated, or implied.

stuph:  (/stəf/, Noun)
See "stuff" above. Misspelled intentionally to indicate a different point of view, and hopefully catch attention.

Here is the "B-Side" of the Haggard Mind. For those born since CD's became the norm for recorded music, I'll have to explain. Way back in olden days, before music came on CD's, music was recorded on cassette tape. It was... well.... Hmmm.....

Look at the back of your driver's license or a credit card. See that brown strip? Picture that removed from the card, about a quarter-inch wide and  a hundred feet long, rolled up between two little plastic spools in a plastic case. That way, it could hold a lot more than your card info. It could actually hold a whole album of music. Starting in the late 1970's and up into the 1990's, that's how we got our music. See

But I'm talking about even more ancient times.

Before then, we put our music on thin vinyl discs called "records" that looked like CD's, except instead of reflecting pretty colors there was a fine, spiral groove that wound around and around the disc from the outside toward the middle. In that groove were little bumps. The disc was placed on a turntable to spin it, and a needle was placed in the groove. As the record turned, the bumps would make the needle vibrate to make the music. Go learn somethig. See

These records came in two sizes. The big size would spin 33-1/3 times per minute, and could hold a half-dozen or more songs. The small size had a bigger hole in the middle (nobody knows why), and it was spun at 45 turns per minute. It could only hold one song, and was called a "single." These records had music on both sides. The big ones could hold a dozen or more songs that way, and were called "LP's," for "long playing." The small ones held two songs, one on a side, but they were still called "singles" instead of "doubles." Go figure.

Anyway, on a single, there was an "A-side" and a "B-side." The A-Side had the hit that everybody was supposed to listen to. The B-side was another unimportant song that nobody was supposed to pay attention to. Funny thing, though-- Sometimes the song on the B-side was actually better.

Anyway anyway, Haggard Stuph is my B-side blog. Here I can address political, personal, cultural stuph like any American can. My hobbies will show up from time to time. (Like the background image. Boating and fishing. Oh, yeah.) Of course, this stuph will be affected by the Haggard Mind. It is connected, after all. Not necessarily spiritual content, but spiritually informed.

(I didn't make up the word "stuph." Blame that on my old friend "Two LL's" David Willson.)