Mike Wallace is dead.Growing up, I’d spend the summer away from Dubai at my grandparents’ home in Louisiana. Sunday nights were back to back Murder She Wrote and 60 Minutes.Many conservatives would accuse Mike Wallace and 60 Minutes of a liberal view point and shading stories to match their world view. Growing up, 60 Minutes was, to me, journalism done right. They asked questions and got answers and highlighted problems and, though sometimes falling short of the goal, tried not to put themselves in the story.I’d like to think that if Mike Wallace were able in his latter days, he’d be kicking the asses of most of the journalists who have dared weigh in on the Trayvon Martin killing for destroying the integrity of a tragic story in the name of agenda journalism.Just about every single network and journalist who has touched on the Trayvon Martin matter should be deeply and terribly ashamed of themselves. I am disgusted by just how badly the media has botched the handling of a very real tragedy.
What we know is that Trayvon Martin was killed.We know that the 911 operator told George Zimmernan not to follow Trayvon Martin, but he did anyway.We know, from Trayvon Martin’s girlfriend, that Trayvon was being following and a scuffle happened.We know from an eyewitness that Trayvon Martin was on top of George Zimmerman beating up George Zimmerman.We know from that same eyewitness that George Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin.We know that for a month, until outrage built, the police did nothing and treated this case as a matter of self-defense under Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” statute.This whole sordid story is a tragedy in and of itself.But then there is the other tragedy.We know that journalists spent a good bit of time trying to decide if George Zimmerman said “punks” or a racial slur on a 911 tape.We know that journalists tried to prove that George Zimmerman had no lacerations on the back of his neck and certainly did not look like he’d been beaten up contrary to the eye witness and others there that night.We know that journalists edited the tape of George Zimmerman’s 911 call to make it sound like Zimmerman was concerned because Trayvon Martin was black.We know journalists have repeated used old photographs of Trayvon Martin that give him a more youthful, innocent appearance while using George Zimmerman’s mugshot.We know that journalists first ran out the door with “white on black crime” as a headline only to have to walk it back when the white guy appeared a bit too hispanic to keep up that pretense.We know that an NBC personality went on CNN with a CNN personality and had the audacity to attack the CNN personality for daring to suggest there might be more than one side to the story.Each of these acts is troubling.Instead of the facts, journalists decided to do what they do in pretty much every story these days — make it a victim vs. victimizer story. They sensationalized parts of the story, dramatized parts of the story, and fictionalized parts of the story. Instead of letting the facts decide the winner and loser, the journalists decided who would win and who would lose the story. In one clear attempt when a journalist, Piers Morgan of CNN, tried to actually suggest there might be a larger story, an NBC personality of the network that edited a 911 tape to make it look even more damning, was offended at the very thought of there being a bigger story.Journalists believe that even though we have our nation’s first black President we still have all sorts of racial problems in this country. And with the Trayvon Martin story, instead of trying to be a force for good in honestly resolving those issues, the journalistic community has poured salt on the wounds.Trayvon Martin died a tragic death. There are many questions that should be answered. But in trying to help answer those questions, the media has allowed itself to become part of the story. The journalists involved should all be ashamed of their conduct.