Accuracy in Media

Last night on MSNBC’s Hardball, during a segment on the media coverage of the Trayvon Martin case, MSNBC contributor and Washington Post editorial board member Jonathan Capehart said that his faith in the justice system—which was suffering—has been restored now that Florida has decided to prosecute George Zimmerman.

Matthews: But how do we get to the actual justice of this case, separated and divorced from our larger attitudes and histories?

Capehart: Right. Well, you know,  that’s what I’ve tried to do after my initial piece just talking about what it’s like to be an African-American man and living with the burden of other people’s suspicions about me. And after having written that, I then focused in on the facts of this case as we knew them, as they came trickling out. And I think as long as people focus on the facts of this case, they will find their way—we will all find our way—to whatever the truth is as we can ascertain it at this point. But I do think, in the piece that I just wrote, my faith in the justice system was really suffering as a result of this case. But now, as a result of Angela Corey, it’s been restored.

It was suffering because he and other liberals, black and white, saw this case as a hate crime by a “white” man, even though Zimmerman’s mother is from Peru, and thus he is Hispanic.

But that suffering has now turned to satisfaction as even Chris Matthews admitted earlier in the segment that the protests against Zimmerman did influence the decision to prosecute him, despite statements to the contrary from special prosecutor Angela Corey.

In reality, though, what Capehart and his fellow liberals have done is to have tried this case in the court of public opinion and forced the state of Florida to agree to prosecute Zimmerman under public and media pressure.

Capehart’s faith in the justice system may have been restored, but it may have been accomplished only by subverting the very system that helps keep him safe.

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