In the Quest For Attention on the Internet, Media Gets Irresponsible on Trayvon Martin Shooting

Mar 20, 2012
7:23 pm

There is journalism and there is Internet journalism. Internet journalism is quick, and fluid, and reactive. You would think that Internet journalists would still be journalists, but in the quest to get the first online scoop to go viral, the millions of pages out there will go and grab the story, questions be dammed. As long as you have a theory or an unconfirmed report, go ahead and publish it without actual reporting or actual sourcing.

Today's latest example is the release of the 911 calls that George Zimmerman made the night that Trayvon Martin was shot. The story is tragic and the story will not go away. In the last 24 hours, the US Justice Department and the FBI will now investigate the case and a Florida grand jury will no be convened. That is big news, and confirms that the national outrage about this tragic shooting has caused the government to act. However, instead of looking at those developments, the Internet media would rather talk about where Zimmerman said "f-ing c–n" on a 911 audio that is hard to hear and decipher.

Yet leave it to the Internet media to raise this important issue by asking if Zimmerman could have possibly said it. The reason? Well, this could be a hate crime and we the media want to raise the issue and plant the fact that Zimmerman's actions were racially motivated. Now, don't get us wrong, Zimmerman's actions and the fact that the local Sanford police did not arrest him is an outrage. And now steps are being taken to fix those very tragic mistakes. Nevertheless, the audio is not definitive and unless you get Zimmerman to admit it under oath or there is a witness who heard that remark or ask the 911 operator if he or she heard the remark, let's all be responsible journalists and focus on the facts of the case.

So, to the Young Turks and other pages like Mediate, stop it. Stop it now. Kill your story. Be better journalists.

There is no real proof that Zimmerman tossed a racial slur. Of course, if the FBI is on the case, they will eventually be able to prove it right or wrong, since the current audio is hard to hear and make out. We played the audio several times, and heard "f-ing punks" or "f-ing punk" but we didn't hear "f-ing c–." In the meantime, does it even matter? Don't you think we should focus more on Martin's death and how we as a country can find the real answers behind this?

This is what we recorded as is. We hear "f-ing punks." And we aren't the only ones. This report comes out of Orlando:

Throughout the day, people on social media websites began reporting that they heard the racial slur; however, others said they don't believe that it was an offensive comment. WFTV had an audio expert listen to the call, and determined that the word said was "punks."

In addition, major outlets like ABC news are saying that Zinmmerman made a "possible racial slur," but there is no confirmation of what he said from anyone involve in the investigation, although local police told ABC News that they overlooked that part of the audio.