Last Friday Mark O’Mara, defense attorney who represented George Zimmerman in the recently concluded trial, responded on his blog to televised remarks made by “Maddy”, Juror B-29, during an interview with ABC’s Robin Roberts. Juror B-29 told Roberts that despite voting to acquit him, she thought Zimmerman was guilty.
Evidently unaware of the heavy editing that had been done to spin the interview a certain way, O’Mara blogged, “When Robin Roberts asks Juror B-29 if she stands by her decision, she says, ‘I stand by my decision because of the law. If I stand by my decision because of my heart, he would have been guilty.’ While that decision of guilt would have been an emotional one, it would not have been a legal one. We applaud her ability to maintain the distinction.”
But what O’Mara couldn’t know at the time was that ABC has since been shown to have selectively edited the taped interview. According to investigative bloggers at The Conservative Treehouse (see last week’s column), “ABC has been shown time and time again to be biased in their use of new stories to highlight political agendas. Some of the most famous recent examples come from their coverage of the George Zimmerman case.”
Attorney O’Mara turned to social media last year out of necessity to quickly dispel misinformation and keep the public informed about the Zimmerman trial.
Besides setting the record straight, the attorney’s website and blog also discredited and eliminated fraudulent websites and social profiles, and continues to discourage speculation while providing a voice for George Zimmerman and raising funds for his defense expenses.
O’Mara wasn’t off the mark about social media’s impact and influence. As soon as she came out of the relative anonymity of a sequestered jury, juror B-29’s remarks launched a Twitter storm castigating ABC, this time for again identifying someone by their race.
“Zimmerman is a white Hispanic. B29 is a non-white Puerto Rican. Media are morons,” tweeted one observer.
Late last Friday, Zimmerman’s brother Robert jumped into the Twitter fray, criticizing CNN as well: “More ‘lame-stream’ media manipulation”, he wrote, pointing to a report at The Blaze that quoted a Slate article accusing ABC of deceptively editing Juror B-29’s controversial interview to manipulate the statement “George Zimmerman got away with murder.”
Robert Zimmerman also tweeted that it’s “about holding media accountable“: “I’m Robert Zimmerman JR, and THIS is CNN – http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Journalism/2013/07/25/How-CNN-Disgraced-Itself-more-than-any-other-news-outlet.”
So if you’re a blogger, fuggedaboudit
While many bloggers are doing the investigative digging and reporting that corporate media no longer does, both Congress and the Justice Department’s attempts to define “journalist” threatens to exclude bloggers. The Electronic Freedom Foundation reports that congressional lawmakers are studying the issue and say it’s not looking good for bloggers, freelancers and other non-salaried journalists.
“On July 12,” EFF reports, “the Justice Department released its new guidelines on investigations involving the news media in the wake of the fallout from the leak scandals involving the monitoring of AP and Fox News reporters. While the guidelines certainly provide much-needed protections for establishment journalists, as independent journalist Marcy Wheeler explained, the DOJ’s interpretation of who is a ‘member of the news media’ is dramatically narrower than the definition provided in the Privacy Protection Act and effectively excludes bloggers and freelancers from protection.”
EFF reports that when Congress introduced federal shield bills in May, ironically named the “Free Flow of Information Act of 2013,” it would “exclude bloggers, freelancers and other non-salaried journalists from protection because they are not included within the bills’ narrow definition of who qualifies as a journalist.”
EFF predicts that if these bills – which not surprisingly have the support of the White House – pass without change, Congress will have effectively created two tiers of journalists: the institutional press licensed by the government and everyone else.
In last week’s column, we told you how Google could surreptitiously tilt an election. As a follow up to that, we were alerted by a reader who tipped us off to a video made exclusively available to Surfin’ Safari. The three-and-a-half-minute video exposes Google’s capabilities, using recent political scandals to illustrate. The presentation is made all the more eerie in light of Obama’s renewed commitment to make government more like Google:
Sarah Palin introduces her Redneck Whiteboard
When former Alaska Governor and vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin was interviewed by Greta Van Susteren on her program last Friday night, Palin said the "elites, the brainiacs" in the Republican party prevented her from talking during the 2008 campaign about then-presidential candidate Obama's longtime associations with the radical Black Liberationist Rev. Jeremiah Wright and Weather Underground terrorist Bill Ayers. She said the elites imposed the gag order because "they were afraid the media would eat us alive if we brought up those things."
With that, the Twittersphere erupted.
During the interview, Palin held up a paper she called her "Redneck White Board," a deliberate jab at GOP establishment strategist Karl Rove's use of the visual aid. On it she had scrawled a list of Obama's scandals, setting off another twittering convulsion with tweets like this one:
It's not the cover of the Rolling Stone, but ...
Welcome to Weinerville, where "Carlos Danger" makes the cover of New Yorker magazine. Oy.