While the controversy over the killing of Trayvon Martin largely skirted partisan politics in its first month, some conservative media outlets apparently saw an opportunity in the case and have spent the latter part of the week alternately smearing Martin, defending Zimmerman, or screaming about the dangers of viewing the case through a racial lens.
The conservative Daily Caller, a purportedly reported and fact-based news outlet, published parts of Martin’s life on social media, but only “selected [items that] reinforce the argument that the victim of the fatal shooting was a menacing figure who might plausibly have been mistaken for a criminal,” the New York Times’ Robert Mackey noted. They skipped over pictures from prom night or of Martin’s friends, cherry-picking shots of Martin flipping the bird or wearing fake gold teeth.
Former Republican congressman and MSNBC host Joe Scarborough called the posthumous vilification of Martin “beneath contempt” and “disgusting.” “I guess it’s because the President actually said something to comfort the parents, and I guess they just can’t handle that,” he said this morning.
Meanwhile, the Daily Caller did their best to defend Zimmerman’s account that Martin had beat him up, even when new surveillance footage cast doubt on that claim. But perhaps one shouldn’t expect better from an outlet whose top editors stood by a blatantly false report it published last year.
At the late Andrew Breitbart’s website attacked Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL) for wearing a hoodie on the House floor in solidarity with Trayvon, writing a cynical story today headlined, “HOODIE-WEARING GUNMEN KILL 1, WOUND 5 IN BOBBY RUSH’S CHICAGO DISTRICT.”
On Fox News, host Sean Hannity and conservative media critic Brent Bozell, like many in the conservative echo chamber, have dwelled on the fact that the fringe New Black Panthers, who have been condemned by everyone, offered a “bounty” on Zimmerman’s head. And Hannity and Bozell found the real scandal here — that NBC News edited a 911 tape in a way that portrayed Zimmerman in a poor light.
Overall, the message seems to be, as Fox contributor Tamara Holder told Hannity: “The blacks are also making this more of a racial issue than it should be.” Watch it: