The cable news media is overreaching in their treatment of the February killing of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman in Florida.
The tragic incident has given broadcasters from the right leaning Fox network and those hosting programs on the left focused MSNBC an opportunity to push their own political ideology. In doing so, they are distorting the issues to the point where a fair trial, should it come to that, will be nearly impossible.
MSNBC is spending countless hours pushing for an arrest of Zimmerman, and an elimination of the so-called “Stand-Your-Ground,” law under which he allegedly seeks protection for shooting Martin
Of course, MSNBC's Rev. Al Sharpton has pulled together the usual suspects to allege that race is behind the failure to arrest Zimmerman immediately after the shooting and contending that more black people are killed under the Stand-Your Ground-law than other races.
Conservative Bill O'Reilly, of Fox News Channel, is questioning the innocence of Martin, and spends hours criticizing his rival hosts on MSNBC for their coverage. He is doing this while also race baiting Oprah Winfrey who questioned the delay in the arrest of Zimmerman.
Geraldo Rivera, on O'Reilly's show, put part of the blame for the shooting on the hood that Martin was wearing when killed, and the wearing of upturned “hoodies,” as indicators of youths with criminal intents.
Keeping the controversy alive on cable news has prompted race-related demonstrations in numerous cities which are used by the cable networks to keep their political views alive and ratings high.
The shooting should be covered responsibility. That means reporting on the event, keeping up and reporting on the investigative progress, and keeping tabs on events as they unfold in court – if it comes to that. Responsible reporters avoid the temptation to sensationalize at the expense of all those directly involved in the tragedy.
There are legitimate questions concerning the Stand-Your-Ground law and its cousin the “Castle” law. Essentially, these laws allow the killing of another for protection of property or when an individual “feels” threatened. The “Castle” law, in particular, revives the adage that “if you kill someone be sure to drag their body onto your property.”
For decades, deadly force was unjustified to protect property, nor was it justified when a potential victim had a clear way to retreat from the danger.
If anything good is to come out of all this irresponsible opining and the tragedy itself, let it be an overturn of the “Stand-Your-Ground” and the “Castle” statues that make the killing of human beings a potential sport.