The Zimmerman verdict is an outrage, some would say. I’m not so sure.
No, really. I have no idea. All I know about Zimmerman I learned from the popular media.1I didn’t sit in the jury box and hear what the jury heard, and only what the jury heard.
Maybe a little background is in order.
I did criminal defense and had the occasion of being involved in a “high profile” case. The local TV, radio, and newspaper media all jumped on the case. They interviewed one side2Not surprising, as the defense attorneys advised our clients not to talk to the media. Which the media all knew. and created a story that sounded good. And sold papers. And ads.
Their story had a great narrative with clear good guys, bad guys, and a tragic plot. But that’s all it was — a story.
It wasn’t true.
When the verdicts were announced, the public was outraged. How could the jury have been so stupid?
It was a long time before a local, independent newspaper reported the real story. By then, no one cared. Everyone had moved on to the next outrage.
Times have changed. The professional media doesn’t have the same lock on the news market it once had. But the desire to tell a good story and confirmation bias still exist. Those supposed independent news sources have the same problem.
- 1I didn’t sit in the jury box and hear what the jury heard, and only what the jury heard.
- 2Not surprising, as the defense attorneys advised our clients not to talk to the media. Which the media all knew.