Sunday, April 15, 2012

Kelly weighs in on Zimmerman

Strangely, although I was able to buy a Post-Gazette Sunday "Early Edition" at 8:30am yesterday morning, Jack Kelly's column has not made it to the PG web edition at of 9:50am on Sunday morning. So no link yet (maybe later).

Today Jack Kelly declares his man love for Rick Santorum, and describes the steamy weekend they had in ... what, your print edition doesn't have that column? Well, show me a link ...

Naw, today Jack Kelly veers away from racist economics and returns to racist sociology, talking about how the media, in talking about George Zimmerman, engaged in a "Rush to Judgment" (see, this is where there would be a link, since "Rush to Judgment" is the title of Kelly's column).

This is something of a complicated topic. It would be impossible to deny that there has been a lot of attention paid to this topic, one crime out of hundreds of thousands. Yet, what my girlfriend pointed out to me when I mentioned Kelly's line of thought here, is that without all that media attention, Zimmerman would not have been arrested. Probably that is the result Kelly would have wanted. On a recent Bill Maher, a conservative (woman, I forget who) was complaining that Zimmerman was/is being convicted by liberals without having a day in court, to which Van Jones (who was also on) plaintively said "That's what we want, Zimmerman in court".

Of course, that's not all Kelly said. One issue he raised was a surveillance tape from the police station when Zimmerman was brought in for questioning on the day Martin was shot. I saw a brief version on the Maher show, and first of all, you certainly see Zimmerman from the front. One of Zimmerman's claims is that Martin punched him in the nose. Well, there was no sign of blood on Zimmerman from the front. Even if the paramedic's cleaned him up, it seems likely his shirt would have shown some blood, yet there was none I could see. Perhaps the paramedics or cops gave Zimmerman a clean shirt ... but why would the cops or paramedics have a spare shirt? How far do we have to stretch the bounds of credibility?

Now, Kelly claims there is a longer version that shows injuries to that back of Zimmerman's head, supporting his claim that Trayvon Martin had been slamming Zimmerman's head to the ground (perhaps sidewalk pavement). Now, once again, my girlfriend has been paying a lot of attention to this issue, and just recently has had the time to search on the internet. She says she saw a longer version of the police tape, and she disagrees with what Kelly says. Given that Zimmerman claimed a nose injury for which no evidence was shown on the tape, and the explanation for why there is no sign is tortured and far fetched, it calls Kelly's statement into doubt.

On another point Kelly raises, there is, first, the fact that Zimmerman called 911 so often that the police had him call some other number to report "crimes", to keep him from clogging the 911 line. So he called the number on the fateful day, and talked to an operator. Kelly details how there is the actual version of the call, that somehow shows Zimmerman is not being racist, compared to an edited soundbite that was replayed by the media countless times. I disagree, I think the longer version shows the same racism as the shorter version, it actually adds American stereotypes about black crime. For example, Zimmerman asserts (at the time) Martin "looks like he is up to no good, or on drugs or something. It's raining and he is just walking around, looking around".

And by the way, let's not forget what Kelly doesn't mention, that Zimmerman tells the police operator that he is following Martin, to which the operator replies "we don't need you to do that". Zimmerman did anyway, carrying a gun, which, especially in light of what then transpired, I think provides ample evidence to support a charge (if not conviction) of reckless endangerment.

There is also apparently a (and pardon the word, I am quoting) "coon" remark, which I don't know much about. I could easily find out, but I haven't been motivated to do so. So apparently this remark is on tape (perhaps Zimmerman was still talking to the police operator). Kelly claims what is actually said is "It is (expletive(fucking?)) cold". Was Zimmerman focused on Trayvon Martin or on the weather?

Kelly also mentions an incident where a black Sanford homeless man is killed by the son of a cop, and that Zimmerman is "foremost" aomng those calling for justice. Citation? No no, we are just supposed to accept Kelly's word for it.

But the final straw(s) for me are how Kelly ends his column. As an example of a rush to judgment, Kelly brings up the Duke lacrosse case, and then brings up Dan Rather's story about letters to get Dubya Bush into the Texas Air National Guard as example of what should happen to reporters who quote facts they (Kelly would say) they know are untrue. Kelly never mentions what should happen to columnists who selectively present facts, who quote what are deliberate lies.

But what is most important to me is that Kelly refuses to discuss the Martin/Zimmerman case on its own merits, and instead raises these two Republican dog whistle issues. When Democrats/liberals say that the current bad economy was caused by events that occurred on George W Bush's watch, Republicans/conservatives ask when it will become Obama's economy and for Democrats/liberals to stop bringing up ancient history. Yet Duke Lacrosse was apparently from 2006 and the Rather thing from 2004.

Democrats are not models of consistency and Obama, as President has done things which should be grave crimes. Yet Republicans/conservatives, in a depressing race to the bottom, and as exemplified in part by Jack Kelly's various columns, continue to show how they would (as they did from 2000 to 2008, and particularly from January 2003 to December 2006) make things so much worse. Jack Kelly shows with his dissembling about the Martin/Zimmerman issue/case what sort of commitment to the truth he has.

Why does the PG allow him to present the distorted and deceptive conservative perspective?

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