How the media portrayed Trayvon Martin - Essay Example

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He was shot by George Zimmerman, a Hispanic-American man, aged 28 years. George was the security coordinator at the gated community, where…
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How the media portrayed Trayvon Martin
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How the media portrayed Trayvon Martin Trayvon Martin was a 17-year old African-American boy, who was shot dead during the night of 26th February 2012, at Sanford in Florida. He was shot by George Zimmerman, a Hispanic-American man, aged 28 years. George was the security coordinator at the gated community, where Trayvon was temporarily living. Before the shooting, Zimmerman had reported to the Sanford police that he had spotted Trayvon walking inside the gated community, and reported that he was behaving. According to police reports, Trayvon did not commit any criminal event before the shooting. Zimmerman reported that he shot him after Trayvon attacked him, and had done it in self defense. He was not charged for shooting Trayvon after the police concluded that there was no evidence demonstrating that the reports he had given were false. This paper will explore the portrayal of Trayvon by the media, explaining his case, and whether he deserved such portrayal.
Mandel reports that immediately after the shooting of Trayvon, members of public and the media developed a narrative explaining why Zimmerman had killed the unarmed teenager, during the night of 26th February (1). The account reported that he had pursued the teenager and killed him in a brutal manner, due to Trayvon’s race. After the incidence, the media’s portrayal of Trayvon was that he was a young, innocent teenager who was victimized and killed in cold blood, for no good reason or cause. The media reported that the security guard had reported the questionable behavior of the teenager, which was supported by the audio of Zimmerman’s report to the police over 9-1-1. The audio report indicated that he suspected Trayvon, simply because he was an African American boy, which indicated that the case was largely one of racial violence. The audio recording of Zimmerman’s call, as given by NBC, reported, “Trayvon looked as if he was out to do something wrong, and added that he looked black (Mandel).” The reports demonstrating Trayvon’s innocence were compounded by ABC’s release of video footage during the arrest of Zimmerman, claiming that, as he reported to the police – he did not have any injuries on his body. That report discredited the report that Trayvon had slammed Zimmerman’s head against the sidewalks.
Later, ABC reported that they had edited the videos, eliminating the images showing Zimmerman walking to the police station, with fresh blood and wounds on his head. This time, different from earlier reports – like NBC and CNN – they reported that Trayvon attacked Zimmerman, during the confrontation that led to the shooting (N.A). The sentinel newspaper reported that prior to the shooting; Trayvon had hit the security guard repeatedly, slamming his head against the sidewalks – and throughout the ordeal, he had the gun with him (Mandel). The sentinel, further, reported that Zimmerman was left battered and bloody, although the first officer to report at the site did not account for any injuries inflicted on Zimmerman, in the police report (N.A). The new account from the media sought to change their portrayal of Trayvon as a teenager who was subjected to victimization due to his race. This time, the media sought to present the worst image of Trayvon, so as to demonstrate that the security guard shot him as he was a threat to him and to the neighborhood (N.A).
Runner12 reported that the media attempted to tamper with video and audio reports so that they could demonstrate the innocence of Trayvon, and communicate that it was a case of racial violence. However, they later changed positions and were on the side of Zimmerman as they reported the tainted past of Trayvon, accounting that he had a past of drug abuse, he had problems at school, and that his lifestyle – including his gold-teeth – did not point to an innocent teenager like initial accounts reported him to be (Mandel). This time, media reports changed the outlook of the public, to the extent that they viewed Zimmerman as a non-guilty person. Some people felt that Trayvon had only eliminated a threat to security (Runner12). The different media reports portrayed Trayvon as an innocent teenager, whose death was caused by racial violence. To uphold the view that he was innocent, the media went as far as editing audio and video accounts in order to portray his best side (Sheffield).
However, the same media, changed sides and started portraying Trayvon as the guilty one, releasing the actual accounts of the injuries he had caused on Zimmerman (Martinez). The media, further supported their negative portrayal of Trayvon, by cross-checking his past, releasing accounts that he had a history of drug abuse and that he had problems at school. Right from the start, the media reported Trayvons innocence for their own interests, including that they wanted to portray a negative image of Zimmerman. The facts from the case show that Trayvon deserved the negative portrayal because all facts demonstrate that Zimmerman was compelled to shoot him, after getting bartered (Martinez).
Trayvon Martin was shot dead by Zimmerman, and media reports did all they could to demonstrate that he had been wrongfully shot. However, after some time, they changed the accounts, reporting that he had bartered Zimmerman, which compelled him to shoot him. Following the different accounts, facts point to the fact that Trayvon was on the wrong side, which is evidenced by the injuries inflicted on Zimmerman. This shows that he deserved to be portrayed negatively because he had engaged violence, which had led to his shooting.
Works Cited
Mandel, Bethany. “Trayvon Martin Case Highlights Why Americans Distrust Media.” Commentary, 04 May 2012. Web. 25 April 2013.
Martinez, Michael. “George Zimmerman sues NBC Universal over edited 911 call.” CNN, 2012. Web. 25 April 2013.
N.A. “Blaming The Victim: Media Portrays Trayvon Martin As Thug Who Deserved To Die.” Sanda Rose, 27 March 2012. Web. 25 April 2013.
Runner12. “Lessons Learned From The Trayvon Martin Case.” Red State, 25 April 2012. Web. 25 April 2013.
Sheffield, Mathew. “NBC News President: Network Should Probably Apologize On-Air for Repeatedly Running Fake Zimmerman Clip.” NewsBusters, 2012. Web. 25 April 2013.
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