I was quoted in the ‘Miami Herald’ (out of context, of course)
Co-incidentally (or not), as I was working on my last post about the nature of journalistic reporting as not-evidence (not that it should be, even if it could, which it can’t…), an article on “amateur sleuths” blogging about the George Zimmerman – Trayvon Martin shooting appeared in the Miami Herald — in which I was quoted!
So here’s my little part of the article:
“You have a CSI phenomenon, where people think you can take a blurry video, focus it and find the truth,” said a blogger who goes by “whonoze.”
“On the other hand there are indisputable facts: the non-emergency call, Google maps and a clock. Stick those things together. People were not doing that, and were coming up with scenarios that were physically impossible.”
Not very clear what i mean there, IMHO. I talked to the reporter, Frances Robles for like over 2 hours. That got condensed in the article down to the 55 words above. I knew something like that would happen and I’m not surprised. (FWIW, Robles seemed nice, reasonable, and disposed to the healthy skepticism toward actors in this case that old-school journalists are supposed to affect.) My quotes do appear out of context, though (which may be Robles’ construction, or the result of snips made by her editor), so I thought I should explain here more precisely what I was trying to talk about.
The first sentence is a reference to the false belief, bolstered by TV and movie fictions, that low-quality recording can be ‘enhanced’ to reveal previously hidden ‘truths.’ In the martin/Zimmerman case this is evidenced most paradigmatically by the many interpretations of the surveillance vid of GZ arriving at SPD — all of said interpretations, seeming to either support GZ or undercut him, basically being full of bull puckey.
The second sentence refers not so much to the temporal impossibilities of squaring GZ’s statements and re-enactment with the NEN call, but to the early media coverage of the “no arrest scandal” that either implied GZ directly chased TM down instigated a confrontation and shot him, or explicitly presented that sort of scenario: for example a ‘walk-through’ created by Joy Anne Reid on theGrio.com, and used on a couple MSNBC shows.
The ‘people’ I was referring to as not mining the physical evidence for the incontrovertible facts that are there were the mainstream press. I was expressing my disappointment that the press did not interrogate that evidence in a way that would led to more accurate reporting. Frances’ reply to this was basically, “that’s not my job.” And, as my previous post indicates, I know that to be true. So my remark quoted n the article was more along the lines of that post here: a critique of institutional values and standard practices, not a charge of negligence aimed at any specific reporter or media outlet.
It would be a good thing for society, democracy, yadda yadda, if news media did a lot more investigative reporting on all kinds of things. That’s not going to happen because news is a business, and a struggling one at that, and investigative digging doesn’t help the bottom line. (Where have you gone, I. F. Stone?)
That’s how I got started in this whole thing. I was so PO’ed the media couldn’t put a clock on the NEN call, I did it myself. I was so PO’ed the media couldn’t report which 911 call came in when, i figured it out myself. I was so PO’ed they couldn’t cross-check the time factors established by these calls with the space factors revealed by a Google satellite view of The Retreat, I did it myself.
Note to Jose Baez: I am old, and kind of a shut-in, but I’m male and I only have one cat. She weighs over 17 pounds, a bit chubby but mainly just huge. I can’t imagine dealing with nine of her kind. There’d be no place to step on the floor without stomping on sleeping cat. And the cat hair… I can only shudder.