SANFORD, Florida (Isabelle Zehnder reporting) – Fox News Bill O’Reilly said Friday that Florida teen, Trayvon Martin’s death is being exploited by media, that media is, in turn, inciting violence, and even Oprah Winfrey isn’t being responsible or fair in her assessments of the case.
O’Reilly said during a Fox News Talking Points segment that media is not backing off in trying the Trayvon Martin case on television.
“Many pundits are demanding the 28-year-old George Zimmerman be arrested for shooting Trayvon Martin to death in Florida, and we can now add Oprah Winfrey to that list,” O’Reilly said.
Trayvon is the 17-year-old Florida teen who was shot and killed by George Zimmerman, 28, a neighborhood watch volunteer who was armed with a 9mm gun.
Trayvon was reportedly walking to his father’s fiancée’s home from a convenience store when, some say, he was pursued, shot, and killed by Zimmerman. Zimmerman claims self-defense.
The failure of police to arrest Zimmerman has spurred rallies and protests across the nation, leaks of vital information to the public, and dozens of media interviews with supporters from both sides.
The U.S. Justice Department, FBI, and State Attorney Angela Corey have taken over the investigation. A grand jury is scheduled to convene April 10.
O’Reilly criticized Oprah’s assessment of the case when she said:
“It is a tragedy and it is a shame that we’re sitting here 33 days later and there hasn’t been an arrest or questioning of actually what happened. It’s a tragedy and it is a shame and we all know it. Black people, white people, brown people, yellow people all over this country and all over the world are saying the same thing. It’s a tragedy and it’s a shame and justice needs to be served.”
Oprah’s comment that there hasn’t been questioning of what happened is, according to O’Reilly, “Absurd.” He said she is usually responsible and fair in her assessments and her intentions are mostly good – just not on this one.
He said it’s a tragedy Trayvon lost his life and that he’s angry the media has rushed to judgment in this case. However, O’Reilly said, Trayvon’s parents should be cut some slack.
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O’Reilly shared a video clip of Trayvon’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, saying:
“I believe that George Zimmerman hunted my son like an animal. He tried to detain my son, my son tried to get away. And because he could not detain my son, an altercation ensued and my son was shot and killed.”
He said Trayvon’s mother is entitled to say what she believes happened to her son, and as a grieving mother, deserves respect.
O’Reilly said, “The same thing goes for Trayvon’s father,” Tracy Martin, who said:
“I most certainly don’t know Zimmerman’s character. I don’t know his make-up but what I do know is that my son was racially profiled. I know that. The whole world knows that.”
O’Reilly agrees that the circumstantial evidence points to racial profiling by Zimmerman but that it’s not a proven fact. He said, “And that’s what’s wrong with the media in this country; no longer the facts matter. Accusations are enough to condemn folks and press wants the story and doesn’t care who gets hurt in the process”
He said allegations become front page news “no matter how flimsy they are.”
During an interview with CNN AC 360° Anderson Cooper earlier this week, similar concerns were raised pointing out that defense attorneys could use these interviews to their advantage. They noted that a person typically doesn’t say the exact same thing twice, which could bring their testimony to question should even minor bits of their story change.
O’Reilly said no media observer knows exactly what happened the night Trayvon Martin was killed. Yet, he said, “There they are bloviating all over the place exploiting the death of a young man, inciting violence against the system, awful.”
That’s one person’s opinion – others may have a completely different viewpoint on this issue – as with just about everything else in this case.
On Tuesday, the one-month mark of the shooting, HLN’s Jane Velez-Mitchell interviewed Florida Special Prosecutor, Angela Corey, who has been assigned to the investigation by Florida Governor Rick Scott – an investigation being done in tandem to an investigation by the U.S. Justice Department and the FBI – said everyone much be patient. Investigations take time, and she said she’s confident that in time the Martins’ will have answers, and the public will have answers.
Velez-Mitchell questioned Corey about a statement she made – that the “Stand Your Ground” law was going to make prosecuting this case much more difficult – and said the authors of the law said it should not apply given that the 911 operator told George Zimmerman, “You do not need to follow him [Trayvon Martin],” and Zimmerman ignored the 911 operator’s instructions
Corey said the author of this law, and others, do not know every detail of this case. She said:
“In prosecution, we must know every single fact and circumstance. And also what’s going to be relevant in a “Stand Your Ground” hearing or a trial – justifiable use of deadly force has been asserted in this case and will continue to be asserted which will make our job more difficult.
“However, we do believe that when we’re done with our investigation the family will know all of the facts and details, as will the public, but they must be patient and we ask for their diligence. We would prefer prayer rallies as opposed to protest rallies. Hold us all up in prayer, let us do our jobs. We are determined to get this done as the governor has mandated that we do.”
The bottom line is that no one, except George Zimmerman, knows exactly what happened the night of the shooting.
And even then, some have asked, is there a chance, if Zimmerman was the aggressor and did not act in self-defense, that he’s told his story of self-defense and righteousness so many times that he actually believes it?
What do you think? Comments welcome below.
The night Trayvon was shot and killed
On February 26, 2012, Trayvon Martin, 17, was walking to his father’s fiancée’s home from a convenience store after purchasing an Arizona iced tea and Skittles. Zimmerman started following Trayvon and called 911 saying he looked suspicious.
During the call, Zimmerman admitted he was following Trayvon and the 911 dispatcher said, “OK, we don’t need you to do that.” At some point the two allegedly got into a fight and Zimmerman pulled out his gun, shooting Trayvon in the chest at close range. Paramedics arived at the scene within moments but could not revive him.
There is question whether Zimmerman was the aggressor, or if it was Trayvon. Because Trayvon is black and Zimmerman is white/Hispanic, the case has become a racial flashpoint leading to a series of protests across the nation.
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