Several news outlets have been pilloried — often rightfully so — for disseminating misleading judgments and outright falsehoods about the Trayvon Martin killing. And now, a new poll from Pew finds that 56 percent of Republicans think there has been too much coverage of the case altogether. The poll reveals a sharp partisan divide — only 25 percent of Democrats say the media has gone overboard. And the gap is even deeper along racial lines, with 58 percent of African Americans saying the death of the black teen is their top story, compared to 24 percent of whites. Has the coverage been excessive, or has the story just become a political litmus test?
The press needs to back off: We've had way "too much hyperbolic coverage" of this tragedy, says Sheila Liaugminas at MercatorNet. The overkill only fuels the "dangerously escalating reaction to [the case], without restraint or recourse to facts." The competition for scoops has created a "carnival-like atmosphere" and muddied the truth. It's time the media stopped using Trayvon to whip "up a public frenzy" to push its own agenda.
"The Trayvon Martin tragedy"
Huh? The case isn't getting enough coverage: The poll shows "an interesting, but obvious divide," says Kyle Munzenreider in Miami New Times. You could theorize that "Republicans are more likely to play down the story because it shines a light at Republican-authored gun rights and self-defense laws." Meanwhile, 30 percent of surveyed Americans believe the Trayvon shooting is the country's top story, but it's only receiving 18 percent of overall news coverage. "If anything the case isn't getting enough attention."
"Survey: Republicans are sick of hearing about Trayvon Martin"
Either way, the media shouldn't play jury: Journalists who hope the wall-to-wall coverage will lead to the arrest of neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman, who says he shot Martin in self defense, ought to rethink their strategy, says Charisse Van Horn at Examiner.com. O.J. Simpson and Casey Anthony were both "tried in the media before they made it to the courtroom," and both "walked free." Real justice takes time. All the hype from the media and their for-hire forensics experts is "not evidence, but speculation."
"Should media step back in the Trayvon Martin case?"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Here comes the Pentagon's newest space plane
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- Extreme haunted houses: Inside Halloween's most terrifying new trend
- The real story behind Deliver Us From Evil
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- Everything you need to know about the voter ID controversy
- What is Molly? Everything you need to know about the party drug
- Let us now praise Billy Joel
- How 1,000-year lifespans could remake the economy
Subscribe to the Week