This morning, MSNBC’s Jonathan Capehart marked the one-year anniversary of George Zimmerman’s acquittal in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin:
Sadly, Capehart and guests Joy Reid and Michael Skolnik failed to bring up the unforgivably evil role that right-wing media entities played in promoting the notion that Trayvon Martin was some sort of inner-city gang-banger thug who deserved to get a bullet in his body. No right-wing media entity was worse on this score than Tucker Carlson’s Daily Caller, which did everything in its considerable power to turn Martin into Willie Horton Jr.
Carlson is now engaged in giving the people — the idiotic, angry, paranoid people — what they want, which became incredibly apparent once the Caller began tackling the Trayvon Martin tragedy by launching a campaign to prove that Martin had been a thug. It was barrel-scraping racist garbage. Martin’s Twitter feed and social media presence were cherry-picked to make him seem scary because he engaged in adolescent macho posturing. It was convincing proof that Martin wasn’t as “innocent” as he seemed, if your definition of “innocence” is “not young, black and male.” Asinine race-related trolling is now a major Caller beat, naturally, because, again, it’s good for traffic. I don’t think Carlson is remotely as racist as he is sexist and homophobic, which just makes it even grosser that he’s willing to exploit conservative racism for fun and profit.
So why this desire to paint Martin, rather than the man who shot him, as the guilty party? Partly, of course, it’s just a reaction to his death becoming a cause celebre on the left—it’s the same sort of impulse that leads some conservatives to delight in “Fry Mumia” T-shirts. Beyond that, though, some on the right are deeply invested in the idea that anti-black racism is no longer much of a problem in the United States, and certainly not a problem on the scale of false accusations of racism. You might call these people anti-anti-racists. They are determined to push back against any narrative that would suggest that a black man has been targeted for the color of his skin.
The hatred that right-wing media entities unleashed during the Travyon Martin case should never be forgotten. For petty ideological reasons (including, obviously, a need to change the subject from the odious nature of “Stand Your Ground” laws), those entities chose to turn an unarmed 17-year-old into a Demonic Negro who had to be blown away at all costs. What kind of person does that? Besides a sociopath, of course?
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