Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Sunday, February 16, 2014

CNN's Killer Intervew

Program note: Chris Cuomo’s extended sitdown with George Zimmerman will air tomorrow instead of Tuesday as planned.

Cynical observers may see a connection with the Michael Dunn verdict, but has teenage murder become just another chess piece in the media ratings game? Is crazy racism to be sold between commercials for mouthwash and erectile dysfunction?

What happened to Jordan Davis in a Florida parking lot when he went there for gum and cigarettes and was carried out dead will put Dunn away for the rest of his twisted life, as Zimmerman’s encounter with Trayvon Martin should have.

But what is the role of reporting in feeding our shock and disgust? Will an extended interview with Trayvon’s killer ease the pain of that miscarriage of justice or simply exploit it?

We are not talking about censorship here. Zimmerman is free to talk to anyone he wants and CNN has every right to interview him, but where is the line between expanding the news and exploiting it?

In coming weeks, we will hear more about Michael Dunn than any reasonable person would want to know, and there will be talking heads aplenty to preen about racism, gun control, courtroom justice and mental illness in our culture.

For now, can we just agree that it is no triumph of American journalism to be shoving George Zimmerman into our faces right now?

Update: God is “the only judge I have to answer to” is the takeaway from Zimmerman’s interview, according to CNN’s website. Now we don’t have to watch and risking throwing up.

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