tv Coverage of the Trayvon Martin Case CSPAN May 5, 2013 1:30am-2:51am EDT
be defeated by now. the second amendment would be gone. they did not count on you. they underestimated the strength of your convictions. and your dedication to defending freedom, no matter how strong the enemy or big the fight. the truth is, the only reason we are not living under dianne feinstein's gun down right now, not registering our guns with obama's bureaucrats the only reason our freedom exist, is the nra of america and the nra s you. our future depends on young nra members. young nra and numbers like maddie. stand up. here she is. maddie is a high school student
from down the road. she recently invited to dozen kids and their parents out to her family's ranch. none of them have been around firearms before. with the help of some instructors, maddie introduced into the wonderful world of hooting. she said she was filled with joy watching their faces light up when they shot a gun for the first time. afterwards, they said the experience had changed their position on the second amendment. she even signed up a few new nra members that day, including to life members. if maddie and others like her who are the future of our freedom, and i believe our agent has never looked brighter. i do again for being here today.
if you look around this room, you will see with the grass-roots army of freedom ooks like. that army is each one of you here today. and millions more of us across america. we are the only thing standing between barack obama, michael bloomberg, and our second mendment freedoms. i begin this morning with a quote from president reagan. that is how i would like to finish. and that great speech, this is how he concluded. america is no strong grid and its people. that means you and me. i believe in you and i believe that if we work together, then one day we will say, we fought the good fight, we finished the race, we kept the faith. to our children and children's hildren, we could say we did all that could be done in the brief time given us here on earth. president reagan's words are as true today as they were in 1983. it is an honor for me to serve as your executive director of
the nra institute for legislative action. while the nature of the site changes, our principles won't. we will never apologize for who we are and what we believe. we will never be intimidated i president. we will never be shamed by a national news media, and we will never be scared of a billionaire. i promise you, we will stand and we will fight. thank you, god bless you, god bless the national rifle association. ? on the next "washington journal" we'll look at president obama's second term including foreign policy and relationship with congress. followed by an update on the situation in syria. and then national public radio
peter joins us to talk about the series he's hosting top u.s. constitution and what it means in the 21st century. "washington journal" live at 7:00 a.m. eastern on c-span. >> this week our guest on news makers is jeff miller. he talks about employment prospects for veterans returning from abroad. >> until the economy really starts to move and i'm talking about move on a monthly basis and not just on a staggered scale where we have jobs that veterans can go and partake in, we're going to continue to see unemployment numbers higher than anybody would expect them to be. unfortunately we have accepted this 7% number to be the new
norm. and i don't think it's accept to believe anybody. but again, i think you probably can add into a focus where some said you may be deployed if you're a reservist or guardmen. that's not ha the american public wants. these soldiers doing jobs for us should be rewarded not only when they come home to have their job waiting for them when they come home but to have gainful employment so they can provide for their families as well. >> what about the news that va was planning to have big bonuses to some of their executive people. how do you feel about that? >> it's ashame that va has chose on the reward people by not doing their job. some of the people who have received bonuses have had deaths occur at their
facilities, diseases spread within their facilities. and i saw some attempt in the last congress to basically cap the bonuses and unfortunately it didn't go anywhere. i've actually got a bill i'm ready to file that basically will tell the department of veterans affairs there will be no bonuses out there. you see retention bonuses being given to doctors and folks within the healthcare field when they are leaving, when they are actually retiring. and so again, maybe a small amount of money in the millions of dollars in a multibillion dollar budget like the veterans affairs but the optics of it aren't very good. >> watch the rest of news makers today at 10:00 and 6:00 p.m. eastern here on c-span. >> next a look at how the media
covered the trayvon martin case at a keynote address on race and media coverage of race relations. this is about an hour and 20 minutes. >> wait a minute. i do not think anyone has ever introduced me and found that magazine i had in college. very well. thanks for having me here. hanks for that fantastic introduction. so, today i'm going to talk to you about what i call journalism and justice and how those things have coincided in the case of trayvon martin, or overlapped in the case of trayvon martin. so, if you have been here all day, you do not need a refresher on this course. if you have not, maybe you do. so, for what ever reason i will give a little bit of a run
through of what facts we know in the case. n february 26, trayvon martin, 17-year-old boy from miami gardens, is in stamford, florida with his father. they are there to visit the father's girlfriend, who lives in a gated community. this is a gated community, not like what some people think of gated communities. this is just a gate that stops cars. you can walk around the ate. trayvon has gotten in trouble at school again. he has been suspended from school for the third time. before he was suspended for tardiness and graffiti. this time he was suspended for having a bad time with traces f marijuana.
his father has had enough. he took trayvon with him so he would not be on the streets of miami while he was suspended, and he also says that he wanted to talk some sense into that boy and you know there's nothing like a good road trip for a good heart to heart and the car. on the night of the 26, trayvon is that the father's girlfriend's house with her son, his name is chad. the way the story goes as the father and the girlfriend are out to dinner. trayvon decides he wants iced tea from the store. it is not really on the corner. he asked chad if he wanted anything from the store. chad says, yes. he wanted skittles. there is a light rain. trayvon has his wooded
sweatshirt on. he put the hood up on his shirt. trayvon goes into the store. he pays for the items. on the video, he is seen to motion in some way. some will -- some people have said maybe he was asking for something behind the counter. we do not know if that was the case or not. he leaves the store. on the way back, he is taking is time. according to his family's lawyers, he is on the phone with a girlfriend. which would make sense. you know how those kids are. the 19-year-old, they walk slow, they talk about nothing. having fun with your girl. he catches the attention of george zimmerman a resident of the gated community, a member of this neighborhood watch program.
there have been burglaries in this community. as zimmerman himself arranged the neighborhood watch program to combat the crimes in the neighborhood that have happened. they in turn, the neighbors in turn, designate zimmerman as the captain of the swatch group. -- of this watch group. when the police come to explain the guidelines, they make it very clear and neighborhood watch volunteer did not have the least hours. should not be armed. should not be vigilantes. not only is he the president, he is the person who invited them and is the coordinator of the watch group. the night he encounters trayvon martin he is wearing a holster on his waistband with a nine illimeter gun. those who call the police to report trayvon described him as "a real suspicious guy."
he described him as a guy who appears to be up to no good, like he is on drugs or something. e even identifies him as being probably in his late teens. when they asked him to describe him further on a racial basis, zimmerman submits that he looks ike he is black. zimmerman's father, just for the record, zimmerman's record is his father is white and his other is hispanic. he asks the person on the phone how long it will take the police to arrive because because "these assholes always get away." the program tells trayvon to run. e says no but he will walk ast. zimmerman tells the dispatcher
that this guy is running and zimmerman who has been watching from his vehicle exits to follow trayvon. this is beyond the bounds of what the neighborhood watch a volunteer has been instructed to do by the police and he is the captain of that watch group. he leaves that vehicle with the guns strapped to his body, which he has been told is not something you should do. the dispatcher asked zimmerman if he was following the boy. he said he is and the dispatcher says he does not need him to do that. what happens over the next few minutes is murky but also the all important part of this case. somehow trayvon and is imminent encounter each other and engaged in a physical altercation.
it ends with the zimmerman shooting trayvon in the chest. with this account to the extent that even exist are sketchy and in some cases contradictory. when the police arrived they take zimmerman into custody. rayvon's body is tagged as a ohn doe and taken to the medical examiner's office. at the police precinct zimmerman is interviewed. the lead investigator did not buy his version of the story. he wants to charge zimmerman with something in the boy cost debt. he is overruled by his supervisors and zimmerman is released with no charge. as far as the police are concerned that is the end of the case. when tracy martin returns home with his girlfriend trayvon is not there.
tracy calls his cell phone repeatedly. but there is no inter. -- there is no answer. what is this case resonates so much for so much of this country? as one williams roped in "the wall street journal," nationally nearly half of all murder victims are black and the overwhelming majority of those black people are killed by other black people. where is the march for them? it is true that black on black crime in general and black lives being taken by other black people in particular is a tragedy. any life taken is a tragedy. this case, for many people, was not about an extraordinary
ebt. it was about the extraordinary inequity in the pursuit of justice and the misapplication of the presumption of guilt. this was about a man who was found standing over a dead body and was able to talk his way ut of a police prison. who was deserving of the presumption of guilt or innocence in this case? the dead boy with the candy? or the man standing over his
body with the gun? furthermore, on a pure storytelling level the story had all the elements of a great story. guns and murder, an unarmed boy and a suspicious man, racial profiling and threat responses, it particularly raised some tough questions. why did george zimmerman find trayvon martin suspicious? what about trayvon martin provoked what appeared to be a threat response in george zimmerman, even though he was armed and inside of a vehicle. why did he pursue the boy when a 911 operator instructed him not to? why did he get out of the car and why did he take his gun when he did. house of defensive are you when you are the one in the pursuit? who initiated the altercation? who cried for help? id trayvon's body show vidence of struggle? what moves zimmerman to use lethal force?
and another thing in the visual age -- an uncomfortable truth about what makes this particular case resonates are he images the first emerged of the both of them. the image of george zimmerman is not a flattering image of him. and the image of trayvon martin is of 80 very handsome and very young looking boy. one way to understand this is to understand it in the context of what media critics have called "missing white woman syndrome." for people who do not understand it -- in the cases of people who are either missing or dead the extraordinary amount of overage goes to people who are female, caucasian, young, attractive, and disproportionately of high income. think about the last time you saw coverage for any woman who
was not young. hink about the last time you saw that kind of coverage for any man regardless of race whatsoever. think about all of the other kind of people who exist in the world who do not fit in that ategory. see if you can match the coverage that you get when the victim or the missing person checks all of those boxes. it is very hard to find a corollary. that is what media critics call the phenomenon. obviously trayvon is not ealthy, white, or a woman.
but what i think that phenomenon gets to is the issue of traditional ideas of beauty in society and the overlap between how beauty and value overlap and our need to protect and defend that as a source of innocence. what trayvon did represent was young, handsome, and presumably innocent. in the context of that -- it is a sort of phenomenon -- the "young, innocent, a black boy phenomenon." the one thing that people do not talk about is we see this handsome young man. people saw and it till's face before the beating. he is a strikingly handsome
young man. what that beauty " judge does is it amplifies out rate -- that if the quota does is amplify outrage. if there is a beauty " chinookan layer on top of the empathize -- a beauty -- the biggest thing was the destruction of beauty. a gorgeous young man is reduced to this image. that plays into the zimmerman-trayvon martin case. that image of trayvon as a
young man, handsome and innocence. who, in addition to the facts of the case, that innocence is something we want to protect as a society. i'll ask you academics to go on and figure that out. i think we have to consider that as an amplifier. another issue raised is about social media and modern journalism. the closest comparison to this case may be the o.j. simpson case and it is kind of reverse f this case. during that case there was no social media. there was a facebook recorder. there were no real blocks -- there was no facebook or twitter. here were no real blogs. first heard about this case
as people started to tweet to me and say, "are you going to say something about this case?" i had no idea at that point who trayvon martin is and what this case is. people continue to put that into my twitter feed. one week on a flute i just oogled his name. -- on a fluke i just googled his name. it seemed like an interesting case but i am not sure what i could bring to it. i am not from florida. what can i write from my perch n manhattan?
but there are some strange things about this case, including this idea that there is absolutely no charge. i was -- i got an interview with his mother. i decided to write about it on a personal, parental level. have kids at about that age. this leads me to another issue raised in this particular case, the role of adversity and the media. aside from local florida newspaper intelligence coverage the only people who seem to give any significant coverage on a national level were relatively young, black men like me. people at the huntington post, the atlantic -- some of those writers seemed to have burned with a personal passion in this ase.
my first column on the case was unapologetically personal. in that column i wrote, "as a father to black teenage boys this case hits close to home. a man with a gun and an itchy fingers will find them suspicious, passions will run hot and blood will run old. he law will provide an insufficient to south my pain. this is the curse of black boys in america, running the risk of being caught in the cross hairs of someone who crosses the line." any other writers followed with a great personal
stories. two days after mccollum the washington post wrote, "it reminds me of a list of -- when that was replaced with a reality that my mother married in the 1980's." o not run in public if someone thinks you are suspicious. do not run while carrying something that somebody thought he sold. do not fall back on place nless they give you a reason to take a jail. cnn anchors told the new york times, "there is a certain degree of understanding that comes from minorities just because we have lived it." all of us are black men in our 30's and 40's. all of us are born after the civil rights movement. all of us were part of the crack epidemic and the war on drugs.
all of us are of that age and hat would have happened to this particular case if we did not have the platforms that we had? another issue is partisan influence. ideological coverage and public perception. on march 23, responded to a request of comment, president obama called it a tragedy and said what he thought about the case he thought about his own kids and then he said, "if i had a son, if the case wasn't already in fused with enough race and politics it would be. this is no longer of a simple case of a boy in florida. his is a case of liberal and conservative world views. many liberal our rules -- argue for justice with a lynch mob mentality.
during the oj trial, there was no fox news, msnbc. people got their news from newspapers, network new stations, and cnn headline ews. all those places are trying the best they could to be objective. hat has changed. the lawyers of both sides of this case took the advantage of that change and saw out sympathetic media coverage. the lawyers for trayvon's family hired a pr agent. when i had an interview with his mom had to go through pr agent. his lawyers and many liberal commentators began discussing the case. zimmerman directly responded to
ox news and gave his first interview. that was his venue of choice. to the degree that there was different parts of the media covered this case recovered it in different ways. -- this case they covered it in different ways. twice as many democrats were following the case closely as epublicans and more than twice as many republicans thought the case was getting too much coverage. and then there are cases where the media crossed line completely. msnbc fired a producer for altering the tape.
when fox said, "i think the hoodie is as responsible for trayvon's debt as much as george zimmerman was." this is the is -- this is the classic "rape argument." there is nothing that you can wear that is an invitation for someone to rape or kill you to give -- or kill you. according to conservative site, "the left is in a spin now. they are in arms." i never met a member of the new democratic party.
i have never met anyone who has defended anyone in the new black panther party. some outlets like npr's news outlet labels zimmerman as white although it is unclear how he self identified. other people describe his parents' background and leaving out the racial designation. in my column i simply put it, "trayvon is black and zimmerman is not." i had no idea how this guy identified himself. hispanics can be of any race. you do not have to identify yourself that way. it is up to you and no one knows. everyone can identify george zimmerman as a white guy playing into racial constructs. an insider had to publish this
correction after posting an image from a neo-not the site. -- a neo-nazi site. somebody show this image earlier. there are images circulating online that are supposedly of the pictures of trayvon martin. it was embedded with other pictures purportedly to be trayvon. the miami news times points out that it is not trayvon martin. the images out of the website included those photos. we took the second after finding out it was not trayvon martin. there is no question as to whether the other was trayvon.
we have removed both. stop going to the neo-nazi website. [laughter] the other picture with what appears to be travyon martin with grills in his mouth. grills is some cosmetic dental jewelry that you snap in over your teeth. this is supposed to suggest he is a thug. you have to reduce the you need quotient to produce sympathy. you need to make him into a monster visually. you reduce sympathy. every attempt at that seemed to have fallen short to me.
that is a skateboarder in my neighborhood. it does not say "black" to me. this past summer we had a gold medal swimmer on the stand with grills in his mouth. no one said "thug." every time they try to suggest that the things that he wore suggested he was not worthy of life past february 26th falls truer because there is nothing you can wear that gives somone license to shoot you in the chest. lastly i want to discuss the question this case raises of advocacy and activism in journalism.
i am an opinion writer. i develop arguments in advance when there is no pretense of being a straight news reporter in my job. i get paid to have an opinion. even at the time the views on this can differ. my colleague told "fast money," "i am wary of the idea of being an activist for crusader. i am an advocate as a journalist but there is a faint, almost wondering line between advocacy and activism. activism becomes so much part of
a cause that you lose of the activity. there can be a tendency to start speaking for a cause rather than for yourself. i try to navigate this terrain but frankly there is a lot of blurry lines. especially when i am writing a lot about -- i sometimes worry about where i am in relation to that line." that is a tricky thing brous. com -- tricky thing for us. how much are we speaking for ourselves and how much do we become a front for a cause? that is what causes a lot of conservation in this particular case because some people sought out the opportunity to become the front person for a cause. we are very wary of that idea. there is a stark difference between opinion writers and reporters.
i think that is relatively well understood in newspapers. the number of people reading newspapers continues to drop. the number of people who said they got their news yet they fell from 56% in 1991 to 30% in 2010. increasingly people say they got their news online. the line between news and opinion online can get even more blurred. many people cannot go to a home page and navigate from there to the opinions section. they follow a link that somebody sent them on twitter and a just land there. they pay very little attention to where they are, they just know they are on the site. in the heavy social media environment news and opinions often live side-by-side.
hard bishop journalists, opinion journalists, activists are equalized in social media and to many local readers and viewers they begin to blend together. many of these people often have open exchanges on social media. i will talk back-and-forth with straight news reporters. people on the outside to see two people that they consider to be journalists going back and forth and exchanging ideas and not understanding that in the social media world that news reporter has real good strength on what to say. i have nothing. they may in fact re-tweet something i said, not because they endorse it because they want people to see it. this all gets very blurry in the public consciousness. the people stood on the same
panels in television news. everybody is going to this channel -- to this panel format in news. there will be a strict news reporter sitting next to an advocate, sitting next to somebody who works for the romney campaign and obama campaign and somebody who is an opinion journalists. we're supposed to understand that these people are not coming from the same place. that is not the way that people understand it when they're watching television. one controversy that emerged from the trayvon market ks was 04 -- trayvon martin case was over reverend al sharpton. i do not know where that line is.
al has always been an activist. i do not think that people understand that those are different rules. i think that muddies the water when it comes to the public. i struggled with this line in this case as well. i try to be as transparent with my readers about the struggle. in the first column i wrote -- i described that response in a way i described to you earlier. a writer on the block the tracks how media evolution is changing said that the growth of opinion journalism courses have an
impact. that impacts the very meaning of objectivity. he said, "been out of me and respect for journalism is much greater than in the past. media format with the expression of journalists and multiplies. one problem is what the idea of droll some objectivity should be emphasized in this changing curriculum -- the idea of journalism of activity should be emphasized in this changing curriculum. there is a trend towards teaching a respectable journalism that draws conclusions and argues for interpretations. this challenge as the previous governments of of the activity as an ideal. that is a huge shift. -- the previous government's of objectivity as an ideal -- governance of objectivity as an ideal. that is a huge shift.
85% of msnbc's coverage is now opinion driven material. the only place that has about the same balance of opinion and straight news is cnn > that is a real shift of how we are getting our news. the appetite for neutrality is changing. we want to live in a cocoon where we just hear our own thoughts reinforced over and over again. we have to ask what that says about us as a nation and how this reflects on this particular case where people tune into particular places so they can confirm whether or not they believe that zimmerman was innocent or guilty. i love what i do but my opining depends heavily on other people's report.
there's often an original reporting interwoven. there is almost always reference to what others have reported. people respond heavily to opinion journalism, often disproportionately. i often joke that i could write a common -- write a column that would be at top of this e-mail list. somebody can work three months on an investigative piece about what iran is doing to acquire nuclear weapons and it will not make a difference. i find that to be a bigger problem.
i call that the rise of personnel in journalism. the marquee names are the colonists, the opinion writers. reporters do what i do -- reporters who do what i do considered -- war coverage, that is more important to me. they will never did this in cad coverage or the same response i'm getting because it is not personnel -- they will not get the same kind of coverage for the same response i'm getting because it is not personnel. we're reaching a dangerous point in america where people want more ammunition than information. people prefer to be affirmed in their beliefs then challenged on their beliefs.
i believe that that is what we have seen in the trayvon martin case. people know what they want to believe and only listen to sources that can confirm it. to wrap this up -- whatever eventually comes of this case will serve as an illustration that opinionated, partisan journalism is a growing force for better or for worse and america is responding to it. this case will always and forever more be seen through that prism. thank you very much. [applause]
>> we have time for questions. if you have a question please come on down to the microphone. we encourage students, faculty, staff, community members. >> my name is jim. you gave me great comfort because if i'm ever kidnapped, being incredibly good-looking there is hope. [laughter] i practice criminal law at stanford for 30 years. he does give the finest presentation of any case i have ever heard and you are probably the finest young journalist today. thank you for showing up today. [applause] >> thank you again for your wonderful talk today.
my name is lisa, i am a professor of criminology. my question is more what you propose as a solution to this fine line between opinion-based vs fact-based drama was in? i know there are five or six different papers, who knows what opinion you are getting? do you have a solution in mind, that people know what they're getting? >> i think -- i don't think the question is about people knowing what they are getting when they turn to a particular name. when you turn to krugman you know what they are going to say because they develop that voice of the time.
that is less an issue than people's appetites' for actual news they have to do the heavy lifting. it is like the mother bird chewing the food and deliver it to the mouth. that is the problem. the decrease in literacy, even among the most literate people in the country, and you see that, ask a kid with the last book they read. it is shocking that it cannot read because it is fun. the only read because it is homework. i think that that idea that we are getting to a point where they think getting news is reading a bunch of tweets, which
is basically a headline read it or see things that flow through a facebook page or down a blog, that is not news and it does not make a well rounded citizen. i think as much as we might want to blame the media companies for that they are just trying to survive. they are giving whatever people will respond to. if people were dying to get straight news and straight news coverage is getting a tremendous ratings you would see what people -- you would see people to it. the readings suggest a more partisan you become, the bigger the personality, the bigger the ratings.
in a media environment for advertisement is a traveling two media companies -- advertisement is shriveling those media companies are asking how they get the what and builds towards what we believe is vital interest. i think everybody is walking that line. the magazines could do a little bit better job because they have segregated areas. you have to buy the entire newspaper. online you do not. there is a tricky balance. on television there are three people at a time. you have to s.a., "how do we hold that 30 minutes?" they are making choices that you need to hold personalities. i do not mean to say that to the republic but it is scary. [laughter]
>> i am a retired faculty. what is wrong with opinion based tunnel wasn't it is based on fact? if you present your fax and then you give an opinion and leave the door open for another interpretation, what is so wrong with that? >> as far as i'm concerned there is nothing wrong with that. [laughter] here's the thing -- you take any incident, the new town incident the newtown incident, you have the same set of facts but you can have a lot of different opinions about what that means, what it says about society and safety and how we should proceed in terms of making sure our children are safe.
you are getting further and further and further away from being an independent thinker and letting other people to that thinking for you because that area is where you feel most comfortable. you should come as an educated person, constantly be comfortable -- you should, as an educated person, constantly be comfortable. there is a certain laziness that we are developing where people are saying, "i do not want to have to defend my position, i just want people to tell me i am right." >> michael from the college of journalism and communications. i think one of the things in this discussion that we haven't really interrogated is the fact that, you mentioned it, we live in an environment controlled by commercial media, the response to economic forces and to having the worst to sell products. -- and having the worst to sell products. -- having viewers to sell products. can we have to go some that is not dependent on advertising to survive? people have set aside institutions for the delivery of unbiased information so the citizens can be informed.
we have chosen not to do that with the exception of public television. that is the systemic cause of why we are getting more and more opinion rather than more information. the second thing i would like to say is it is true we have more partisan news and information. other countries have managed to survive. people still managed to be informed. i think we should begin to interrogate what are mass communications system is going to get them the information they need in order to be responsible citizens.
one last thing, and it is only because i am also trained as littlest -- trained as eight journalist -- trained as a journalist. there is information that is unbiased because people performed a certain number of rights talking to sources. now we have the truth. i think of the activity in itself is something that needs to be interrogated. it is true that you are actually getting the facts or a selection of facts made by an individual according to his or her own biases about constitute the truth of their situation. if you would interact with this idea that there is some information out there that somehow reliable and there are other forces that only give part of the information, we are impoverished because of that. >> on the reliability part, what
we are coming to grips with in the information age is this kind of avalanche of information. and the fear of it. every year it seems another agency makes more data available online, part because the government can no longer afford giant boats of everything they had. another thing is available on- line. you click a link and then 200 in 2005 and the pages, or something. -- you click a link and then 2005 hundred pages. -- 2500 pages. in practice i am not reading 500 pages. people are having the exact opposite -- talk to university students.
when there are 30 brands of cereal -- they get confused. people cannot digest this. that is why they are looking for people to set this up. we're not looking for people to send the size of a fashionable basis. do not tell me what is it the tell me what it means. i think that the idea that people say, "is this the truth? or is what the people said in here the truth of what they said?" so in other words did i transcribed this correctly? is this the truth of the entire matter?
i think we aspire, we want to believe we are getting to the crest of that matter. in some cases we do not know the truth of the matter. we're going to give a survey of what is being discussed in these pages. one of the classic examples of that that continues to exist -- almost no one has read the entire thing today. even in congress. you start asking people about specific provisions -- they will run and give me the page is because no one knows.
it is over 1000 pages, people -- those things are overwhelming to people and people actually -- they did not exactly axa said. >> to you believed it should be a non-commercial non- governmental organization that is responsible for providing us with a noose rather than relying on commercial sources? -- providing us with news rather than rely on commercial sources and? >> i am stuck on appetite.
if there is appetite, you can literally run a month long on affordable care. arguing back and forth about each individual provision between big and it -- between big businesses, small businesses, individuals, whether or not it is helpful or hurts their business, whether it helps his family, whether it will take away a long standing provider's care for them -- where is the truth in that? it will take years. we can go back and look at data and see the big trends is that it helps people and hurt certain people, we need to adjust this. i literally cannot think there is the appetite -- at literally do not think there is the appetite to do that. represent a bigger problem.
>> that is the problem in our educational system, too. >> i do not know. >> thank you again for coming. you said something that was pretty provocative, it is the beauty of trayvon martin that led to this becoming an interesting case. the previous questioner in his presentation talked about how you can look at different forums. black newspapers, and then look at the majority, you can see the had a different interest in the case and that their representation of trayvon martin was different based on that.
what we are getting at is we are getting to a point where it got the national media, we started seeing people signing petitions with people concerned about trayvon martin. my guess is that the majority of those people were not black and so what we were seeing was a reaction to the perceived injustice of the situation. what i wanted you to talk about was whether or not you thought that there was some deeper meaning or understanding about where we are with race in this society today based on the way that this message has been produced by people like yourself.
basically does that have any reflection on the way the majority of american society sees racial conflict today? >> is an amplifier, not the cause of the outrage. that young attractive people -- when we perceive them to be the victims of injustice that young attractiveness, as strange and as horrible as this is, amplifies empathy. whether or not the crossover in support is -- you said something about race. i think it was much more ideological than it was racial. if you look at the same reports i was siding, the gaps between white and black was even bigger.
the gaps between -- the percentage of blacks following this case extremely closely as opposed to whites was approaching outdoing them by a third. the same inverse relationship existed among whites and blacks on the other way to say most whites thought this case was receiving way to much attention and blacks thought it was receiving not enough. when i look at the racial data in those polls it was not optimistic. i think to the degree that some of those televised rallies were diverse to some degree, that is ideological because of the way the case was presented as liberal and conservative.
>> i and alex, from the department of history. >> i am so nervous with all of these professors. i am not even a professor. [laughter] i am canadian. i had the good fortune of growing up with the cbc, which gives you a bland, boring style of news. i have had the unfortunate experience of encountering a lot of cable news in the states since moving here. i do not know if there was a joke going around in 2000 bush will say the earth is flat and
gore will save the earth is round and headline will be "candidates disagree on shape of earth." there is a serious systemic problem with the definition of of the activity. most cable news seems to have someone who is sort of a moderate, gently to the right of center. and then you will have some hysterically right-wing person and a fine opportunity as between those two. -- and define objectivity as between those two. it seems to me that your concern over appetite for real news -- do you think there might be a problem for the fact of people like me, left-of-center, there is no objective news to begin with.
>> i believe facts are not negotiable. what argues -- what ends up being argued quite often is what percent you're coming from in relation to that set of facts. do you believe there's a guy in a row on a cloud pointing at things and striking people down? if you believe that then you are going to have a certain set of beliefs when it comes to abortion.
there are a lot of things that follow from that sort of believe. if you believe that there was a big bang and dinosaurs and cavemen did not write them around and jesus did not write encasement not ride them around and jesus did not ride a triceratops. i think that coming at -- determining what our set of facts are going to be in terms of media is a big part of what influences this desire, which is america is an incredibly religious society. religion plays a large part. it creeps into how we define news. the fact that we allow every president to basically say that that is real and no one ever questions that. when they say -- everyone questions as to whether or not it was manmade or not.
we as a whole culture are very religious. we give certain privileges to that religiosity. we allow it to exist without question. that leads over to our media coverage. so long as we allow that as a culture and expect that from news than you are really going to have these very extreme views where people don't seem to live on the same planet. they don't even believe in the same set of facts. >> thank you. >> thank you again. department of anthropology.
i deferred my question to give others a chance to speak. i had a specific question about this issue of homicide. since trayvon martin we saw a man out of the orlando shot and killed and we recently saw a man in brooklyn after that. it became a shocking to me when i realized the leading cause of debt of african-american males between 18 and 34 is homicide. what does it take for this to become a sustained national video -- sustained national issue in the media? something else needs to be done to keep that in the conscious? >> all the violence is a public health issue but we do not freeze it that way. -- we do not phrase it that way.
there was some very interesting report that was done out of the university of chicago. it was signed on to buy almost every major researcher in this country. there were three studies on the balance over 20 years. -- on gun violence over 20 years. they're not allow to keep data. all of the arguments seem to fall flat. a lot of it is about privacy. we have data on hiv and we are studying it all the time. they get all the information they can and it becomes part of a database. they can track how people are behaving when they engage in sexual activity. we have tremendous amounts of
label, if we started to track gun violence as a public health issue, and treat the collective data as though it were a public health issue, you could still maintain privacy, but you would know what your messages. if the nra's message is law- abiding citizens are not going to do it, they would have nothing to worry about. you would be targeting the message to people who are most affected by it. and i think that is the biggest problem. part of obama's proposal on this, a lot of it was this will just go up in flames and no one will vote on it, but most of the executive orders were about data. i think people overlooked that as a significant advance, because there was no data. >> i'm bob spencer, professor of showing up completely underdressed to something i had no prior knowledge of. but in my defense, my mom bought me this shirt. just a quick question.
you mentioned that people's opinions are negatively changing, that maybe we are becoming more ignorant, or i think you said it was developing a laziness. i wonder how much of that do you think is related to technology and the ease of information access rather than -- maybe we are not developing a laziness but exposing it? exposing our own ignorance in terms of anybody can go on twitter and say something or anybody can go on facebook and say something. but aren't more of us going to college then we were before you go don't we have more information as a population?
>> that is a fair point. in my opinion, this is what i do, in my opinion, it is about in terms of the broad aspect, there are more people getting more formal education. i think we are shallower than we have been as a public overall. that is because the practice of literacy is losing currency. so the people who were in my mother's age, you went to college, you read everything. that was how they learned. we are a very different kind of society. we test, test, test, test, test. you prep for the sat, you only
read the books the professor advises you to read. and that is to be an educated person. and how the previous iterations were, there were not as many people going to college. but you are actually illiterate, well-rounded, well-versed human being. right? and one marker, not the most failures, but another marker -- when i see writing from people who have graduated from college, and i cringe, it is not because they are not smart. it is because they have not read enough to be good writers and they have not written enough to be good writers. and that is a very different phenomenon than i am used to
among college educated kids. and intellectual curiosity. this is something i have sat on a couple panels and new york city. inevitably there is someone there and it does not matter what the industry is and they are constantly complaining about they cannot hire anyone because the kids do not know anything. they have the best degrees in america and they have no intellectual curiosity. i was talking to a book editor. he hired three or four assistants or something. he said, i had to fire all of them because they do not read book. [laughter] and i think that is a very -- i think we are coming up against of having an age of a generation of people who think they can survive and be considered educated and to be intellectual in the absence of the constant pursuit of knowledge. they are in the constant pursuit of grades.
that is the damning thing about the way we are assessing education in this country. >> thank you. >> thanks again for coming. i was wondering if you thought that perhaps the personalities in journalism are consistent with the diversity amongst the community of journalism? it seems to me there might be a danger there of just pointing the finger toward the journalists who by virtue of the
fact that they are minority or whatever, then that informs their perspective in such away that for for one thing, you can't separate. i can't not be. it immediately puts a label on it. and everyone is considering -- i consider it now, but really it is a history of being rich, white, male dominated. so -- >> when i look at the group of leading opinion makers, the personality journalist, you are still not -- there are still not many latinos. there are no asians. to this day, if you look at what people consider -- you every elite arrived if you are doing that, they are saying it is not diverse. and they are still not diverse. they still do not reflect america. right? i am still -- one year and a half, now im the only
black minority. i'm the only one. there are no asians. i am the only southerner. except for mike. [laughter] it still isn't -- i do not look at that as being the issue, because i think we are still stuck in 1960 in terms of how integrated media is. i think that the changes people prefer personalities and somein