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Explaining the Role of the News Media in George Zimmerman case

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Experts at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies are explaining their thoughts on why the George Zimmerman case in Sanford became such a high-profile case, and what or who was responsible.

“The media first, some small columnists, and then social media, followed by the larger mainstream media played a significant role in framing the story,” said Kelly McBride, Poynter Senior Faculty for Ethics Reporting and Writing.

“President Obama raised the stakes when he himself commented on the case, and said that if he had a son he’d look just like Trayvon,” said Al Tompkins, also a Poynter Senior Faculty member.

Tomkins said he found it interesting that in several cases (O.J. Simpson, Casey Anthony, George Zimmerman), there were acquittals despite the significant pressure the coverage brought to the cases.

Both McBride and Tompkins said there are still questions Americans have about the way shootings that involve black victims are treated, as opposed to white victims, and whether justice is really blind when it comes to race.

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