Two murder trials. Two different verdicts. One captured the attention of the media. The other was generally ignored. One elicited politicization from the President of the United States. The other got an "I can’t comment on an active trial."
Both "local crime stories."
Some might not see any correlation between the trail of George Zimmerman and the trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell - but the two deserve to be paired together for what they say about the state of the media and the politics of race, crime, and life in America today.
The recently concluded trial of George Zimmerman resulting in a not guilty verdict was a classic case where the media attempted to fit a narrative around the facts of a case. There was an obvious desire to make the case about race - labeling Zimmerman a "white hispanic." And there was even malice and bias in reporting as NBC admittedly doctored tapes to portray Zimmerman as a racist before his confrontation with 17 year old Trayvon Martin.
And while the typical rabble rousers like Sharpton and Jackson preached to the MSNBC crowd about justice beyond any relation to facts, it was President Obama’s reckless statements in March of 2012 that raised the profile of the case.
"If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon," said Obama. "I think all of us have to do some soul searching to figure out how does something like this happen."
But contrast the reaction by the media and the President to the Kermit Gosnell murder trial in Philadelphia. Gosnell was charged with 8 counts of gruesome murder (7 born alive infants and 1 adult patient) and eventually found guilty on 3 counts. The case involved a serious political issue in America - late term abortion. And arguably the case may have featured more verifiable racism as the African-American Dr. Gosnell was documented to have treated his white patients differently from African Americans.
Dr. Gosnell was eventually convicted in a trial that should have captured the attention of the American media and politicians. The case featured real murder, real issues of race and poverty, and a real political issue that Americans are largely interested in. The only problem was that it was inconvenient for the mainstream media and President Obama.
When one reflects on the 16-month Zimmerman investigation and trial, the media really awkwardly forced a narrative on race, guns, and stand your ground laws even when the facts of the case never really spoke to those issues.
And while both trials featured immense tragedies in the loss of life, history will see that it was the Zimmerman trial that was truly just "a local crime story" while the Gosnell trial shook the consciences of many Americans and is having an impact on abortion laws around the country.