Even after the Duke lacrosse case, Texaco executives allegedly using the N-word in private meetings -- which turned out to be "St. Nicholas" -- the Tawana Brawley case, not to mention virtual hailstorms of racist graffiti and nooses materializing on college campuses, all of which invariably end up having been put there by the alleged victims, the Non-Fox Media (NFM) didn't even pause before conjuring a racist plot in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin in Florida last month.
Like Captain Ahab searching for the Great White Whale, the NFM is constantly on the hunt for proof of America as "Mississippi Burning."
Over St. Patrick's Day weekend, the month after Martin was killed, gangs in Chicago shot 10 people dead, including a 6-year-old girl, Aliyah Shell, who was sitting with her mother on their front porch.
One imagines MSNBC hosts heaving a sign of relief that little Aliyah was not shot by a white man, and was thus spared the horror of being a victim of racism.
As it happens, Trayvon Martin wasn't shot by a white man either, but by George Zimmerman, a mixed-race Hispanic who lives in a diverse (47 percent white) gated community and tutors black kids.
But Hispanic is close enough for the NFM. They're chasing the Great White Whale of racist America and don't have time to check to see if the whale is actually a guppy.
Since the cat leapt out of the bag on Zimmerman being Hispanic, the media have begun calling him a "white Hispanic."
Not being a race-obsessed liberal, I don't particularly care, but it's indisputable that Zimmerman is brown. I saw his face carved on the side of a Mayan temple in the Yucatan. Using his mother's maiden name, he would be admitted to the University of Michigan law school on a full scholarship.
Apart from that, pretty much all that is known with certainty is that Zimmerman called the police to report a suspicious character in his neighborhood, and shortly thereafter he shot and killed Martin.
On the basis of little else, the media conjured a Hollywood script: A "white" man was "stalking" a little black kid -- who could be Obama's son! -- confronted him, beat him senseless as the small black child screamed for help, and finally shot the kid dead, "just because he was black."
Two weeks of nonstop hysteria later, it turns out that every part of that gripping plot is based on nothing that could be called a reasonable assumption, much less a fact.
The NFM's theory of the case might be true, just as it might be true that the loud bang I just heard outside my door is Godzilla returning to terrorize Manhattan. I, like the NFM, have no facts supporting my theory.
(Although mine is more credible because Al Sharpton is not involved and none of my facts are provably false, such as the NFM's claim about Zimmerman being "white.")
First of all, there's no reason to believe Zimmerman followed Martin after the police told him not to, which is the linchpin of much excited reporting.
Zimmerman told the police, his friends and his lawyer that he walked back to his car after hanging up with the police and was waylaid by Martin. No witnesses have told the press otherwise.
We don't know if -- as the NFM has baldly asserted -- it was Martin yelling "Help!" during the struggle. Before the case became a nationwide sensation, the lead detective told the Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel that the police had played all the 911 calls for Martin's father, and he said the voice crying "Help!" was not his son's.
(The father has subsequently retracted that.)
Before the shooting was even a twinkle in the eye of MSNBC, an eyewitness gave a detailed account to the local media, indicating that it was Martin who was on top of Zimmerman, pummeling him, as Zimmerman screamed "Help!"
The police report says Zimmerman's nose was bleeding and his back covered in grass stains when they arrived at the scene. His lawyer and friends say he was treated for a broken nose the next day.
There's no sense in arguing in public about such facts. The medical records exist or they do not.
Of course, the information contradicting the media's fantasy comes to us only in the form of witness statements and police reports appearing in the press, not as evidence in a formal criminal investigation.
It's hard to tell where the NFM's suppositions are coming from inasmuch as they simply report their version as hard fact. But all their evidence seems to come only from Martin's family and girlfriend. Can we start trying all criminal defendants based exclusively on the testimony of the victim's friends and relatives?
Among the reasons to be suspicious of the media as impartial judges of the evidence is that they keep showing us snapshots from Martin's childhood, rather than any recent photos.
Without doing research, the average person would think Martin was a slight 12-year-old whippersnapper at the time of the shooting, rather than a strapping 6-foot, 160-pound 17-year-old. Indeed, he was 3 inches taller than Zimmerman, according to the police report.
Why aren't they showing us Zimmerman's baby pictures? (And why didn't we get to see baby pictures of the Duke lacrosse players? I bet they were adorable.)
CNN ceaselessly reported the allegation that Zimmerman could be heard in the background of one 911 call using an archaic racial epithet. Before playing the tape, correspondent Gary Tuchman first announced what the slur was supposed to be ("f*****g coon").
There's nothing like suggesting the answer in advance to improve reliability! Police should try that in lineups.
Then the same network that couldn't find the Jeremiah Wright tapes for sale in a church lobby brought in "one of the best audio experts in the business" to enhance the tape -- take the bass away here, add volume there -- and played the 1.6-second loop again and again, just in case you were not suggestible enough the first time.
Still, all that can be heard on the enhanced tape is "cha-chu, cha-chu, cha-chu."
But Tuchman wrapped up this demonstration by saying, "You know, it sounds like this allegation could be accurate, but I wouldn't swear to it in court. That's what it sounds like to me."
To the small percentage of CNN's audience with triple-digit IQs, it was comedy gold. The only thing missing was Tipper Gore playing the audio backward to reveal satanic lyrics.
(Incidentally, the Nexis transcript of the indecipherable "cha-chu" sound reads: "ZIMMERMAN: F*****g coons, f*****g coons. F*****g coons. F*****g coons. F*****g coons." Except it doesn't use asterisks.)
All this may give you an inkling of why we rely on the criminal justice system to determine guilt in criminal cases and not the fervid imaginations of the race-obsessed media.