As George Zimmerman Trial Begins, BET Gets Out the Long Knives

Jury selection in the second-degree murder trial of George Zimmerman began today and there’s no doubt that some people cannot wait for a circus to begin for both political and ratings reasons.

While much attention has been paid to the role of long-time race-baiter Al Sharpton and his employer MSNBC in trying to inflame people, another leader in trying to get justice to miscarry is the cable channel Black Entertainment Television which since Barack Obama emerged as a candidate for president in 2007 has made occasional forays into news coverage. On Friday of last week, the network aired a 30-minute special called “Justice for Trayvon: Our Son Is Your Son” trying to hype up the trial.

Right before the special aired, the network brought ultra-partisan Democrat Marc Lamont Hill on its popular “106 & Park” music video show to discuss the Zimmerman case. Hill proceeded to attack Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law which he alleged “allowed Trayvon to get killed in the first place.” Of course, laws being immaterial things cannot cause the death of anyone. Regardless of whether Zimmerman decides to use that law in his defense, it would not have “allowed” Martin to be killed.


After Hill explained a bit about how Stand Your Ground laws allow people to use force to defend themselves without having to retreat if they feel at risk of violence, Hill was then asked by co-host Kimberly “Paigion” Walker, “So what is it that we can do to help reform this law? How can we be a part of this, of helping the reform?”

Hill then made a flagrant electioneering appeal to the audience, urging them as well to take to social media to support overturning SYG laws:

“One of the things we have to do, for everyone who is in the 106 audience who is old enough to vote, they need to vote. They need to vote for people who support changing Stand Your Ground. They need to vote for people who support changing laws that allow people to pull out more guns rather than fewer guns. We have to vote. That’s a big deal. We talked about that in November. We have to keep doing that.

“We also have to stay active. A lot of times politicians do what they want us to do [sic] and if we stay silent, then the people who do all the talking get what they want. So we have to keep talking. How do we keep talking? Use Twitter. Use Instagram. Instead of just Instagraming your food […] use it for this.”

After watching the clip above, I can’t help but wonder two things: 1) when are the left-wing campaign finance zealots are going to come after BET and its owner Viacom for allowing such corporate-subsidized political speech on-air? (Never.) and 2) it would appear that Hill seems utterly unaware that Stand Your Ground laws are a positive thing for many defendants, including murder suspects who happen to be black. While the Florida law might be useful for defending Zimmerman in this case, there are many more cases where “our sons” have benefited and will continue to benefit from such acts.

By and large, liberals usually join libertarians in having skepticism toward the criminal justice system. While libertarians take this stance based on the fact that the courts and the police are government agencies are therefore just as prone to incompetence and unfairness, liberals seem to be skeptical out of a belief that the system is racially biased. It is really a shame how BET is so eager to convict a Hispanic man simply because he killed a black youth. Should Zimmerman be found guilty of second-degree murder? Should Stand Your Ground laws be repealed? It surely is not the province of a music video channel to offer any sort of opinion on those matters.

Thus far, it appears most Americans are willing to actually let the justice system work its way through the case. Just one person showed up in the protest area on the first day of the trial today. We’ll see what happens by the end of the trial, especially if Zimmerman is acquitted.

Matthew Sheffield
Matthew Sheffield
Matthew Sheffield, creator of NewsBusters and president of Dialog New Media, an internet marketing and design firm, left NewsBusters at the end of 2013