WaPo Buries Lead On Zimmerman Juror: She Called Trial A 'Publicity Stunt'

July 28th, 2013 11:54 PM

If you want to see what a buried lede looks like, look no further than the Washington Post’s story about juror B29 in the George Zimmerman case.   The headline of the July 25 piece blares what the left-wing commentators have been screaming for days: "Zimmerman got away with murder.” It’s juicy.  It’s eye-catching, but it paints a two-dimensional portrait of how the juror, who calls herself Maddy, feels about the case.

In fact, Maddy, a mother of eight of Puerto Rican heritage -- bursting once and for all the "all-white jury" meme in the liberal media -- said in a televised interview that she thought the trial was a “publicity stunt,” and probably shouldn’t have been convened in the first place.  Additionally, she noted “You can’t put the man in jail even though in our hearts we felt he was guilty.”  Translation: there was reasonable doubt (or some would say innocence) – and if that’s the case, you cannot send someone to prison.

Ruth Tam, who wrote the article, started her online piece like this:

Two weeks after George Zimmerman was acquitted in the death of Florida teen Trayvon Martin, the only person on the jury who is a member of an ethnic minority said in an ABC News interview that Zimmerman “got away with murder.’


You can’t put the man in jail even though in our hearts we felt he was guilty,” Maddy said of Zimmerman.

A nursing assistant and mother of eight children, Maddy, 36, who is Puerto Rican, said she believed she owed Trayvon Martin’s parents an apology because she felt “like I let them down.”

She also said that the case shouldn’t have gone to trial and that it was ”a publicity stunt.”Despite this, she said the decision weighed heavily on her.

The next morning, the print edition of the Post had an entirely different piece, a 7-paragraph Reuters item tucked away in a corner of page A8. Unfortunately for Post printe edition readers, it omitted Maddy’s belief that the Zimmerman case was a show trial, but included her lament that “her hands were tied by a lack of evidence.”  Similarly, the Reuters piece includes the line that she felt Zimmerman “got away with murder” in the lead paragraph.

Leave it to the Washington Post to bury key information, and focus on the sensational "got away with murder" charge against a man who was acquitted by a jury of his peers and, as Maddy herself confessed, was not proved guilty by the standards of Florida law.

Maddy's interview and her view of the case is fascinating, but the long and short of it is that the Juror B29 feels that Zimmerman, in some cosmically moral sense -- she said at one point that Zimmerman will have to answer to God -- committed "murder" by virtue of killing Trayvon Martin, but that in a strictly legal sense, the case wasn't proved by the prosecutors. It's impossible to say for certain, but it seems this woman may believe that killing is always wrong, even in self-defense. A thorough and curious journalist might be able to tease out Maddy's views on this question, but in the meantime, expect more of the media cherry-picking her statements to weave the narratives they want to rather than objectively present the full story.