In August 1927, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Katherine Ann Porter was among those good liberals protesting the impending execution of Nicolas Sacco and Bartolemeo Vanzetti for the murder of an Italian-American payroll clerk near Boston.
When Porter expressed her desire that the pair be saved, the hard-bitten Communist woman who organized the protest sneered, “Saved? Who wants them saved? What earthly good would they do us alive?”
With the Sacco and Vanzetti case, the Communist International introduced the concept of agitprop — agitation and propaganda — to the American system of justice. As George Zimmerman has learned the hard way, the Soviet Union may have collapsed, but its playbook lives on. “We had to march to even get a trial,” said agitprop maestro Al Sharpton, and right he was.
Although he would protest Zimmerman’s acquittal in the shooting death of seventeen-year-old Trayvon Martin, Sharpton did so by rote. From the beginning, he and his allies asked only for an arrest. One can almost hear them say, “Convicted? Who wants Zimmerman convicted? What earthly good would he do us in prison?”
Convicted, Zimmerman might have dispelled the notion that “nothing has changed” in America and that every black mother’s son was a potential Emmett Till. “We can put a black man in the White House,” said Sharpton in full fury, “but we can’t walk a black child through a gated area in Sanford, Florida.” If America had changed, there would be no need for Al Sharpton. An acquittal had its uses.
The Democratic minions, however, were not aware of Sharpton’s game. They wanted Zimmerman convicted. The media had all but promised them his head. And they were shocked to not get it.
To pacify them, Attorney General Eric Holder continues to wave his Damoclean sword. A month ago, Holder told the media that the investigation into George Zimmerman was “ongoing,” government shutdown or no. The Department of Justice, he promised, would release information on the federal case against Zimmerman as soon as possible.
As Holder knows, however, and the media should have, there is even less of a federal case against Zimmerman than there was a state case. Zimmerman was an Obama supporter. He mentored black children. He took an active role in defending a black homeless man. The FBI cleared him of any thoughtcrime in July 2012 after a three-month investigation.
As long as Holder continues to threaten prosecution, however, Zimmerman cannot talk about the case. With Zimmerman silenced, the major media can continue to transform his every traffic stop and divorce squabble into proof of his capacity for evil. More importantly, with Zimmerman silenced, the media’s complicity with the White House in dragging this poor soul into a murder trial goes unmentioned.
The media have much to keep mum about. In one of the more imaginative contortions, CNN, employing its best fake science, interpreted an utterly unintelligible word muttered by Zimmerman on the dispatcher call as “coons.” Zimmerman did not even know the word “coons.” The prosecution settled on “punks.” The public remembered “coons.”
In another unholy bit, NBC surgically removed an intervening dispatcher question from Zimmerman’s call to have him say, ”This guy looks like he’s up to no good. He looks black.” Even the Washington Post described this edit as “high editorial malpractice.”
The most pervasive deception, of course, was the media’s relentless depiction of the deeply troubled, six-foot Martin as a cherubic pre-teen. As became clear in the trial, this perfidy confused even the eyewitnesses.
In an hour-long rehash of the case a few weeks back, CNN mercifully dropped the “coons” trope and served up instead a race-based smoothie of half-truths and oversights. Throughout, reporter David Mattingly stuck to the media knitting and assured the audience that Zimmerman might still face federal civil and or criminal charges.
In a similar vein, American writer Upton Sinclair stuck to his narrative on the Sacco and Vanzetti case even after Sacco’s ACLU attorney told him the truth about the pair. “The men were guilty,” Sinclair wrote to a friend, “and [the attorney] told me in every detail how he had framed a set of alibis for them. My wife is absolutely certain that if I tell what I believe, I will be called a traitor to the movement and may not live to finish the book.”
It was bad enough for Sinclair and his fellow travelers to plead for the guilty. It is altogether worse to plead against the innocent. Free George Zimmerman.
Jack Cashill is the author of the new book, If I Had A Son: Race, Guns, and the Railroading of George Zimmerman.