The case of slain Florida teen Trayvon Martin and shooter George Zimmerman has become the most covered story in the U.S. eclipsing the presidential election, says the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism. The Los Angeles Times says the center found that about one-fifth of total news space recently was devoted to the shooting.
News consumers are getting radically different accounts of what happened. On Twitter and the liberal cable outlet MSNBC, Martin has appeared as an innocent victim of racially charged violence by an overzealous would-be cop. Conservative websites like Breitbart.com said the racial angle had been concocted or overblown, and the conservative DailyCaller.com implied that Martin might have been the sort of streetwise young man who would provoke a confrontation. The avalanche of coverage has not resolved the most critical unknowns: Who instigated the final confrontation? Did Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch captain, have good reason to feel he was in danger? Did local police handle the case evenhandedly?