Why the Trayvon Martin Story Took So Long to Gain Traction

Friday, March 23, 2012


Seventeen-year-old Trayvon Martin was killed by his neighbor on Feburary 26th, but the story didn't become ubiquitous until this past week. Trymaine Lee has been covering the story since very early on for the Huffington Post -- he talks to Brooke about why the story took so long to spread. 


Trymaine Lee

Hosted by:

Brooke Gladstone

Comments [15]


where are current pictures, they need to stop showing BABY pictures pg yjr 17 yr old..maybe Zimmerman should show his baby pictures as well...come on people

Apr. 12 2012 11:55 AM
John Scatchard from Spokane, WA

It seems like it would be fairly easy to figure out who was screaming what in the seconds before Treyvon Martin was shot. (For that matter why did it take weeks for the FBI to ascertain whether it was Osama bin Laden’s voice on each of those old tapes?)
It took about twenty minutes to find a product and a couple old patents that can identify anyone from their voiceprint. Do you think it would be a good idea to identify who was screaming for help on the recordings that were made as Treyvor Martin and George Zimmerman were fighting?

>>> http://www.phonefactor.com/products/biometric-authentication?utm_campaign=70150000000PJbS&gclid=CMy48PK7iK8CFcMbQgodaSCKAw
- Reliable Voiceprint Verification
Like a fingerprint, each individual’s voice is unique and has characteristics, such as pitch and rhythm, which can be mapped and used to verify identity. Multiple algorithms are employed to analyze the unique structure of a user’s voice, creating a complex voiceprint that ensures the highest degree of accuracy.
- Language Independent
The voiceprint algorithms are language independent. As a result, the system is unaffected by a user’s language, dialect, or accent.

>>> http://www.freepatentsonline.com/y2009/0206993.html
- Application Number:12/422787 - Publication - Date:08/20/2009
- This is one of the many claims:
18. The system of claim 17, wherein the biometric voice analyzer evaluates a personal histogram to determine whether a biometric voice print matches one of the said plurality of biometric voice prints for verifying an identity of the user...

>>> http://www.freepatentsonline.com/7634063.html
- Mardirossian, Aris (Germantown, MD, US)
- Application Number:10/335155 - Publication Date:12/15/2009
- This is one of the many claims:
- 16. A system for monitoring individuals using digital voice prints, comprising: a monitor for covertly monitoring a voice communication without requiring receipt of personal identification information of an individual being monitored; circuitry for extracting a voice sample from said covertly monitored voice communication; a memory for storing said voice sample extracted from said covertly monitored voice communication; a circuit for obtaining a known voice sample …

Mar. 31 2012 09:41 PM
Brandyn Moore

This podcast discusses an issue that occurred earlier this year with a young man named Trayvon Martin. The child was walking throughout his own neighborhood where a man terrorized and harassed him ultimately ending with the young man being gunned down by a man named George Zimmerman who claimed himself the neighborhood watch. Trayvon went to the store to buy skittles during halftime of a football game, Zimmerman then proceeded to call the police thinking Trayvon was doing something wrong, not knowing that he lived there. Zimmerman feels that what he did was ok because he says he killed the boy out of self-defense. The family of Trayvon says that it was clearly murder and they have new evidence to prove this. Zimmerman was not charged nor prosecuted for the shooting but people came together in a riot wanting justice for the unarmed teenager. The incident happened over a month ago but the story surfaced this week through the media and primarily social networking. It’s said that the story took so long to come out because it fell to the category of just a killing that was ok because the man was a neighborhood watch but when they saw that the man outweighed the little boy by 100 pounds the media began to raise questions. Also social networks started a lot of the story too because the story was being shared with friends that had other friends that had other friends so it took no time for the story to spread. There also seems to be a race issue in the situation. Apparently the host Brooke Gladstone and Tramaine Lee, the man she is talking too states that people would be concerned if someone with blonde hair and blue eyes was missing but as a black man people aren’t so compassionate. Not only was there an innocent child shot to death but there was also racial profiling going down when people began to raise awareness of why this really happened.

Mar. 30 2012 03:00 AM
Chris Gray from New Haven, CT

I have no idea what happened in this incident and cannot presume to judge Trayvon or George. What I will say is that the police failed to make any kind of adequate investigation here and they disgust me!

Mar. 29 2012 05:30 PM
fred dra from USA

Well diversity doesn't include the diversity that was really necessary, how about some diversity with some skepticism. None of these journalists did the necessary digging to understand why the family only put out suspiciously out of date photos of the boy. Even on the media is slanting the narrative by using pictures of him as a young boy, not as he is now. But I guess in this atmosphere of racial hysteria created by the initial "journalists" no one could even bring up such objections without being called racist. In fact if you look at the left leaning sites like gawker or others, both their columns and commenters have zero skepticism at all, married to the original narrative they became blind to any new information and decided instead to call anyone not agreeing with them racist. Its notable that sites like gawker kind of slowed down on the articles once the drudge report picture of trayvon looking like a thug became confirmed as authentic. It just really surprises me no one thought it strange that in the age of face book, even if the family blocked his personal site, that he wouldn't have at least shown up in his friends or families pages, and that they weren't even forthcoming enough to provide some group picture of how he looked this year, just implies they had nothing to hide. But no one questioned this strange behavior...that is a huge failure of the media.

Fuva the "all americanness" "freshfaceness" of trayvons outdated pictures are relevant in that it was clearly the result of an effort to deceive. The more we learn, the more the original narrative simply falls apart, the boy was no angel, he was possibly a jewel thief, and drug user, was already suspended, and the claims that zimmerman called the police all the time turned out to be a lie as well.

As for the supposed reprecussions of this case, I don't think it is what the original reporters will have wanted, I think it will result in backlash, people were burnt by the false original narrative, furthermore they've been burnt by seeing the hysterical reaction of those bent on stiring up racial tension like those mobs behind al sharpton and co, and even those on left leaning sites, who decided to call everyone who was not lock step with them a racist, and decided to extrapolate from this one incident charges against wider society, smearing a whole lot of people with the racism brush. These folks should remember the case last year in texas when an 11 year old hispanic girl was gang raped by up to 28 black boys, by their logic, that act was an indictment against all black americans, and showed that black culture is poisoned with hatred for hispanics and encourages pedophilia to boot. That is the poisonous logic behind those beat the drums to raise unthinking mobs to raise racial tensions in this country. The result of this has been nothing but harmful.

Mar. 29 2012 02:22 AM
Harvey Wachtel from Kew Gardens, NY

It's an interesting exercise to temporarily put aside the obvious racial considerations and consider the incident in terms of the stand-your-ground law alone. A stranger aggressively accosts a pedestrian who, having no obligation to avoid conflict, understandably resists, and a struggle ensues. The guy with the gun wins, of course, which is why I suppose the NRA supports these laws. If you wonder why I omit the word "other" when comparing the US to civilized countries on, say, health care, this is a good part of the reason.

Mar. 28 2012 10:24 AM
Chris Knox from Phoenix, Arizona

Brooke Gladstone declared the death of Trayvon Martin a "murder" in the opening teaser. If Martin was murdered, then that means Zimmerman was the murderer. But there has been no trial, and no conviction. Instead, there has been a rush to judgment based on a media circus. Zimmerman may very well have acted with malice fully intending to kill someone that night. If he did, I want to see him under the jail. But Zimmerman's guilt has not been proven.

I await your "regret the bias."

Chris Knox

Mar. 28 2012 01:42 AM

I agree with the other comments. There should have been a warning prior to listening to the recording which includes the scream and gun shot.

The media must become more sensitive to its listeners. Some of us don't relish all the blow by blow reporting.

Mar. 27 2012 07:30 PM
Gil batzri from Oakland, CA

Hey All at OTM,

I listen to the show frequently, for the most part every week, and I love it. I was listening last night and I was upset to the point of bursting in to tears and had to turn off the show after that (during that) recording. Brooke and the first interviewee REALLY should have given us a serious warning about the contents of that call.

That was like getting punched in the face at a restaurant when you sit down.

I am hoping to listen to the podcast today, but I am not certain I am willing to listen to that clip again.

Frankly I am stunned that Zimmermman was not taken into custody based on that 911 call.

Mar. 26 2012 04:06 PM
Howard M Thompson

In the years since this law went into effect, there must have been many "justifiable homicides" that didn't draw such media reaction. What's special about this one?

Mar. 25 2012 07:14 PM
Ren from Sacramento

Like Jami I was viscerally shocked and horrified by the sounds of the 911 tapes. I really wish there had been a warning along the lines of "some listeners may find what we are about to play disturbing." I still would have listened because I think it's important, but at least I would have known what was coming. I was completely unprepared to hear that.

Mar. 25 2012 03:50 PM
Sanpete from Utah

I'm glad NPR recognizes the need for racial diversity among journalists, including NPR journalists, and why it matters.

It makes NPR's profound failure to achieve ideological diversity among its staff, including on-air hosts, all the sadder. The lack of noticeably conservative voices with power and visibility (or audibility) among a sea of noticeably liberal voices with power and prominence in programs produced and/or distributed by NPR has just the results one would expect on the content, and the make-up of the audience.

It also supports the likes of Fox, who live off the ideological monoculture at NPR and other mainstream media.

The logic here is identical to the logic of racial and cultural diversity. Yet NPR is in complete denial about it. Liberal ideology about diversity ends at the limits of typical liberal constituencies.

On the Media is as much part of the problem as any other NPR show.

Mar. 25 2012 01:34 PM
Lisa from Brooklyn

"Garden variety killings" Brooke? Really?! Isn't every murder horrific? Doesn't every murder affect families and ruin lives? What a terrible way to open your show.

Mar. 25 2012 10:29 AM
Jami Peurala from Chicago, Illinois

Driving home from work this afternoon I was listening to "On the Media" as usual. I was happy to hear that I would learn more about the murder of Trayvon Martin. I was completely unprepared for what came next. I now understand why there is sometimes a warning for younger and more sensitive viewers to turn down the volume or tune away briefly. However, I don't know that I would have counted myself as one of those people. The 911 tape played as I entered the highway. It almost caused me to run off of the road! I had such a visceral reaction to the sounds of the screams and the silence that followed the gun shot! The gun shot itself made me feel ill. Now I must say that I am a white woman in my late fifties that grew up on the south side of Chicago. I grew up with a mother that marched with Dr. King. I still live in the same neighborhood, Hyde Park that I grew up in. I hear gun shots often . I am active in my community and am not sheltered in the least. This is more than I can wrap my brain around. I had suggested yesterday that perhaps a good silent protest would be for all of us at work to wear hoodies with packages of Skittles pinned to our sleeves...this now seems useless and stupid. I don't know what else to say. i adjust sick over this killing.

Mar. 24 2012 05:20 PM
fuva from Harlemworld

Is the "All-American-ness", "fresh-face-ness" of Trayvon relevant to this story? How much should what happened before Zimmerman's aggression against Trayvon that rainy evening -- including Zimmerman's own history -- be relevant to the question of the validity of his suspicion of, aggression against and killing of Trayvon?

Mar. 24 2012 07:19 AM

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