Sunday, July 14, 2013
"Yellow Journalism Strikes Again"
In the wake of the conclusion to the George Zimmerman case, the media insists on stirring racial animus with another story of “injustice.”[i] This story, also set in Florida and also involving the state’s controversial “Stand Your Ground Law,” is more than a year old but has recently resurfaced in order to draw parallels to the Zimmerman case and to infer a legal double standard that discriminates against blacks.
The headline by CBS News reads “Florida Mom Gets 20 Years for Firing Warning Shots.” Marissa Alexander, the story says, claimed to have been defending herself against her allegedly abusive husband. Alexander was charged with attempted murder and sentenced to 20 years after she rejected a plea deal for a 3 year prison sentence.
The story refers to Alexander by her first name when quoting her 11 year old daughter who said that she “really [felt] hurt” by the verdict. It notes that Alexander had never been in trouble with the law before, and that she fired the warning shot “to escape a brutal beating.” Her attorney says that “she was clearly defending herself and should not have to spend the next two decades behind bars.” The story ends by stating that her case has drawn support from domestic abuse advocates who compare her situation to that of George Zimmerman.
Zimmerman is free. Alexander is behind bars. Has an injustice occurred? One would think so after reading this story and most of the 1190 comments it has inspired on the CBS News website.
The truth, however, paints a very different picture of what happened and implicates the media’s far more sinister plot to boost ratings at any cost.
The facts of the case are public and available for any journalist to uncover.[ii] Marissa Alexander had not been living in the family home for 2 months before she suddenly came home and spent the night. The next morning, her husband came home with his two sons and made breakfast for the family without incident. After eating, Alexander gave her phone to her husband to show him pictures of their still hospitalized newborn baby and went to the bathroom. While looking through the phone, the husband found suspicious texts between Alexander and her ex-husband which prompted her current husband to question the paternity of the baby. He told the children to get dressed because they were leaving. Alexander went to her car, retrieved a firearm, reentered the house and aimed it at her husband and two sons. They raised their hands, begged her not to shoot, but she did anyway—not vertically into the ceiling, but horizontally toward her husband’s head (narrowly missing his head, according to court records). The husband and children ran away and dialed 911. Alexander did not call the police and was arrested.
Alexander posted bond and was instructed not to contact her husband. She did anyway, in order to talk him into changing the story in order for her not to be prosecuted. She visited him at his home—not the family home—and attacked him causing injury to his face. Again, he called 911. She did not. She was thereafter arrested anew on new charges.
Upon reading the court record of the facts of this case, it hardly sounds like Alexander was in fear for her life and safety. She did, after all, go to her husband’s house multiple times. She also did not escape when she claimed that he was going to attack her, even though he appears to have been leaving rather than engaging her. Finally, and most importantly, most people think of a warning shot as one that is fired into the air, not at someone.
This Florida “mom” is a pawn in the media’s attempt to stir racial discord by comparing a distorted version of her case to the Zimmerman case and implying that the state’s Stand Your Ground Law is not equally applied to blacks as it is to non-blacks. This, like the media coverage in the Duke Lacrosse case and the initial coverage of the Zimmerman case, is just another example of shameful modern day yellow journalism.
Photo Sources: "Marissa Alexander Rally" from http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-rD0fbd88zwQ/T96OsHmx0xI/AAAAAAAAAF8/QtPc1D-AGR8/s640/MarissaRally2012.JPG; "Warning Shot" from http://robliano.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/rob-liano-warning-shot.jpg