tv Book Discussion on If I Had a Son CSPAN December 15, 2013 1:15am-2:36am EST
day. one of the things we like to say you can read some excellent books by journalists about the campaign. they will tell you why the campaigns did what they did. then you can read our book and find out whether those decisions made any difference at the end of the day. >> well, professor, we're talking to you in 2013 at the end of 2013. is it can too early to be focused on 2016? >> absolutely not. one of the most important things that happened well before an election year even began as the candidates are out there trying to build support within the party. trying to figure out can they corral donors, can they corral endorsement? can they build up that once the primary starts they're almost, you know, preordained to win. when the candidates make the trips to iowa, you know, this is just -- it's not for show. it's real work that is going on there. one of the things we argue about
romney was it was clear it was not, you know, an overwhelming amount of enthusiasm for him in the republican party. but no other candidate came close to getting the support that he was able to get from other party leaders. and when kids like santorum and grinch made a run. they reacted with deafening silence or outright on the record criticism of the candidates. from the perspective of christie or ted cruz or scott walker, the work you're doing now is laying important groundwork for you'll be able to do the night of the iowa caucus and beyond. >> professor from george washington university. the coauthor of the "gamble: choice and chance."
[applause] thank you. thank you for coming out. whenever i hear my introduction it reminds me of what my mother used to say about me. if you are so smart, how come you're not rich? i'm trying to figure it out. let tell me you what intrigued me about the case the arrest and trial for george zimmerman for the shooting death of 17-year-old trayvon martin in sanford, florida in february of 2012. for the first time, in the historically of american jurisprudence, the state government that is part of the
case, the department of justice, the white house, the news media, and the entertainment industry, and civil rights movement conspired to put a tran parentally innocent man in prison for the rest of life. i had to ask myself why as i watched it unfold. what i have chosen to do tonight. i'm going answer four basic questions. the first is why. the second question, how transparent is george zimmerman's innocence? the third question is, how did these forces succeed in actual bringing george zimmerman to trial and getting him arrested? and the fourth one, is what was the consequence of trying an innocent man in a county that is demographically representative of the rest of the united where he can expect a fair trial? let me start with the why.
answer this question. i have to go back a few years 1920, and the arrest of two italian-american gentleman. they were arrested for the murder of a well-known italian-american in massachusetts. they went to trial in 1921. first for another robbery. it was sentenced 15 years in prison. no one said anything about it. later that year he went to trial in massachusetts, they had an interpreter, due process. no one mentioned politic. they went through the trial. both were convicted. they were both transparently guilty. that was 1921. in 1923, while -- actually 1921 socialist newspaper one of the reporters went up to take a look at the guy. and these guys in this case, and
he wrote back to his editor in new york he said not much here just a couple of guys in a jail. walked away from them. then the aclu an organization at the time pick up the case. they send their attorney, fred moore, to massachusetts. and he realized right away if they have any chance in an appeal process, they have to put aside the case. and moore tries what he had limited scweses -- success. in 1924, he got a break of sort. stalin takes over. he is more of a realist. all he can hope to do is to create an image of the united states in a world that is less than what is now. it's not a melting pot. it's a horrible place filled with racist who will put innocent italians in jail for
nothing. the politics. he sets tout do that through the communist international. they get ahold of the case, and they start doing what the word is agitation and propaganda. you agitate and great pop began data around. they stage worldwide parades all over the world it's a lie. it's a first time really in the history of america we are introduced conspicuous lying just to get your way. and neutral facts went out the windy. they simply did not care. now, as in 1925-26 as is today with you create this you attract a lot of celebrities.
it's just the people that wrote about the case. up ton sinclair, and there were violent rallies going on in rome, paris, london, and outside in massachusetts katherine porter later wins a pulitzer prize was among the protesters. she turns to the communist who organized the protest and said my gosh, i hope -- he will be saved. here is what katherine porter says about the communist organizers says as a woman. she said safed? who wants them saved? what earthly good would they do
us alive? and the whole purpose of was to see them killed. that way you can continue to perpetuate the narrative that america is an evil. if justice -- that ruins the narrative. so keep in mind. we're going to come back to that. among the people who is writing about the case at the time of the upton sinclair, benchmarking known for the novel "the jungle "which many of you were forced to read in high school. back when people actually read in high school. upton sinclair was on the verge of writing a two-volume documentary novel about the case. he was half way through when they were executed. he started having mixed givings. he sought out the aclu attorney. here is what he wrote to a friend about his interview with
moore. moore told me that the men were guilty. and he told me in every detail how he had framed a set of alabamas -- alibis for them. here is the kicker. my wife is absolutely certain if i tell what i believe i will be called a traitor to the movement and may not live to finish the book. so sinclair finished the book as expected to finish victims of american and sowf -- [inaudible] now there's statutes on the university of syracuse. there's symposium. they're still innocent. they remain innocent. the letter he wrote was only unearthed about five years ago. it hasn't gotten a lot of attention, as you might imagine. now this pattern was repeated periodically flout the 20th century. whenever the union needed to stir up animosity against the
united states. i'm going give you calm of specific case and take you to the present. in 1953, you had the execution of rosenberg the spy who were jewish. now, the judge in the case was also jewish. of it formatten. because now they could make the united not only -- but also antisemitic and they were executed. and at first they said they should not be executed. they extended the narrative to say they are -- [inaudible] and today just like the innocence. and every time soviet opens up that sin is confirmed and reconfirmed these guys were totally guilty. transparently guilty. the soviets knew that. they didn't care. little truth irrelevant. larger truth.
what rules. in 1977 leonard now we move to american indian. part of the american indian movement shoots two fbi agents cold blood. still being celebrated for the innocence today. he was tried, convicted, fair trial. totally guilty. i still see you drive around douglas county. you see bumper stickers free him. tried twice for murder in 1967 convicted both times. when out on leave between trials, he took a female manager and beat her near to death. and at the same time bob dylan was writing song the about hurricane and sicking them around the country. he was finally released on a technicality some years later. it allowed his champions in the
media to make -- and yet he was convicted twice. and again fair trial multiracial jury, et. cetera. my favorite in this world of bizarre innocence is -- [inaudible] some of you may have heard of him inspect 1981 the summer of 1981, philadelphia police officer was 25 years old at the type called and said i have a 3:00 a.m. intersection. i have a tough situation. get here quickly. his backup gets there two minute later. they find him dead bullet in the back. another between his eyes. faulkner shot one bullet. it's in the chest sitting next to the guy. smoking gun at the side. and his bullets five of which were shot. two are in faulkner's body. there were four eye witnesses at the scene. two black, two white.
they all identified the man as the shooter. he went to trial in philadelphia. totally democratic -- multiracial jury convicted him easily. he was transparently totally guilty. he was sentenced to be executed. they, of course, protested it first the execution than began to protee his very connection conviction. in their mind he was innocent now. and then he became a celebrity. he was giving commencement addresses by way of video or tape. he wrote a book, books were written about him. he was, you know, getting writing poems, getting published everywhere, then at the height of it all, npr signed them to do a series of commentaries for all things considered. at which point the philadelphia patrolman association said
enough is enough. we have a widow here whose husband was kill bid this clown and he's now, you know, doing things on npr. not that there's any bias at npr. that's the major of that piece. anyhow, npr finally got the message canceled the commentary. that's the way they worked historically. it started in the soviet union and moved to the united. even after the soviet union expired the play book moved on. they knew how toking a state and propaganda. it works then and it works now. they counted on something in the stage, that is the presuming the guilty-innocence stage which is not as bad as presuming the innocent guilty stage.
now -- derived from a particular 1967 episode, which i'm sure some of you have seen. you continue have to stand up. [inaudible] does [inaudible] i'm going let you shout out. if anybody can tell you the guy on trial. the actor who played quite on trial. anybody know this? it was jack nicholson. [laughter] this is in 1967. years later there's a movie for it. jack nicholson is on trial for robbing a gauche i are store. there's 12 people on the jury. the other 11 are convinced that the nicholson character is guilty. he doesn't seem like the guy that robs a gauche i are store. right. at first everyone is angry for hanging the jury. but it turns out that andy, captures the real thief and, of course, then he becomes the
hero. not send an innocent person to prison. when he watch the juror, we identify with him. we think if we were in the jury trial. that's how we would behave. we're the ones open-minded and fair-minded and want to see the evidence. it's the american sense of self-justice. however, i continue want to make it too political. but i have to little bit. 2012 angrymen. many of you have seen it. it was produced in 1957. it was written a couple of years earlier. when we watch it, we watch it half dozen times. i identify with the juror number 8. and as do most people. however, the author progressive a little differently. you have to read the instructions.
how the character should be portrayed. here is juror number 8 who is played by henry in the movie. a man who sees all sides of every question and consistently seeks the truth. a man of strength tempered with compassion. above all, a man wants to be justice done and fight to sigh that it is. now satisfactory enough. that's how we see ourselves, do we not. if you remember 12 angry member there were adversary. he was like him the first round. he was the only one saying not guilty. juror number 3 a man intolerant of opinions other than his own and accustom to forcing his wishes, views upon others. who is he talking about here? and they're still talking about it. people in that tone of voice. number 10. number 8 sees -- [inaudible] he wants justice. he is unpersuaded by emotions.
he ignores the clam more of the mob or a conviction. he sticks to his principles. the question is when did it turn? if f it were it remains in certain quarter the self-image. when did it stop being true? i will say this before go further. there wasn't necessarily a right/left issue. the zimmerman case. zimmerman himself was ab obama supporter and civil rights activist. some of his greatest on tv was alan. a liberal. that much seventy -- said the left totally abandoned zimmerman. it you can't pretended they did. when did it turn? when did it become okay to accuse an innocent man?
it's one thing to plead for the innocence of a guilty man. t another thing all together to plead for the be guilt of an innocence man. i traced this -- no good year. i'm going trace it to 1987. two things happen that year in subsequent months. you would think, a preaccept dated b. but it may have precipitated a. a novel was published. and if you read bonfire -- it is like the play book for what happens to george zimmerman. in the book, the prosecutor and the judge in the bronx are we weary of trying black and latino men for crime. it's beginning to trouble them. not morally. they decided in bad taste. what they would like to try is the great white defendant. they find that in the character. he's a bond trader on wall
street. and they go after it. they'll align themselves. he's killed in the case is named henry. a 17-year-old honor student. who is likely hit bay car while he is actually in the process of trying to rob the mistress. it's complicated, very interesting book. it seems like total fiction at the time. a month later, al sharpton discovers. you wonder if he read this and said i can be that if i play my cards right. quickly as a 14 or 15-year-old
missing. she has kk scrawled across her che. she's been sexually assaulted, and with al sharpton and a couple of other guys they decide that the person who did this to her was the prosecutor of the county. upstate new york county. they accused the prosecutor of doing this. and five of his buddies for doing this to her. utterly, totally outrageous charge. again, it seems that maybe the first time in a major way where the media got a bomb they were accusing the innocent of being guilty you need people like the reverend or al sharpton to protect you from the racist.
that was the message of that. it fell apart because it was a ludicrous case. not before it ruined the life of the people accused. and finally, they accused. they were vindicated. they sued al sharpton for slander, liable, whatever. i believe of it johnny -- sharpton wasn't going pay them. that is the why now. the search for the great white defendant hasn't gone away. we are looking for him. george zimmerman made a very unlikely great white defendant but he was there at the time it happened. before we get in to that i want to talk about how transparent is his innocence. is there reason to believe he was innocent. some people said no he was guilty. i watched tv for a year and a half about this. he was totally guilty. i had -- during the early day of the trial i speapt weekend with a black friend of mine.
a good guy, level-headed guy, and the trial was on he had been following the main stream media. and when he said what do you think is going happen. and i said he's going to be acquitted. he said how can you say this? he was believing what the media was telling him. just like a lot of people. he's level-headed and straightforward guy. you wonder what the rest of the world was thinking. well, here's what we know. do you watch the tv show 48-hours? they say within 48 hours -- [inaudible] it's going to be a long -- much was documented because zimmerman was on the phone for the first two minutes of the incident. four minute actually. he calls the dispatcher. nonemergency dispatcher to say he sees something suspicious. as a coordinator of a neighborhood watch, he is
following see something say something. we supposed to hear that when you go to airport or subway. not only that but the neighborhood watch disurpz is an african-american woman who testified at the trial. he said, listen, we want them to're on the side of suspicious. don't call 9-1-1. you call the nonemergency number comp is where something suspicious. what does he see that causes him to be suspicious? let me read what he tells the dispatcher. we've had some break ins and there's a suspicious guy. he look like he's up to no good or on drug or something. t rain and he's just walking around. that's what he says. what is he profiling trayvon martin? of course he is. here is why he's profiling had im. he sees him --
first off. he's young and male. every single crime committed in twin lakes was commit bade young male. and every single break in. every single home innovation. young man. he also sees him in a part of the retreat that unfenced. it's where outsiders have been coming in. he sees him in the rain he's not jogging or don't have reflectors. he's not walk quick to get out of the rain. he's walking around looking in window. yes, profile, profile, profile. young, male, in the wrong place, just hanging around. looking suspicious. if he's not calling that in whab is he calling in? bay the retreat at the twin lakes which presented as a scathing community was something less than that. it was built in 2004. the unit were selling for $120 ,000. florida real estate crashes. but by the time the shooting
takes place they were selling fortune under $100,000. more than half are rented. renters are section 8. people flip the house and can't flip them back and stuck with the mortgages. and renting to whoever m. it's been plagued by break ins. at least one serious innovation to the house next to zimmerman to which zimmerman intervenes. it's not the typical gated community. they couldn't fence the final west side of the complex. people were getting in. that's why they formed the neighborhood watch. they formed the neighborhood watch after his neighborhood was home with her baby alone and three young men broke in to the house while she was there. she went upstairs to lock herself in the room. the dispatcher, by the way, the best argument for owning a gun i've ever seen. the dispatcher said gate weapon and lock yourself in a room. she coming up with a pair of rust crisis or sos. i'm sorry. that doesn't cut it against three guys.
after zimmerman is walking around he says is he black, white, or hispanic? the dispatcher says that. zimmerman hasn't volunteered that. and zimmerman says, he looks black. he looks black. i can't tell from where he's at. then he said what is he wearing? disum said he's wearing a dark hoodie like a gray hoodie, gene -- janes or sweat pants. you see how it's abbreviated in the near future. was he profiling? of course he was. base obd the variables. here is the final vacial. 40 second later he identifies him he's black.
but at the same time he's thinking that and bless his heart when he said it out loud. he lost his job. see something say something. how is not supposed to factor it in. he made the judgment even before he knew the race of trayvon martin based on the suspicious behavior looking in window. he was in the rain. he's not the only one that profiles. here's a quote. some of you may know the answer. it's from 1993. there's nothing more painful to me at this stage in my life than to walk down the street and hear foot steps and turn around and see something white and feel relieved. jesse jack. 1993. he started a neighborhood watch
in the washington, d.c., neighborhood after a series of break ins and crimes. and the profile the pretty much the same in george zimmerman's neighborhood. unfortunately. at that time, jackson makes his number one priority to address the issue of black on black crime. ?en got distracted. 150,000 deaths later he's still not talking about the issue. 150,000 black on black crimes in the last 20 years. talk about strategy. there's the tragedy. and to address it today is to put you on the wrong side of the media. and the wrong side of the civil rights establishment. jackson is right twenty years ago. he should have stuck to it. anyhow. of the 150,000 deaths he finds one worthy of the attention. that's the death of trayvon martin. and for all the wrong reasons.
george zimmerman follows trayvon martin as he walks through the retreat. he's in his car. he never confronts him. he never confronted a suspect before. then he sees him running. the dispatcher said which way is he running? and zimmerman can't tell from the truck he's cut out behind the building. he gets out of truck and starts walking after him. the dispatcher said are you following him? and zimmerman says, yes. then the dispatcher said we don't need you to do that. the dispatcher, by the way, didn't order him not to. he can't. he's a dispatcher. he's not a police officer. he has no authority over zimmerman. he says we don't need you to do that. nine out of every ten times that clip was played on national tv, they ended it with don't need you to do that. they edited out the next word. okay. so zimmerman says that. okay. he stops. stops following him.
walks down the cut through to get the address. trayvon martin had run away. he has four minutes to run under 100 yards to the house where he's staying. four minutes. in the trial is a critical issue. it was reported wisely toward the trial that the dispatcher told george zimmerman "the washington post and "the new york times" not leave the truck. no, the request came after he left the truck. after the dispatcher could hear him breathing heavily. he walks to one street to get an address to meet the dispatcher. he knows -- do you want the cops? yes. i don't know where the kid is. what is your creases? i'm not giving it out. he could be hanging around. he starts walking back toward the truck and met at the intersection and it's a critical t intersection where the east west and north south in between back to the houses. and trayvon martin confronts
him. according to george zimmerman. and trayvon martin says, you have a problem? and zimmerman says no, i don't have a problem. and then trayvon martin sucker punches him and says you do now. and zimmerman stumbles, you know, starts stumbling down. trayvon martin jumps on him and starts whaling away mma style. mixed marshall arts. zimmerman starts screaming for help. you hear it on a police 9-1-1 call. we hear it last 40 seconds. 14 distinctive cries for help or help me. now during the course of this, this is what struck me as totally perverse about the coverage of this case. here is what we know happened. because the witness talks with the police that might and gives an interview the next day on local tv. he's the only within who saw --
he's witness number 6. he's the only one with a light on. he's the only one that steps outside. he sees what is going on. and zimmerman turns and says help, help me. and the guy says i'm going to call 9-1-1. and zimmerman said help me! and the guy goes in and calls 9-1-1. while he goes in to call 9-1-1, trayvon martin is undeterred. he's whalingway at him. he calls while in the process of calling 9-1-1. we hear the gunshot. the gun goes off. zimmerman shoots trayvon martin who is sitting on top of him zimmerman is lying flat. and he's punching away. the police arrive.
actually first of all, zimmerman pushes trayvon martin off. he doesn't know he's dead and spreads his arms out so he can't attack him. another eye witness comes out and says i'm going call 9-1-1. he said i need your help. he doesn't know he's been killed. then the police arrive one minute after the shooting. that's how much -- how little time one minute would have made too much difference if the cop had gotten there earlier. we would have never heard the case. and trayvon martin would probably have gone to jail. but that didn't happen. 0 they talked to witness number of 6. i walked outside and there was a black guy and reigning down blows. he told him the first hour they knew that. they heard the nine one one call and heard zimmerman call out for help. they knew this. zimmerman, the first thing he says to the cop when they get
there is i yelled for help and no one would help me. he didn't know at the time that the 9-1-1 call had picked up the yell. how would he know this? and then they did -- the police procedure here was perfectly proper and thorough. they put zimmerman in hand customs to take him to the police station. and interrogated him multiple time. they take the clothes and test and the gun and test that. he passes the voice test analysis. they choose not arrest him. because all the evidence that supports his story he was attacking while he was keeping an eye on the neighborhood. then he shot in self-defense. one neighbor takes a photograph of the scene. the bloody and swollen noise. blood out the back of his head. sports his story. the autopsy they do a couple of
days later. the only wounds on trayvon martin other than the fatal wound is a bruised knuckle. that's it. no other defensive wounds. two dais later within the 48 hours, trayvon martin's father comes in to the station, they play this screams for him. and the chief investigator say those are trayvon martin. that's what he tells him. that's what they knew in 48 hours which is why the police are h no interest in booking zimmerman. that would not stand. we go back to it. you have to politicize the case if you want to move it forward. the great white defendant play book was in place. and i'm just walking you through how it came to be.
suing establishment about presumed racial injustice. they see the case and their eyes light up. t all kind of potential. 17-year-old boy -- he had become a child from that point on. and they knew how to manage the narrative very, very well. if began with contacting a white pr guy. together they put the package. here are the ingredient. you know them. skit l. hef going to the store to get candy for his brother. it was the father's girlfriend's
son. iced tea, candy and iced tea. there's no iced tea involved. they said iced tea. gated community. those are the key words. every news story that went out. candy, iced tea, gated community, black child, armed vigilant tee. who had the misfortune of carrying his father's name. zimmerman. now this may seem self-evident to some. if his name had his mother's maiden name, his mother is from peru. very dark skinned. her grandfather was of african dissent. if his first name had merely been jorge, this case would never have left sanford, florida. let me give you a for instance. i only know about the case
because it happened in my hometown. a member of ms13. he's in the country illegally. he's from peru. oddly they are peru roots. they are at the play ground in newark. which is a tough town it begin with. there's four young black kids listening to music. good kids. automatic in college. they are genuinely good kid. they decide they're going hassle him. they do. and gets outside of hand and start sexually molesting the two girls and take out the machetes and go to slash the one girl's throat and she starts run away. they kill three of them. ever heard of the case? how about that. it's incredible. no al sharpton or jesse jackson.
you know why? not because he has a hispanic name. because he's an illegal immigrant. what is the narrative to come out of something like this? the only narrative is illegal immigration is bad. it's certainly not good. something we should pay attention to. the last thing the operatives who out of washington want is hispanic black friction. tbhaws would, you know, undo the base and would be problematic. the case gets buried. if george zimmerman had been jorge zimmerman illegal immigrant you would never have heard of the case. they put the package quickly. it's how -- it took 40 minute for cbs to approve the green light doing the show and bringing the parents on. trayvon martin's parents on.
until he was 15. his father is a truck driver and probably on the road a lot. his mother is a college graduate making good money. they are presentable people. i sat behind them at the trial. they are formable. you pay attention when you're there. they had to reunite them for the case. the stepmother got cut out. she got cut out two years earlier. the father left her for brandy green, the woman at sanford. trayvon martin was 15 at the time. as the stepmother said i was his rock. the rock was pulled out from underneath him. he had no foundation. his life started spiraling downhill. they were being shielded by the policies where they treated all crime as school infractions. when trayvon martin was busted several month earlier for being caught with stolen female
jewelry and a burglary tools, he got a suspension for that day. no police report. even though it's the police department. when he got caught with marijuana pipe another suspension. he missed 53 days already that school year. his parent didn't know. the school district was covering up. it was part of the package. parents, candy, iced tea, gated community. then al sharpton come on board. you go from local to national. jesse jackson sees sharpton on board. he gets on board. the nnaacp. they are all on board. they staging marches and rallies and being sponsored and helped by the justice department's community relations service which has been sent there to help them organize the marches.
and sharpton said it. he's right. he to march to even get a trial. is that how they do that? march to get a trial? meanwhile the prosecutor say we didn't yield the pressure. sharpton is right here. we had to march to get a trial. the -- meanwhile moving up the media is getting crazy about it. they are taking care of it. about four weeks after the shooting barack obama gets involved. he gives me the tight of the book. otherwise benign to talk about the case and he says at the end. [inaudible] which means that my injustice barack obama's america has two channels. people who look like me and people who don't. zimmerman was an obama supporter. he was a civil rights activist. he worked his whole life for