CBS's Wagner Wrongly Links Stand Your Ground to Unsolved Murders of Blacks

July 30th, 2018 6:57 PM

On Monday's CBS This Morning, during a sympathetic interview with the makers of a film on the killing of Trayvon Martin and the impact of Stand Your Ground laws on blacks, co-host Alex Wagner at one point misleadingly tied in a recent Washington Post report finding that over 70 percent of unsolved murders over the past decade have involved a victim who was black.

Even though the Post article recalls that these are cases in which murders are not solved often as witnesses are afraid to cooperate because of gang involvement, Wagner made it sound as if murderers were simply not being charged because of Stand Your Ground laws as she at one point turned to Tracy Martin, Travyon Martin's father, and asked:

And we're beginning to understand how uneven the landscape is when it comes to unarmed victims of color, right? Washington Post reports that in the past decade, more than two-thirds -- seven percent -- of murder victims whose killers were never arrested, two-thirds were black. What does that tell you, Mr. Martin?

It was not mentioned that, according to FBI statistics, 53 percent of homicide victims are black, and, in about 90 percent of those cases, the perpetrators are also black.

A bit later, co-host Norah O'Donnell brought up "the rise of white nationalism and race-based violence" since the Trayvon Martin debate, leading film producer Julia Willoughby Nason to tie in President Donald Trump:

We chronicle the birth of Black Lives Matter all the way to the whitelash -- the opposite side reaction to that. So we go from Travyon to Trump, and we really see the connective tissue to the last six years and how our political landscape is really just thrown into a mass chaos today.

Although FBI statistics find that whites are disproportionately less likely to commit hate crimes or race-based crimes, the discussion left the impression that there has been a substantial increase of whites attacking black victims.

As the segment noted that George Zimmerman turned down an invitation to appear, the hosts did nothing to recall details of the story that were in his favor -- specifically, the fact that he suffered a broken nose and wounds to the back of his head, with the first witness to arrive observing Zimmerman on his back being overpowered by Martin.

Therefore, it was hardly surprising that there was enough reasonable doubt as to whether Zimmerman had acted unlawfully for the jury to acquit him.