Has George Zimmerman Won the Media War?

A year after he shot and killed Trayvon Martin, the defendant's press
 blitz is paying off.

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Gladys Zimmerman, George's mother, spoke candidly in a CNN interview, claiming that the most upsetting aspect of the ordeal has been that her son "was called a racist." She also expressed disappointment with President Obama's empathetic reaction to the case, when he said, "If I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon."

Speaking to Univision, Gladys and Robert said that the president was unduly influenced by Trayvon supporters. "Seeing how this case has been worked by the attorneys for Trayvon Martin's family, I don't blame the president," Gladys quipped. "They fooled him, too."

Their response may not be atypical of family members defending a loved one, but it is certainly a surreptitious strategy to muddy the facts, contaminate the jury pool and reverse-engineer claims of racism.

Zimmerman recently filed a defamation suit against NBC Universal Media, arguing that the network deliberately contrived a racial motive in the killing. NBC has denied all claims. The suit appears to be an attempt to collect a lucrative settlement, as well as a ploy to silence media criticism and speculation of Zimmerman's actions.

Even Maher, known for his brash commentary, became unusually conciliatory in his interview with Robert, going so far as to say he's not sure "if George is racist," and no one knows "what happened that night."

This is Mark O'Mara's plan realized.

Using Zimmerman's family members to paint a more amiable picture of the defendant works in conjunction with O'Mara's request to delay the trial (which was denied by the judge) -- possibly with hopes that the public will eventually forget about Trayvon, or simply care less. The Zimmerman team seems to believe that the more time passes, the more George's chances of acquittal improve. 

Meanwhile, conservative media outlets have spent a year attacking Trayvon Martin's character -- advancing a metanarrative that is all too common when it comes to young black males. The idea that Trayvon was a thug who threatened Zimmerman's life isn't supported by the facts but is embraced by some who cling to the stereotype of criminal, predatory black males. O'Mara released photos of Zimmerman's bloody nose as circumstantial evidence that Trayvon was the true aggressor, a real threat and the cause of his own death.

Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon's mother, addressed this point in an exclusive interview with The Root: "I find it offensive that people try to say Trayvon threatened George Zimmerman. Anyone could look at my boy and see he was a kid. He had only just had his growth spurt, and was a skinny, lanky boy. He was a child. And he was my child."

Unlike Zimmerman's team, the Martin family hasn't chosen to release photos. There is no stark image of Trayvon's dead body -- shot through the chest -- bloodied in the gardens of Sanford, with his knuckles bruised from a fight for his life. But perhaps Americans need to see that image as much as they needed to see Emmett Till's broken body. Otherwise, it seems, Zimmerman's family and legal team are hell-bent on rewriting history and pushing a new narrative that says the victim had no right to live.

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