One of the projects/assignments we received for our Intro to Multimedia Composition class was to create a podcast. I decided to work alongside two other students in which we decided to research and discuss the topic of media bias, primarily in regards to the Zimmerman vs. Trayvon Martin case, mainly because of its popularity on social media sites and its prevalence in the news. In doing so I honestly learned a lot about media bias that I hadn’t particularly known or understood before. The main point of our podcast was just discussing the amount of media reports that seemed to favor Trayvon Martin as opposed to Zimmerman. This appeared to be mainly because the news media outlets tried to play to the sympathies of the general public because of the death of a 17 year old in the United States; for the sake of ratings they demonized Zimmerman and made Trayvon Martin appear an angel.
Images like this were shown all across news outlets and public media sources such as magazines and such. This image is clearly portrayed in favor of Trayvon Martin because they show Zimmerman in his mug shot and Trayvon Martin in a seemingly innocent photograph of him in a hoodie.
In our podcast we discussed specifically a People magazine cover in which it portrayed a twelve year old Trayvon Martin describing him simply as an unarmed seventeen year old. However, as you probably know now he was actually a 6 foot 17 year old who actually assaulted Zimmerman physically and was on top of him when he was shot. Zimmerman left the scene with multiple head injuries and needed medical attention before he was questioned by the investigators in the case. Much of the rage that was involved with this case appeared to stem from the fact that this was supposedly a hate crime, a racist crime; however, ironically, Zimmerman is partially black himself. Media outlets often portrayed Trayvon as an innocent teenager simply walking home with a bag of Skittles and iced tea, who was profiled because of his race and his hoodie. However, the funny thing about this painted image, although it has nothing to do with the case, is that Skittles and iced tea, along with Robitussin can be combined to create Lean, which is a drug that can be used to get high. If this information had been released to the public, I don’t believe public sympathy for Trayvon Martin would have been quite the same.
The reason I wanted to discuss some of the information that we covered in the podcast is because I really feel that technology has created this sense of social unity in which any news that is controversial that is broadcasted is immediately hounded upon by society, in which most people seem to conform to the general opinion of others who have spoken out before them. One primary example of this from the past could be the KONY incident which initially had astounding responses across social media outlets all over the United States; however, after many controversies sprouted from the director of the movement, any relation to the KONY incident was shunned.
President Obama himself also seemingly tried to jump on the Zimmerman bandwagon in an attempt to gain public approval. He made a public announcement expressing his sorrows for Trayvon Martin’s death, however, what exactly made Trayvon Martin so special? Simply the fact that he was a black teenager who was killed in a situation in which he appeared to be innocent, harmless, and defenseless? The sad thing is that there are many many more cases in which innocent people are killed and yet nothing is said about them. It seems that media sources and public figures try and gain public approval by utilizing technology in an effort to evoke sympathy and controversy from the general public. Ultimately, it seems that technology brings is together, and although it gives each individual a chance to have a voice, it removes the tendency and need for individuals to actually make use of that voice. Conformity is everywhere.