Remember the wave of pundit insanity over the death of Trayvon Martin two Februaries ago? Well, get ready for round two. The trial of George Zimmerman, who stands accused of second degree murder, began today in Sanford, Florida, and immediately inspired one of the most baffling comments ever uttered by a talking head about Martin's late-night confrontation with Zimmerman, even for a story already so loaded with race, death, lawyers, Florida, and inevitably Nancy Grace. As first noticed by Raw Story, New York attorney Doug Burns told Fox News Channel's Jamie Colby on Monday that Martin could, potentially, have killed Zimmerman using only a bag of Skittles and a bottle of iced tea. This despite the fact that Martin had purchased a can, not a glass bottle, of Arizona Iced Tea, before encountering Zimmerman near his house. This despite facts at all, really:
This is likely only a small taste of what's to come over the next few weeks and months as Zimmerman's trial unfolds. To steel yourself, check out our list of the absolute nuttiest statements said on-air the last time Martin's death occupied the airwaves.
1. Geraldo Rivera, about the hooded sweatshirt Martin was wearing at the time of his death: "[Martin's] hoodie is as much responsible for Trayvon Martin's death as George Zimmerman was."
2. NBC News reporters Lilia Luciano and Jeff Burnside, who along with an unnamed producer aired misleadingly edited audio of a 911 call placed by George Zimmerman, for which all three staffers were eventually fired:
The story in question was a March 27 Ron Allen report on NBC's 'Today' in which 911 audio was edited to make it sound like George Zimmerman said "he looks black" immediately after saying "this guy looks like he's up to no good." In the actual 911 audio, Zimmerman only described Martin's race after the dispatcher asked, "And this guy: is he white, black, or Hispanic?
3. Dick Morris, about a heated sermon by Reverend Jeremiah Wright, which he believes is secretly connected to Martin's death:
I do not believe that it is a total coincidence that Reverend Wright has now surfaced after four years in absentia. And I think that what may be happening here, is that there may be a deliberate orchestrated effort by the Obama White House to promote racial division that gives them the basis for stoking an African American turnout in the election.
4. Bill O'Reilly, about the possible role of the media in "inciting racial violence": "You can see the racial animus is already being stirred up on national TV. Now that's flat out dangerous. And the media companies responsible should be held accountable if any violence breaks out."
5. Newsbusters editor Noel Sheppard, about the "race war" Trayvon's death supposedly threatened to ignite: "The nation is on the precipice of conceivably a very, very serious racial tension, or maybe even, heck, maybe even a race war."
6. George Zimmerman himself, about the predestination inherent in Martin's death:
Then in what will likely turn out to be the most controversial statement of the night, Zimmerman said that "I feel that it was all God's plan" and he doesn't want to second guess or judge what happened that night.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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