Trayvon Martin Iced Tea v. Watermelon Juice Error Led to Self-Defense Debate, Activist Says

Categories: Morning Poll

trayvon-martin.jpg
Our October 31 article on self-defense laws in Arizona had two mistakes, as far as we know.

Culling information about the Trayvon Martin case from media reports, we misidentified the beverage Martin had on him when he was shot by George Zimmerman on February 26, 2012, as "an Arizona Iced Tea."

In fact, as firearms activist and author Alan Korwin pointed out to us, the beverage was Arizona Watermelon Fruit Juice Cocktail.

See also:
- Shooting People from a Car in Alleged Self-Defense Is No Crime in Arizona

To him and others, it turns out, this detail makes a world of difference.

At first, Korwin thought we made the error for the same reason he believes other news media outlets around the country made the same error: Out of political correctness.

We assured him this wasn't true -- it was an honest mistake, and it pains us whenever we make any mistakes because we strive for accuracy in news reports. In this case, the detail seemed so innocuous, we didn't bother to double-check it.

As we learned, thanks to Korwin, the error had deeper meaning than the mere flavor of the drink. Plenty of other readers who've become armchair experts on the Martin case may have been left with the same mistaken impression Korwin had before we talked to him about this, namely that we were trying to hide something. Critical reports about Martin had noted something we missed -- the watermelon drink may have had something to do with Martin's thirst for "purple drank."

arizona-watermelon-juice.jpg
Yet Korwin has another take on the iced tea vs. watermelon problem: The stereotype that black people like watermelon led the news media to sort of whitewash the tale, starting with the flavor of the beverage and continuing with the idea that Martin was just an average kid instead of a drug-abusing punk-thief.

"The ice tea lie leads directly to every fallacious element of the trumped-up case, and the overt racism of every element of the reporting," Korwin wrote to us in an e-mail last week.

On Wednesday, during an all-day seminar put on by the Arizona State University Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law about self-defense and firearms laws, Korwin fleshed out his theory, saying the national debate about so-called "stand-your-ground" laws began with the media's "lie" about the iced tea.

"Why wouldn't the media say a black kid had watermelon juice?" Korwin, part of a three-member panel for a session on "Stand Your Ground," told an audience of about 150 people. "Because the media is racist."

"Somehow in the middle" of the biased coverage of the shooting of Martin, the news media brought up 'stand your ground' laws, which had nothing to do with Zimmerman's shooting of Martin, Korwin says.

A search of Google News shows that on March 16 and 17, the Christian Science Monitor and New York Times published two of the earliest (if not the earliest) stories that link the phrases "Trayvon Martin" and "Stand Your Ground." Both articles describe Martin's beverage as "iced tea."

The March 17 NY Times article contains a correction that also applies to our feature article: Zimmerman called 911 to report suspicious people 46 times over eight years, not 14 months. Our article says "two months" -- a dreadful mistake that we picked up from yet another erroneous news report.

We regret both of those errors, dear readers.

We believe you can trust our nearly 5,000-word article, the bulk of which was based on original reporting, unlike the one-paragraph summarization of the Martin case that we screwed up. But a firearms instructor quoted in our story said he found the story accurate, as did David Appleton, the Scottsdale lawyer whose shooting case we detailed.

Again, we would have put "watermelon juice" if we'd realized that was the truth about the beverage. Why wouldn't we? The bigger question posed by Korwin is not necessarily the mistake in our article, (the origin of which we, at least, can be sure of), but the mistakes in the many news articles we found online that contained the erroneous detail.

Did certain members of the news media know the Arizona brand drink's flavor, but put "iced tea" regardless? And if so, why did they do it?


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24 comments
Riversong
Riversong

The iced tea error was only one small, possibly deliberate, evasion of the truth of the case by the mainstream media.

Of far greater import were the constant use of pictures of an angelic 12-year-old Trayvon juxtaposed against a 2005 mugshot of an angry Zimmerman, the deliberate editing of the police dispatch tape by NBC to make Zimmerman appear racist, and Robin Roberts' Good Morning America interview with juror B29 which was also edited to make it appear that the juror said "he got away with murder".

OATHKEEPER1958
OATHKEEPER1958

DON'T GIVE  A SHIT ANYHOW THE MAN STOOD HIS GROUND AND THATS THAT

robert_graham
robert_graham topcommenter

Hey, call the new HYSTERICAL Sheriff Joe support line at 602-777-6632.

eric.nelson745
eric.nelson745 topcommenter

Korwin is nuts if he thinks a minor detail such as AZ Iced Tea vs. AZ Watermelon has any bearing on the media response to Zimmie's murdering Trayvon. And yes, Zimmie used self-defense as the basis of his defense theory. Then the judge's instructions to the jury quoted SYG in everyting but name. There's another SYG test case brewing in the case of FL vs. Dunn, where the accused, while drunk as a skunk, fired ten rounds into an occupied vehicle, killing one, because they were "disrespectful" toward him after he ordered them to turn down the stereo.

robert_graham
robert_graham topcommenter

Do I sense the race card is being played again? What damn difference does it make if and what flavor Arizona beverage he had?

Sandbear
Sandbear

@eric.nelson745

The problem has been the focus on irrelevant arguments – some of which are actually unsupported by the evidence.

1. ‘George Zimmerman (GZ) racially profiled Trayvon Martin (TM)’ There is no evidence of this.

2. ‘GZ disobeyed an order by the police’ * The civilian dispatcher, Sean Noffke, testified that he did not give GZ an order and, in fact, he, like his fellow dispatchers, are trained not make comments that sound like commands. * Noffke also testified under cross that, as a result of his asking GZ which way TM was going, GZ could have reasonably interpreted this as being asked to follow Martin. * It is also not a crime in Florida to disregard a comment made by a civilian dispatcher.

3. ‘GZ got out of his car’ Not a crime on public property and not negligent either.

4. ‘GZ followed TM’ Again, anyone can follow anyone on a public street unless the followee has obtained a restraining order against the follower and even there, the RS only places time, place, and manner restrictions on the person enjoined.

5. ‘GZ wasn’t really injured’ * Under Florida’s self-defense laws, one doesn’t have to be injured AT ALL to use deadly force * No one is required to refrain from defending himself while another is engaged in or attempting to commit a felony.

6. ‘TM is dead through no fault of his own’ * If you believe that TM assaulted GZ, then he IS dead as a result of his own actions.

7. ‘GZ could have left’ * Under Florida law, there is not a duty to withdraw rather than use deadly force * TM was straddling GZ so how the latter was supposed to leave the scene is unanswered.

8. ‘GZ was armed and TM wasn’t’ * One’s fists can be considered weapons and can result in severe bodily harm or death. * GZ was legally carrying a weapon * There is no requirement under the law that the same weapon be used by the assailant * A homeowner can kill an intruder whether or not he has been threatened * Those that attack cannot feign surprise if they are met with superior firepower.

9. ‘Stand Your Ground!’ * SYG is NOT at issue in this trial. * The defense is a classic self-defense case.

10. ‘Black men NEVER get to use SYG!’ * Wrong http://tinyurl.com/nboht35

11. ‘GZ is a man and TM was a boy!’ * As if ‘boys’ don’t commit murder, rape, and assault everyday in this country.

david_saint01
david_saint01 topcommenter

@robert_graham LMAO this coming from the jackass who recently declared "soon we will have a white, republican President". 

YEZZIR
YEZZIR

@robert_graham Because the leftist media front was too scared to say a black person was drinking watermelon, when it was the truth.  Being scared to say the truth because of the fear of being lumped with a racist stereotype is also racist.  Nice try New Times.  It doesn't matter if you bring another Mexican on board or not, we know you support the leftist propaganda bred in racism.  Remember, the KKK was created by members of the Democratic Party.  The Democratic Party was pro-slavery as well. People that know US history know who the racists are. 

okwaho57
okwaho57

@Sandbear @eric.nelson745 The media, lib politicians and TRIAL LAWYERS have had a hard-on against self-defense with firearms in general and SYG laws in particular for YEARS.  The lawyers see a pool of "vicims" and "grieving relations" for whom they can RAPE the legal gun owner AFTER he's all but bankruped himself in court. SYG eliminates the need for a trial IF a judge hears all the facts and concludes that the SYG law was a valid defense and it also indemnifies him against CIVIL suits. Can't have THAT in libtar Utopia cn we?

Ray from Bloombergia

NRA Life

eric.nelson745
eric.nelson745 topcommenter

@Sandbear @eric.nelson745 If someone had a beef with you, he could settle things by simply shooting you and claim self-defense. The one thing that's critical is that there be no witnesses. If his story sounds good enough, there's nothing your family could do about it except to mourn their loss. Sorry about that.

david_saint01
david_saint01 topcommenter

@YEZZIR lol so what if he drank watermelon ice tea..honestly, maybe NT didnt say it, but plenty of others did. This false idea that the mainstream was trying to hide it is actually laughable. But whats funnier is this assumption by dolts like you that think that had anything to do with his death, or that it constituted him being a "thug". Sorry, to me the "thug" is the wannabee tough guy who picks fights with undercover cops, and stalks kids around neighborhoods with a gun to make himself feel better since he didnt have what it takes to be a cop

david_saint01
david_saint01 topcommenter

@YEZZIR lol sure, instead lets accuse a kid of being a "thug" cause he got into fights and smoked a little weed, while ignoring the fact the other guy liked to pick fights himself, including once with an undercover cop. Difference being, one was a grown man, the other a teenager. Lets also forget that zimmerman lied 3 times, about his own fucking street name too boot! please child. I will say this though, theres been more racism in his defense that zimmerman ever showed to begin with. Lastly, sure the dems were part of the KKK...up unitl the late 20's. Now whos making it harder for African Americans to vote? Whos treating them like they are less than citizens because they dont want to vote for them? Who treats them with a stereotype mentality? It sure as shit aint the Dems. Nice try at race baiting, but your logic is seriously flawed. 

shadeaux14
shadeaux14 topcommenter

@YEZZIR ,

Just like people who know the truth about what's going on today know who the racists are.

Right Jaffy?

Sandbear
Sandbear

@eric.nelson745 @Sandbear The fly in the ointment there is that I carry a firearm. If every adult carried, we wouldn't need to have this discussion.

TRUTH
TRUTH

Dems' website showing jump in history

The current version of the "History" page on the party website lists a number of accomplishments � from 1792, 1798, 1800, 1808, 1812, 1816, 1824 and 1828, including its 1832 nomination of Andrew Jackson for president. It follows up with a name change, and the establishment of the Democratic National Committee, but then leaps over the Civil War and all of its issues to talk about the end of the 19th Century, William Jennings Bryan and women's suffrage.

A spokesman with the Democrats refused to comment for WND on any of the issues. "You're not going to get a comment," said the spokesman who identified himself as Luis.

"Why would Democrats skip over their own history from 1848 to 1900?" Barton asked. "Perhaps because it's not the kind of civil rights history they want to talk about � perhaps because it is not the kind of civil rights history they want to have on their website."

The National Review article by Deroy Murdock cited the 1866 comment from Indiana Republican Gov. Oliver Morton condemning Democrats for their racism.

"Every one who shoots down Negroes in the streets, burns Negro schoolhouses and meeting-houses, and murders women and children by the light of their own flaming dwellings, calls himself a Democrat," Morton said.

It also cited the 1856 criticism by U.S. Sen. Charles Sumner, R-Mass., of pro-slavery Democrats. "Congressman Preston Brooks (D-S.C.) responded by grabbing a stick and beating Sumner unconscious in the Senate chamber. Disabled, Sumner could not resume his duties for three years."

By the admission of the Democrats themselves, on their website, it wasn't until Harry Truman was elected that "Democrats began the fight to bring down the final barriers of race and gender."

"That is an accurate description," wrote Barton. "Starting with Harry Truman, Democrats began � that is, they made their first serious efforts � to fight against the barriers of race; yet � Truman's efforts were largely unsuccessful because of his own Democratic Party."

Even then, the opposition to rights for blacks was far from over. As recently as 1960, Mississippi Democratic Gov. Hugh White had requested Christian evangelist Billy Graham segregate his crusades, something Graham refused to do. "And when South Carolina Democratic Gov. George Timmerman learned Billy Graham had invited African Americans to a Reformation Rally at the state Capitol, he promptly denied use of the facilities to the evangelist," Barton wrote.

The National Review noted that the Democrats' "Klan-coddling" today is embodied in Byrd, who once wrote that, "The Klan is needed today as never before and I am anxious to see its rebirth here in West Virginia."

The article suggested a contrast with the GOP, which, when former Klansman David Duke ran for Louisiana governor in 1991 as a Republican, was "scorned" by national GOP officials.

Until 1935, every black federal legislator was Republican, and it was Republicans who appointed the first black Air Force and Army four-star generals, established Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday as a national holiday, and named the first black national-security adviser, secretary of state, the research reveals.

Current Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice has said: "The first Republican I knew was my father, and he is still the Republican I most admire. He joined our party because the Democrats in Jim Crow Alabama of 1952 would not register him to vote. The Republicans did. My father has never forgotten that day, and neither have I."

Barton's documentation said the first opponents of slavery "and the chief advocates for racial equal rights were the churches (the Quakers, Presbyterians, Methodists, etc.). Furthermore, religious leaders such as Quaker Anthony Benezet were the leading spokesmen against slavery, and evangelical leaders such as Presbyterian signer of the Declaration Benjamin Rush were the founders of the nation's first abolition societies."

During the years surrounding the Civil War, "the most obvious difference between the Republican and Democrat parties was their stands on slavery," Barton said. Republicans called for its abolition, while Democrats declared: "All efforts of the abolitionists, or others, made to induce Congress to interfere with questions of slavery, or to take incipient [to initiate] steps in relation thereto, are calculated to lead to the most alarming and dangerous consequences, and all such efforts have the inevitable tendency to diminish the happiness of the people."

Wallbuilders also cited John Alden's 1885 book, "A Brief History of the Republican Party" in noting that the KKK's early attacks were on Republicans as much as blacks, in that blacks were adopting the Republican identity en masse.

"In some places the Ku Klux Klan assaulted Republican officials in their houses or offices or upon the public roads; in others they attacked the meetings of negroes and displaced them," Alden wrote. "Its ostensible purpose at first was to keep the blacks in order and prevent them from committing small depredations upon the property of whites, but its real motives were essentially political � The negroes were invariable required to promise not to vote the Republican ticket, and threatened with death if they broke their promises."

Barton told WND the most cohesive group of political supporters in American now is African-Americans. He said most consider their affiliation with the Democratic party longterm.

But he said he interviewed a black pastor in Mississippi, who recalled his grandmother never "would let a Democrat in the house, and he never knew what she was talking about." After a review of history, he knew, Barton said.

Citing President George Washington's farewell address, Barton told WND, "Washington had a great section on the love of party, if you love party more than anything else, what it will do to a great nation."

"We shouldn't love a party [over] a candidate's principles or values," he told WND.

Washington's farewell address noted the "danger" from parties is serious.


TRUTH
TRUTH

The original targets of the Ku Klux Klan were Republicans, both black and white, according to a new television program and book, which describe how the Democrats started the KKK and for decades harassed the GOP with lynchings and threats.

An estimated 3,446 blacks and 1,297 whites died at the end of KKK ropes from 1882 to 1964.

The documentation has been assembled by David Barton of Wallbu More..ilders and published in his book "Setting the Record Straight: American History in Black & White," which reveals that not only did the Democrats work hand-in-glove with the Ku Klux Klan for generations, they started the KKK and endorsed its mayhem.

"Of all forms of violent intimidation, lynchings were by far the most effective," Barton said in his book. "Republicans often led the efforts to pass federal anti-lynching laws and their platforms consistently called for a ban on lynching. Democrats successfully blocked those bills and their platforms never did condemn lynchings."

Further, the first grand wizard of the KKK was honored at the 1868 Democratic National Convention, no Democrats voted for the 14th Amendment to grant citizenship to former slaves and, to this day, the party website ignores those decades of racism, he said.

"Although it is relatively unreported today, historical documents are unequivocal that the Klan was established by Democrats and that the Klan played a prominent role in the Democratic Party," Barton writes in his book. "In fact, a 13-volume set of congressional investigations from 1872 conclusively and irrefutably documents that fact.

"The Klan terrorized black Americans through murders and public floggings; relief was granted only if individuals promised not to vote for Republican tickets, and violation of this oath was punishable by death," he said. "Since the Klan targeted Republicans in general, it did not limit its violence simply to black Republicans; white Republicans were also included."

Barton also has covered the subject in one episode of his American Heritage Series of television programs, which is being broadcast now on Trinity Broadcasting Network and Cornerstone Television.

Barton told WND his comments are not a condemnation or endorsement of any party or candidate, but rather a warning that voters even today should be aware of what their parties and candidates stand for.

His book outlines the aggressive pro-slavery agenda held by the Democratic Party for generations leading up to the Civil War, and how that did not die with the Union victory in that war of rebellion.

Even as the South was being rebuilt, the votes in Congress consistently revealed a continuing pro-slavery philosophy on the part of the Democrats, the book reveals.

Three years after Appomattox, the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, granting blacks citizenship in the United States, came before Congress: 94 percent of Republicans endorsed it.

"The records of Congress reveal that not one Democrat � either in the House or the Senate � voted for the 14th Amendment," Barton wrote. "Three years after the Civil War, and the Democrats from the North as well as the South were still refusing to recognize any rights of citizenship for black Americans."

He also noted that South Carolina Gov. Wade Hampton at the 1868 Democratic National Convention inserted a clause in the party platform declaring the Congress' civil rights laws were "unconstitutional, revolutionary, and void."

It was the same convention when Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, the first grand wizard of the KKK, was honored for his leadership.

Barton's book notes that in 1868, Congress heard testimony from election worker Robert Flournoy, who confessed while he was canvassing the state of Mississippi in support of the 13th and 14th Amendments, he could find only one black, in a population of 444,000 in the state, who admitted being a Democrat.

Nor is Barton the only person to raise such questions. In 2005, National Review published an article raising similar points. The publication said in 1957 President Dwight Eisenhower, a Republican, deployed the 82nd Airborne Division to desegregate the Little Rock, Ark., schools over the resistance of Democrat Gov. Orval Faubus.

Further, three years later, Eisenhower signed the GOP's 1960 Civil Rights Act after it survived a five-day, five-hour filibuster by 18 Senate Democrats, and in 1964, Democrat President Lyndon Johnson signed the 1964 Civil Rights Act after former Klansman Robert Byrd's 14-hour filibuster, and the votes of 22 other Senate Democrats, including Tennessee's Al Gore Sr., failed to scuttle the plan.


YEZZIR
YEZZIR

@david_saint01 David Duke, Grand Dragon of the KKK, 1988,Democratic Presidential Candidate. I think you forgot the history since 1920.  Nice try bending the truth.  Slave Masters have you fooled.

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