Following George Zimmerman’s first public video statement regarding the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, Zimmerman’s attorney spoke with MRCTV via Skype regarding the media’s reaction to the video.
Attorney Howard Iken of the law firm Ayo and Iken in Florida charged that some media outlets reporting on Zimmerman’s statement “twisted his words” – some using “outright lies.”
MRCTV: “Now, how has Mr. Zimmerman been mistreated in the media in the past?”
Iken: “Well, you can actually see it in some of the media’s treatment of this video.
“Now, the reason of this video was to have something that wasn’t colored, something that wasn’t painted, wasn’t misconstrued and had no economic value whatsoever. As a matter of fact, no money changed hands as a result of this video. It was simply to put out a message that Mr. Zimmerman wanted to give.
“And, even here, there were misconstrued statements, there were some outright lies, there were some media sources, not major ones, but there were some media sources that twisted his words and made it not only extremely negative but very sensationalist.”
Iken pointed to the media’s distortion of Zimmerman’s reference to God as an example of how the media has mistreated his client:
“I’ll give you the primary example. I noticed more than a handful of publications declared that George Zimmerman said he was, in effect, commanded by God or it was God’s intention that things would happen that evening the way they did, and someone would lose their life.
“That is absolutely not his intention to say that, that’s not what he was saying. I’ll tell you my take on it, and I know Mr. Zimmerman very well at this point and have spoken to him in depth: he has had a very difficult span of years. He has had a very challenging time, things have looked very grim for him and there’s a tendency of a lot of people in that situation to try and find meaning in it all. And people want to believe their god has some purpose for them. That was really his intent in that statement, that he was sure he was part of God’s plan, that there was some framework for his life on Earth, not necessarily directing the events that happened that evening the way they did.
“It was simply the words of a man trying to find meaning and trying to move forward with his life. That’s the primary thing I saw that was horribly, horribly misconstrued.”
Iken attributed the media’s mistreatment of Zimmerman to the marketing principle that character assassination “sells better than positive news”:
“You can’t really attach evil or bad intent to that, because the media is what it is. The media is not only an information machine, but it’s a marketing machine and certain things sell well. The fact is, saying something bad about someone, sensationalism, painting someone in evil terms - it sells better than positive news.”