“Trayvon Martin’s Parents Are Planning a Book” — so reads the headline of a gentle December 13 article in the New York Times. The Times obviously found it newsworthy that the parents of the slain teen, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, met with publishing executives this week to shop a book about their son.
Reporter Julie Bosman wrote in hushed tones about “the somber and moving meeting” the parents had with their agent and several publishers. Although “faith” will be a central element of the book, Bosman acknowledged that it “has the potential to attract major media attention, especially on cable television, which exhaustively covered the fatal shooting and subsequent trial.”
I read this story with particular interest, as those same cable channels have had less than zero interest in the honest account I wrote about the Zimmerman case, If I Had A Son: Race, Guns, and the Railroading of George Zimmerman.
I suspect that Juror B37 would read this story with interest as well. In the aftermath of the trial, the female juror contracted with a Seattle literary agent who specializes in books about controversial trials. Within one day of this contract becoming news, however, the agent rescinded her offer “after careful consideration.”
What prompted the reconsideration was almost assuredly fear. As the Washington Post reported uncritically, a Twitter movement leveraged “the mass fury” of those observers who were “appalled that anyone would seek to profit off the trial” and unnerved both the agent and the juror. Being sequestered “shielded me from the depth of pain that exists among the general public over every aspect of this case,” Juror B37 confessed in a public apology.
Thank goodness for low-information citizens and the sequestering of the jury. Like several others, Juror B29, the one non-white on the six-woman jury, knew almost nothing about the case coming in. As she admitted, her cursory attention to the shooting led her to believe that the seventeen-year-old Martin was only twelve or thirteen at the time of the shooting. She preferred reality TV to the news, The Real Housewives of New Jersey being her favorite.
It is unlikely that B29 would have voted to acquit George Zimmerman had she known what awaited her. ”My whole life has fallen apart,” Maddy told Inside Edition‘s Les Trent three months after the trial. ”I’ve had death threats. On Facebook, someone wrote I’m gonna feel the same pain as Trayvon Martin’s mom. Which means I’m gonna lose my son.”
In their rush to send a transparently innocent man to prison for the rest of his life, the major media spared their respective audiences just about all knowledge of Martin’s troubled past. Judge Debra Nelson spared the Zimmerman jury that same knowledge. Had the jurors known, they would not be feeling guilty today.