Talking Points

Bill O'Reilly: Trayvon Martin case takes an intense turn

Talking Points 3/26


By Bill O'Reilly

Last week we told you that "The Factor" would not try this case on television as some other news operations are doing. You may remember that we showed restraint in the Duke Lacrosse rape case and we were correct while most other news organizations were guilty of irresponsible reporting and were ultimately proved wrong.

But, we have to examine the Trayvon Martin situation because it's now a nationwide story. Today there were rallies planned for at least 12 American cities, all of them in support of the slain teenager and his family. Also, a new CNN poll says 73 percent of Americans believe the man who shot Trayvon, George Zimmerman, should be arrested. He has not been because he is claiming self-defense saying he was attacked by the 17-year-old.

The Fox TV station in Orlando recently interviewed a man who says he witnessed the confrontation.


JOHN, EYEWITNESS TO CONFRONTATION: The guy on the bottom who I believe had a red sweater on was yelling to me help, help. I told him to stop and I was calling 911. And then when I got upstairs and looked down, the person that was on top beating up the other guy was the one laying in the grass. And I believe he was dead at that point.


O'REILLY: Now "The Factor" has not been able to confirm that Zimmerman was wearing a red sweater but his lawyer is pounding the same theme.


CRAIG SONNER, GEORGE ZIMMERMAN'S ATTORNEY: George Zimmerman suffered a broken nose, an injury, a gash to the back of his head. There were grass stains on the back of his shirt. Again, he claims that Trayvon Martin struck him and he went down and he was acting in self-defense.


O'REILLY: Well, according to the Sanford Police Department report George Zimmerman did have a bloody nose and a wound on the back of his head. Apparently the police do believe there was some kind of physical confrontation between Zimmerman before he shot... and the young man... before the young man was shot.

Now, the reporting on the case has been hysterical in some precincts and once again MSNBC finds itself in a controversy.


AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: We came for permanent justice. Arrest Zimmerman now. That's what this rally is about.

Trayvon represents a reckless disregard for our lives that we've seen too long and we come to tell you tonight enough is enough.

HOWARD KURTZ, CNN HOST: Reverend Al Sharpton, how on earth can Al Sharpton go there and be an activist and stand with the parents and he asks people to contribute money and he went to the Justice Department with the parents of Trayvon Martin.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And then he does his show and then he speaks at the rally again.

LAUREN ASHBURN: He is covering himself.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is covering himself.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How can MSNBC allow that?

LAUREN ASHBURN: It is a little hard to see how that is possible.


O'REILLY: But it is possible. And other news agencies have also crossed the line in the case. Very liberal TV critic Eric Deggans who works for the "Tampa Bay Times" has acknowledged that Zimmerman is not being treated fairly.


ERIC DEGGANS: He has a side. Is he going to feel like he can talk to NBC News or MSNBC and be treated fairly when one of their signature on-air personalities has spent weeks talking about how he should be arrested and he should be in jail? I think that's a real conflict.


O'REILLY: Now, just so you know Mr. Deggans is an active civil rights person so his point of view carries some weight in the case.

Right now the situation is being inflamed by the Black Panther Party which has arrived in Florida.


MUHAMMAD: You kill mine, God damn it I got to kill yours.


MUHAMMAD: By next week, we are looking forward to getting $1 million for the capture of George Zimmerman. We're going to force our government to do their job properly and if they don't, we will.


O'REILLY: Now, as "Talking Points" has been saying every fair-minded American should want justice in the case and if Mr. Zimmerman acted with reckless disregard he should be held accountable. But that must be proved, proved in a court of law.

Working against Zimmerman is the fact that according to the "Orlando Sentinel" he called the Sanford Police Department 46 times in the last 15 months. Obviously the man was aggressively looking for criminal activity. And even the 911 operator told him to back off in the Trayvon Martin situation.

The case is now worldwide because of President Obama who said this.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My main message is... is to the parents of Trayvon Martin. You know, if I had a son he would look like Trayvon. And you know, I think they are right to expect that all of us as Americans are going to take this with the seriousness that it deserves and that we're going to get to the bottom of exactly what happened.


O'REILLY: Well, upon hearing that Newt Gingrich strongly objected.


NEWT GINGRICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: What the President said is essentially disgraceful. It's not a question of who the young looked like, any young American of any ethnic background should be safe, period. We should all be horrified no matter what the ethnic background. Is the President suggesting that if it had been a white who had been shot that would be ok because it wouldn't look like him? That's just nonsense.


O'REILLY: Now "Talking Points" does not believe President Obama was suggesting that at all. He was just expressing outrage in very personal terms; as the leader of the country the President is entitled to do that.

However, he should be very cautious. He referenced Trayvon in a "son" context but today the Associated Press is reporting the teenager was suspended from school for drug activity.

Beyond a doubt, this is one big mess. And again, fair-minded people should not be rushing to judgment. Apparently there are two sides to the story even though circumstantial evidence indicates a deadly confrontation did not have to happen.

But news agencies have a responsibility, morally and professionally to practice restraint in situations like this one. Jacking up ratings is one thing but putting people in physical danger is quite something else.

And the lunatic Black Panther Party is out for blood. They don't care what really happened. And they are being prodded, prodded by powerful news organizations. That's disgraceful and should never happen.

"The Factor" will continue to cover this story responsibly, honestly, and we will, we will find out what exactly happened. That's what we did in the Duke case. And that's what we'll do here because that's what fair and balance is all about.

And that's "The Memo."

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