Fox News adopts George Zimmerman

Outside his legal team, few have done more to help Trayvon Martin's shooter than Sean Hannity. Here's why

Topics: Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman, Media Criticism, Fox News, Sean Hannity, Editor's Picks, Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, ,

Fox News adopts George ZimmermanSean Hannity, George Zimmerman (Credit: AP/Douglas C. Pizac/AP/Joe Burbank)

The case may be Florida v. George Zimmerman, but it might more aptly be called Florida v. George Zimmerman and the conservative media, as the accused killer has found devoted defenders on the airwaves of Fox News and in the digital pages of conservative blogs.

Few outside Zimmerman’s defense team have done more to help him than Sean Hannity, who on Friday declared that Zimmerman had already won the trial. “As far as I’m concerned, this case is over,” the Fox host said after playing testimony from a witness who said he saw Trayvon Martin beating Zimmerman “MMA style.” The day before that, Hannity said on his radio show that the judge should dismiss manslaughter, let alone the second-degree murder charges.

“So the question is why are we here? And the answer to that question is purely political. Politics influenced the decision, the media influenced the decision,” Hannity said, succinctly revealing why the conservative media has found itself vocally defending someone who admitted to killing teenager Trayvon Martin. It goes like this: Liberals and the media made hay out of the fact that Zimmerman was initially not charged in the killing of Martin. Liberals and the media are bad. Therefore, Zimmerman must be good.

Hannity and others have sought to portray Zimmerman as the real victim here, of a left-wing media “lynch mob,” a term used by Ann Coulter, Tea Party Nation founder Judson Phillips, David Horowitz, and conservative watchdog Accuracy in the Media, among others. When NBC aired an edited 911 call that made Zimmerman look racist, that was all the proof conservatives needed.

And if reflexive hatred for the media wasn’t enough, add to the volatile mix gun rights and perceived racism against whites. “Mr. Zimmerman — who, again, the New York Times refers to as a ‘white Hispanic’ and the rest of the media has now picked that up, ’cause that fits the template. You need white-on-black here to gin this up,” Rush Limbaugh said last year on his radio show. Hannity couldn’t help but bring up the New Black Panthers in an interview with Zimmerman, which focused on how unfortunate it was that the defendant’s name had been dragged through the mud.

Zimmerman’s father wrote an e-book calling the NACCP, the Congressional Black Caucus and other African-Americans the “true racists.” The CBC, for instance, is “a pathetic, self-serving group of racists … advancing their purely racist agenda.”

Indeed, Zimmerman and his family have often egged on the right-wing media’s support, adopting their language about the dreaded MSM. “The media is very good at putting their own spin on what they want the narrative to be,” Zimmerman’s brother Robert said in court earlier this month. “I’m not employed by NBC, CBS, ABC or anybody else. So I don’t have bosses, I just try to me as honest as I can.” In fact, Zimmerman got himself in trouble for being too close to the conservative media when his legal team quit last year, citing a phone call to Hannity that they had not authorized.

At times, things have gotten ridiculous. Fox News even recently speculated that Martin could probably kill someone with the Skittles bag and Arizona Iced Tea bottle he was carrying.

Meanwhile, conservative blogs set to work painting Martin as a dangerous thug. The Daily Caller obtained Martin’s Twitter feed, selecting tweets that made him look most intimidating. For George Zimmerman, his lawyers are not his only defense team.

Alex Seitz-Wald

Alex Seitz-Wald is Salon's political reporter. Email him at, and follow him on Twitter @aseitzwald.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Burger King Japan

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Burger King's black cheeseburger: Made with squid ink and bamboo charcoal, arguably a symbol of meat's destructive effect on the planet. Only available in Japan.

    Elite Daily/Twitter

    2014's fast food atrocities

    McDonald's Black Burger: Because the laws of competition say that once Burger King introduces a black cheeseburger, it's only a matter of time before McDonald's follows suit. You still don't have to eat it.


    2014's fast food atrocities

    Domino's Specialty Chicken: It's like regular pizza, except instead of a crust, there's fried chicken. The company's marketing officer calls it "one of the most creative, innovative menu items we have ever had” -- brain power put to good use.


    2014's fast food atrocities

    Arby's Meat Mountain: The viral off-menu product containing eight different types of meat that, on second read, was probably engineered by Arby's all along. Horrific, regardless.


    2014's fast food atrocities

    KFC'S ZINGER DOUBLE DOWN KING: A sandwich made by adding a burger patty to the infamous chicken-instead-of-buns creation can only be described using all caps. NO BUN ALL MEAT. Only available in South Korea.

    Taco Bell

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Taco Bell's Waffle Taco: It took two years for Taco Bell to develop this waffle folded in the shape of a taco, the stand-out star of its new breakfast menu.

    Michele Parente/Twitter

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Krispy Kreme Triple Cheeseburger: Only attendees at the San Diego County Fair were given the opportunity to taste the official version of this donut-hamburger-heart attack combo. The rest of America has reasonable odds of not dropping dead tomorrow.

    Taco Bell

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Taco Bell's Quesarito: A burrito wrapped in a quesadilla inside an enigma. Quarantined to one store in Oklahoma City.

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Boston Pizza's Pizza Cake: The people's choice winner of a Canadian pizza chain's contest whose real aim, we'd imagine, is to prove that there's no such thing as "too far." Currently in development.


    2014's fast food atrocities

    7-Eleven's Doritos Loaded: "For something decadent and artificial by design," wrote one impassioned reviewer, "it only tasted of the latter."

  • Recent Slide Shows


Loading Comments...