Trayvon and Zimmerman: The Structure and Elements of a Disinformation Campaign
“Trayvon,” of course, is Trayvon Martin, the black 17-year-old who was killed two months ago in Florida. “Zimmerman” is George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch captain who shot him. Referring to Martin by his first name and Zimmerman by his last is just one small tactic in the national media campaign to make Martin’s death an enduring symbol of white racism.
The Trayvon campaign is accurately described as “disinformation” because deception is a fundamental part of its planning, strategy, and implementation. Leftist disinformation campaigns are common but not widely understood. This article is intended to make them easier to recognize, and to provide a framework for additional research and investigation. Whether or not George Zimmerman was justified in pulling the trigger is outside the scope of this analysis.
The Trayvon narrative can be summarized as follows: a black child was walking innocently through a gated community after buying some candy at a store, when a white racist stalked and murdered him for no reason but his color. The police, who are also racists, let the white man go free.
This narrative is similar to those used in previous racial disinformation campaigns:
* 1987 – White racists have raped a young black girl and left her in a trash bag.
* 1996 – White racists are burning down black churches across the South.
* 2005 – White racists at Duke University have raped a black woman.
Like the Trayvon narrative, the earlier narratives were untrue. However, they remain widely believed as a result of the massive media coverage used to bring them to national attention.