Video from the Fox News Channel has become an integral piece of evidence in the George Zimmerman trial, a twist that had CNN and MSNBC airing clips from their chief rival on Tuesday.
The three major cable news outlets have been focused for days on the case against Zimmerman, who is accused of second-degree murder in the killing of teenager Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman says he shot Martin in self-defense.
During the trial Tuesday, prosecutors played 23 minutes of an interview of Zimmerman that Fox News' Sean Hannity conducted on his TV show 12 months ago. Given that Zimmerman isn’t expected to take the stand in his defense, the recorded interview is likely to serve as the jury’s – and the TV audiences’ – primary example of Zimmerman explaining in his own voice his version of the Feb, 26, 2012 shooting of Martin.
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Mediaite noted that CNN and MSNBC, during their coverage of the trial, played “parts of the interview off to the side without sound before reluctantly revealing exactly what the jurors were seeing.” Mediaite also constructed a two-minute video example of how FNC, CNN and MSNBC handled their coverage of Tuesday’s court proceedings regarding the interview. See that video below. The entire Hannity-Zimmerman interview is here.
Prosecutors introduced the video – with portions redacted – as evidence in an effort to make the case that there have been inconsistencies in Zimmerman’s story. Zimmerman, partially white and partially Hispanic, was a neighborhood watch coordinator in Sanford, Florida, the night he killed Martin, a 17-year-old African American. Due mostly to the racial element, the event has been a source of national news on and off ever since.
In the Hannity interview, Zimmerman says that after he called 911 to report what he viewed as a suspicious person in the neighborhood, Martin confronted him and punched him in the nose, causing him to fall to the ground.
“He started bashing my head into the concrete sidewalk. As soon as he broke my nose, I started yelling for help. I was disoriented,” Zimmerman told Hannity a year ago. “Do you remember when you, yourself, reached for your weapon?” Hannity asks. “Yes sir. At that point, I realized that, it wasn’t my gun, it wasn’t his gun, it was the gun.”
Some legal experts have questioned the wisdom of the prosecution to offer the video as evidence, since it could be the equivalent of Zimmerman testifying without an opportunity for the prosecution to cross-examine him.
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