Cable news nets continued their marathon coverage of the George Zimmerman trial Sunday morning, after Zimmerman’s “not guilty” verdict arrived around 10 p.m. EST Saturday night, leaving many nets to scramble late into their primetime lineups.
This ayem, nets including CNN, MSNBC, HLN and Fox News broadened the scope of their coverage to fully encompass the element of race in the Zimmerman trial. Race as a factor in the shooting of Trayvon Martin, while widely discussed and publicized by the media, was played down by many news anchors upon the initial reading of the Zimmerman verdict, likely in order to not flare emotions and align with the case’s prosecutor and defenders’ comments regarding the Zimmerman case not ultimately being about race.
By Sunday morning, however, discussion of race, not only within the scope of the Zimmerman trial but in the U.S. overall, was well underway on all news cablers, as CNN leveraged NAACP chiefs and MSNBC offered quotes from civil rights activist W.E.B. Du Bois as a launch pad for discussion during its 8 a.m. hour.
In its discussion of race, Fox News questioned media coverage of the Martin shooting and subsequent trial, pointing fingers at NBC’s “Today,” which aired an edited version of Zimmerman’s 911 call last year.
CNN also did not censor Rebuild the Dream prez and civil rights activist Van Jones in a debate with Newt Gingrich on “State of the Union with Candy Crowley” as Jones used the “N” word repeatedly while referencing Twitter reaction to the verdict.
As television entered the 9 o’clock block, broadcast nets largely avoided special coverage of the Zimmerman case. The Peacock continued with its planned golf coverage, and CBS stuck with extended ayem ads. ABC’s local news offered coverage of the verdict, though no broadcast net matched the saturation of reactionary chat fare of cable nets further down on the channel lineup.