Tag Archive: Treyvon Martin

“If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.” – President-elect Barack Obama

America did it.

Ten years ago — the anniversary is a week from tomorrow, Sunday, November 4 — Americans performed the once unthinkable political/societal miracle: They overwhelmingly elected an African-American as the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama.

Americans were once again globally seen as an exceptional and extraordinary country. We seemingly put aside our deep-seeded divisions to elect a visionary with a unifying message of hope and change.

Sorry for those who refer to America as “This Nation:” — your favorites, Denmark, Norway and Sweden — all monarchies — are not exceptional nations and never will be. Once again the USA proved to the world it’s the Land of Opportunity, and yes an extraordinary country.

Two months later, a record crowd turned up in Washington D.C. to watch Obama put his hand on the Bible. Sorry Donald, the size of your inaugural crowd was not even close.

Looking back one decade later, Almost DailyBrett must rhetorically ask:

What happened to the Hope? What happened to the Change? What happened …?

To many it seems that racism and hatred has steadily increased and mutated since 2008, when 69.4 million Americans cast their votes for Barack Obama (e.g., 365 electoral votes).

Ditto four years later, when 65.9 million Americans re-elected Obama (e.g., 332 electoral votes) to the White House.

Maybe Obama’s comfortable election/re-election against War Hero U.S. Senator John McCain and successful former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney respectively were not championed in all quarters … some on the right … some on the left.

Those with ongoing political agendas, based upon leveling charges of racism to intimidate dissent, were seemingly perplexed when an African American was elected to the highest office of the land.

Were the North vs. South battles over, and the war… won?

Some may have rhetorically asked: “How can we continue to charge, accuse and allege racism when 60 million-plus Americans – the majority of these voters were not black – went to the polling place or by mail and twice elected Obama by wide margins?”

Consider what happened to NASA when First Man Neil Armstrong was successfully placed on the Moon and safely returned?

Ponder what happened to the Anti-War Movement when American pulled out of Vietnam?

Weigh what happened to the Civil Rights Movement when Obama was elected president?

What’s next?

Wars Intensified To The Glee Of Some

“Race relations have arguably become more polarized and tenser since 20 January 2009. Though smaller in scale and scope, the demonstrations sparked by police shootings of unarmed black men were reminiscent of the turbulence of the 1960s.” – Nick Bryant, BBC New York correspondent

Polarization pervades our politics.

Obamacare passed with precisely zero Republican votes.

Tax reform passed with precisely zero Democratic votes.

Tribalization spread to our streets and ball fields. Mobs are roaming. They are angry and way too many times, violent.

The unfamiliar became familiar: the names/places including Treyvon Martin, Ferguson, Flint, Baltimore, Dallas, Antifa, Colin Kaepernick … became topics for the dinner table and even fighting in the streets.

More than ever, those who dared offer a different opinion, are/were labeled as “racists,” “misogynistic,” “homophobic,” “privileged,” “transphobic” …

Many on our hyper campuses became venues in which Unmensch with other points of view were charged with “micro-aggressions,” requiring “trigger warnings” and “safe spaces.”

The November 4, 2008 Spirit of Hope and Change is long gone after just one short decade, compelling one to ask: “Did it ever really exist?”

Many of these subsequent events (e.g., Treyvon Martin shooting) listed by Almost DailyBrett came before Donald Trump.

Did the lost promise of Hope and Change/corresponding rise of über Political Correctness prompt many of the 62 million to go to the polls and cast ballots on behalf of change agent, Donald Trump?

Hatred: The New Norm?

“I really worry that someone is going to be killed and that those who are ratcheting up the conversation … they have to realize that they bear some responsibility if this elevates to violence.” — Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky)

Senator Paul was on the same local baseball diamond when bullets flew and Rep. Steve Scalise (R-Louisiana) was shot, and almost killed. And just this past week, pipe bombs were sent to former and present Democratic office holders. Shots rang out today in a Pittsburgh Synagogue. Don’t even want to think, what’s next?

In the meantime, Almost DailyBrett has seen and experienced negative media before … but never to this extent. We are in unchartered waters, bringing into question what legacy/digital journalism means anymore?

Any positive news from the White House – no matter the subject or how it’s presented — is immediately turned in a dark direction by Oppositional Journalism.

The two tribes are polarized as never before. The other side of the aisle can’t cross the street to have a bite to eat without drawing ferocious protesters.

Civility? What civility?

How can we get back to the best hopes and eternal optimism, which characterized the legacies of Kennedy and Reagan?

We went to the moon. The wall came down. Kennedyesque and Reaganesque hope and change worked regardless of party.

Were we better citizens back then? Maybe so.

More to the point: Can we ever get back to the glimmering hopeful moments on November 8, 2008, when even politically charged allegations of “racism,” were given a rest …  at least for one evening?












Consider the following equation:

A fast-breaking highly charged emotional story.

Plus mistaken identity.

Plus a news media determined to be the first to break the story.

Plus the unprecedented speed and reach of the Internet.

Plus the potential of vigilantes willing to take “justice” into their own hands.

All that equals the potential of some innocent person(s) being seriously hurt or worse.


It could have been Ryan Lanza as a result of the horrific Newtown, Ct. school shootings last Friday. Or it could have been David and Elaine McClain in the Treyvon Martin case this past spring.

For Ryan Lanza, (not to be confused yet again with his killer brother, Adam) Friday was a very bad day.

He found out that his mother is dead. His estranged brother killed 26 innocents, including 20 in a suburban Connecticut kindergarten. And to top it off,  law enforcement fingered the wrong Lanza…Ryan, not Adam.

And that meant the media, including the Associated Press with its international reach, had the wrong Lanza as well. The word spread like bonfire across cyberspace and the airwaves that Ryan Lanza had horrifically killed 27 innocents. In reality, Ryan Lanza was working in the Manhattan office of accounting firm, Ernst & Young, approximately 60 miles from Newtown, Connecticut. He was just doing his job.

Lanza’s social media sites turned ugly, real threatening ugly, real fast. He was forced to leave work out of fear for his well being.

“The Associated Press, relying on a law enforcement official who turned out to be mistaken, initially reported Ryan Lanza was the shooter,” MSN News reported. “Many other media outlets also reported as such, citing law enforcement officials…A friend of Lanza’s, former Jersey Journal newspaper staff writer Brett Wilshe, told the AP he ‘got really scared’ when he began hearing the media reports about Ryan Lanza, and sent him a message on Facebook asking what was going on and if he was OK.”

In defense of the media, it is only as good as the information they are provided. Not being as charitable, the media is always in such a bowels-in-an-uproar tizzy to be the first to break the news. In a fast breaking high-import, emotional story media types, particularly television networks, are often guilty of breaking the wrong news and having to correct the record.

And when that happens in the 21st Century the mistake is instantaneously compounded on social media with its global reach? Are we are running the risk that someone or a modern-day lynch mob will take justice into their own hands, even if the mistake is quickly corrected? Is any innocent person truly safe? Have you ever Googled your own name to check out the affairs of others who have the same name?


Earlier this year, film director/producer Spike Lee tweeted the address of the McClains, a law-abiding couple in their 70s, to his almost 240,000 Twitter followers. He was “relaying” the word that alleged Martin shooter George Zimmerman lived at that address. Wrong. The vigilantes went there seeking “justice.” The McClains were forced into hiding.

Some other questions come to mind: What if the address was correct? What if Zimmerman really lived there? What did Lee want the recipients of his tweets to do with this information?

Lee subsequently apologized to the McClains and he wrote them a big check. He asked everyone to leave this poor couple alone in peace.

For the media, the words of the Wizard of Westwood John Wooden come to mind: “Be quick, but don’t hurry.”

Certainly, the lawyers for big media with deep pockets (e.g., ABC-Disney; NBC-Comcast/GE; CBS-Viacom; CNN-Time-Warner; Fox-News Corporation) must be concerned about their potential liability in mistaken identity cases. Even though it is difficult to successfully sue these major corporations, juries may not be so accommodating when someone loses their life as a result of the frantic rush to be first with the wrong information.

For public relations professionals, it means that brands and reputations can be quickly besmirched in a case of mistaken identity. Vigilance is now a 24/7/365 undertaking in our digital world.

Maybe, the networks and wire services should be a little less braggadocio when it comes to being first. The reality is that a media outlet will not always be first; some other organization will be first from time-to-time. How about being right? How about being accurate? How about double checking? Heck, how about triple checking?

“Are you sure it was Ryan Lanza?”

“Does George Zimmerman really live here?” (Yes, Spike Lee is not media, but the point about checking still applies)

Just asking an extra question or two or three may preclude someone from going into hiding, from being harassed at work, or even some other unfortunate event that triggers big-time headlines…and even a big-time legal judgment.









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