Following the shooting death of Christopher Lane by three Oklahoma teenagers, some conservatives, and Fox News in particular, believe they have their own Trayvon Martin case – an incident which, Juan Williams says, “comes from a desire to pay back left-wingers who insist the shooting of Trayvon Martin was a racist act.”
There are a few differences with the cases though, and conservatives should be on guard not to repeat the same mistakes they accused liberals of making.
Liberals were quick to jump on the side of Trayvon Martin. President Obama said that if he had a son, he’d look like Trayvon, and that Trayvon might’ve in fact been him, while a Democratic Congresswoman said that Martin was hunted down like a dog. However, in an effort to ‘pay back left-wingers’, Fox News is sounding much more virulent toward the Oklahoma teens than they were with George Zimmerman. They referred to the Florida case as the “shooting” of Trayvon Martin, or, more simply, the “death” of Trayvon Martin, as if he died from a simple traffic accident. At the same time, they refer to the Oklahoma case as the “murder” of Christopher Lane.
The reason this is important isn’t simply because it’s treating one case as an accidental death and the other as murder – it is their bitter tone. It seems less like they’re pointing out liberal hypocrisy in rushing to Martin’s defense but not to Lane’s, and more like the Lane killing, err, murder, was a personal affront to Fox News and white people in general.
That said, liberals at least had a good reason for bringing attention to the Martin case. There was no arrest and there were no charges filed. Did they inject race and politics into the case? Sure. But they at least had a reason to question why there were no arrests or charges filed. The same cannot be said for the Lane case –charges were filed, and court action is underway. So what, beyond pointing out “liberal hypocrisy”, is Fox News hoping to accomplish by continuing to highlight the case?
The only thing they’ll gain by pursuing the Lane case further is to appear like they’re out for blood. Liberals missed on nailing George Zimmerman, but conservatives, by God, we will get those three teenagers, who dared MURDER an innocent white guy!
Fox News is handling the Lane killing wrongly, and that reflects badly on conservatives. The Lane case is moving through the courts, charges have been filed – what more do you want than a head on a pike? There is nothing to be gained from injecting politics into the Lane case.
As Juan Williams summed up, “It is a cynical, dangerous game of one-upping the other side by claiming those other folks are the real racists.”
Liberals had a rallying call, “We’re all Trayvon.” The smart thing for Fox News would be to adopt a more laissez-faire approach to the Lane case – “leave it be.” It’s going through the courts; it doesn’t need national media coverage.