You’d be hard pressed to find anyone who doesn’t know the names Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman. But have you ever heard of Eddie Doeum? The fact you likely haven’t has KIRO Radio’s John Curley and Andrew Walsh fired up.
Doeum is a 32-year-old Kent man who was shot and killed outside his home in May. The shooting remains unsolved and Kent police have virtually no leads.
While a jury in Florida is deliberating in Zimmerman’s murder trial amidst non-stop media coverage, Doeum’s murder generated just a few stories then dropped off the radar.
And just over the 4th of July weekend, at least 60 people were shot and 12 others killed in Chicago, MSNBC reported.
“I can’t name one kid that was killed in Chicago over the weekend,” Curley laments.
While Curley isn’t criticizing coverage of numerous cases like the recent killing of 15-year-old Molly Conley as she walked with friends in Lake Stevens, he is critical of what he calls the unofficial criteria media use to sensationalize many murder cases.
“If you want to sell papers or have people tune into your lousy 24-hour news organization, which ever one it is, you’ve got to have one of those seven or eight categories in order for people to ‘care’.”
Curley says those categories include scandal, mystery, sex, celebrity, large numbers, children, and racial conflict.
“What about the thousands upon thousands of black kids we don’t know anything about that,” Curley complains.
Curley is especially critical of the New York Times, who he argues concocted the term “white Hispanic” to describe Zimmerman. “It’s a term made up by the New York Times in order to move this thing up, in order to fall into that category of ‘it is race relations,’ then it is black against white when it is not black against white.”
Curley argues if Zimmerman had taken his mother’s Hispanic name, the case would never have gotten any attention.
Walsh agrees the media tend to gravitate towards certain cases while ignoring most, but he argues the coverage of the Martin killing is justified.
“One of the reasons this did finally blow up is because this wasn’t being reported on at all at first. It’s because the family had to make a really big fuss about it because Zimmerman wasn’t even going to be charged.”
Walsh argues race is an important part of the story, because if the prosecution’s version of events is true, Martin was killed simply for being a black kid in a hoodie walking home from a convenience store.
“If you give the background of Trayvon Martin, I do think this story is about race. It’s less about George Zimmerman’s race but it is about this kid’s race, this 17-year-old’s race,” Walsh says. “Think about any parent that just had their 17-year-old kid shot dead because he was doing absolutely nothing.”