Sean Hannity has secured the first interview with George Zimmerman, the man accused of killing Florida teenager Trayvon Martin. The hour-long exclusive will air on Hannity’s Fox News Channel program tonight at 9pmET.
Zimmerman will discuss what happened on the night of Martin’s death. His attorney, Mark O’Mara, will also participate in the interview and will address rumors circulating about bail donations and hidden money, FNC says.
Hannity has been pursuing a Zimmerman interview for several months. The pair had an off-the-record phone conversation in April. Yesterday, GlobalGrind posted an article claiming that Hannity offered to pay Zimmerman’s legal fees; a spokesperson for Fox News told TVNewser Hannity has never offered to pay “any legal fees or any fee associated with George Zimmerman.”
>Update: A short promo of the interview just aired on “The Five.” “I am sorry that they buried their child,” Zimmerman said of Martin’s parents. “I can’t imagine what it must feel like. And I pray for them daily.” Watch:
>Update: Watch the interview after the jump. Read more
George Zimmerman, the man who shot Trayvon Martin, is now out on bail, released from jail just after MidnightET. Fox News and MSNBC reported the news during live updates at 12:30am. CNN/U.S. did not report the news until 5am, when “Early Start” when on the air. In fact a re-air of “Newsroom” at 4:25am reported Zimmerman “could stay in jail until the middle of next week.” CNN International did report the news at the top of a newscast at 1amET.
Bill O’Reilly continues his examination of the media coverage of the Trayvon Martin case. Last night he began his show with the “battle of two network news divisions,” ABC and NBC, “covering the story in completely different ways.” He began with Matt Gutman‘s exclusive angle on the story on “GMA” Friday which showed the bloodied head of George Zimmerman, reportedly taken shortly after he shot Martin to death. O’Reilly:
ABC News has basically been reporting the Martin-Zimmerman case as a hard news story with little commentary attached to it while NBC News news has been doing the exact opposite. That operation is now invested in convicting George Zimmerman of murdering Trayvon.
While for the most part praising ABC’s coverage, and vilifying NBC’s, (“through cable arm MSNBC,” said O’Reilly), the Fox News host cited a British law the allows judges to “prevent the press from reporting on criminal cases that go to trial if authorities believe that justice could be tainted by media expositions.” O’Reilly called ABC’s airing of the blooded Zimmerman photo “troubling.”
Judge Reckseidler is married to a lawyer whose partner, Mark NeJame, (below) has been hired by CNN to provide commentary on the case. Zimmerman also consulted NeJame about his legal defense. Last week Judge Recksiedler offered to recuse herself should one of the lawyers request it, and Zimmerman’s lawyer Mark O’Mara — who has also been a television legal analyst — did so.
InsideCableNews, which digs into the on-the-air and behind-the-scenes inner workings of the cable news channels had a long — very long — piece about how MSNBC has metamorphosed from unbiased channel of news, to mostly one-sided network where expressing an opinion — especially from the political left — is advantageous, if not required. ICN observes a more recent shift to POV programming in the daytime hours.
The follow through to this new policy was and is uneven; some news hours have displayed it more flagrantly than others and some news anchors have appeared more predisposed to doing it than others. ICN has heard that there has been consternation in the newsroom regarding this POV/opinion push but that it was what [MSNBC president Phil] Griffin wanted. And, after all, Griffin runs MSNBC.
Why MSNBC is doing it is pretty simple. It works. In Q1 2012, MSNBC was the only cable news network to grow in Total Viewers compared to the year-ago quarter.
But is it worth it for the anchor who sees him or herself as an unbiased news reporter, being asked to express an opinion? Is it worth it for NBC News which can — and has — been tarnished by the opinion brought by its cable cousin?
“Reverend Sharpton is a talk show host on MSNBC,” Capus said. “We believe there’s a distinction between the role he plays and our front line journalists who are part of NBC’s news gathering and reporting. This is a large news organization that has many people involved in any number of different aspects of coverage and commentary. That’s the distinction we’ve made as a news organization.”
“I never intended to hurt anyone’s feelings, and certainly, Sybrina and Tracy, I never intended to hurt your feelings,” Rivera said. “I want to personally convey my deepest apologies to both of you. I am sorry if anything I said, Tracy, added to your misery.” Watch:
TVNewser attended the taping in front of a live studio audience at Time Warner Center. The more than two-and-a-half hour town hall will be condensed into a one hour program airing tonight. Among the panelists were Martin family lawyer Benjamin Crump, New York streetfighter Curtis Sliwa, former NAACP president C.L. Bryant and HLN host Jane Velez-Mitchell.
While many of the panelists seemed to take the side of Trayvon Martin, it was left to O’Brien to challenge her guests about George Zimmerman‘s side of things. Zimmerman, the armed neighborhood watchman, has not gone public with his story, leaving that to his lawyer, friends and family members.
One of the night’s most vocal audience reactions came during a discussion of the media’s role in the case, when Geraldo Rivera‘s hoodie comments were played for the crowd. Although O’Brien noted Rivera has since apologized, the panel — including Roland Martin, no stranger to controversy himself — took the Fox News anchor to task for his remarks.
In an MSNBC interview with Lawrence O’Donnell yesterday, Oliver said he has been billed as a “close friend” of Zimmerman’s, a characterization he “wanted to clarify.” Oliver, a former local television anchor, described his relationship with Zimmerman as “more of an older uncle.”
“You’re a mystery man to me,” O’Donnell pressed him. “My role in this, I agree, just doesn’t make sense,” Oliver replied. Watch:
O’Donnell had also planned to interview Craig Sonner, Zimmerman’s attorney, on “The Last Word” Monday. But Sonner cancelled the interview at the last minute, and a furious O’Donnell instead interviewed an empty chair in his place. Video of the interview, as well as a “Daily Show” segment in response, is after the jump.
“I think the hoodie is as much responsible for Trayvon Martin‘s death as George Zimmerman was,” Rivera said last Friday on “Fox & Friends,” a position he repeated later on “The O’Reilly Factor.”
“I apologize to anyone offended by what one prominent black conservative called my ‘very practical and potentially life-saving campaign urging black and Hispanic parents not to let their children go around wearing hoodies,’” Rivera wrote in an email to Politico.
Rivera said that “by putting responsibility on what kids wear instead of how people react to them I have obscured the main point that someone shot and killed an unarmed teenager,” and that he was offering a “sincere and heartfelt apology” to anyone he may have offended in his “crusade to warn minority families of the danger to their young sons inherent in gangsta style clothing; like hoodies.”