After giving the story only cursory coverage last week, Fox News' Bill O'Reilly has devoted much more time to the Trayvon Martin controversy this week. Not surprisingly, with the increased O'Reilly attention has come an increase in the amount of misinformation regarding the killing of the unarmed Florida teen.
Discussing the still-unfolding story last night with an attorney for the Martin family, O'Reilly focused on recent news reports that Martin had been suspended from school prior to being killed by a neighborhood watchman. O'Reilly thought that information was relevant in terms of how the "case went down" because "in the beginning Trayvon was portrayed by sympathetic media as somebody who was just an innocent victim walking around."
O'Reilly didn't explain how a school suspension invalidated the idea that Martin was just an innocent victim walking around the night he was killed. But as more and more information came out about the victim, the Fox host wondered if it wasn't time for a gag order [emphasis added]:
So again, I don't want to try the case on television, but in your opinion, counselor, in your opinion, representing the family, is all of this necessary or should there be a gag order on the case and just let justice, you know, go underground?
And with that comment, O'Reilly announced he was missing the central point of contention in the Martin story, which is that there is no "case" because nobody has been charged with a crime.
Does O'Reilly not understand that gag orders are issued by judges in connection with specific, pending court cases? How can there be a "gag order" with regards to Martin when there is no legal proceeding because nobody has been arrested?
The entire reason the Martin story has generated headlines this month is because the person who shot the teen hasn't been charged with a crime. Yet O'Reilly wonders if an imaginary judge overseeing the non-existent prosecution of Martin's killer should issue a gag order?
Maybe it would be best if O'Reilly went back to paying less attention to the Martin story.