As we wait for final arguments and then a verdict in the George Zimmerman trial, Paul Waldman alerts us to the latest round of Zimmerman-related race baiting from the right-wing media. It turns out that in the days after Trayvon Martin was killed, the Justice Department sent a team of mediators down to Sanford to try to keep everybody calm. This team was universally praised for its efforts....until a couple of days ago:
Conservative media have a different take on the CRS's efforts to diffuse the anger over the case, which came to their attention when the conservative group Judicial Watch obtained documents detailing the CRS's expenses of a couple of thousand dollars for their time in Sanford. In their reading, it's a Justice Department conspiracy, in which Obama and Holder are working with Al Sharpton to organize anti-Zimmerman protests.
"Docs: Justice Department Facilitated Anti-Zimmerman Protests," said the Daily Caller. Fox News, which has been treating its viewers to the commentary of thoughtful race analysts like Mark Fuhrman and Pat Buchanan about this case, was a tad more circumspect, posing it as a question: "Did Justice Department Support Anti-Zimmerman Protests After Martin Shooting?" Breitbart.com ssaw the entire prosecution as a result of the mediators: "Judicial Watch: Zimmerman Prosecution Might Have Been Forced By DOJ-Organized Pressure." Powerline was even more dramatic: "Did the Department of Justice Stir Up Trayvon Martin Riots?" Interesting question, particularly since there were no riots. "The United States government has been converted by Obama and Holder into a community organizing agitator bunch!" thundered Rush Limbaugh in response to the report about the CRS. "This regime saw an opportunity to turn something into a profoundly racial case for the express purpose of ripping the country apart."
Dave Weigel has more in Slate. "The DOJ did mediate," he reports. "The result was peaceful rallies, after which a police chief resigned and Zimmerman was charged. The argument on the right now is that even this mediation tipped the scales." Read the rest if you want to stay au courant with all the conservative conspiracy theories that don't make it to the front page of the New York Times.