Media Gives George Zimmerman the Hero Treatment

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George Zimmerman

Reports that the Florida man, acquitted in Trayvon Martin's killing, rescued a family aired on several networks that had been criticized for their coverage.

Many in the news media have been beating up on George Zimmerman for more than a year, a chorus that increased since his acquittal last week in the killing of Trayvon Martin. On Monday, though, some networks that have faced criticism for their Zimmerman coverage were praising him after reports surfaced that he and an another man, possibly his bodyguard, helped rescue a family of four who were trapped in their overturned SUV.

“We still are trying to find out more information about the family Zimmerman saved,” said Jeff Weiner of the Orlando Sentinel on Monday (video is below). “Many people who have been following the case throughout are clamoring to known the race or ethnicity of this family.”

On Monday, ABC News reported that “Zimmerman, who has been in hiding since he was acquitted of murder in the death of Trayvon Martin, emerged to help rescue a family who was trapped in an overturned vehicle."

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It's a far cry from elements of the news network's portrayal a year ago, when Florida correspondent Matt Gutman tweeted that he killed Martin “(because) he was black."

Likewise, NBC News said Monday that Zimmerman “helped rescue a family trapped in an overturned vehicle off a Florida highway last week,” just four days after he was acquitted in Martin’s death.

Previously, NBC News had been accused of airing a doctored version of Zimmerman’s 911 call the night he shot Martin. Three people lost their jobs over the manipulated tape. MSNBC’s Al Sharpton has been one of Zimmerman’s harshest critics.

CBS was also portraying Zimmerman in favorable terms on Monday, reporting that he “helped rescue four people” on July 17. Critics of CBS News, though, have accused the network of stoking racial animus in its coverage of Zimmerman.