Orlando Sentinel Censors “We Say No More!” Statement on Killing of Trayvon Martin

June 28, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


This letter is being circulated: 

Dear Friend,

The Orlando Sentinel has refused to publish the "We Say No More!" statement as a paid ad on the grounds that it's "inflammatory" and "is more of an opinion rather than a substantiated fact and therefore are unable to publish the ad in its present form."

The statement, signed by prominent figures including Cornel West, Tavis Smiley, Adam Horovitz of the Beastie Boys, Tom Morello, Noam Chomsky, Don Cheadle, Peter Coyote, Lisa Edelstein, scientist Niles Eldridge, Tony Award winning playwright Eve Ensler and many others, and previously published in the Jacksonville Florida Star (5/24/12), says:

"WE SAY NO MORE! The killing of Trayvon Martin and 2.4 million in prison make clear that there is a whole generation of Black and Latino youth who have been marked and treated as a 'generation of suspects' to be murdered and jailed. This is not an issue for Black people alone but for all who care about justice; it is not a random tragedy. We Say NO MORE!"

In May 2012, The Orlando Sentinel, with a readership of over 300,000, was going to publish this statement as a paid ad and told us that “Management has the right to refuse an ad based on content – that is rare – but is why we do require documentation/sourcing is requested.” Now, they have refused to publish the ad and would not accept how I verbally documented what was in the statement. Further, the Sentinel zeroed in on the words "killing of Trayvon Martin." They said it should say "death of Trayvon Martin."  When we told them that this was because “he (Trayvon) was killed by George Zimmerman,” they said, “That will be decided by the trial.”

This is outrageous bias and censorship. The Sentinel's extensive coverage of the Zimmerman trial has included biased defense team leaks and statements designed to impugn and vilify Trayvon Martin and justify Zimmerman's actions. And on June 27 the Sentinel released and promoted on its website, as a "top pick," courtroom video of prosecution witness Rachel Jeantel, cut and edited with flippant commentary denigrating the young woman who was the last person to talk with Trayvon Martin right before his murder, and dismissing her testimony. The Sentinel offered its opinion that her testimony "ranged from the tragic to the bizarre." ("George Zimmerman trial: 'Yes, sir!' it's Rachel Jeantel" by staff writer Jon Busdeker.) Many are denouncing this sort of coverage as racism. Yet the Sentinel refuses to publish a statement concerning the basic situation facing Black youth today—as inflammatory and not factual. This cannot stand.

WHAT YOU CAN DO to uphold press freedom, and especially those who want justice for Trayvon Martin: Sign this statement. Make a significant donation to get this statement published in a major Florida newspaper during the trial. Get this email out to everyone you know. Contact the press about this. Put this up on social media—FaceBook and Twitter. Demand the Sentinel reverse this act of blatant censorship and publish the "We Say No More!" statement.

You can contribute to the publication of this statement by making out a check to the "Stop Mass Incarceration Network" and mailing it to SMIN at:

Stop Mass Incarceration Network
P.O. Box 941, Knickerbocker Station,
New York City, NY 10002-0900

You can make a tax deductible contribution by writing a check to "The Alliance for Global Justice" and putting "Stop Mass Incarceration Network" and "We Say No More" in the memo line. Or you can go online and make a tax deductible contribution at: http://stopmassincarceration.net/donate. (Scroll down and click on DONATE ONLINE!, and then scroll down again to the form and choose CAUSE: FSP—STOP MASS INCARCERATIONS and complete debit or credit card details.)

Please reply to this email if you want to sign and/or donate and with your ideas on how we and you can get this out in a big way. Thank you.

Keith James
Stop Mass Incarceration Network, Los Angeles
Phone: 213-840-5348; email: keithjames22@yahoo.com

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