The Mixer: Protest on the streets of LA

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Mixer_575x200On this week’s Mixer, a busy week of protests – and arrests – in and around LA in the wake of George Zimmerman’s manslaughter and murder acquittals last weekend.

The vast majority of rallies in Leimert Park and along Crenshaw were peaceful. But a handful of younger people in several splinter groups caused trouble. They jumped on cars, invaded a Walmart — unnerving some customers — and broke a few business windows.

Hollywood saw a slew of resident, tourist and business robberies on Wednesday night. But police say they don’t believe those actions had anything to do with the peaceful Zimmerman protests that were going on in South LA at the same time.

Some of the questions our panelists — Andrew Blankstein from the Los Angeles Times and Miguel Marquez from CNN — pondered were the same ones we’ve been asking most of the week.

Why were there troublesome protests in Southern California (and Oakland, too), and not necessarily close to where the Zimmerman trial took place? The short answer, of course, is the tenuous relationship between the LAPD and African-Americans. A relationship that our panel believes is improving.

They take note of the delicate way police handled the protests early on, imploring parents to phone or text their children to stay away from protests going on. There was also the fact that officers encouraged peaceful protest.

Where the story got a bit ridiculous was when some on social and (mainstream) media tried to make comparisons between this week’s sporadic violence and 1992’s LA riots.

I’m glad Miguel came in for today’s Mixer because we had a chance to talk about cable news and its infatuation with sensationalized trials. It was interesting that CNN ably covered the Egyptian coup a couple of weeks ago, but sparingly. And kept going back to the Zimmerman trial.

Is that a bad thing? Not horrible, sure. It’s what the networks do. But what does it say about journalism today? Do cable networks believe they have a responsibility to inform, entertain or satiate?

In our Mixer Elixir, we salute Mayor Eric Garcetti, who’s serving this weekend in the Navy Reserves.

A salute in spirit and song.