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Wikipedia Edit War over CNN legal analyst failure to pay Zimmerman debate wager

Wikipedia Edit War over CNN legal analyst failure to pay Zimmerman debate wager

CNN legal analyst Sunny Hostin lost a $100 bet to Andrew Branca about whether George Zimmerman was told not to leave his car, but hasn’t paid yet.

Andrew Branca wrote the other day about his bet with CNN Legal Analyst Sunny Hostin, recorded on air at the Berkeley Law School Stand Your Ground debate, CNN analyst welches on bet after Andrew Branca wins “Stand-Your-Ground” Debate.

The bet was over whether George Zimmerman was told not to leave his car when he was on the phone with 911 prior to the shooting of Trayvon Martin. When a panelist claimed Zimmerman was told not to leave his car, Branca offered a $100 wager that such an order never took place.

CNN Legal Analyst Sunny Hostin took Branca up on the bet.

It’s on video:

Of course, as anyone who followed the trial knows, there was no such instruction not to leave the car.

The mention by the 911 operator that “we don’t need you to do that” was not an order — by the 911 operator’s own testimony — and in any event, took place after Zimmerman already had exited the car. See my long ago post, In busting Zimmerman myths, Jonathan Capehart perpetuates the greatest myth of all, in which I presented the transcript and video of trial testimony.

According to Branca, Hostin has not paid the wager, even though he sent her the audio of the 911 call and has tweeted demands for payment to her.

In his post yesterday, Andrew noted that there was an entry on Hostin’s Wikipedia page regarding the Berkeley debate mentioning the wager and failure to pay. 

Sunny Hostin Wiki with debate welch

As of this writing, the entry still is there, but there’s been an editing war with someone using the name “Sunny Hostin” trying to edit it:

Sunny Hostin Wikipedia Revision History ao 4-29-2014 1130 am EST

The edit history link indicates that person trying to remove the entry entirely.

I don’t know if it’s Hostin herself, or someone using her name.  Unfortunately, she’s blocked Legal Insurrection’s Twitter account, so I can’t send her a direct message inquiring:

Sunny Hostin Twitter Blocked

This is reminiscent of the Wikipedia edit war over the Ethnic Cleansing of Elizabeth Warren’s Cherokee problem:

With Warren, you can understand why her supporters so vigorously sought to cleanse her history — it was a major political problem for her.

But in Hostin’s case, I just don’t see what the big deal is.  Whether it’s her or an imposter, just give it up.

It’s beyond doubt that Zimmerman was NOT told to stay in the car.  So you were wrong, no big deal.  We’ve all been wrong at one point or another.

Just pay up, or plead your defense as to why you shouldn’t have to pay.  “I don’t want to” is not an acceptable defense.


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Every dollar is like a delicious serving of schadenfreude. She doesn’t want you to get fat on schadenfreude.

Women don’t honor bets. It’s not in their nature.

Henry Hawkins | April 29, 2014 at 12:31 pm

$5 says someone will soon accuse Branca of participating in the War On Women. He’ll be excoriated for wanting to take $100 of groceries from the mouths of Hostin’s children. Oh, the horror.

The content is very unlikely to survive in wikipedia. In this particular case, it is not going to be due to any biases in the editors, but because the content doesn’t meet policy. in particular says that blogs cannot be used to source info about living people. If there are more “mainstream” news sources that have covered the bet, then it would be more likely to make it.

    MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to gaijin42. | April 29, 2014 at 5:26 pm

    What happens in a case like that is they call for more sources.
    I think here statements at the debate and her twitter comments would be enough.

Some people can’t admit being wrong. And some groups feel less concern about not paying off on a bet.

Particularly those that have some sense of entitlement to special dispensation and those that feel that even if their facts are wrong, they have the correct thoughts so they shouldn’t be penalized if those thoughts aren’t factual.

(see Dan Rather and “Fake but accurate”)

Women and other protected classes will likely renege on debts made that strike at their fundamental assumptions that also shore up their protected status and the supposed reasoning why they are protected.

    Ragspierre in reply to jakee308. | April 29, 2014 at 1:24 pm

    Ah, you are SO close…

    The beauty of post-modernism is that you are NEVER “wrong”. There is no such thing as “right and wrong”. The truth is infinitely plastic. Think metaphysical Silly-Putty.

    Now, there are “good and bad” concepts. And lying…especially to oneself…is acceptable in doing “good”.

    JoAnne in reply to jakee308. | April 29, 2014 at 2:30 pm

    Ahem – can we change that to “some women” please? This woman would pay up – if she were to bet, which she won’t because that’s MY nature!

      Another Voice in reply to JoAnne. | April 29, 2014 at 4:26 pm

      This may be a learning curve lesson for her of “Talking the Walk or Walking the Walk” and “Putting her Money where her Mouth is”. It may not stay on Wikipedia for policy reasons, but it will be around long enough for her contemporaries to know she has character credibility issues. She’s already working with a handicap at CNN so it has to be real world encounters to smarten her up.

    Juba Doobai! in reply to jakee308. | April 29, 2014 at 8:42 pm

    Its rather that Branca is a man and men are always wrong even when they’re right. So, on those grounds, Sunny Hostin is going to refuse to pay, though she won’t say so.

Juba Doobai! | April 29, 2014 at 1:27 pm

Delicious! Schadenfreude is a dish best served sweet and warm.

Pay or don’t pay, either way Hostin loses. How sweet it is!

JimMtnViewCaUSA | April 29, 2014 at 2:02 pm

I remember seeing a guy on suggesting a wiki update and another member making it happen.
We see this every day in the media but it’s still sickening. A CNN legal analyst who covered the trial and doesn’t know the actual facts of the case….or who knows and purposely puts out falsehoods.

So you were wrong, no big deal. We’ve all been wrong at one point or another.

Not that wrong.

This wasn’t just an ordinary clanger; this was a professional disaster. How could a “legal analyst” bungle such a fundamental (and, even worse, impeccably documented) fact of the case?

We can extract some information from the incident –

Hostin’s either too stupid to know the facts of a case she ostensibly “covered”, or she’s one of those losers who tried to railroad Zimmerman into jail with lies, fabrications, propaganda, and doctored tapes.

The railroaders know they’re lying, and that there’s no way they can win against a cold hard fact, so they’ll avoid anything which puts them into that situation. Rice Lave did it the right way; she tossed out her bit of propaganda, but, when it flopped, desisted from making an ass of herself by accepting the bet. Cut and run, and live to lie another day.

Hostin was too dumb to do the same.

As a legal analyst with any claims to competence, she’s toast. She’s just had her “Chamberlain moment”, and it’s what she’ll be remembered for. Toast, toast, toast …

But as a CNN “personality”, she probably still has a few years left in her.

    Is there some rule about correspondents at CNN not taking bets on stories? She can obviously afford a $100.

      tom swift in reply to EBL. | April 29, 2014 at 5:01 pm

      As an analyst, her position is probably unrecoverable. The failure to honor the wager transforms her from stupid to ridiculous; even if she pays, she’ll still be stupid. Paying would help a bit, because stories of the ridiculous propagate better than stories of the stupid. So, she’d still be stupid, but fewer people would hear about it. A smarter person would have realized that, and paid up pronto.

      As a progressive, she can’t admit to being dead wrong about the Zimmerman case, as it would also be an admission that The Narrative is a tapestry woven of lies and delusions.

        If she was really smart, she would have given Andrew the $100 and taken him out to dinner (just to pretend to be an open minded journalist and schmooze him).

          tom swift in reply to EBL. | April 29, 2014 at 5:47 pm

          Sure, a bit of enthusiastic insincerity can go a long way.

          But if she was that smart, she wouldn’t have dug herself into such a deep hole in the first place.

          Frankly, if she’d merely told me she’d misunderstood the wager, I would have let it go. Misunderstandings happen, and reasonable people let them go.

          Intransigence in the face of uncontested evidence and whitewashing the truth are other matters entirely. For shame.

          Of course, if she’d simply have paid the $100 she owes, the whole story might have been worth a post or two, instead of going viral and exposing her lack of credibility.

          But, just as with Trayvon, poor choices, poor outcomes.

          –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

          Juba Doobai! in reply to EBL. | April 29, 2014 at 8:45 pm

          If she was really smart, she wouldn’t have stuck her oar in and taken the bet.

This is at the 92nd Street Y. Jeff Greenfield speaking with Joe Klein, this is Sunday night, New York City.

KLEIN: I come home and I turn on CNN at six o’clock at night because that’s something I kind of do in preparation for the 6:30 network news to see what Wolf is being really hyperbolic about, and he’s talking about the plane! I mean .. well, actually this is is matter of real sadness.

It is such an embarrassment to our profession that CNN has gone in the toilet the way it has. It really is.

I miss being able to turn on a straight newscast. And it turns out the only place you can go to get one at six o’clock at night is Fox.

GREENFIELD: That’s right Yes. It’s true.

AUDIENCE: (gasps and grumbling)

I believe Zimmerman was driving a truck, not a car.

MouseTheLuckyDog | April 29, 2014 at 4:10 pm

It’s fun yeah, but 6 edits are not a edit war.

A lawyer named Royal Oaks, who’s the legal expert for KABC radio and some other media outlets in Los Angeles, also mistakenly claimed on air that Zimmerman was ordered not to leave his car.

Also heard another attorney make the same bogus claim on KRLA radio.

I found both of their email addresses and sent them links to the audio of the conversation between the dispatcher and Zimmerman. Neither acknowledged by email.

The news industry has become simply another branch of Reality TV, it’s about the bottom line, gluing eyes to screens regardless of what content it takes to achieve that goal. So what kind of “analyst” does it take to work towards that end? A pretty one, someone with a quick tongue and an eye and ear for controversy; not much else. Exhibit A, ladies and gentlemen.

Henry Hawkins | April 29, 2014 at 8:05 pm

Jacobson and Branca are turning into girl bullies. I mean men that bully fine women like Elizabeth Warren and the law professor/legal analyst/say-what-you-tell-me-to-say sock puppet Hostin, not that they are girly bullies.

If Hostin turns out to be Cherokee, you’re both in deep doodoo.

Phillep Harding | April 29, 2014 at 11:25 pm

She is supposed to be a lawyer but makes this sort of error?

MouseTheLuckyDog | April 30, 2014 at 2:59 am

It appears that the Suuny Hostin wikipedia entry is now protected.

What does that mean? Only certain privileged will be allowed to edit the page for a few weeks.

    tom swift in reply to MouseTheLuckyDog. | April 30, 2014 at 5:09 am

    The entry has the bungled bet story, so if that’s what’s protected, I can’t object. It’s even been corrected, and no longer refers to Zimmerman’s chat with the police as a 911 call.

    It can still be edited by “established registered users”, which isn’t a terribly exclusive club, so I expect whitewashing attempts to continue.

Sunny Hostin is a fool AND a knave. The video makes it very clear that she actually WENT OUT OF HER WAY to take Branca’s $100.00. She even said “Oh yes I listened to the tape!” Such arrogance, such hubris. A typical liberal no-nothing pseudo-journalist. Ah for the days of Woodward & Bernstein.