The trial of Kyle Rittenhouse has called renewed attention to a parallel case, that of the Florida shooting in 2012 of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin by neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman.
In 2019, L.A. filmmaker Joe Gilbert produced a stunningly researched documentary – and accompanying book – on the case titled, “The Trayvon Hoax: Unmasking the Witness Fraud That Divided America.”
In my own 2013 book, “If I Had A Son,” I argued that the jury did the right thing in acquitting Zimmerman of all charges in July 2013, an acquittal that led to the creation of Black Lives Matter.
Gilbert took the case a giant step further. He proved beyond any doubt that the State of Florida’s star witness, Rachel Jeantel, did not witness anything, either in person or by phone.
Instead, the Martin family lawyer, the now rich and famous Benjamin Crump, managed to get the obese, mentally-challenged Jeantel to pose as Martin’s girlfriend and the “ear witness” to the shooting.
Without Jeantel’s perjured testimony, the State could not have arrested Zimmerman, let alone tried him. The case for self-defense was that clear cut.
“Wow, came here because I watched the Rittenhouse trial and made me want to look back at this case,” said one typical viewer of the film. “This was truly the start of the race fear mongering culture propagated by Democrats. Can’t believe I didn’t question the narrative of this case at the time.”
“The Trayvon case was before I saw the light and realized I was being fed lies by the media,” said another. “Justice was served in the Rittenhouse trial and justice was served here as well.”
If the public is catching on to the way the media perpetuate these racial hoaxes, the media are not. An altogether too typical example is an Adam Serwer article in The Atlantic, “Of Course Kyle Rittenhouse Was Acquitted.”
One would think that in writing for a prestige publication like The Atlantic, Serwer would make sure all his facts were right. He would certainly make sure to get things right at a time when the media have been getting the facts about Rittenhouse – and the not so dead Jacob Blake – almost laughably wrong.
Serwer, however, is writing for an audience that knows only what he knows. As Gilbert learned the hard way, major media “journalists” have no interest in reviewing evidence their major media peers did not produce. Looking foolish is apparently no deterrent.
Serwer starts off wrong by playing semantic games. To establish victimhood, he refers to Martin as “one of many Black children.” Although the same age as Martin at the time of the shootings, Rittenhouse is never referred to as a “child,” not here, not anywhere. Martin is forever a “child,” even a “boy.”
“Martin would have had reason to be concerned about a grown man following him,” Serwer tells us. Does he not know that Martin, an experienced street fighter, was a half-foot taller than Zimmerman, or does he simply not care?
Does Serwer not know that Zimmerman ceased following Martin at the dispatcher’s request four minutes before the fatal encounter? Does he not know that Martin circled back and viciously attacked the unsuspecting Zimmerman? Or, again, does he simply not care?
This is not mere supposition. There were eyewitnesses, revealing 911 calls, dispatcher logs. The evidence for Zimmerman’s innocence and Martin’s viciousness was overwhelming.
Right-wing pundits, Serwer says of Martin, “spread falsehoods about his background in an attempt to retroactively justify Zimmerman’s killing of him.” To ground his argument in facts, Serwer links to a Slate article written a month after the shooting, “When in Doubt, Smear the Dead Kid.”
The article’s author – David Weigel, now with the Washington Post – took exception to a Facebook post, quickly retracted, that appeared to show Martin in a gangster pose. This kind of “misinformation” enabled right-wingers not “to worry about these sort of crimes.”
By the time Weigel wrote this article I knew the facts of the case from the excellent crowdsourcing done by the Conservative Treehouse and Legal Insurrection among others.
I knew that Trayvon’s life had spun out of control after his father abandoned his stepmother. I knew that he had spiraled downwards into a life of drugs, fighting, guns and burglary. To know this was not to “smear” Martin but to understand why this angry, confused teen gratuitously attacked an innocent man.
For every errant Facebook post on the right, however, there were literally scores of major media stories – with accompanying photos – about a saintly little boy viciously attacked by a thuggish white man.
In truth, Zimmerman was neither thuggish nor, by media standards, white. The Hispanic neighborhood watch captain was an Obama supporter and civil rights activist.
I can give Weigel half a pass for not knowing any of this a month after the shooting. For not knowing any of this 10 years later, I can only wonder why Serwer still has a job.
Jack Cashill’s latest book, “Barack Obama’s Promised Land: Deplorables Need Not Apply,” is now on pre-sale. See www.cashill.com for more information.
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