Source: Jack Cashill

On February 26, the Washington Post commemorated the ten-year anniversary of Trayvon Martin’s death with a loving and outrageously dishonest video tribute to the fallen 17-year-old. Even more troubling, columnist Charles Blow enlisted former president Barack Obama in this mendacious rewrite of recent history. On Friday morning, March 4, I sent an email to “corrections.” I sent the same email to managing editor Sally Buzbee and several other relevant editors. What follows is what I wrote:

Before listing the problems, let me establish my credentials to comment. I attended George Zimmerman’s trial and wrote a book on the subject: If I Had a Son: Race, Guns, and the Railroading of George Zimmerman. I have since gotten to know George and his family well. In 2019, I edited Joel Gilbert’s brilliantly researched book (and film), The Trayvon Hoax. I have a Ph.D. in American studies from Purdue.

Now for the problems:

Charles Blow tells us, “The contemporary civil rights movement unfolded directly in response to the murder of Trayvon Martin.” George Zimmerman was rightfully acquitted of murder. To launch a civil rights movement on a lie is a bad way to start one.

Barack Obama expressed his outrage at “the idea that this teenager who was walking down the street could be considered so threatening that a private citizen could initiate a confrontation resulting in that teenager’s death.”

Well, Trayvon wasn’t walking down the street. He was lurking in the shadows on a rainy night in a housing development plagued with break-ins and home invasions by young black men, and Zimmerman did not initiate the confrontation.

In the Post video, we hear George Zimmerman’s edited call to the dispatcher. What follows is the actual exchange:

GZ: Hey, we’ve had some break-ins in my neighborhood and there’s a real suspicious guy, uh [near] Retreat View Circle. The best address I can give you is 111 Retreat View Circle. This guy looks like he’s up to no good or he’s on drugs or something. It’s raining and he’s just walking around, looking about.

SPD:  Okay, and this guy, is he White, Black, or Hispanic?

GZ:  He looks black.

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Here is how the Post edited this exchange:

GZ: Hey, we’ve had some break-ins in my neighborhood and there’s a real suspicious guy. This guy looks like he’s up to no good or he’s on drugs or something. He looks black.

The Post edited the call to make GZ look like a racist profiler. This was the first of two deceptive edits. When the dispatcher asked Zimmerman which way Trayvon was running, Zimmerman left the car “to maintain a visual.” Upon hearing the wind in the phone, the dispatcher asked:

SPD:  Are you following him?

GZ:  Yeah.

SPD:  Okay. We don’t need you to do that.

GZ:  Okay.

The Post edited out Zimmerman’s “okay,” all the better to preserve the fiction that GZ was stalking Trayvon. In fact, GZ stopped following Trayvon and looked for an address where he could meet the police who were on their way.

Writes Blow, “Martin was just 17 years old, a boy, and he was where he was supposed to be. He was unarmed. He was carrying Skittles and a can of iced tea.”

No, Trayvon was not where he was supposed to be. He had been exiled to the townhome of his father’s new girlfriend in Sanford, Florida, after being suspended from school for the third time that school year and kicked out of his mother’s home. Having been caught with stolen jewelry and burglary tools, Trayvon avoided arrest under the same misguided policy that allowed Nikolas Cruz free to kill 17 of his Parkland high school classmates a few years later.

Zimmerman was right about Trayvon. He was high, and he was up to no good. He had gone to the 7-11 not on some innocent mission, but to buy some “blunts” and the makings — Skittles, watermelon cooler — of a drug concoction called “purple lean.”

This unarmed “boy” was an aspiring mixed martial artist nearly a half a foot taller than Zimmerman. Yet, in violation of all journalism standards, the Post only showed pictures of Trayvon as a little boy.

Trayvon had four minutes to run 100 yards to the townhome where he was staying. Instead, he circled back to the spot where Zimmerman was waiting for the police and sucker punched him. The only eyewitness, Jonathan Good, told the jury that he saw a “black man in a black hoodie on top of either a white guy… or an Hispanic guy in a red sweater on the ground yelling out help.” According to Good, the black man on top was “throwing down blows on the guy MMA style.” Trayvon pounded Zimmerman’s head for more than 40 seconds. A 911 call picked up Zimmerman’s screams. Losing consciousness, Zimmerman finally pulled out his pistol and shot Trayvon in the chest. The evidence for this scenario was irrefutable.

To compare Trayvon Martin to Emmett Till is disgraceful.

The case should never have come to trial. With the mob pressing hard, state authorities arrested Zimmerman only after attorney Benjamin Crump manufactured a “phone witness,” a grossly overweight and mentally challenged 19-year-old who claimed to be Trayvon’s “puppy love.” Gilbert found the real 16-year-old girlfriend. I would recommend Blow watch The Trayvon Hoax.

Zimmerman did not face not an “all-white” jury as the Post video claimed. One of the six jurors was an Afro-Puerto Rican. They acquitted Zimmerman because they heard and saw the evidence.

Although the Post chose not to share this info, Zimmerman was a Hispanic civil rights activist, the active mentor of two Black teens, and an Obama supporter.

I have never seen a more consequential story so grossly misreported. The Post has an opportunity here to tell the truth about what happened. That will take some courage. The easy way out is to let democracy die in darkness.

Happy to help or, if need be, shout out about this defamatory nonsense from the rooftops. I am not going to let this level of media malpractice pass.

I would prefer option A. Thanks for hearing me out.

Four days after sending this email, I have not heard a word in reply, not even a “Thank you. We are looking into your concerns.” Blow and his colleagues were right about one thing. The Trayvon Martin case did launch a new phase in the civil rights movement. They even got Obama to lend his imprimatur, the former president calling the furor over Trayvon’s acquittal, “a galvanizing force in helping to create a broader based movement now known as Black Lives Matter.”

For the Post editors to “correct” this story would be to undermine their own credibility, the legitimacy of Black Lives Matter, and Barack Obama’s place in history. I almost pity them. In their world, they have no choice but to dishonor their profession and let democracy die in darkness.