The Trayvon Hoax Shines a Light on the 'Fake News' Industry
Big media balks at the term "fake news," insisting that they honestly and accurately report the news of the day. Those paying attention to the news can cite numerous examples of fake news, either deliberate misinformation or laziness on the part of reporters.
Joel Gilbert, in his book and film of the same name, The Trayvon Hoax: Unmasking the Witness Fraud that Divided America, describes one of the biggest examples of “fake news” in modern times: that the prosecution’s key witness in the trial of George Zimmerman was in imposter.
Joel demonstrated a long-lost art, investigative journalism, and he did it in a fun, entertaining, and easily readable manner. Unlike cable news gabbers who get their talking points from echo chamber left-wing distributions networks, Joel examined phone records, photos, and yearbooks. He pounded the pavement, knocked on doors and actually talked to people.
Once upon a time this was called gumshoe journalism, walking around, investigating, putting in actual effort. Modern journalists only use their thumbs, checking Twitter feeds and reporting tweets as verified news.
Gilbert’s film, aside from debunking the Trayvon Martin hoax, demonstrated how journalism used to be done. He gave a class in how to be a reporter, in contrast to the shoddy blather that now passes for journalism.
Will journalists learn from his example? Most readers know the answer to this question. As this is but one of numerous examples of media hoaxes, it is apparent that the media has no ability or desire to change their ways.
The Trayvon Martin hoax was relatively small in scale, including creating a false witness to testify against George Zimmerman, but the implications of this hoax were huge, with continued fallout to this day, long after the 2012 shooting.
The Trayvon hoax spawned racial strife on a scale not seen in decades. From “hands up don’t shoot,” to the Ferguson effect of police backing away from traditional policing activities, to the detriment of poor and minority neighborhoods. How many residents of Chicago, Baltimore, or Philadelphia have been shot due to police officers looking the other way, rather than engaging and risking their reputations and careers if something goes sideways, as it often does in law enforcement?
Thanks to the Trayvon hoax, we have been treated to Freddie Gray, Jussie Smollett, and kneeling professional athletes. Political careers were born after the Trayvon hoax including attorney Benjamin Crump and the almost-governor of Florida, Andrew Gillum, just as the Tawana Brawley hoax thrust Al Sharpton onto the national stage several decades ago.
“Hands up, don’t shoot” was performed in newsrooms by woke CNN hosts. Members of Congress also acted out the bogus gesture. NFL players did their own “hands up, don’t shoot” street theater at NFL games under a national spotlight. Are any of these charlatans now holding up Gilbert’s book offering an apology for pushing a hoax?
Big media played its part in the Trayvon hoax as in NBC doctoring George Zimmerman’s 911 call so that Zimmerman appeared to be a racist, providing a racial angle for his self-defense shooting of Trayvon Martin. CNN described Zimmerman as a “white Hispanic” to keep the race angle front and center in their reporting. Did they ever refer to Barack Obama as “half black” given the white skin color of his mother? What about Kamala Harris, who can be described black or African American when it suits, rather than her actual Indian-Jamaican heritage?
Are these hoaxes accidental or deliberate? Is this sloppy reporting or an attempt to shape a particular narrative rather than simply report the news? If it happened infrequently, with prompt corrections and profuse apologies for getting the story wrong, I would call such incidents accidental.
Instead the stories are run with little or no verification. If the story turns out to be wrong, a correction is issued several days later, buried in the 25th paragraph of an article with the obligatory, “We regret the error”. Meanwhile as Founder Fisher Ames said, “A Lie could travel from Maine to Georgia while Truth was getting on his boots.”
The Trayvon hoax is seven years old. Thankfully Joel Gilbert has finally set the record straight in his new book. Where is the rest of the media that reported the original story as gospel? How many have even acknowledged the error, much less expressed any regret over their slipshod journalism?
Very few honest journalists boldly go where CNN and the New York Times are uninterested or afraid to venture. It’s left to these few brave journalists -- Joel Gilbert, Sara Carter, John Solomon, Brian Cates, Dan Bongino, to name a few -- to do the heavy lifting of actual investigative reporting, as Joel Gilbert did in debunking the hoax of Barack Obama’s life story through his previous film, Dreams from my Real Father.
Instead, journalism has been replaced by fiction writing, so-called reporters parroting partisan talking points, deliberately doctoring audio and video, ignoring inconvenient facts and contradictions, all to push a political narrative. It is, to borrow a line from FBI hoaxer James Comey, their “higher calling” to thwart the will of the people in favor of their preferences as to who leads our country.
Congratulations to Joel Gilbert for shining a bright light on the fake news media and demonstrating how fake news is more than simply a Twitter hashtag. He has reminded the world what real journalism is.
His book and film of the same name, The Trayvon Hoax: Unmasking the Witness Fraud that Divided America, is informative, interesting, and entertaining, and an indictment of the political media establishment. It’s a great read and would make an excellent holiday gift for anyone needing convincing that “fake news” is alive and thriving in the modern media world.
Brian C Joondeph, MD, is a Denver-based physician, freelance writer and occasional radio talk show host whose pieces have appeared in American Thinker, Daily Caller, and other publications. Follow him on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and QuodVerum.