Hoaxsters Push A 'Trayvon Hoax'
Conspiracy-obsessed WorldNetDaily columnist Jack Cashill joined forces with charlatan filmmaker Joel Gilbert to make a film that once again trashes Trayvon Martin -- but Cashill won't tell you about Gilbert's factually challenged past.
By Terry Krepel
From falsely portraying criminals as innocent victims to endorsing the murder of people he doesn't like, Cashill is an encapsulation of what's wrong at WND. The fact that he still has a column is evidence that WND still has a long way to go to fix itself.
Over the past year or so, Cashill has continued to be Cashill, pushing numerous dubious claims and conspiracy theories, especially involving Trayvon Martin. If you'll recall, Cashill trashed Martin as a wannabe thug and lionized George Zimmerman, the man who killed him, as a civil rights martyr. As Zimmerman's misbehavior and criminal acts continued, Cashill still stood by him and helped evade responsibility for his acts.
Cashill is still doing what he can to advance Zimmerman's cause, such as it is, and trash a dead teenager, even enlisting a notoriously deceitful filmmaker to his cause.
Touting Joel Gilbert
Remember Joel Gilbert? He's the guy who makes so-called documentaries that get mysteriously reclassified as "mockumentaries" years after the fact. He's best known -- and beloved by WND -- for an anti-Obama film whose central claim that Obama's mother posed nude for Frank Marshall Davis was discredited so quickly that Gilbert re-edited promotional videos to play down his bogus claim.
Well, Gilbert returned last year with a new scam -- er, film -- and, of course, WND had him. Cashill wrote in his Sept. 16 column:
On Monday. Sept. 16, I attended the preview of Joel Gilbert's new documentary, "The Trayvon Hoax," at the National Press Club in Washington.
Actually, nobody's embarrassed to have skipped Gilbert's presser -- after all, his reputation as a charlatan precedes him. Cashill didn't mention any of that, of course; that would undermine the idea that Gilbert is someone to be trusted. Instead, he insisted that "Independent journalists like Gilbert are showing us that we of the American samizdat have the power to un-tell the lethal story the media told. ... I use samizdat as shorthand for the alternative conservative media of blogs, public forums, online publications, independent books and films and talk radio."
Anyway, the "Trayvon hoax" the film purportedly depicts involves the identity of the person Martin was texting at the time of his fatal encounter with Zimmerman. As ConWebWatch has documented, Cashill is highly biased, portraying Martin as a thug and Zimmerman as a hero, even as Zimmerman continued to engage in criminal behavior.
Cashill has been acting as Gilbert's PR agent for his film. In his Sept. 25 column, Cashill ranted that this was somehow "the most spectacular legal fraud in memory," adding: "In a just world, Florida media would be swarming all over this story. They are not. I have emailed a short version of the above story to a half-dozen editors and reporters at Florida's leading newspapers and have heard nothing in response." Again, Cashill seems to forget that Gilbert's sleazy reputation precedes him, of which we assume Cashill did not inform those reporters and editors.
Cashill's Oct. 2 column tried hard to come up with a new angle, complaining that Hillary Clinton endorsed Martin's mother in her bid for a county commissioner seat in Florida. He laughably claimed that Gilbert invested "months of painstaking research" into his film, whining that "the major media absolutely refuse to know what Joel Gilbert has proved" and suggesting that media who uncritically promote Gilbert's work could win a Pulitzer Prize.
WND even contributed a "news" article to the promotional effort on Sept. 24, which appears to be little more than a rewritten press release. Neither this "news" article or any of Cashill's columns mentioned the history that makes Gilbert singularly untrustworthy.
It turns out Cashill's role Gilbert's film is much bigger than merely introducing Gilbert to Zimmerman. In an Oct. 23 column for the far-right American Thinker, Cashill wrote: "For nearly a year now I have been consulting with filmmaker Joel Gilbert on his book and film project, each called The Trayvon Hoax: Unmasking the Witness Fraud that Divided America From the beginning, I have been impressed by Gilbert’s diligence in exposing the fraud at the heart of America’s most publicized and racially charged trial since O.J.’s." He denied "having any financial stake in the success of either the book or the film."
The announcement that Zimmerman and his terrible lawyer, the equally conspiratorial Larry Klayman, was filing a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against various people -- a lawsuit inspired by Gilbert's film -- first surfaced at WND in Cashill's Dec. 4 column:
On Tuesday, Dec. 3, Klayman filed suit on behalf of Zimmerman in the Circuit Court of Florida's 10th Judicial Circuit. Zimmerman is bringing this action against Trayvon's mother, Sybrina Fulton, his father, Tracy Martin, the family attorney, Benjamin Crump, the real phone witness, Brittany Diamond Eugene, and the fraudulent stand-in, Rachel Jeantel.
Cashill declared at the end: "On Thursday, Dec. 5, at noon, Klayman, Gilbert and Zimmerman will hold a joint press conference at the Coral Gables Art Cinema with a showing of "The Trayvon Hoax" to follow. The media will have to work especially hard to ignore the power of this story as it unfolds." Actually, it's not that hard at all, given that the two people driving this story -- Gilbert and Klayman -- are unreliable conspiracy theorists.
(Klayman devoted his own Dec. 6 WND column to a work titled "We are all George Zimmerman now." We all murdered a black teenager? We seemed to have missed when we did that.)
Cue another Cashill column complaining that "The left has responded to the suit in unabashedly Stalinist fashion: Shut down dissent and, if that doesn't work, slander the dissenters." He baselessly claimed that "the left" forced the cancellation of the screening and huffed of one talk show's description of the principals: "Gilbert was a 'nonsense conspiracy theorist,' Zimmerman 'a sick desperate man addicted to the spotlight,' and Klayman 'a raging lunatic.'" All of that is pretty much true, of course, but Cashill will never admit it -- after all, he helped Gilbert with this project.
Still, he insisted, "The Zimmerman case represents a dark turn in leftist history. Progressives now seem comfortable with declaring the conspicuously innocent 'guilty.'" Never mind the fact that a court of law found Zimmerman not guilty of murder.
Cashill took unseemly pleasure in the personal problems of another human being in his March 18 WND column, gloating that Florida political Andrew Gillum "had a lot of splainin' to do" after being "caught by the police vomiting in the bathroom while your naked gay male escort is overdosing on crystal meth."
Why is Cashill so irrationally angry at Gillum and taking such perverse pleasure in his apparent downfall? He took the side of Trayvon Martin against the man who killed him,
George Zimmerman. Cashill fired up the old tropes again as an attempt to heap more scorn on Gillum, invoking his favorite unreliable filmmaker in the process: As filmmaker Joel Gilbert documents in his film and accompanying book, 'The Trayvon Hoax,' Gillum built his career by ruthlessly and dishonestly exploiting the 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida."
The failed Trayvon playbook
Cashill began his May 8 WND column like this:
"The video is clear: Ahmaud Arbery was killed in cold blood," tweeted presidential candidate Joe Biden in regard to the recently released video of the February shooting death of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick, Georgia.
Of course the video is pretty darn clear regarding Arbery's death, and it's unclear what "contrary evidence" Cashill is talking about. But he's eager to play his own Trayvon Martin playbook on Arbery.
In following his playbook, Cashill took faith in the district attorney who initially declined to prosecute Arbery's killers:
A letter sent by George Barnhill, the district attorney for the Waycross Judicial Circuit, to the Glynn County Police, explains why Barnhill chose initially not to arrest the suspects.
Cashill didn't mention that Barnhill needlessly doggedly pursued a case against a black woman accused of committing vote fraud by showing a first-time voter how to use a voting machine, so his judgment appears to be a little skewed. Barnhill has since been criticized by a national organization of district attorneys for his refusal to prosecute the case and releasing the letter from which Cashill quoted, saying that it could influence possible jurors.
Cashill also got the name of the man shooting the video wrong -- his name is William Bryan, and he now won't talk about why he shot it.
Cashill then called on his favorite charlatan filmmaker: "Filmmaker Joel Gilbert has been watching this case with interest. In his 2019 film, 'The Trayvon Hoax,' Gilbert showed how Attorney Benjamin Crump allegedly produced a false witness to get George Zimmerman arrested for shooting Martin in what was transparently self-defense."
That's pretty much all Cashill has to offer -- his old tricks of race-mongering and sketchy supporting characters who lack credibility.