BOOK REVIEW: 'If I Had a Son': Another Dissection of Mainstream Media Bias, Often Deliberate Misreporting of Stories Involving Race

Reviewed by David M. Kinchen
BOOK REVIEW: 'If I Had a Son': Another Dissection of Mainstream Media Bias, Often Deliberate Misreporting of Stories Involving Race

I learned yesterday (March 10, 2014) that veteran CBS News Investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson has resigned from from CBS after two decades with the network. I found about this from a website new to me: Here's the link:

Why all the fuss about a reporter leaving a job? It happens all the time, doesn't it? Yes, but Attkisson, born in 1961, isn't just any reporter. She was singled out for praise in at least two books on the Fast and Furious gunrunning operation conducted by the Federal Government. The two authors, Katie Pavlich and Mike Detty, said Attkisson, who was disappointed by the liberal bias of news reporting -- according to the conservative blog -- was among a handful of reporters who did the job right. News reports say Attkisson is currently at work on a book — tentatively titled “Stonewalled: One Reporter’s Fight for Truth in Obama’s Washington” — which addresses the challenges of reporting critically on the Obama administration.

Here's a link to my review of Detty's book, "Guns Across the Border," which includes a link to my review of Pavlich's book:

I discovered www.theconservativetreehouse in a book that came out last October which I just received from WND Books, 'If I had a Son': Race, Guns, and the Railroading of George Zimmerman by Jack Cashill (WND Books, notes, sources, index,  336 pages, $25.96). Cashill's book arrived right after I had read and reviewed another book from WND, "White Girl Bleed a Lot" by Colin Flaherty. Link to my review: Flaherty's book deals with the often misleading reporting of black on white crime by the mainstream media. The two books -- Flaherty's and Cashill's -- should be read together.

Cashill's title comes from a remark by President Barack Obama  in March 2012 about the  shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin four weeks earlier in Sanford, FL. 

In so saying,  the nation's first black president gave the White House seal of approval  to a politically irresistible campaign, one that both stoked the grievances of his racially sensitive base and energized his party’s gun-control advocates, Cashill writes in a detail-filled book that points out the many errors of the mainstream media in covering the story.

Did you know that George Zimmerman, Trayvon Martin's opponent in a fight that ended in Martin's death, was a supporter of Obama, and whose efforts led to the resolution of the death of a homeless black man at the hands of the police? I followed the TV and print media reports of George Zimmerman's trial and I wasn't aware of either situation. Zimmerman was portrayed as a right-wing gun nut. They were uncovered by the conservative blogging site,

Cashill compares the "whitening of Zimmerman, who had a Peruvian mother with black ancestors, with the trial of a man in Tom Wolfe's 1987 best-selling novel, "The Bonfire of the Vaniities", made into a 1990 film of the same name starring Tom Hanks and Bruce Willis. 

In the novel, the prosecutor delights in going after the character played by Hanks, a bond trader named Sherman McCoy who is accused of running over a black youth and putting him in a coma. In a profession that overwhelmingly involves black and Hispanic defendants at last a prosecutor has a "Great White Defendant" to ease his liberal guilt, Cashill says, in describing the "whitening" of Zimmerman. 

What is there about Florida that so many weird things come from that state? I hate to demonize an entire state -- especially since I've lived for five years in Texas, another state that has been picked on -- but Florida, which I've visited many times,  takes the cake, hanging chads, lousy drivers and highly publicized crime just a few of the state's oddities.

That the shooting took place in Florida, the most highly contested state in that year’s presidential election, made its politicization all the more inevitable. From the beginning, the major media worked overtime to convict shooter George Zimmerman in the court of public opinion, Cashill writes. To promote their grudge against guns and their skewed view of race in America, the media ignored or denied the truth even after the truth had become obvious to those who followed the story closely.

In another time and place, the media might have succeeded, but in the age of social media, their carefully crafted narrative has been thoroughly picked apart.  'If I Had A Son' has a parallel plot line telling the story of a blogging collective called the Conservative Treehouse that has done much of the picking.  Indeed, the clever research work of these unpaid “Treepers,” most of them female, might well have been the defense’s best weapon, says Cashill.

His friends called George Zimmerman "Tugboat," the one who always came to the rescue. An Hispanic-American civil rights activist, he helped a black homeless man find justice. He helped guide two black teens through life. He helped a terrified mother secure her house. He helped his wary neighbors secure their community. 

'In If I Had A Son', Jack Cashill tells the inside story of how, as the result of a tragic encounter with troubled seventeen-year-old Trayvon Martin, the media turned Tugboat into a white racist vigilante, "the most hated man in America." 

Cashill provides much needed background about the "gated" community where the fatal encounter occurred. The community was a victim, too, of the collapse of the real estate market, with units that originally sold for $250,000 plunging in value to $100,000 or less. This resulted in many of the townhouses being rented, bringing in many new and often unknown residents and a spike in crime, Cashill writes. Most of the crime involved black perpetrators, resulting in Zimmerman being named captain of the neighborhood watch. When most readers see the phrase "gated community" they think of wealthy people: Retreat at Twin Lakes, where Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman encountered each other, is not a wealthy community.

'If I Had A Son' tells how for the first time in the history of American jurisprudence, a state government, the US Department of Justice, the White House, the major media, the entertainment industry and the vestiges of the civil rights movement conspired to put an innocent man in prison for the rest of his life. 

All that stood between Zimmerman and lifetime internment were two folksy local lawyers, their aides, and some very dedicated citizen journalists, most notably an unpaid handful of truth seekers at the blogging collective known as the Conservative Treehouse.

'If I Had A Son' takes an inside look at this unprecedented battle formation. 

'If I Had A Son' tells the story too of the six stalwart female jurors who ignored the enormous pressure mounting around them and preserved America's belief in its judicial system. 

In the wake of the verdict, skeptics in the Martin camp claimed that the state of Florida did not play to win. In the course of his research, Cashill came across some startling evidence which suggests that those skeptics may indeed be right. 

 'If I Had A Son' is, so far,  the one and only comprehensive look at the most politically significant trial in decades. What George Zimmerman learned in the course of his ordeal is that although he supported Obama, and lobbied for Obama, and voted for Obama at least once, in the final analysis he did not look enough like Obama to be his son, and that made all the difference.


About the Author

Jack Cashill is an independent writer, producer and the Executive Editor of Ingram's Magazine. He's written for Fortune, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Weekly Standard,, and regularly for WND. In the last decade Cashill has written six other books of non-fiction-- three of which have cracked Amazon's Top 10 list. He has produced a score of documentaries for regional PBS and national cable channels, including the Emmy Award-winning "The Royal Years".

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