When Trayvon Martin became national news earlier this month, many Americans were shocked that anyone could think such a sweet-looking kid was a menace, much less shoot him to death as he walked home with a bag of Skittles. But some media outlets want readers to see him differently. As the controversy has stayed in the news, some conservatives got the idea that liberals were somehow benefitting from it, and launched a campaign to show that Martin wasn't so adorable after all. Several right-wing bloggers, like the Drudge Report, Dan Riehl, and Michelle Malkin's Twitchy, have made this case -- sometimes using photos of the wrong teenager. But as The New York Times' Robert Mackey points out, The Daily Caller has been a leader in portraying Martin as a thug, using photos and slang-packed tweets to show him as a menace. The Daily Caller's stories about the Martin don't include him smiling at his birthday cake or proudly decked out for prom. Rather, the site seems to prefer photos of Martin flicking off the camera or showing gold teeth.
If you view more liberal media, this is the Trayvon you know:
But if you prefer more conservative media, this is your Trayvon:
The double middle finger photo turns out to be an unrelated Trayvon Martin at a different school in a different state, Mackey notes. To Twitchy's credit, the site noted its mistake. As for the hoodie picture, it's shown in both images because there is dispute over which version is real. The clearer version in the first image is the real one, Streetwise Pundit's Chuck M. Jines points out. The darker, blurrier one is a photo of a photo used to on a poster for a pro-Martin rally. But conservative blogger Dan Reihl insists the darker one is real, and that the media magically vastly improved the quality of the image to show Martin in a more flattering light. I would suggest this reveals more about what's going on in Riehl's head than what's going on in the media.