Update: Wonderfully, Business Insider touted the bogus photo as accurate in a story on how the media is badly reporting the Trayvon Martin saga. Their source for the photo: white power message board Stormfront.
Update 2: See the response from the Business Insider author at the end of this post.
If you haven't come across the photo to the right, you probably will in the next day or two. Gross racists and assorted other morons are claiming that it's from the Facebook page of Trayvon Martin, the teenager shot and killed by neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman in Sanford, and that somehow that has bearing on the case.
There is no evidence that the photo is of Trayvon Martin, although there is plenty of evidence against it. Even popular right-wing blogger Dan Riehl, who claimed to be among the first to find the Facebook page, admits that it might not be him: "It doesn't appear to be the same Trayvon Martin. But I'm still not sure. It's still linked."
The photo and accompanying link to the profile of a Facebook user named Trayvon Martin has been circulating heavily in the last twenty-four hours. Click on its Facebook shares, and you see the rabble proclaiming that the media has duped the public into believing that Martin was a "sweet kid":
For all those wondering this is the most recent picture of the shooting victim Trayvon Martin. Not the warm hearted pictures the media is feeding the public. I'm not passing judgement till the REAL FACTS of the case come out but lets just be real about the situation.
Cute picture. How come the media only shows the 5 year old picture and not this current facebook photo?
Yep it does look like it could be Obamas son!
Stay oura places u dont belong n u wont have ne problems. If u don't respect our constitution .......feel free to get out of our country
There's a wonderful horror-logic to that last one, considering that Martin was visiting his father when he was shot.
But the "Trayvon Martin" the page belongs to lists his school as Myers Middle School. All of his relatives are listed as living in Savannah, Georgia, where there is a Myers Middle School.
The late Martin, who grew up in Miami Gardens, went to Norland Middle and Highland Oaks Middle schools, and more recently attended Dr. Michael M. Krop Senior High School.
Trayvon Martin's real Facebook page is here, complete with photos and information clearly depicting him, and updated before the date of his death.
The bogus page probably belongs either to another Trayvon Martin, or to a kid who renamed his page in tribute.
Not that it matters. If you're screwed up enough to believe that a 17-year-old unarmed kid deserved to die because he once wore sagging shorts and flipped off the camera, then you're going to keep sharing that image regardless of who it depicts.
Update: Michael Brendan Dougherty, author of the Business Insider post which used the bogus photo, says: "Your characterization of what we did is misleading."
We characterized the source of the photo as "a racist message board" precisely to give readers a sense of the credibility - owing to the fact that we did not yet know the original source of the photo.
Once it was reported on the Miami New Time's website that the photo was not of Trayvon, we updated the post and took down that photo. And linked back to this site.
Our story was about the pushback and backlash - both the decent questions that were raised, and the racist muckracking.
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Only problem, as noted by the Columbia Journalism Review: Dougherty never suggested that the photos might not be of the Trayvon Martin in question. And his conceit, that mainstream news outlets might have used the gangsta photo of Martin instead of the schoolboy pics they've been using, makes no sense if it's not a photo of him.
Dougherty says of this post: "Please re-write it."