There was little doubt that as the media voices clamored louder and louder about the Trayvon Martin case, that the cognitive dissonance under which most conservatives survive would be grasping for something—anything—at wouldn't make them feel icky about the realization that they would have done the exact same thing George Zimmerman did (and be responsible for the death of an innocent child, guilty only of Walking While Black). So quickly, conservative sites like Malkin's and media outlets like Fox started looking for ways to cast doubt on the story. Suddenly, George Zimmerman had a broken nose that wasn't in the original police report. Pictures of the baby-faced Trayvon were darkened to make him more menacing. And if that wasn't enough, now they're resorting to using pictures of other African American kids with threatening postures and 'thug' clothing.
And then Business Insider uses those pictures—pictures from Stormfront, fer cryin' out loud—to ask if all these conservatives weren't right all along to be skeptical of Trayvon Martin. After being rightfully called out for it, they took the photos down (initially, they kept them on the main page as shown above, but relocated the non-Trayvon picture from just below the headline to the bottom of the article with the update admitting that the picture was not of Trayvon). But they weren't done being racist yet.
UPDATES: There are images circulating online that are supposedly other pictures of Trayvon Martin. We saw one on Stormfront a racist message board.
Need I ask why the reporter was trolling friggin' Stormfront (which he admits is a racist site) for pictures of Trayvon Martin?
It was embedded with another picture purporting to be Trayvon that the Miami News Times points out is NOT Trayvon Martin. One conservative website has already apologized for publishing it. (We originally published the entire image found on Stormfront, which included two photos, but we took the second down after finding out it wasn't Trayvon Martin). And now there is also question as to whether the other image is of Trayvon. We have now removed both.)
Excellent fact-checking and attribution work, Michael Brenden Dougherty of Business Insider. And yet, no apology from you, your Managing Editor or your publisher. Even Michelle "boo-fricking-hoo" Malkin had enough integrity to apologize for it. And you? Nada.
But wait, it gets worse:
But how would the story have been received by the public if this was the image of Trayvon Martin in your newspaper, rather than the earlier ones we've seen everywhere else?
You have got to be kidding me. Well if we're gonna play musical photos to rationalize your racism, tell me, Dougherty, how would this story have been received if instead of Trayvon, the kid in question looked like this* and George Zimmerman looked like this**? How would you be spinning to justify the "Stand Your Ground" law and the shooting of an unarmed child?
In an effort to debunk the previous article's notion that this image 'says something' about Trayvon Martin, writer Nicholas Carlson stepped in with a post of his own:
Just So We're Clear: This Picture Says NOTHING About Trayvon Martin
Whether or not it is him.
In it, he clearly explains why, regardless who that is actually a picture of, it says nothing about why an unarmed teenager was shot by a vigilante police-wannabe. It's a really good article and Carlson does a good job of smacking Dougherty down. Unfortunately, even for those well-intentioned among us, there will always be fools who do not grasp the content of what's being explained, but desperately cling to their racist tendencies. The juxtaposition of the non-Trayvon thug picture with the Trayvon name was enough to conflate the two in the minds of many readers, which can be evidenced by the comments section in that post. And the Managing Editor and publisher should take responsibility for that misconception. ***
It's easy to say that you're not a racist. You have no white hoods in your closet, you've participated in no cross burnings. You might even have friends who are minorities. You can lie to yourself and say that you're not racist. But make no mistake: Everything about the Dougherty article is all about making conservative white people feel comfortable against that encroaching feeling of unease that they would have acted as George Zimmerman did.
And that is inherently racist.
In case you were wondering, the first picture * was Tom Hanks' rapper-aspiring son, Chet Haze, and the second picture ** was Baratunde Thurston of The Onion.
***Because I also strive to make sure my point and intent is clear, I've changed the copy to reflect feedback in the comments. I do want to make sure the Nicholas Carlson is properly praised for the content of his article.