Mainstream media outlets recently ran with a photo of a “George Zimmerman supporter” in Houston holding a “We’re Racist & Proud!” sign. As it turns out, she is not a Zimmerman supporter at all — and is likely a far-left activist.
The Houston Chronicle identified the demonstrator as “Renee Vaughan.” The woman was reportedly yelling “ugly” phrases like, “We’re racist. We’re Proud. We’re better because we’re white,” at the pro-Trayvon Martin crowd at the rally over the weekend, according to the Chronicle.
Thankfully, conservative new media did the research the mainstream media neglected to do.
Gateway Pundit found a “Renee Vaughn” from Austin who worked for the far-left environmental group, the Texas Campaign for the Environment. The website also uploaded a number of photos to compare to the woman photographed at the rally in Houston.
One of the photos seems to show the far-left activist identified as Renee Vaughan wearing the same glasses as the woman seen holding the racist sign.
It was later revealed that Breitbart News’ Brandon Darby actually interviewed the woman at the rally in Houston. She told him that her sign was “sarcastic” More importantly, she revealed that she was certainly not a racist “Zimmerman supporter.”
“This sign means that there are people here who are racist and apparently think that’s OK. I’m not one of them. I’m being sarcastic,” she said.
Darby puts the blame for the mix-up on the media, not Vaughan, who was “quite honest and open about her intentions and what her sign meant.”
“She also located herself quite clearly on the Trayvon Martin/New Black Panther Party-supporting side of the demonstration,” Darby writes.
Breitbart News provides a wrap-up of the various media outlets who got the photo completely wrong:
The New York Daily News’ Philip Caulfield used the following caption for the above photo, from the Associated Press: “A George Zimmerman supporter holds a sign during a counter-demonstration of activist Quanell X’s group march in the River Oaks community in Houston on Sunday.” He also wrote: ”One woman in the Zimmerman group held a sign that said, ‘We’re racist & proud,’” distorting the Chronicle story significantly.
The UK Daily Mail repeated the error, reporting that the sign was held by members of the pro-Zimmerman group in Houston, portraying it as a form of racist backlash against the New Black Panther Party march.
Democratic strategist Tara Dowdell then took to Fox News’ Hannity to repeat the false accusation, using the “racist and proud” sign story to push back against video evidence of intolerance at pro-Trayvon Martin rallies.
The Daily News has since issued the following correction:
An earlier version story contained an error that said that a pro-Zimmerman protester held a sign saying, “We’re racist & proud” and shouted that slogan at pro-Trayvon Martin protesters. The woman displayed the sign in front of the pro-Zimmerman group, in an apparent attempt to mock them. It is unclear whether the woman, identified by the Houston Chronicle as Renee Vaughan, was involved with either group.
Darby, who was actually at the rally, argues that it was perfectly clear, and should have been to any journalist at the event, that the woman was an anti-Zimmerman protester.
“Clearly, the left’s desire to further the George Zimmerman racism narrative trumps the principles of accuracy and journalistic integrity,” Darby concludes.