Ever since the story of Trayvon Martin's killing broke, Media Matters for America has appointed themselves the guardians of the slain teen's memory. Now they've ended up on the receiving end of criticism for being inaccurate.
Recently, more and more information regarding Martin's personal life and social media usage has been entering the news cycle. Along with this information, alleged photos of Martin closer to the time of the shooting have also leaked. The Drudge Report recently used one such photo to promote a story - a photo taken from Martin's facebook profile and showing the 17-year-old black teen grinning at the camera through gold teeth.
Media Matters blogger MJ Rosenberg accused the Drudge Report of using the photo to incite racial tension over Twitter. He also claimed the photo was fake. Fake photos of Martin have appeared on the internet recently. However, the one the Drudge Report reproduced has not been conclusively determined to be one of them. As such, Rosenberg was attacking the wrong person. Rosenberg has since had to apologize to Drudge for jumping the gun. Fox News reports:
“Racist demagogue Drudge continues to run photo of some kid, not Trayvon for incitement purposes,” MJ Rosenberg initially tweeted at 10:56 a.m. ET, after drudgereport.com and other media sites posted a photo of Martin sporting a tank top, looking noticeably older and bigger than he appears in a photograph widely carried by media outlets that have reported on the story.
Rosenberg followed that posting by retweeting a message saying, “Matt Drudge has done more to debase American news coverage than anyone in history of country.”
But he was tweeting a different tune at 1:03 p.m., when he wrote, “Mixed up Drudge photo of Trayvon w Michelle Malkin's. Malkin's is an admitted fake. Drudge? Don't know. Sorry.” That tweet was immediately followed by another saying, “Malkin apologized for fake #Trayvon photo. I apologize for mixing up her photo with one Drudge used.”
For the record, just so readers aren't confused, this photo (taken from Martin's facebook page) is the one Drudge used:
This one, meanwhile, is fake, and has been acknowledged as such:
The "apology" is notable insofar as it is only an apology over a factual error, not for the charge of racism, or "incitement." Ironically, Rosenberg himself has been accused of racism in the past by Harvard Professor Alan Dershowitz, who slammed Rosenberg for calling pro-Israel Jews "Israel firsters." Rosenberg's response? "Go to Hell."