The media circus surrounding the Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman case is taking “decidedly ugly turn,” says Tampa Bay Times columnist Eric Deggans. As protests spread and celebrities from Sinbad to M.C. Hammer weigh in, supporters of Zimmerman, including some conservative websites are attempting to turn Martin’s image from innocent kid to dangerous thug. The website the Daily Caller featured tweets from the dead 17-year-old’s now-closed account under the name NO_LIMIT_NIGGA.
Another website, Wagist, complained that the widely-circulated photo of Zimmerman was a mug shot from a 2005 arrest, while photos from Martin’s family showing him as a younger, less threatening youth. The site posted pictures from a Twitpic account featuring what it says are Martin’s multiple tattoos, concluding he “may have been a small time drug dealer.” In a media world where everything is political, Martin’s killing has become a tug-of-war between those who see his case as an example of the dangers of racial profiling and those who contend liberal activists have hijacked the process for their own ends. Deggans asks, “Even if Martin dabbled in drugs, carried himself like a gangsta and wore tattoos, did Zimmerman have the legal right to kill him that night?”