MSNBC recently triggered a new wave of emotions and debate on the proceedings of the George Zimmerman trial when the station mistakenly broadcast a photo of Trayvon Martin's dead body that is creating waves across the Internet.
A screen shot of the photo published by New York City blog Gawker has already attracted thousands of viewers, some of whom were left conflicted on whether or not they should have viewed the photo or not.
In the picture, Martin's wiry lifeless body is seen flat on his back on a lawn, dressed in a pair of white sneakers, a pair of skinny khakis and a navy blue hoodie covered with flecks of grass. His mouth is agape and his eyes are wide open. His right leg crosses his left.
Some critics of the post argued that the photo should be taken down to show the teen respect but others contend that the media should have been showing the picture a long time ago.
"As bad as it makes us feel we need to see this stuff. We need to understand the effect violence/guns/racism has beyond the sanitized version we are drip fed every day. This is what happens when a (probably in his own mind) well-meaning fool with a gun tries to be a hero. A f***ing kid dies. The 2nd amendment and all you f***ing idiots who defend it can kiss my a**," wrote one critic under the screen name zuluboy on Gawker.
"I understand the feelings of people who wish they hadn't seen it. I probably would have preferred not to; but it has me even angrier and even more hurt than the whole story had before. I am not an American, I am not who needs their eyes opened and I was already on the side of the outraged, but seeing him like that has made it far far worse for me and I think that's important," wrote another commenter under the screen name kemperboyd.
"I think people need to be filled with the sadness and anger I am filled with and see his boyish face and realise this is a boy, not a thug, not a gangsta not a gangbanger, just someone's little boy, wearing a hoody and khakis," he added.
On his website, Adam Weinstein, the writer who posted the photo to Gawker, also included a number of comments and letters he received about the posting, including a letter from a black woman who argued that he should have asked permission from Martin's parents first.
"I'm glad you'd like to incite anger. As a Black woman, I am angry. livid. distraught. BUT, you should have asked permission from Trayvon's parents. They should have had that right. Trayvon and his parents had no respect/hand in how he was portrayed in the mind of his ignorant murderer. That decision cost him his life," the unidentified woman wrote.
"You saw him as a call to arms. A sorrowful Black body. No regards for his family, his dignity as a human being. And you didn't even reach out to his parents. Your picture was too Emmet Till for me…except Emmet's mother, the person who brought him into this world and poured all of her hopes and dreams into, made that decision," she noted.
In response to the divided response on the publication of the photo, Weinstein responded: "Opinion seems divided — and virulent — on whether its publication is clickbait (not my intention) or a critical part of the narrative around his life and death (my view).
"But to me, that debate is part of the point. And it's a debate that is not possible unless the image is accessible."