Conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh stirred the pot again this week when he compared the surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings to Trayvon Martin.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is the 19-year-old who is suspected of conspiring with his brother to set off explosions in Boston that killed three and injured almost 200. Martin was a 17-year-old unarmed teenager who was shot and killed by Neighborhood Watch volunteer George Zimmerman last year.
In his April 23 radio show, Limbaugh drew parallels between the two, particularly in the manner they were portrayed by the media.
“You notice also that the news media are doing to Dzhokhar what they did to Trayvon Martin,” Limbaugh said. “They’re regularly showing a photo of Dzhokhar that was taken when he was about 14.”
The image, he continued, depicts the suspect as if he were “soft, angelic, nice, harmless… cute, big, lovable eyes. Not at all what he looks like today…but the news media seem to be making him look like an innocent little angel.”
The divisive media personality also drew references to depictions of terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden with a staff and clad in shepherd-like robes, and railed at members of the press who called Tsarnaev a “kid.”
“This is how this stuff ends up getting bastardized,” Limbaugh said. “This is how we end up… not thinking ill of bad people.”
Tsarnaev, a “self-radicalized” Muslim, sparked a massive manhunt that shut down Boston following the explosions set off near the finish line of the marathon April 15. In his flight, it is reported that he even drove over his brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who was killed in a shootout with police.
The younger Tsarnaev was captured on April 19 by police in Watertown, Mass., after being discovered hiding in a boat stored in a Watertown driveway suffering from gunshot wounds that police said were linked to the intense firefight that claimed his brother hours earlier and an gunfire during his arrest.
Martin, on the other hand, was seen as a victim of racial profiling and a hate crime. His death—and law enforcement’s clumsy handling of his shooting death—drew national outrage and his name has become synonymous with the campaign against “stand your ground” and similar gun laws.