In Chicago, Jussie Smollett perpetrated one of the greatest anti-Trump hate-crime hoaxes since the last one that occurred, oh, just a few days earlier in Washington, D.C. against young Nick Sandmann and the boys of Covington Catholic High School. The media, in keeping par for the course, bought Smollett’s fantastical story hook, line and sinker.
The day the news broke, The Washington Post ran an analysis headlined, “The Jussie Smollett attack highlights the hate black gay Americans face.” CNN political analyst, April Ryan, tweeted, “This attack on @JussieSmollett is a hate crime and should be treated as such!” Ernest Owens, a writer at Philadelphia Magazine, tweeted, “Trump MAGA supporters came after a Black gay man with a noose in Chicago. They yelled ‘This is MAGA country.’ And that’s how far we haven’t come in 2019. Hoping for justice & vengeance for @JussieSmollett.”
Why give Smollett such immediate and uncritical coverage? Because that’s the story the media are fishing for. Smollett was spinning the yarn that forms the narrative that President Donald Trump and his legion of supporters have ushered in an era of rising hate crimes against blacks, gays, Native Americans, Muslims and any other media-celebrated “community.” Yet, none of this is true. And, as Smollett was surrendering himself to the Chicago police department, the media, which should have been spending its time wiping the egg off its face, wondered why he did it. The credulous Ana Cabrera of CNN asked, “The big question, then, is why? Why he would make something like this up?”
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What? Is she kidding? Smollett made it up because he knew the media would lap it up, and in the process, transform him from a largely unknown television actor into a major cause celebrity; and that means more money and fame for Smollett. Smollett is black and gay and, according to him, someone who “comes hard at 45.” For the media, Smollett was right out of central casting. So, when he cried wolf, the media became his chorus. And on cue, the rest of the left joined in.
Democratic presidential contenders and black and gay rights groups poured-out their support for Smollett and ramped up their denunciation of Trump. GLAAD stated, “Jussie is a true champion for LGBTQ people and is beloved by the community and allies around the world.” The NAACP declared, “The rise in hate crimes is directly linked to President Donald J. Trump’s racist and xenophobic rhetoric.” Democratic New York Sen. Kristen Gillibrand tweeted, “…it’s the latest of too many hate crimes against LGBTQ people and people of color. We are all responsible for condemning this behavior and every person who enables or normalizes it.”
By lavishing coverage on this preposterous story, the media gave Smollett the best, albeit brief, role of his career. He was finally a leading man. Smollett found himself featured on ABC news in a special segment hosted by anchor Robin Roberts, herself a black and gay rights activist.
Instead of Roberts doing a story on any of the 20 homicides that occurred in Chicago in January 2019 or one about the first shooting victim being a 12-year-old black boy, Javota Schaefer, Roberts gave Smollett center stage and allowed him to regale America about the racism and homophobia of “MAGA country.”
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Roberts, now confronted with the truth that she had been played by a fellow activist, claims of the hoax, “It’s a setback for race relations, homophobia, MAGA supporters — the fingers were pointed at them. I cannot think of another case where there’s this anger on so many sides, and you can understand why there would be.” Anger on so many sides? It was Trump and Trump supporters who were the ones defamed by Smollett; and the media and the left enabled it just like they enabled the defamation of the Covington Catholic High School boys by another left-wing activist, Nathan Phillips.
Joy Behar of ABC’s “The View,” in a rare moment of candor, answered Whoopi Goldberg’s question about the media response to the Covington Catholic hoax, “Why do we keep making the same mistake?” by saying, “We’re desperate to get Trump out of office.” In their desperation to remove Trump, the media are giving ample and laudatory coverage to one anti-Trump hate-crime hoax after another. By doing this and by labeling half of America as racists and bigots the media are doing much to stoke racial strife.
The truth is that racism and anti-gay bigotry have greatly subsided in America. We’ve come a long way from Selma and Stonewall. The way forward is to stop finding racism and bigotry where it doesn’t exist and stop blaming it on the blameless. But so long as the term “racist” continues to be the most powerful word in the English language, and so long as the media and the left continue to retain exclusive ownership and control over that word, they’ll continue to use it to cudgel conservatives and Trump supporters into political submission.
At least with Trump, and that young Nick Sandmann, we have a couple of Americans ready, willing and able to fight back.
Marc A. Scaringi is an attorney in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, a radio talk show host of “The Marc Scaringi Show” on WHP 580AM and I Heart Radio and a Donald J. Trump endorsed Delegate to the 2016 Republican National Convention.
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