Streetwise Professor

February 23, 2019

Race Hoaxers Like Jussie Smollett Deserve a Special Place in Hell

Filed under: Politics — cpirrong @ 7:06 pm

There is a particularly nasty place reserved in hell for the likes of Jussie Smollett. Given the fraught state of race relations in the United States, people of good will attempt to pour oil on troubled waters: evil people throw the oil on the flames. Smollett is definitely an incendiary of the first order.

For the most venal of reasons–getting a pay raise–Smollett paid two Nigerian brothers to stage an assault on him. Smollett then told police that he had been jumped at 2AM on a Streeterville (Chicago) corner by two white men in MAGA hats, who beat him, spewed racist and anti-gay epithets, put a noose around his neck, and doused him with bleach.

The story immediately went viral, and became a cause celebre, even although the details of the story were wildly implausible, to put it mildly. The men supposedly yelled “You are in MAGA country.” Chicago? Really?

In point of fact, a Trump supporter is more likely to be assaulted in Chicago than a Trump supporter is likely to assault anyone there. (What? You hadn’t heard those stories repeated 24/7? Go figure!)

Further, two racists are wandering the streets at 2AM, on a freezing cold night, and just happen to have a rope and bleach handy, and just happen to cross paths with a black, gay B-list actor? Whom they recognize? Every racist trope personified just happens to be walking the streets of Chicago in the bitter cold when the city is otherwise deserted, and just happens to intersect with a two-fer in the victim class stakes?

Occam’s Razor much? The lurid details that excited frenzy were in fact what should have cast the most extreme doubts about the story.

Yet despite the sheer improbability (and arguably impossibility) of this, Smollett’s story became accepted fact. And Smollett’s space in hell will be spacious, because those who echoed and amplified his tale are just as evil as he.

And this includes virtually every major Democratic Party figure, most notably the entire throng of presidential candidates (notably Harris, Booker, and Warren), Nancy Pelosi, and the poster girl for the airhead left, AOC. It also includes most of the mainstream media, most prominently CNN and MSNBC.

These arsonists are in many ways worse than Smollett, because they repeatedly asserted that the attack was symptomatic of endemic and epidemic racism in the US, and that any Trump supporter–or any non-Trump-hater–was an accessory, and perfectly capable of carrying out a similar attack. It was blood libel on a grand scale.

Official Chicago largely went along with the Smollett story–just read the Chicago PD’s official spokesman’s timeline on Twitter if you doubt this. But some rank and file cops were apparently furious, and leaked the truth to various local Chicago reporters–who were themselves furious set upon for their heresies, and other “journalists” were well-represented in the mob that went after them.

But inevitably, the truth eventually came out. Smollett had hired two Nigerian brothers to stage the assault. When they were threatened with charges for assault and battery, they rolled on Jussie. They were caught on video buying the rope and hats–they purchased the rope at a hardware store hilariously named “The Crafty Beaver.” The most sickly amusing part of the story was that the brothers could not even find real MAGA hats: they had to settle for generic red hats. So yeah, Chicago is such hardcore MAGA country you can’t even find a MAGA hat for sale there.

Upon revelation of the truth, the responses of the Smollett story enablers and amplifiers ranged from the craven to the mendacious. The craven ones deleted their tweets, or remained silent, or dodged questions about their previous remarks. The mendacious ones doubled down or denied that what we saw with our own eyes–the MSM’s hyping of the story–had occurred. You will search in vain for genuine apologies, or even an acknowledgement along the lines of “I was wrong about the story.”

Unsurprisingly, CNN is the most mendacious of all. Fat tub of goo (especially between the ears) Brian Stelter claimed that only entertainment journalists had hyped the story, but that mainstream outlets–CNN most notably–had reserved judgment. Or consider this from Chris Cillizza:

And so, Democratic 2020 candidates were very quick to believe Smollett’s version of events. And now Republicans — especially those aligned with the Trump White House — are just as quick to seize on the idea this was all an elaborate hoax. Both sides are simply exhibiting confirmation bias. Because we reward that sort of thing in our politics now.

Them damn Republicans. Always seizing on one damned thing or ‘nother. So many seizures. Maybe they have epilepsy.

The fact is, Clownzillia, that one side’s suspicions were confirmed by the facts, and the other side’s assertions proved utterly false. One side was right: it was an elaborate hoax. The other side was horribly, horribly wrong. This assertion of equivalence between wrong and right is disgusting, and earns you a spot right next to Smollett.

I’m old enough to remember when “rush to judgment” was a bad thing. But now it is the default setting, especially on the left, and especially especially when the judgment can be used to attack Trump, or far worse, vast swathes of innocent Americans who commit the mortal sin of holding non-leftist political views.

And their motives for rushing to judgment are even more damning. They want stories like Smollett to be true because it validates their twisted view of America. And worse yet, because they believe that they can use these stories to enhance their power, bludgeon their political and social enemies, and advance their political and social agenda. And worst of all, rather than attempting to tamp down racial animosity, they feed the flames because they believe that it redounds to their political gain.

There would perhaps be room for optimism if those who had flogged the story originally were to acknowledge error, and pledge to do better next time. But this has not happened, meaning that these events can only feed deep pessimism about the prospects for American civil society.

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  1. I have the advantage of distance, so it was obvious to me from the beginning that it was almost certainly a Hate Hoax. Who the hell strolls the streets bearing a noose?

    Comment by dearieme — February 24, 2019 @ 8:24 am

  2. I think the label “hoax” is a misnomer. “Hoax” is something humorous, if crude – along the lines of a practical joke.
    This was a provocation, deliberate scheme with political and life-threatening meaning. The type of a Reichstag Fire, rather than April 1st.

    And somehow all those recorded “hoaxes” are perpetrated by the Left, to smear the Right. Funny how it just so happens.

    Comment by ETat — February 24, 2019 @ 2:51 pm

  3. Did you really believe the CPD when they described the ‘most venal reasons’? Methinks they suggest too much.
    Without knowing any other background, the motive they claim is preposterous on its face. How was this stunt going to get him a raise? Not even an addled moron would conclude that he should arrange this hoax to get a raise.
    That suggestion, almost an insistence, by the CPD set off fraud alerts.
    Kamala Harris, who may have some relationship with this ‘actor’, and is photographed at various venues close to him, had proposed an ‘anti-lynching’ bill. She obviously wanted to have a backstory as a race crusader when she amped up her 2020 run. But it was going nowhere, until – what a coincidence! – this ‘actor’ stages this hoax, and includes a noose as one of the props.
    I suspect that the CPD emphasized that they ‘knew’ the motive – and of course they _deplored_ it – to deflect scrutiny from the real larger conspiracy to hype KH’s presidential credentials. This was, after all, a hoax set in Chicago. The CPD was banking on hoax fatigue to finesse any more questioning- “we are solving this and here is the TRUTH”.
    The DC cabal perps never expected her to lose. Same here. In spite of the ludicrous report, they never expected this hoax to be exposed. And when it did, like DC, there was CYA ointment applied at the critical point (“…we know the motive, to get a raise, isn’t that just awful? Now run with that and don’t ask any more questions.”)

    Comment by Richard Whitney — February 24, 2019 @ 4:08 pm

  4. The far left is the true home for the majority of racism and hatred in this country. I’m not a Trump supporter, but the Democrat candidates are so far away from rational that I believe Trump will win re-election at this point.

    Comment by Daniel Rust — February 24, 2019 @ 4:59 pm

  5. @ETat: I used to agree with you about the use of “hoax” but it seems to me to have been used for some time in the US to mean, among other things, something fraudulent and nasty. Anyway, alliteration!

    By the way, a goodly number of respectable historians reckon that the Reichstag fire was indeed started by the lunatic Dutch communist – the Nazis were just very quick off the mark at exploiting it. I sometimes think that people are so obsessed by the evil of the Nazis that they overlook their intelligence.

    Comment by dearieme — February 25, 2019 @ 6:27 am

  6. Dearieme:
    Strange that there is an ambiguity re: Reichstag Fire. I thought even in 1934 it was clear who orchestrated the arson and why:

    Later that year, a sensational criminal trial got under way. The accused included van der Lubbe, Ernst Torgler (leader of the Communist Party in the Reichstag) and three Bulgarian Communists.

    As the trial in Germany proceeded, a different kind of trial captured the public discourse. Willi Münzenberg, a German Communist, allied himself with other Communists to undertake an independent investigation of the fire. The combined research resulted in the publication of The Brown Book on the Reichstag Fire and Hitler Terror. It included early accounts of Nazi brutality, as well as an argument that van der Lubbe was a pawn of the Nazis. Hitler’s party members were the real criminals, the book argued, and they orchestrated the fire to consolidate political power. The book became a bestseller, translated into 24 languages and sold around Europe and the U.S.
    […] new research came out with Benjamin Hett’s book, Burning the Reichstag. Hett wrote that, given the extent of the fire and the amount of time that would have been needed inside the Reichstag to set it, there was no way that van der Lubbe acted alone. Citing witness testimonies that became available after the fall of the Soviet Union, Hett argued that the Communists weren’t involved at all; rather, said Hett, the group of Nazis who investigated the fire and later discussed its causes with historians covered up Nazi involvement to evade war crimes prosecution.

    Comment by ETat — February 25, 2019 @ 6:59 am

  7. It would be more impressive if you were to quote the historians who don’t believe the communist account and then explain why they are wrong.

    Anyway, I loved the idea of communists providing “an independent investigation”. A World First, I’d think.

    Comment by dearieme — February 25, 2019 @ 4:13 pm

  8. “Independent”, obviously, meant “from Nazis”. Note, that despite the court set to play Hitler’s scenario, the case for prosecution (ganging together the Dutch guy, 3 Bulgarians and a German communist, to obtain “organized conspiracy” charge) was so inept than it fell apart just because Dimitrov didn’t took it meekly, but defended himself from his bench. Only the Dutch provocateur was charged and executed; Bulgarians were freed and sent out of the country.

    I am not going to research and quote “historians” you’ll deem acceptable, just to please you. This is a textbook case that long ago lost any ambiguity – so much so it is now an idiom.
    But you can believe whatever you want.

    Comment by ETat — February 25, 2019 @ 6:33 pm

  9. Having a few decades under my belt now, here’s what troubles me. The liberal media nominally control the message now. The history of this event will eventually be slowly, but surely twisted around, so that this nephew of Kamala Harris will become the victim, at the hands of some ethereal MAGA conspirators. It will take years, but eventually the story will morph to the race-baiters on the left being completely vindicated, and the completely innocent on the right becoming the big bad wolf.

    It’s already happening today with some crazy story about the two cousins actually being gay-haters. By the time the media gets done with it in a decade or so, the truth will be buried, and the subsequent lie of MAGA culpability will displace it. The media today has zero scruples, if they ever have had any in the past 30 years. Objectivism and truth will not be allowed to get in the way of a good conservative bashing. Everything must be subjective. Everything must be weighed, and measured by the ultimate ‘good’ it will accomplish(to the socialist/progs). Truth is the most subjective of all, to be determined exclusively by the partisanship of who is doing the recording.

    Comment by doc — February 25, 2019 @ 11:44 pm

  10. This is successful Communist propaganda – so much so it is now an idiom among fellow-travellers.

    Comment by dearieme — February 26, 2019 @ 5:09 am

  11. Whatever, DM.
    I wonder if you deliberately identify the Nazis on this – or just not very clever and don’t see your own questionable position.

    Comment by ETat — February 26, 2019 @ 11:43 pm

  12. Golly, to question the honesty of communists is to be a Nazi. You must be so proud.

    Comment by dearieme — February 27, 2019 @ 11:13 am

  13. As this story has only two p-o-v, the choice is rather limited. You made yours, I made mine.
    you must be proud to identify with nazis.

    Comment by ETat — March 1, 2019 @ 4:43 pm

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