I try not to comment on contemporary issues unless I have something distinctive to offer. While I can’t read every article on every current topic to prevent being redundant, a daily perusal of news and editorials show viewpoints and story angle trends can help foster fresh perspectives.
I’m talking about the Jussie Smollett hate crime controversy/possible hoax. Now, this situation has many ugly and harmful facets. There’s the “cry wolf” syndrome, which affects true victims who’ve actually been attacked. And our nation suffers significant damage to already struggling race relations in America.
The mainstream media took a huge bite out of the Smollett hate crime sandwich. Journalism schools teach reporters to treat criminal accusations and suspicions with skepticism. But The New York Times has transitioned beyond what mere ordinary journalism calls for. It seems the Wobbly Gray Lady has a crystal ball that informs her news editors about what is real and what is a hoax. And, get this: No evidence or use of the word alleged is necessary on the way to concluding a hate crime occurred.
The Times wrote, “Jussie Smollett, one of the stars of the Fox television show ‘Empire,’ was attacked in Chicago early Tuesday morning by two people who yelled racial and homophobic slurs and wrapped a rope around his neck…”
I can see inserting alleged in at least two, maybe three places. That is if I were reporting objective news and not subjective conclusions. Seems using alleged could have saved the Times from even more embarrassment—if they care about such things anymore. And with all the evidence now pointing to an (alleged) hate crime hoax, what does the newspaper of wreckage think now about its irresponsible presumptions?
And with the left’s penchant for dividing the nation through identity politics, our race relations don’t need these hoaxes. Especially since the left will not drop its politics of division anytime soon.
What about the little-addressed issue of hate crimes itself? I’ve long argued and have written in my books that hate crimes punish thought and dilute crimes committed against victims who do not “qualify” for admission to the hate crime category. Bottom line, the hate crime category makes some victims worthier than others of prosecuting their attackers. If this is proven a hoax, Jussie Smollett knew he was worthier.
If not for the emphasis from the left (and the frustrating acquiescence of some on the right) on hate crimes, I’m not sure Jussie Smollett, and so many like him, would be as inclined to—allegedly—commit a hate crime hoax. The separate category magnifies the attention “victims” get when they fabricate a hoax in this specific crime category.
I investigated several reported “hate crimes” during my career. Of those cases I investigated, the vast majority were fake or likely fake. I say “likely” because as the investigations moved along (as with Smollett), with no evidence of a crime, and even incriminating evidence of a hoax, complainants backtrack or drop the matter. Though likely false reporting, my city rarely prosecuted people who filed false reports—hate crimes or otherwise. Apparently, the—alleged—false reporter’s “victim” category that qualified them for hate crime status continues to protect them from criminal prosecution.