Wrong again: Media, Democrats rushed to judgment on Jussie Smollett ‘hate crime’

by WorldTribune Staff, February 17, 2019

Kavanaugh. Covington. And, now, Jussie Smollett.

Having been burned on the first two and despite questions from the outset on the third, the major media and several top Democratic politicians rushed to voice their outrage over the alleged “hate crime” perpetrated against actor Jussie Smollett.

Jussie Smollett on Good Morning America

Smollett, who stars in Empire, told authorities he was attacked early Jan. 29 by two white men who were “yelling out racial and homophobic slurs.” He said one attacker put a rope around his neck and poured an unknown chemical substance on him.

“In Jussie Smollett’s case, the claim that two people in Chicago would have attacked this guy at 2 a.m. on a subzero night with a rope, yelling ‘This is MAGA country!’ ought to have set off people’s b.s. detectors,” Rod Dreher wrote for The American Conservative on Feb. 16.

BS meters were also in short supply among several top Democratic politicians when Smollett’s story emerged.

Sen. Cory Booker tweeted: “The vicious attack on actor Jussie Smollett was an attempted modern-day lynching. I’m glad he’s safe. To those in Congress who don’t feel the urgency to pass our Anti-Lynching bill designating lynching as a federal hate crime– I urge you to pay attention.”

Sen. Kamala Harris tweeted: “This was an attempted modern day lynching. No one should have to fear for their life because of their sexuality or color of their skin. We must confront this hate.”

Booker and Harris are running for the Democratic nomination for president in 2020.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tweeted: “The racist, homophobic attack on @JussieSmollett is an affront to our humanity. No one should be attacked for who they are or whom they love. I pray that Jussie has a speedy recovery & that justice is served. May we all commit to ending this hate once & for all.”

And this from the Rev. Al Shartpon: “The reported hate attack on my friend and brother, actor Jussie Smollett is despicable and outrageous. The guilty must face the maximum.”

CBS News reported on Feb. 16 that two brothers from Nigeria told detectives Smollett paid them to participate in the alleged attack and that they purchased the rope, which was found around Smollett’s neck, at a nearby hardware store.

There were questions and inconsistencies in Smollett’s story from the beginning. Leaks from Chicago police had indicated they were investigating a potential hoax. But “most of the national media *still* uncritically reported Smollett’s tale of being ‘brutally assaulted’ by racist, homophobic Trump supporters – right up to the bitter end,” PJ Media’s Debra Heine noted.

“This is America in 2019,” CNN anchor Brooke Baldwin proclaimed after Smollett came forward with his story.

Some in the media not only reported Smollett’s allegations as fact, they even attacked those who raised doubts, Heine noted.

The Mercury News’ Martha Ross accused Donald Trump Jr. of “promoting a conspiracy theory” because he “seemed to believe” Smollett’s hate crime story was a hoax.

“Trump Jr. liked and retweeted posts by people who have suggested that the reported attack early Tuesday in Chicago could be a left-wing hoax, perpetrated by a Hollywood celebrity who has been outspoken in his opposition to Trump’s presidency, according to Splinter News and a review of Trump Jr.’s Twitter feed. Among those promoting this view are conservative commentator Candace Owens, whose post Friday was liked by Trump Jr.”

In the Washington Post, Eugene Scott, who covers identity politics, wrote: “Smollett’s experience is far too common for black gay men, particularly those who speak out against racism and sexism.”

Scott cited activist Preston Mitchum, who said: “Everyday our multiple marginalized identities increase our chances of facing racist, homophobic vitriol – and this fact has only intensified under the Trump administration with their dog whistle politics. So as we wait to see if justice is served for Smollett, we as Black queer people wait to see if America will finally see our lives as worth protecting. Because history has rarely been on the side of Black queer folk.”

Ultimately, “all it took was a working BS detector and some common sense to have doubts about Smollett’s implausible story – but those are in short supply these days in the MSM, apparently,” Heine wrote.

Filing a false report to police in Illinois is considered an act of disorderly conduct, which is a Class 4 felony. Anyone found guilty could face between one and three years in prison.

“You would think that after falling for ‘tribal elder’ Nathan Phillips’ dubious claims, last month – to the point of being legally culpable – the media would be a bit more circumspect,” Heine wrote. “But no. When presented with another enticing opportunity to demonize Trump supporters, they jumped like Pavlov’s dogs at the chance.”

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