As it did in the Kyle Rittenhouse case, the major media relentlessly trumpeted a false story, this time about Jussie Smollett.
In both cases the tales were of white supremacists committing horrific crimes. In both cases, when the fabulist tales were rejected by jurors who heard and weighed the evidence, the outcome was ignored or downplayed. But doubtless the distrust of their fellow citizens among the Black community in Kenosha and, then Chicago, and perhaps the country, was heightened by these lies.
In both cases, celebrities and politicians bought and promoted the fake stories. And improbable it was unless you are so nuts you think two masked strangers, whom Smollett thought were White, happened to be walking around Chicago at 2 a.m. on a freezing cold night (wind chill of -40) wearing MAGA hats. And these masked men threw a noose around his neck, yelled racist and homophobic slurs, poured bleach on him and shouted support for Donald Trump. The odds against this account being true are off the charts.
Smollett was well-connected enough that the Cook County state’s attorney dropped a 16-count indictment in exchange for a forfeiture of the $10,000 bail he had posted.
And that would have been the end of it had not then-mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago police superintendent called that a miscarriage of justice and forced the assignment of a special prosecutor who recommended charging Smollett. Let me be the first — and perhaps the only one — to congratulate Emanuel for bucking the tide and standing up for Chicago.
He took some heat for his action. In case you forgot, here are some comments at the NAACP awards at the time.
Smollett’s lies cost the city a great deal of money investigating his fairy tale along with an even greater loss — increased racial disharmony. The special prosecutor’s investigation resulted in a six-count felony disorderly conduct indictment, and last week a jury found Smollett guilty of five of those six counts.
Smollett bald-facedly lied throughout the trial and the special prosecutor has indicated he may seek further charges — this time of perjury for lying under oath — against Smollett.
As unlikely a tale as this was, the number of prominent touters of it was even larger than I recall the Rittenhouse promoters were. I’m sure I will miss some, but here’s a working list which reveals the broad sweep of the race-baiting pols and organizations and their media enablers.
- Joe Biden
- Kamala Harris
- Maxine Waters
- Yamiche Alcindor (NPR)
- The Washington Post
- Nancy Pelosi
- Don Lemon
- Robin Roberts (Good Morning America)
- Black Lives Matter
- The NAACP
- Bernie Sanders
- Alexandria Ocasio–Cortez
- Cory Booker
- Joy-Ann Reid
- Rashida Tlaib
- Eric Swalwell
- Adam Schiff
- Pete Buttigieg
I recognize that we all make mistakes now and then, but the story Smollett peddled was so preposterous, only a moron could credibly claim he believed it.
Others have offered explanations for why the celebrities, politicians, and media so quickly accepted his account. Those include it was yet another effort to tar Trump and Republicans to drive black voters and gays to the polls. Ana Navarro asserted that the fake hate story was “believable to many people.”
I bet scammers would pay a lot for the list and contact information for the people who truly believed Smollett’s cockamamie story. Others might suggest the media covered the Smollett story without in any way questioning its believability because it was sensational, involved a well-known actor, and drew viewers and listeners. Maybe they just were afraid to stand out from the crowd of their peers.
I have another view with which I consider it fair to tar most, if not all, of the Smollett fantasy promoters: They hate you. They hate normal fellow-citizens. They hate anyone capable of the most rudimentary critical thinking. They consider voters sheep whom they can herd into the slaughter pens at their will and despise any of the flock that spot the pen and refuse to enter it. And, in their usual projection, they assume that those they hate are, in fact, hate-filled when they are not.
Here are some of their statements when the preposterous tale was spun. Read this and tell me I’m wrong.
Nancy Pelosi: “The racist, homophobic attack on Jussie Smollett is an affront to out 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.”
Adam Schiff: “I met Jussie Smollett at the Pride Parade in Los Angeles, and I’ve seen the passion and moral clarity of his activism first hand. This week he was the victim of an horrific attack. We pray for your speedy recovery, Jussie and reject this act of hatred and bigotry.”
Joe Biden: “What happened today to @JussieSmollett must never be tolerated in this country.”
Pete Buttigieg: “While the struggle for basic hate crime legislation continues here in Indiana, this horrible attack calls all Americans to stand against hatred and violence in all its forms.”
Did even one of these people assume in the face of a nonsensical explanation that the city of Chicago was populated by racist homophobes so desirous of attacking Jussie they would wander around at 2 a.m. in freezing weather with a noose and bleach to nab him as he sauntered out to Subway for a sandwich?
I doubt it. They were willing accomplices in what civil rights pioneer Bob Woodson characterizes as Smollett’s moral treason, a mockery of race relations and gay rights. Maybe the black and gay communities haven’t caught on to it yet, but the hatred of the rest of us extends to them, too. All that blather about loving you is just a mask for their manipulations.