How Can We Discern the Truth Behind Actual and Manufactured Hate Crime?

How Can We Discern the Truth Behind Actual and Manufactured Hate Crime?

—February 26, 2019

Truth has been a moving target ever since the Chicago Police were called to the home of Hollywood actor Jussie Smollett on Jan. 29, to investigate the report that two white men had attacked him at 2 a.m. on what was one of the coldest nights in that city of the last 100 years. Not to question that there are racist and homophobic Americans who might be prone to engaging in the violent behavior as described by the gay, black actor in his account to police, but that such might be a rare one-out-of-a-million exception rather than the norm.

In fact, when was the last time a black or gay man (or woman) ended up with a noose around their neck or had bleach thrown on them as the result of a racist or homophobic attack? This author would suggest that such attacks are exceptionally rare in modern American times, and that the vast majority of straight, white Americans (and pretty much everyone else, too) are appalled that such could happen in today’s enlightened times.

Nevertheless, and despite the apparent horse feathers weaved into Jussie’s account of the alleged attack, numerous politicians, members of the mainstream media, and celebrities of all stripes jumped on the hash-tag “Justice for Jussie” bandwagon to decry the rampant racism and homophobia that is reputedly roiling our country. Decry the alleged rampant racism and homophobia while obliquely and directly ascribing a significant portion of blame for the attack on President Donald Trump and anyone who supports him.

Easy to do, as the attackers were described by Jussie as shouting “this is MAGA (acronym for Trump’s signature “Make America Great Again” slogan) country,” and many in the media initially reported that the attackers were wearing MAGA hats. In fact, the addition of those MAGA details to the alleged attack is likely the only reason that the story went viral, given that Jussie is only a B-list celebrity, and one that many Americans had never heard of until the alleged attack became A-list news.

And perhaps the alleged details regarding MAGA are why so many mainstream media journalists, politicians, and celebrities were willing to overlook some questionable details about the attack that belied the truthfulness of Jussie’s account:
—Given the extreme temperatures that night, Jussie and his alleged assailants were probably the only people out on Chicago’s streets that night.
—Chicago is definitely not MAGA country, and one would be far more likely to run into an attacker in that area claiming that it was “Obama country.”
—Hard to believe that Jussie held on to his Subway sandwich during and after the attack, especially when it might have been tainted by the bleach thrown on him.
—Why did Jussie leave the “noose” (reportedly, a clothesline) around his neck long after the alleged attack?
—Jussie’s unwillingness to provide police with complete access to evidence that could be gleaned from his cell phone.

As Commentary Magazine editor Noah Rothman noted in a New York Times op-ed, despite details of the alleged account that “strained credulity from the very start,” numerous “politicians and journalists seemed to suspend all critical thought in a campaign to indict not just Mr. Smollett’s attackers but the country as a whole.” Furthermore, and as suggested by Rothman, in their rush to judgement many within this campaign doubled down against those who started to question the original narrative, insinuating that such questioning was just bigoted salt being poured into Jussie’s wounds. Jussie himself said as much when he publicly discussed the attack for the first time on Good Morning America, noting that those who doubt his account of the attack are causing him as much pain as the actual assault.

Ironically, Jussie’s narrative started to formally collapse as the Good Morning America episode aired on Feb. 14, at the same time news was emerging that Chicago Police had arrested two suspects who may have been involved in the attack. Two “black” suspects who were later released along with a police statement that the scope of the investigation “had shifted.”

Chicago Police detectives were reportedly skeptical about the alleged attack from the get go, and, with some good due-diligence investigating, have apparently determined that the entire incident was likely a hoax constructed in great detail—complete with rehearsals with the paid attackers—by Jussie himself. Chicago Police are now seeking a follow-up interview with Jussie, but the actor’s defense attorneys say that Jussie has no intention of speaking to police, and that the attorneys will speak to the police on his behalf. In a statement released over the weekend, Jussie’s attorneys also said that the actor has been further victimized by claims that he played a role in his own attack. “Nothing is further from the truth and anyone claiming otherwise is lying.”

We will just have to wait for the Chicago Police to discern this truth, or lack thereof.

In the meantime, what of real hate crimes that occur in America? Is it at epidemic levels as suggested by the mainstream media and others? And, more specifically, what of hate crimes that can be directly linked—as with the alleged Jussie attack—to Donald Trump and/or his supporters?

Well, a progressive group called America’s Voice has an online “Trump Hate Map” that purportedly tracks all Trump-inspired hate crimes against immigrants, minority groups and other marginalized people. Initiated with Trump’s campaign launch in June 2015, the map highlights less than 100 Trump-inspired hate incidents. While some of the incidents include murder and assault, most involve vandalism and/or harassment, with some not even rising to the level of an arrestable offense.

The relative low numbers of Trump Hate Map incidents must be a bit disappointing to progressive activists who are convinced that the millions of Americans who supported Donald Trump for president are rabid racists and homophobes. And this lack of substantial evidence supporting the notion that Trump supporters in general are racist homophobes leads some folks—such as Jussie Smollett—to manufacture their own hate crime incidents. In fact, the number of Trump-inspired hate crime hoaxes since 2015 might even outnumber actual Trump-inspired hate crimes.

—Originally published in Discernible Truth