(by Boston Herald editorial staff) – As Jussie Smollett’s account of his alleged assault falls apart, it is important to note that politicians, the media and influential voices did their best to fan the flames of outrage, based on nothing but the dark premise that conservatives and Trump supporters are evil.
It is astounding that so many reputable people took Smollett’s fantastical account seriously. Certainly, hate crimes based on race and sexual orientation are a very real thing, but the details surrounding this particular episode centered around a lampoonish representation of a Trump-era bigot.
It was a flimsy yarn from the outset, which only became more precarious with each passing day. That didn’t stop those most deeply invested in the narrative of Evil Trump to jump into action.
Democratic presidential hopefuls Senators Cory Booker and Kamala Harris each labeled the supposed attack a “modern-day lynching,” with Harris adding that, “We must confront this hate.”
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, [who is also a candidate for the Democratic presidential primary] tweeted, “This is a sickening and outrageous attack, and horribly, it’s the latest of too many hate crimes against LGBTQ people and people of color. We are all responsible for condemning this behavior and every person who enables or normalizes it …”[Former President Obama’s Vice President] Joe Biden tweeted, “What happened today to @JussieSmollett must never be tolerated in this country. We must stand up and demand that we no longer give this hate safe harbor; that homophobia and racism have no place on our streets or in our hearts. We are with you, Jussie.”
It wasn’t only those with presidential aspirations who weighed-in, Democratic-Socialist superstar Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez railed against news accounts that qualified their reporting. “There is no such thing as ‘racially charged,’ She tweeted. “This attack was not ‘possibly’ homophobic. It was a racist and homophobic attack … It is no one’s job to water down or sugar-coat the rise of hate crimes.”
Another freshman congressman, [and one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress] Democrat Rashida Tlaib, tweeted, “The dangerous lies spewing from the right wing is killing & hurting our people.”
Not to be outdone, Hollywood notables also reacted as expected. Director Rob Reiner tweeted, “The horrific attack on Jussie Smollett has no place in a decent human loving society. Homophobia existed before Trump, but there is no question that since he has injected his hatred into the American bloodstream, we are less decent, less human, & less loving. No intolerance! No DT!”
The media has comported itself badly as well. Almost immediately after getting the Covington Catholic story so wrong, many in the news industry immediately accepted the Smollett story as true.
Astonishingly, a Washington Post writer named Nana Efua Mumford wrote this: “If Smollett’s story is found to be untrue … The incident would be touted as proof that there is a leftist conspiracy to cast Trump supporters as violent, murderous racists. It would be the very embodiment of ‘fake news.’ And that reason, more than any other, is why I need this story to be true.”
In other words, Trump supporters are violent, murderous racists. That dark premise is a lie, fake news and untrue. Let us hope one half of the country can correct their horrifically jaded view of the other half before we lose ourselves.
Politicians, newsmakers and other influencers must take the lead.
Published February 19, 2019 at BostonHerald .com. Reprinted here February 21, 2019 for educational purposes only. May not be reproduced on other websites without permission from Boston Herald.
1. The purpose of an editorial/commentary is to explain, persuade, warn, criticize, entertain, praise or answer. What do you think is the purpose of the Boston Globe’s editorial? Explain your answer.
2. What is the main idea of this editorial?
3. Do you agree with the editors’ assertions? Explain your answer.