Social Media’s On Fire? Take a Breath.
Here’s a thought.
The next time social media loses its collective mind over some outrage supposedly perpetrated by one of their favorite villains: frat boys, Christians or conservatives, let’s all take a deep breath, stay off Twitter for a couple of days and pour ourselves a drink.
Because chances are, if the story fits the conservatives-are-awful-people narrative a tad too perfectly, it’ll turn out to be bull.
A few Saturdays ago, for instance, I got a text from one of my pals saying she hoped I’d lay into those boys from that Catholic high school who disrespected a Native American man after the March for Life in Washington.
I’m not trying to make myself sound like the only rational person in America, but I responded, saying I wasn’t weighing in because I suspected there was more to the story.
How did I know that? Well, the pictures. I didn’t see a smirking teenager as much as I saw an old guy beating a drum in a kid’s face. They were at an anti-abortion march. The scene didn’t make sense.
Yet social media loved it. The kids were called grotesque names by people who should know better. They were punks. Bigots. Brats. There were death threats. The boys’ families in Kentucky were under siege.
The reward for waiting before pointing fingers in the Covington case? Heck, I’m not on the list of people being sued for defamation by the kid from Kentucky. Frankly, I hope he owns a newspaper or cable news network before it’s over. There ought to be a price to pay when adults - I’m thinking of MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell in particular - are so quick to condemn minors, calling them racists.
In that same vein, I didn’t weigh in on the Jussie Smollett situation - until now - for several reasons.
His story fit the Trump-supporters-are-awful-people narrative a little too neatly.
Think about it.
On January 29th, the day of the event, the high temperature in Chicago was 11F. The low was -9F. Must have been below zero at 2 a.m. Anyone with common sense had to ask if it was likely that Trump supporters were marauding at that time, in that intense cold, looking for gay black guys to beat up while shouting slurs and shrieking, “This is MAGA country!”
Oh, and is Chicago MAGA country? I don’t think so.
Beyond that, how likely was it that someone who’d been beaten, doused in bleach and had a rope around his neck would still be hanging onto his Subway sandwich as Smollett reportedly was when he walked into his building shortly after the attack?
None of it made sense. Except to those who want to believe that all Trump supporters are racist homophobes.
Finally, over the weekend, major news outlets reported that sources inside the Chicago police department said they’ve changed their focus and are now investigating Smollett on suspicion that he hired two Nigerian brothers to stage the attack.
In other words, this was probably an elaborate, but ineptly executed hoax.
To their credit, the Chicago police cautiously referred to the Smollett incident as an “alleged” attack all along. Yet that didn’t stop many excitable folks on the left from eagerly accepting the story. They seemed almost giddy that a pair of Trump supporters engaged in a hate crime.
All the red flags in the world couldn’t silence presidential hopefuls Cory Booker and Kamala Harris who pounced, on Twitter declaring this to be an “attempted modern-day lynching.”
Nancy Pelosi chimed in, calling it “a racist, homophobic attack and an affront to humanity,” while Joe Biden said what happened that morning in Chicago “must never be tolerated in this country.”
For once I agree with Joe.
If it turns out this entire episode was simply street theater, that Smollett filed a fraudulent police report to gin up hatred for Trump supporters or for some other twisted reason, that really can’t be tolerated in this country.
The perpetrator should be prosecuted. Spend some time in a cell.
Chicago has an estimated 100,000 gangbangers. The police have plenty of criminal activity to investigate without wasting their time on a second-rate actor playing a hate-crime victim.