Only days after smearing the Covington Catholic students with an out-of-context video clip and the blatant lies of a Native American activist, our illustrious news media yet again beclowned itself with the Jussie Smollett debacle. Many outlets somberly reported Smollett’s outrageous “hate crime” fable as fact, betraying not even the faintest hint of skepticism. Now as the story falls apart, and Smollett is revealed as a fraud and a liar, the media has been presented with a valuable opportunity for honest self-assessment. As always, it will decline the invitation.
Instead, we are now being informed that mainstream news organizations reported the Smollett story fairly from the beginning. They weren’t duped, they insist. Hollywood celebrities and Democratic politicians may have jumped on the “Smollet is a victim of Trump-inspired terrorism” bandwagon prematurely, but not them. Courageous, truth-seeking, fact-finding journalists could never be guilty of reporting fake news. That’s what they are now telling us anyway, which, ironically, is itself fake news.
Before they stuff their own reporting down the memory hole, I thought it could be worthwhile to catalogue some of the headlines from the days immediately following the fake attack. Let’s look at a brief sampling. Remember, these are not the tweets of celebrities and politicians. These are “reputable” outlets:
CNN: “‘Empire’ Star Jussie Smollett Attacked In Possible Hate Crime”
Identical headlines could be found in the Hollywood Reporter and Deadline. Notice there is only uncertainty about the motivation — possible hate crime — not the attack itself. The lede again states with certainty that an attack occured: “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett was attacked in the early morning hours on Tuesday in what Chicago police are calling a possible hate crime.” Alisyn Camerota claims that her network was always skeptical of Smollett’s claims. If that’s true, why didn’t the skepticism come through in their reporting?
New York Times: “Jussie Smollett, Star of ‘Empire,’ Attacked in What Police Call a Possible Hate Crime”
Again, only the hate crime is “possible.” The attack itself is reported as fact. There is a big difference between “Jussie Smollett Possibly Attacked In Hate Crime” and “Jussie Smollett Attacked In Possible Hate Crime.” I didn’t even go to journalism school and I know that.
AP: “Jussie Smollett Strikes Emotional Chord: Attackers Won’t Win”
This headilne could have been written by Smollet’s just-hired defense attornies. It is pure propaganda. The word “alleged” appears nowhere in the title or even in the text of the article. Three days after Smollett reported the attack and the AP had already decided that it was an unquestioned and unquestionable fact of history.
Variety: “Chicago PD Seeking ‘Persons of Interest’ in Jussie Smollett Attack; Manager Was on Phone During Incident”
No “alleged.” No “reportedly.” Slightly more cautious wording can be found in the text of the article, but everyone in the media knows that most people only read the headline.
Forbes: “‘Empire’ Actor Jussie Smollett Issues Statement After Vicious Attack: ‘I’m OK'”
The folks over at Forbes knew they had to put some kind of qualifying word in front of “attack.” But than something like “alleged” or “possible” or “reported,” they went with “vicious.”
I could go on with examples. And I haven’t even listed the most egregious ones, like GQ: “The Racist, Homophobic Attack on Jussie Smollett Is Far-Right America’s Endgame.”
I’ll be told that GQ isn’t a serious news outlet. I agree. But then neither is The New York Times. There aren’t many serious news outlets left in America, as these headlines demonstrate. The media acts not as a purveyor of objective truth but as a leftist PR firm. Their reporting is crafted according to the narrative they wish to convey.
Consider how these headlines would look if a conservative Hollywood actor — say, Dean Cain — claimed that he was jumped by two liberal black men in “Elizabeth Warren For President” t-shirts, who shouted leftist slogans as they stomped him half to death. Imagine, too, that this supposed assault happened in Hunstville, Alabama — “Warren Country,” the attackers supposedly screamed — and there are no witnesses and no footage to confirm the story. It is inconceivable that CNN would publish a headline announcing “‘Gosnell’ Star Dean Cain Attacked In Possible Hate Crime.” If the claim was reported at all, it would be conveyed with extreme (and warranted) skepticism.
Well all know this, of course. It feels redundant to point it out. But we must keep pointing to the truth, over and over again, as the media tries to bury it.