Commentary

Brent Bozell: Smollett And the 'Fakes First' Media

L. Brent Bozell III Tim Graham
By L. Brent Bozell III and Tim Graham | February 20, 2019 | 5:32 AM EST

Actor Jussie Smollett (Photo: Screen capture/YouTube)

The left would expect mere mortals to understand that as opposed to them, the left rises above the rumormongering and misinformation of social media. As with so much else regarding the left, that's nonsense. It cuts, pastes and amplifies the unsubstantiated ardor of liberal Twitter, Facebook and Instagram at will — if it advances the narrative. See the case of Jussie Smollett, actor/singer in the Fox hip-hop drama "Empire."

Smollett's "MAGA country" hate-crime hoax is just the latest example. Coming on the heels of the smears of Covington Catholic High School MAGA hat-wearing teens, we must conclude the left is too blind, or too stupid, or maybe just doesn't give a hoot.

Nothing says "viral" like a black gay celebrity claiming he was beaten by Trumpster thugs. For two weeks, the left went nuts. Celebrities took to the celebrity talk shows, politicians to the political talk shows and the "news" media to the "news" media to denounce racist conservative Trump World.

Now the actor's "modern-day lynching" narrative, as Sen. Cory Booker declared it, has imploded. As we've come to expect, the arrogant defenders of the "high-quality news organizations" are once again refusing to take responsibility for the gasoline they tossed on the fire.

See "Reliable Sources" host Brian Stelter of the so-called "Facts First" network. He claimed, "ultimately, this is not about the media, or about politicians or activists, or any other people that might have been fooled. It's about Jussie."

Translation: It's all about the fooler ... not the fools.

Later, in his email newsletter, Stelter asked: "Was it newsworthy when the police opened an investigation into Smollett's accusation? Yes. Did high-quality news organizations approach the case with caution? Yes."

This is pure nonsense, and Stelter knows it. The national media jumped into the allegations like children jump into a mud puddle. Only ABC, CBS and NBC have devoted 157 morning and evening minutes to the Smollett fraud. Some of these stories call the fraud "alleged." Some didn't even bother.

Compare. Two years ago in that same city, there was another attack. Four black thugs bound and gagged an innocent, defenseless 18-year-old mentally disabled white man. He was beaten, kicked, made to drink from a toilet bowl and bloodied from cuts to his scalp. The suspects laughed at him and shouted, "F—- Trump" and "F—- white people." The entire attack was captured on video — and streamed live on Facebook. They were arrested; he went into the emergency room. "If it bleeds, it leads"? Not on your life, not something like this. The networks gave the story and all its gore a whopping 27 seconds that night.

Smollett's story collapsed shortly after ABC's Robin Roberts gave him an embarrassingly supportive interview. Call the show "Good Fawning America." Roberts did not approach with "caution." She chose not to use the word "alleged." It was true because he said so, and she wanted to believe him because she believes this is what Trump supporters do. She asked, "What do feel people need to hear the most from this story?" Smollett said, "just the truth." Her most ridiculous question was this: "If the attackers are never found, how will you be able to heal?"

Oh, he knew the attackers. Very well.

Kudos to Michelle Malkin, who called out the media early for not asking these obvious questions:

How many racist homophobes wander around an upscale neighborhood of liberal Chicago at 2 a.m. carrying rope and bleach and yelling about "MAGA country"?

How many racist homophobes have heard of "Empire" and could recognize Jussie Smollett from his gay character on the show?

Red flags were visible everywhere, including the fact that the Chicago police told Malkin they initially hadn't heard the "MAGA country" claims. Early claims that Smollett had broken ribs were false.

President Trump, no doubt advised not to mutter "fake news" about the story, called the story "horrible." But in the end, it underlined why so many conservatives feel the "news" business isn't defined by the maxim "Facts First." It's "Fakes First."

L. Brent Bozell III is the president of the Media Research Center. Tim Graham is director of media analysis at the Media Research Center and executive editor of the blog NewsBusters.org.

 


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