If a fair and thorough investigation establishes that Jussie Smollett faked the attack he claimed was perpetrated by white men wearing MAGA hats, then he should be charged with a hate crime.
Fake hate crimes are hate crimes. If hate crime laws are merely instruments of totalitarian political power, rather than sound legal principles applicable to Americans of every color and creed, then it is long past time to get rid of them.
Smollett’s offense went far beyond wasting the police department’s time with a false report, as if that wasn’t bad enough in crime-ridden Chicago. If that is the only charge he faces, he is likely to walk out of the courtroom without paying much of a penalty at all. The law is not exactly coming down on him like a ton of bricks, as he is apparently still free to blow off investigators when they request follow-up interviews.
A federal hate crimes prosecution would make it clear Smollett deliberately targeted a group of Americans with the intention of inciting hatred against them. This cannot be considered acceptable from anyone, no matter how many boxes they can cover on the intersectional victimhood bingo card, and regardless of the skin color or political affiliations of the targets.
It is time to formally acknowledge that left-wing hate hoaxes are one of the most prevalent and dangerous hate crimes in America right now. They’re exceptionally dangerous because they instantly benefit from the combined power of credulous news media and celebrities.
We’re all supposed to be very concerned about information warfare, disinformation, and “meddling” in our politics and society. Hate-crime hoaxes are prime examples of all of those things, and they are far more influential than Russia buying $1000 of Facebook ads or whatever.
No farm-raised Russian troll could dream of whipping up the kind of saturation media coverage Smollett was given. His wildly improbable allegations were treated as hard cold facts by mainstream media outlets that suddenly forgot everything their style books say about using the word “alleged.”
Information warfare specialists can only dream of having their toxic viral memes repeated as enthusiastically as the mainstream media spread the Smollett story. Hostile powers must regard hate hoaxes as dreams come true. This is exactly the kind of anger and chaos they wish to spread among the American people. This is precisely the kind of mutilation they wish to inflict on our politics.
Election meddlers could enjoy nothing more than watching virtually the entire Democratic presidential field for 2020 pick up a hoax without hesitation and use it as a cudgel against the huge number of Americans they despise.
We are supposed to be concerned about the social environment that makes various pathological behaviors more common. Very well: let’s talk about the social environment that makes so many people think nothing of reporting false hate crimes.
Criminal behavior is usually influenced by risk-reward calculations. At the moment, people see little risk in reporting false hate crimes, but they perceive enormous rewards – instant celebrity, the righteous rush of secular sainthood, and possibly financial benefits.
The moral barrier against engaging in this kind of slander has grown very rickety. Hoaxers don’t feel like they’re doing anything wrong because they have imbibed the left-wing concept of Deeper Truth. Sure, maybe Smollett made up his story of a MAGA lynch mob, but his apologists will say they are a real threat lurking all over the place and he performed a public service by “raising awareness” of the problem.
Smollett’s story broke only a few days after the media stuffed the Covington Catholic hoax down the Memory Hole, capping off their disgusting malpractice with a spate of editorials about how the Covington boys were still somehow wrong or problematic even though activist Nathan Phillips fabricated his tale of a menacing MAGA-hatted mob.
Some media leftists managed to slip jabs at the Covington kids into the middle of their soliloquies about the press doing a less than stellar job of covering the story:
4) Yes, this applies in the Covington case. This will please nobody because I still believe the teenagers were disrespectful, but my tweets were lacking in grace. As a Catholic I felt duty bound to speak up and hold them accountable, but that really isn't my job.
— Kirsten Powers (@KirstenPowers) February 18, 2019
The Deeper Truth narrative about smirking red-hat Catholic school pro-lifer hatred still bubbles along even though the media had to admit it was utterly hoodwinked by a left-wing activist it did not bother to investigate in even the most cursory fashion.
Why wouldn’t other hoaxers expect similar “fake but accurate” defenses when their phony hate crime reports fall apart? They know they will be given virtually limitless credit for good intentions. The worst media action line they have to fear is: “Okay, maybe everyone involved was wrong and we can all learn something from this teachable moment.” With a little luck, they will be able to argue they were forced into faking a hate crime by the terrible climate of fear President Donald Trump has created.
We can take a step toward fixing that by throwing the book at Jussie Smollett if he’s found guilty of faking a hate crime, which absolutely must be considered as much of a hate crime as the incident he faked. Otherwise, we are reinforcing all of the awful forces that inspire people to invent phony hate crimes, including the poisonous totalitarian idea that some groups are incapable of hatred, while others deserve to be hated, so slandering them is not a serious offense.