Last week provided one of the most remarkable examples of just how absurdly biased the news media has become.
After weeks of wall-to-wall fawning coverage of unsubstantiated allegations, Empire actor Jussie Smollett was forced to turn himself into authorities for orchestrating one of the most elaborate hate crime hoaxes in American history. In the very same week, on Tuesday, in a twist of intersectional irony, an actual hate crime was committed against a conservative at the University of California, Berkeley who was holding a sign that read, “Hate Crimes Hurt Real Victims.”
The UC Berkeley attack hits extremely close to home. The victim’s name is Hayden Williams, and he was on campus that day helping recruit new student members for an organization I founded called Turning Point USA. In a very real sense, it was Turing Point USA’s mission — to promote conservative values and ideological diversity at universities like UC Berkeley — that put him in harm’s way.
After watching the footage and verifying its authenticity, our team immediately reached out to Hayden to ensure he was safe. I also knew that if we could enlist the media’s help, the chances of arresting and ultimately bringing the attacker to justice would be greatly improved. After all, we had a crystal clear photo of the attacker snapped by Hayden mid-assault. Moreover, the assailant demonstrated clear ideological animus against conservatives, making this not only a case of criminal battery, but of ideological hate.
We also had the gruesome video itself, which quickly went viral across social media. And as if all of that weren’t enough, the attack just so happened to take place at UC Berkeley’s Sproul Plaza, the birthplace of the Free Speech Movement, as Jussie Smollett’s hate hoax dominated the national discussion.
This was the kind of story journalists would salivate over, right? Apparently not.
While I appreciate the few national outlets that chose to cover the story, those that did led with headlines like CNN’s “Conservative activist allegedly attacked on UC Berkeley campus.” [Emphasis added]
Newsweek’s headline was nearly identical: “Conservative student allegedly assaulted at UC Berkeley while recruiting other conservatives.” This despite multiple eye witness accounts, video evidence from various angles, a police report, and even a statement from school administrators condemning the attack. I understand not rushing to judgment, but these headlines insinuate Hayden had done something wrong.
On the contrary, this was precisely the sort of open and shut case that Jussie Smollett had hoped to fabricate. While Smollett’s tale turned out to be too good to be true, at least for those with a deeply cynical view of America, Hayden’s story, of course, was not. It was verifiable and credible in every way. You’ll understand, then, why I publicly asked: What would have happened if it had been a MAGA-hat-wearing conservative who attacked a progressive?
Of course, the media would have loudly condemned the violence, and rightly so. But they would have also told us with impassioned pleas that it was a byproduct of the toxic and hateful presidency of Donald Trump. They would have devoted hours to discussing how we can pull the country back from the brink. There would have also been focused media pressure on local law enforcement demanding answers. This is exactly what the news media should be doing. Instead, there was only a smattering of media outlets, mostly conservative, requesting information and coming up empty.
The Daily Californian, a student publication that covers the Berkeley area, was the first to report that a suspect had been identified. The report provided no further details about a pending arrest and what, if any, charges would be filed. Despite our best efforts, days passed with zero additional details. Finally, on Tuesday of this week, campus spokesperson Dan Mogulof issued an update indicating that University of California Police (UCPD) had concluded its investigation and that “based on the results … the department is seeking a felony warrant from the Alameda County District Attorney for the identified suspect.” Mogulof added that UCPD will “immediately pursue the suspect’s arrest pending a recommendation from the Alameda County’s District Attorney.”
As of Thursday, we’ve been told that the DA has asked for additional investigation “for a determination of charges and/or the issuance of a warrant for the suspect’s arrest.”
While we continue to monitor the case, even as our hope for a resolution is delayed, the reality is that violence and threats of violence against conservatives on college campuses is only becoming more common.
Perhaps if the media pursued stories like the UC Berkeley battery with the same volume and vigor as those “alleged” crimes that more neatly fit their narrative, colleges would be much safer places for people like Hayden.
Every American who values the First Amendment and the marketplace of ideas should contact UCPD and demand the suspect be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Unfortunately if we’ve learned anything from the past week, it’s that the mainstream media will not be calling.
Charlie Kirk is the founder and executive director of Turning Point USA, an advocacy group for young conservatives.