Following the November arson attack against a black church in Mississippi, several mainstream media outlets attempted to paint the crime as a racially-motivated attack by a Donald Trump supporter.
Despite lacking a large amount of evidence for their claims, which were largely based on “Vote Trump” grafitti painted onto to the church and the n-word found shortly before, the outlets continuously pushed the narrative of a Trump-induced hate crime.
Little did they know that the attack was actually allegedly perpetrated by Andrew McClinton, a black man who was a member of the church he torched. It has also since been revealed that McClinton is also allegedly the perpetrator of the graffiti found on the church.
The perpetrators who set the Hopewell M.B. Church in MS on fire must be brought to justice. This kind of hate has no place in America. -H
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) November 3, 2016
Since the mainstream media, along with social networks such as Facebook are concerned with the rise of “fake news,” here is a sample of the outlets which pushed this false narrative without the facts.
“A Black Church Burned in the Name of Trump” – The Atlantic
The Atlantic, a news outlet which has frequently covered the topic of “fake news,” could quite possibly be the contender for one of the most false headlines this year with “A Black Church Burned in the Name of Trump.”
The Atlantic reported that the arson attack was being investigated as a “hate crime,” tried to link the attack to rising racism, and claimed that the motivation was for someone to leave “a calling card about politics.”
Since their claims, a fire marshal has declared that the attack was unlikely to do with politics, and the site has been forced to issue an update on their article. However, there is still no mention to the fact that the perpetrator was neither a Donald Trump supporter nor a white man, despite largely trying to emphasize those two points originally.
“Burning a black church is a political act” – Vox
Vox Media, the same news outlet which has officially banned employees from “mansplaining,” falsely labelled popular Trump supporters as anti-Semites, and whose popular left-wing commentator Ezra Klein was seen by the Clinton Campaign as an attack dog to “hold journalists accountable,” pulled out all the stops in their attempt to make the Mississippi church arson attack seem like a racist crime from the right.
“The message spray-painted on the burned bricks is drawing attention to a history of racist violence that has been amplified over the course of the 2016 presidential campaign,” claimed Vox’s Victoria M. Massie in her piece. “Black churches have always been about more than spirituality. For generations, black churches have served as sources of refuge from and resistance to the racism pervading America’s Christian pulpits.”
Adding that the “Threat of violent voter intimidation has become a cornerstone of the 2016 election,” and “Trump’s supporters are welcoming the confrontation,” Massie concluded by claiming that though a suspect was yet unidentified, “it’s still clear that this small church in Mississippi is the latest symbol of some of the country’s worst fears about the threats of violence looming over this year’s presidential election.”
The article has not been updated following the recent revelation that the attack was not political.
“Authorities Suspect Voter Intimidation in Burning, Vandalism of Mississippi Church” – Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC)
The SPLC, a self-proclaimed hate crime watchdog, posted the incident in their “hatewatch” section despite the lack of details surrounding the suspect and his motive.
“A black church in the Mississippi Delta was burned and vandalized with pro-Trump graffiti in what law enforcement is now calling an attempt at voter intimidation,” wrote the SPLC in their filed case, though it was the comments section that really showed the dangerous effect of narrative manipulation in the mainstream media.
The SPLC is the same group that features the American Family Association, Info Wars’ Alex Jones, and Breitbart contributors David Horowitz and Pamela Geller in their list of “extremists” alongside the Aryan Brotherhood, Black Panthers, and the Ku Klux Klan.
This isn’t the SPLC’s first example of promoting fake news. It’s most recent failure was when it labeled Black Lives Matter-inspired assassinations of police officers and jihadist terrorist attacks as “radical-right terrorist plots.”
“A Burned Down Black Church Shows President Trump Wouldn’t Condemn His Own Terrorists” – The Daily Beast
“So these are stakes of this election: a potential president who would not even condemn in his own words terrorism done in his own name,” complained the Daily Beast’s Justin Glawe, despite Trump’s campaign issuing an empathetic statement on the attack.
“The GOP presidential candidate, in characteristically spineless fashion, said then he ‘would never condone violence’ from his supporters. Our possible next president did not say, unequivocally, that he did not condone this specific act, because that wouldn’t fit into the dog whistle nature of his candidacy,” he continued.
Glawe even went as far as to quote a member of the community who claimed that no one of their own could have performed the attack, so it must have been a racist Trump-supporter.
The article now displays an editor’s note pointing to the recent news, making Glawe’s piece on how Trump wouldn’t condemn “his own terrorists” quite embarrassing.
It should also be noted that The Daily Beast published another article on the attack, filing it into the “Deplorable” category— a reference to Hillary Clinton’s pre-election comments where she claimed Trump-supporters to be deplorable.