The actor claimed he was attacked for being black and gay. Opinionators on the left would rather focus on right wing media’s obsession with the story.
Actor Jussie Smollett was found guilty by a Chicago jury on five counts of lying to the police over an alleged hate crime he orchestrated with his would-be attackers.
- Smollett falsely told police he was attacked by two men who put a noose around his neck and poured bleach on him while yelling “This is MAGA country.”
- In reality, Smollett hired two brothers, both black, to stage the hate crime according to prosecutors.
- During the case, prosecutors called into question Smollett’s lack of cooperation with Chicago police, arguing he didn’t turn over his cell phone, medical records, or submit a DNA sample during the investigation.
- The actor could be sentence to as much as three years per convicted count, though is likely to get probation.
- MSNBC’s Zach Stafford bemoaned the guilty verdict not because he believed Smollett was innocent, but because it gave conservatives a cudgel to use against the media and it will stifle reporting of real hate crimes.
- Oliver Darcy at CNN took a similar tack, saying “media personalities on the right” are using the Smollett case to “convince their audiences not to trust other sources of information.”
- Deadline.com reported that Smollett’s testimony in his own defense actually reduced the likelihood of him not serving any time in prison.
- Fox News criticized a host of Democrat politicians whose social media accounts still contain messages supporting Smollett, saying these politicians should be asked to “clarify their public defense” of Smollett in light of the guilty verdict.
- The New York Post lambasted Smollett’s defenders, saying “Black activists should be furious” and he “made a mockery of real hate crimes.”
- The Daily Wire collected right-wing reactions on social media gleefully mocking Smollett and criticizing media outlets who were not skeptical of the story as it unfolded in 2019.
Stafford at MSNBC and Darcy at CNN took the completely wrong lesson from this debacle. However, like what Darcy says, “When you cannot argue on the facts, it is much easier to dismiss a story in its entirety and go after the credibility of the press for reporting on it.” He lacks the self-awareness to understand he is doing the exact same thing. CNN’s involvement is much deeper, though. Smollett testified he had been counseled by Don Lemon, one of the network’s leading anchors, that Chicago PD wasn’t buying Smollett’s story. Yet even in the aftermath of the Chris Cuomo debacle, CNN does not appear to be taking any action to address Lemon’s clear violation of journalistic ethics.
© Dallas Gerber, 2021