Jussie Smollett’s National Emergency vs. Ours

Things are looking increasingly bad for Jussie Smollett.

A couple of weeks ago, the “Empire” actor claimed that he was beaten and called racial and homophobic slurs by a pair of masked assailants late one snowy night in Chicago. He claimed they yelled, “this is MAGA country,” as they put a rope around his neck and threw bleach at him.

But now, Chicago police reportedly believe that he paid two men to orchestrate the attack on him. An attack that many 2020 Democratic hopefuls cite as an example of the widespread racial and homophobic hate prevalent in the country.

But let’s assume, for a moment, that Jussie Smollett told the truth—an assumption that seems less and less credible by the moment. Let’s assume that he really was assaulted by two Nigerian Trump supporters who had appeared as extras on his show “Empire.”

Consider the disproportionate coverage between Smollet’s supposed ordeal and the tragedies borne by the victims of illegal immigrants.

Imagine if the media and Democratic presidential candidates paid the same attention to both. If the media ran long profiles about Angel moms and extensive coverage of savage MS-13 murders. If Kamala Harris tweeted out support to Angel mom Maureen Maloney, instead of having her staff threaten to call Capitol Police on her.

Instead, we get silence from the Democratic candidates and in some cases stealthy retractions from prominent leaders. And arguably worse, we get belittlement from the media:

‘Savage gang’: Despite Trump’s relentless rhetoric, MS-13 killings are down—The Washington Post

With a focus on tragic deaths, Trump’s national-emergency announcement raises an obvious question: What about deadlier American crises?—The Washington Post

Trump Highlights Immigrant Crime to Defend His Border Policy. Statistics Don’t Back Him Up”—The New York Times

Journalists are happy to downplay the personal tragedies of victims if it damages their agenda. And, when politically expedient, they will ignore the tragedy for the statistic.

Consider the wall-to-wall media coverage of police shootings of unarmed black men a couple of years ago. Remember the ensuing outrage and the demand that we have a national conversation about policing and racism.

There are far more people killed by MS-13 each year. Imagine if an MS-13 victim were given the same wall-to-wall coverage.

But back to the real tragedy—the brutal treatment of Jussie Smollett by the alleged Nigerian Trump supporters.

Even if Smollett were telling the truth, the extrapolation from it that Trump supporters are largely racist would be completely false. If racism were as prevalent as the media suggests and if they covered it as fervently as they covered Smollett and the Covington kids, they would have no time to report on anything else.

But Smollett isn’t telling the truth. Nathan Phillips wasn’t either.

The past few media firestorms meant to convince us that Trump supporters are deranged and violent racists have all imploded. And embarrassingly so.

But we have been privy to see how the media and the Democrats would react to a single instance of racism from a Trump supporter. The fact that the media can’t find real stories to illustrate the supposed widespread bigotry among Trump supporters is telling because we now know that they would go all out with their coverage if they found even a single real instance.

And we’ve also gotten to see how the media and the Democrats would react to a row of real victims of illegal immigration. That is, with silence. And the fact that the media will happily bury the tragedies of Americans in order to push their narrative that there is no national emergency at the border is similarly telling because we now know that they will go out of their way to avoid giving any attention to stories that might run counter to their agenda.

We all know there is no chance that the New York Times would ever publish a headline reading, “Booker and Harris Highlight Smollett Attack to Defend Their Claims That Trump Supporters Are Racist. Facts Don’t Back Them Up.”

Journalists have gotten awfully good at lying with statistics and twisting facts to suit their political agendas. And that’s why President Trump’s incredulity in the face of Jim Acosta’s “statistics” on Friday resonated with so many Americans. The media has claimed a monopoly not only on truth, but on epistemology.

“Who are you going to believe? My shoddy and unsubstantiated social science and my tear-jerking sensationalized narratives? Or your lying eyes?”

About Karl Notturno

Karl Notturno is a Mount Vernon Fellow of the Center for American Greatness in addition to being an entrepreneur, musician, and writer. He recently graduated from Yale University with degrees in philosophy and history. He can be found on Twitter @karlnotturno.

Photo: Gabriel Olsen/Getty Images

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