The Jussie Smollett hoax is an example of the rush today to judge incidents as racially motivated before all the facts are known.
It was a hoax staged by the actor to gain attention. It was not a racially motivated street attack in Chicago. As The Wall Street Journal in an editorial said, “The national media bought it hook, line and fake noose, again turning a presumed ‘hate crime’ into an indictment of America.”
The Journal added: “At the national level, the compulsion to pronounce blanket moral condemnations about other Americans has displaced the instinct to find facts.” The Chicago police superintendent hit the nail on the head when he said: “This publicity stunt was a scar that Chicago didn’t earn and certainly didn’t deserve. To make things worse, the accusations within this phony attack received national attention for weeks. Celebrities, news commentators, and even presidential candidates weighed in on something that was choreographed by an actor.”
Smollett did get plenty of publicity, which continues but it’s a negative for him now since he has been charged with making a false report to police. Actually, the whole incident was a fraud from the beginning, but the big media fell for it. This rush to judgment makes the media look bad.
There is so much competition today for the media that there’s not much pause to get all the facts before running with it.
The Smollett incident and the rush to judgment by people and the media should sound the alarm that additional caution is needed in reporting incidents such as this. There is a herd instinct present today that is quick to tag hate and discrimination to trivial incidents that are blown way out of proportion by the media, especially social media.