3 Things You Won’t See With the Breaking News in the Jussie Smollett MAGA Hate Crime Case in Chicago
Context. History. Basic Facts. ALSO: Contrition from the Media or Those Promoting False Narratives for the Past Two Weeks
2/16/19 UPDATE: The two Nigerian brothers pictured above who intriguingly do know Jussie Smollett have been released by Chicago police on Friday. I did mention in my post that they “may” be the suspects. This is an unfolding story (see Twitter hashtag #JussieSmollett), but all points I wrote below remain relevant and accurate. From TMZ who broke the story January 29:
Chicago PD says, “Due to new evidence as a result of today’s interrogations, the individuals questioned by police in the ‘Empire’ case have now been released without charging.” Spokesman Anthony Guglielmi added that detectives have “additional investigative work to complete.”
For the third time in 2019, a mainstream media narrative of right-wing hate in America is being turned on it’s head.
First it was Jazmine Barnes in Texas, a young black girl killed not by a white racist but by black criminals.
Then it was the MAGA hat wearing Covington kids, who were clearly more victims than perpetrators of hate.
Now in my hometown in Chicago, a case I’ve been following — as have many others on several sides of the ideological spectrum — is turning a significant corner. It concerns the supposed homophobic and racist hate crime committed against “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett at the hands of offenders yelling “This is MAGA country” along with the N-word, and placing a rope around his neck. What was supposed to be two suspects more closely aligned with President Trump may instead be Nigerian and co-workers with Smollett on his Chicago-based TV show. It’s also likely Smollett himself was misleading a sympathetic and gullible public all along.
Before the embers start ablaze as right-wing media and far-right voices opportunistically create a “we told you so” story of their own, I thought I’d add a 1–2–3 list of what you won’t see in most mainstream reporting. I hate to virtue signal my bias, but this is coming from a writer who’s never voted Republican in his life. However, I’m increasingly disgusted by the opportunism from sectors of the left who overlook facts and context when it comes to hate crimes and violence in the United States. In fact, I think these factually inaccurate story-lines factored heavily in the election of Donald Trump.
The reality is: Few people know that white folks, who are majority Republican voters, are under-represented as hate crime offenders. The dominant myth is that hate crime incidents are exploding due to emboldened angry white men. Reliable sources show that belief is wrong, and it’s actually black people who are disproportionately committing hate crimes, being identified by victims, and being caught. From the exhaustive library of knowledge on race in America published in 2014 titled “Race and Racism in the United States: An Encyclopedia of the American Mosaic,” a little known fact is highlighted on page 313:
“Since 1997, as part of this NCVS [National Crime Victimization Survey], the BJS and the FBI have been collecting data about hate crimes. These are the first significant data on hate crimes broken down by race available in the United States, and so the NCVS has been important both in terms of research and public policy in regard to these crimes. The numbers found in this survey have forced both academia and lawmakers to take note of hate crimes as a serious social problem. The study has also revealed such surprising findings as African Americans being disproportionately represented among those charged with hate crimes, particularly against whites.”
Basically, the accurate narrative isn’t what is being peddled by media and political elites. In doing so, they join the extreme right in dividing America by race.
1. You won’t see the race angle played up because the two perpetrators are black.
As of 1:57 p.m. on February 15, 2019, I haven’t seen images of the two black Nigerian suspects on leading stories. Not at CNN, ABC (local) , CBS (local), or Chicago Tribune. Contrast this with the MAGA hat-wearing Covington kids images spread far and wide in January, and they didn’t commit any crime at all.
2. You won’t see many outlets mention how the original suspects were supposedly white.
Early stories were consistent in their condemnation and narrative that this attack came from right-wing Trump America soaked in white supremacy. See which of these media outlets step up now with mea culpas and context.
The Racist, Homophobic Attack on Jussie Smollett Is Far-Right America's Endgame
When one of the most famous black and gay men in America is not safe, the message is clearer than it has ever been…
A still-disputed aspect of the attack on Smollett is a line shouted after his attackers fled the scene: “This is MAGA country.” While its veracity isn’t confirmed, its sentiment needs no fact-check. America’s choice to embrace the blind rage of late-stage whiteness in decline is an explicit longing for this kind of crime, a version of America in which those who do not assimilate to the satisfaction of their white, straight, and Christian betters are subject to the impunity of law enforcement, the scorn of the media and the fury of racist homophobes stalking the streets of your city, who want you to know that they could lynch you if they really wanted to, and maybe get away with it too.
Chicago's top cop: 'We are making gains' in investigation of reported attack on 'Empire' actor…
Chicago police superintendent Eddie Johnson said Friday detectives are "making gains" in their investigation of a…
While celebrities and politicians have condemned the attack and voiced their support for Smollett — who is black and openly gay — skepticism about his story has grown on social media.
Smollett’s family acknowledged that in releasing its first public statement about the incident Thursday. “We want to be clear, this was a racial and homophobic hate crime,” the statement said. “Jussie has told the police everything from the very beginning. His story has never changed.”
'Empire' star Jussie Smollett shares powerful message to LGBTQ community after suspected hate crime
The "Empire" star spoke to ABC News' Robin Roberts in an exclusive interview.
“I have to acknowledge the lies, and the hate. And it feels like if I had said it was a Muslim, or a Mexican, or someone black, I feel like the doubters would have supported me much more. A lot more,” Smollett, 36, told ABC News’ Robin Roberts. “And that says a lot about the place that we are in our country right now.”
Prior to the police identifying and interviewing the two persons of interest, Smollett said he believes the two men in the photo released by police in the days after the attack are the perpetrators.
“I don’t have any doubt in my mind that that’s them,” Smollett said. “Never did.”
The Curious Case of Jussie Smollett | National Review
Three days after the alleged attack, it's not clear what actually happened. Here's hoping we find out more. The case of…
TMZ’s sources added that the two attackers were both white and wearing ski masks. They allegedly beat him so badly they broke one of his ribs, and also put a rope around his neck, yelled racist and homophobic slurs, poured bleach on him, “and as they left they yelled, ‘This is MAGA country.’” A crudely lettered note sent to Fox’s Chicago studios last week made a death threat and an anti-gay slur against Smollett, but the actor turned down Fox’s offer to provide him with a round-the-clock security detail, according to TMZ.
3. You won’t see statistical evidence publicly published by the FBI stating that blacks are disproportionately hate crime offenders.
We constantly are told that blacks are over-represented as hate crime victims using FBI statistics. Those same statistics are almost never mentioned when showing that they’re at least 3 times more likely than non-Hispanic whites per capita in committing hate crimes. That previous sentence, while true, I’ve never seen published in hundreds of articles I’ve researched on the topic of hate crimes in the U.S. This is the most essential context in all these inaccurate narratives since the beginning of Trump’s election victory.
I wrote about those statistics here a few weeks ago. Excerpt below, which you won’t see on any media surrounding this incident.
Shaun King Is Terrible for America:
Ditto Social Justice Narratives Endorsed by the Mainstream Media that Reflexively Censor Key Statistical Context
This leads us to the one other hate crime statistic that’s almost entirely unreported: Hate crime offenders. That might be because blacks were at least 26.1 percent of offenders in 2016 and 21.6 percent in 2017. There’s also an “unknown” race percentage that can push those numbers up a few points. Blacks are 13 percent of the population. Even the book “Race and Racism in the United States: An Encyclopedia of the American Mosaic” writes that blacks are “surprisingly” overrepresented in committing hate crimes, mirroring their percentage of overall arrests. The media doesn’t call attention to it. One can only speculate as to why.
Indeed, a cursory search for “hate crime offenders 2017” brings up no news stories except for a single November 2017 Washington Post article that speciously states the following based on 2016 data: “The FBI report, which collects information on the offenders in the hate crimes tallied in the previous year, found that the largest share — 46 percent — were white. [emphasis added] About a quarter of the people who carried out hate crimes were black.” Note their editorial decision to add “largest share” for whites, as if to hype how whites commit twice as many hate crimes as blacks. The Washington Postlacks the same consistency when reporting similar percentages when it comes to victims of police killings. There, they alert readers to the implied racism in that gap: “Black males accounted for 22 percent of all people shot and killed in 2017, yet they are 6 percent of the total population. White males accounted for 44 percent of all fatal police shootings.” Criminal context is omitted, such as black males being responsible for more than half of all murder and robbery arrests. Since 2015 when they started this database, they reported in the same manner, winning the Pulitzer Prize for journalism in 2016. The data is useful. Their willfully misleading narrative and inconsistency in reporting statistics around crime and race is not.
Clearly, the evidence that could upend these near-weekly parables of white supremacy and Trump’s America flexing its muscle against minorities is out there and searchable.
In the media from 24 hours ago:
Jussie Smollett says he is 'forever changed' in first interview since alleged attack
February 14 at 12:37 PM Chicago police say they have identified two "persons of interest" in the assault case involving…
From today, February 15, 2019. Ask yourself: What is missing? What won’t the media be inclined to cover? Feel free to comment below.
BREAKING: Suspects Arrested In Jussie Smollett Case
CHICAGO (CBS) - The two suspects being questioned in the Jussie Smollett case are now under arrest, police said. The…
Two suspects arrested in connection to the attack of 'Empire' star Jussie Smollett
Two suspects have been arrested in connection to an attack reported by "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett, Chicago Police…
Sources: Police investigating whether Smollett staged attack with help of others
Chicago police confirmed Thursday that detectives are talking to two persons of interest in connection with the alleged…
Attorney: Persons of interest in reported Jussie Smollett attack both knew actor
The two brothers being questioned about a reported attack on "Empire" star Jussie Smollett both know the actor from…
Potential Suspect in Jussie Smollett Attack Appeared on Empire
Chicago police have arrested two potential suspects in the attack against Empire actor Jussie Smollett to hold them for…
Suspects questioned in Jussie Smollett case arrested, no charges: police
Two suspects who were questioned about the alleged hate crime against "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett have been…