As the case of Ashley Todd reminded us again last week, racial bias crimes are almost always hoaxes. Todd is the Republican volunteer who claimed that a black man in Pittsburgh had pummeled her and carved a "B" into her cheek after spotting the "McCain-Palin" bumper stickers on her car.
A lot of people suspected the case was a hoax from the outset, including Fox News' Bill O'Reilly, who immediately said: "It could be bogus. I'm a little skeptical about this, but our duty ... is to report everything to you."
The claim was bogus, but on MSNBC, instead of citing the Todd case as further proof of the maxim "Never believe claims of racial bias until proved," the hoax hate crime led to somber discussions of -- you guessed it! -- racism in America.
MSNBC's Keith Olbermann histrionically described Todd's hoax as "a narrative straight out of Reconstruction-era, race-based fear-mongering: a black man, 6-foot, 4-inches, attacking, sexually assaulting, fondling, mutilating a young white woman."
His expert pontificator on race was The Washington Post's Eugene Robinson, who said the Pittsburgh hoax was "the blood libel against black men concerning the defilement of the flower of Caucasian womanhood. It's been with us for hundreds of years and, apparently, is still with us."
Robinson was last heard from on the subject of race crimes in his famous April 25, 2006, Post column melodramatically saying of the Duke lacrosse rape case: "It's impossible to avoid thinking of all the black women who were violated by drunken white men in the American South over the centuries. The master-slave relationship, the tradition of droit du seigneur, the use of sexual possession as an instrument of domination -- all this ugliness floods the mind, unbidden, and refuses to leave."
Note to Mr. Robinson: There's a pill you can take for that now. Makes those endless, incessant thoughts of interracial rape just go away. Ask your doctor if this new pill is right for you.
As is now well-known, the alleged gang rape of a black stripper by white lacrosse players never happened. At least Ashley Todd's hoax didn't almost ruin an actual person's life.
Meanwhile, back at Hoax Interpretation Central, Olbermann spent most of October issuing blistering denunciations of John McCain and Sarah Palin based on the claim that someone had yelled "Kill him!" in reference to Obama at a Palin campaign rally.
"There's a fine line between a smear campaign and an incitement to violence," Olbermann lectured. "If Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin have not previously crossed it this week, today even, they most certainly did."
One of Olbermann's many guest-hysterics was Newsweek's Richard Wolffe. Equally excited, Wolffe said it was "no excuse" that McCain and Palin couldn't hear what the crowd was shouting because "what you're seeing here is a very conscious attempt to paint Obama as un-American, as unpatriotic and, yes, cohorting, consorting with what they call, 'domestic terrorists.'"
(Liberals indignantly reject the label "domestic terrorists" for former Weathermen, preferring to call them "future Cabinet members.")
After beating the "Kill him!" story to death for a week, Olbermann delivered one of his comical "Special Comments" about the incident. "You, Sen. McCain," he pompously announced, "are not only a fraud, sir, but you are tacitly inciting lunatics to violence."
Olbermann demanded that McCain cease campaigning: "Suspend your campaign now until you or somebody else gets some control over it. And it ceases to be a clear and present danger to the peace of this nation."
Anything else, Keith? Should I just concede the election now -- or would next week be all right? While I'm up, can I get you a sandwich? How about a hot towel?
As has now been conclusively established, no one ever shouted "Kill him!" at a Palin campaign rally. The Secret Service undertook a full investigation -- listening to tapes of the event, interviewing people who had attended the rally, and interrogating Secret Service and other law enforcement officers who were spread throughout the crowd.
As even an article on the crazy, left-wing, don't-make-any-sudden-moves-around-them Salon site noted: "The Secret Service takes this sort of thing very, very seriously. If it says it doesn't think anyone shouted 'kill him,' it's a good bet that it didn't happen."
While we're on the subject of massive deceptions, Olbermann regularly has Chris Kofinis on his show to talk about the sleaziness of Republican candidates. But why has Olbermann never asked this former communications director of John Edwards' campaign about the hoax Edwards was pulling running for president as a family man with a sick wife while carrying on an extramarital affair?
What were they planning to do if Edwards got the nomination? Claim that Rielle Hunter's baby was fathered by a black man?
Having helped promote massive hoaxes that lasted for weeks in the case of "Kill him!" and years in the case of the Duke lacrosse case, you would think liberals would go easy on the crocodile tears over a 24-hour hoax by an obviously disturbed girl in Pittsburgh.
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