After 30 years of teaching everything from drug money laundering detection, to foreign death investigations, to using FOIA as a means of exposing government corruption, one thing I’ve learned is that there is no more valuable teaching device than the case study. Real life examples of past events can be superb illustrators of common or predictable occurrences. If you want to teach young people about the failures of government-controlled economies, Venezuela offers a wonderful case study. If you want to demonstrate how badly the modern American education system has failed our youth, look no further than Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. If you want to impart an understanding of the modern American liberal, I give you Jussie Smollett - the case study of all case studies on leftism in the United States today. It’s a brilliant exemplar of all the left’s fraudulence, gimmickry, victimology, media gullibility, celebrity attention-seeking (replete with aborted media tour), and Trump hatred.
For the few who don’t already know, Smollett is an actor who plays a gay character on the Fox television show “Empire.” Honestly, I had never heard of him, and barely heard of his TV show, before he shot to fame as the alleged victim of a “hate crime” assault in Chicago on January 29, 2019 in Chicago. The self-peddled story went that Smollett was out grabbing a hero at 2 am at a Subway sandwich shop, as we are all wont to do when the temperature is minus nine degrees in the Windy City, when he was set upon by two white thugs. The attackers, naturally wearing MAGA hats in uber-blue Chicago, allegedly called him a “f****t”, “n****r”, and told him “This is MAGA country!” before punching him, kicking him, dousing him with bleach and putting a noose around his neck.
The noose thing was a clever touch. As my observant young colleague, Matt Miano, pointed out to me, Smollett was photographed approximately a year prior to his “noose attack” alongside Sen. Kamala Harris at a protest in Los Angeles. Kamala Harris sponsored an “anti-lynching bill” in the Senate in late 2018 to make lynching a new federal crime. The bill had always previously stalled in the Senate, because it was seen as an unnecessary political gimmick, meant to remind people of historical black oppression in the South. Murdering people with a rope has always been a crime under state law. In the wake of Smollett’s faked “noose assault” in Chicago on Jan. 29, Harris’s anti-lynching bill unanimously passed the Senate on Feb.14. Imagine that!
And who was one of the first Democratic luminaries to jump in with outrage and sympathy for poor Jussie Smollett following the alleged assault by the evil MAGA headdress-sporting bleach purveyors? You guessed it. Senator Kamala Harris. She referred to the attack on January 30 via Tweet as a “modern day lynching.”
So let’s draw this out. Senator Kamala Harris - a virtually brand-new senator with no meaningful legislative accomplishments, but running for President, desperately needs something she can point to as the basis for seeking the presidency. So she manages to get a superfluous new bill passed in the Senate that she has authored making lynching a federal crime, speculatively with a little help from her pal, Jussie. With Democrats now controlling the House of Representatives, a companion anti-lynching bill will now be passed by the House. That means a new federal anti-lynching bill will go to President Trump’s desk for his signature. What’s the President to do? If he doesn’t sign it for perfectly legitimate reasons (see superflousness argument above), he is deemed a “RACIST!” If he does sign it, Kamala gets a legislative “victory” to tout as she tours the country in her presidential quest with yet another useless federal crime on the books. Pretty clever.
So returning to our Jussie Smollett case study, Class, let’s break down this episode for its educational value:
It’s now been fairly conclusively determined by the Chicago Police, based on public reporting, that Jussie Smollett paid two Nigerian (ie, black - not white) acquaintances $3,500 to engage in frigid street performance theater by “assaulting” Jussie in a rehearsed “attack”. Such fraudulent hate crimes are common by the left. Recall the manufactured Duke lacrosse rape in which three affluent, white male Duke students were falsely accused of raping a black female stripper, thus upending their lives. But in the less-distant past, we have all the revelations about Senator Elizabeth Warren, another Democrat presidential candidate, falsely claiming native American ancestry in order to advance herself professionally and politically. My wheaten terrier has more native American in him than does Senator Warren, with her 1,024th bit. The examples of liberal fraud are legion (Tawana Brawley, Rolling Stone’s fake University of Virginia frat house gang rape story, Sen. Richard Blumenthal’s falsified Vietnam War service claims), but let’s move on.
A close cousin of fraudulence is gimmickry but refers more specifically to actions than mere lies. Where does one begin to cite examples of leftists’ use of ploys to advance a false narrative? Let’s start with the actions of another fake Vietnam War veteran, Nathan Phillips. He got in the face of teenagers from Covington Catholic High School wearing MAGA hats and attending the March for Life rally in Washington on January 18. Phillips banged a drum inside one kid’s personal space. The bemused young man, Nick Sandmann, admirably kept his cool and just smiled back, not engaging the accoster. But the media flipped the narrative, claiming the teenager was the perpetrator of this incident by approaching Phillips. The teen’s own high school shamefully didn’t support him. And the media just ran with the fake story, trying to besmirch young conservatives. Other gimmicks included a false racial attack at Bowling Green University, Williams College students painting KKK on a campus building to “protest” the election of Trump, and a San Franciscan who hung a Nazi flag to “protest” Donald Trump’s alleged maltreatment of Muslims.
Jussie Smollett checks off two boxes in the pantheon of liberal victim groups: black and gay. It is the Democrat modus operandi to assign everyone to a “victim” group, except of course for white, heterosexual males, who are the source of all evil. Therefore, Smollett naturally wrote both racial and homosexual slurs into the script employed by his paid actor friends, Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo, who reportedly carried out the fake attack on him. However, every victim group has had its share of fake “hate crimes”. While African-Americans are often the pseudo-victims, like Broderick Burse at Kansas State, others Democrat bastions try to cash in as well, like a San Diego State U. muslima student, who claimed her backpack, car and purse were stolen by Trump-supporting robbers the day after Trump’s election. Turns out she just forgot where she’d parked her car. Professors even get in on the act, with Indiana State University Prof. Azhar Hussain being arrested for filing a false police report. He’d sent bogus anti-Muslim emails to himself, according to police, for the purpose of “trying to gain sympathy by becoming a victim of anti-Muslim threats which he had created himself.”
One of the most striking aspects of every so-called “hate crime” is the credulousness of what should be jaded, critical mainstream journalists. Yet they always seem to be the first to jump on the sympathy bandwagon for the alleged victims, or at least to buy their narrative hook, line and sinker. The Smollett story reeked from the get-go. Who’s out hunting around to debase a no-name actor on a bitter cold Chicago night carrying a bottle of bleach and a pre-made noose? Even the left-wing Mediaite said, “This is a fraud in which the mainstream news media might as well have been an unindicted co-conspirator.” CNN host and “news reporter” Brooke Baldwin uncritically and immediately bought Smollett’s story, calling it “absolutely despicable”. Later, as the story unraveled, CNN’s Brian Stelter laughably stressed how “really careful” news organizations like his had been in considering the credibility of the story.
There are reports that Smollett was concerned that his character was being written out of “Empire,” which may have prompted this stunt, in addition to possibly helping his pal Kamala pass her anti-lynching bill. As P.T. Barnum is reputed to have said, “There is no such thing as bad publicity.” So, we see Smollett go out on his media tour, making his first stop with the credulous Robin Roberts at ABC’s Good Morning America, doing a reliably softball interview. She went strangely silent as his story began to fall apart, before finally issuing a lame statement that, well, he seemed “credible”. Smollett himself wised up and stopped giving interviews, after he realized that it’s difficult to keep track of the details of a fairy tale, especially when the police have what we used to call “evidence.”
A newer phenomenon in the study of liberal fakery, but much more common in contemporary examples, is the invocation of Donald Trump in one form or another by the alleged perpetrators. MAGA hat. MAGA utterance. Donald Trump’s name often thrown in. For illustrations, see the previously cited examples, as some reference to Trump seems now to be a requisite for virtually any alleged “hate crime” post-November 8, 2016. It demonstrates the mental illness gripping so much of the Democratic Party today. Invoking the “Dark Lord’s” name with liberals is a virtual guarantee that your story will go viral. It’s like throwing a dead rat to a pack of starving jackals.
I do hope the Chicago Police Department, which reportedly had at least a dozen detectives working on the case, and the FBI, which was also reportedly involved in the investigation, throw the book at Smollett. Those officers could have been working to solve some of the 557 murders that occurred in Chicago last year. And the FBI -- well, I’m sure Robert Mueller wants some more agents to snoop around Donald Trump’s trash.
That’s liberalism in America today. End of lesson. Let’s never let a good case study go to waste.