Hate crime hoaxes, like Jussie Smollett’s alleged attack, are more common than you think

Well, I don’t know. I’m starting to think they’re pretty darn common.


Doing research for a book, Hate Crime Hoax, I was able to easily put together a data set of 409 confirmed hate hoaxes. An overlapping but substantially different list of 348 hoaxes exists at fakehatecrimes.org, and researcher Laird Wilcox put together another list of at least 300 in his still-contemporary book Crying Wolf. To put these numbers in context, a little over 7,000 hate crimes were reported by the FBI in 2017 and perhaps 8-10% of these are widely reported enough to catch the eye of a national researcher.

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However, hate crime hoaxers are “calling attention to a problem” that is a very small part of total crimes. There is very little brutally violent racism in the modern USA. There are less than 7,000 real hate crimes reported in a typical year. Inter-racial crime is quite rare; 84% of white murder victims and 93% of Black murder victims are killed by criminals of their own race, and the person most likely to kill you is your ex-wife or husband. When violent inter-racial crimes do occur, whites are at least as likely to be the targets as are minorities. Simply put, Klansmen armed with nooses are not lurking on Chicago street corners.

In this context, what hate hoaxers actually do is worsen generally good race relations, and distract attention from real problems. As Chicago’s disgusted top cop, Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson, pointed out yesterday, skilled police officers spent four weeks tracking down Smollett’s imaginary attackers — in a city that has seen 28 murders as of Feb. 9th, according to The Chicago Tribune. We all, media and citizens alike, would be better served to focus on real issues like gun violence and the opiate epidemic than on fairy tales like Jussie’s.

USA Today

Hate Crime Hoaxes: What Gets Rewarded Gets Repeated

Jonah Goldberg writes on manufactured hate crimes in his weekly newsletter.


Here’s something you might not know: In Nazi Germany, very few Jews staged bogus hate crimes against themselves.

Here’s some more trivia: Very few blacks in the Jim Crow South went to great lengths to pretend that they were harassed or attacked by racists.

You know why? Because that would be incredibly stupid. What, exactly, would the German Jew who staged an assault on himself gain from it? Where would he or she go to ask for sympathy or recompense? Conjure any horror story you like, the Nazi official you brought it to would say, “Yeah, and . . . ?” The black sharecropper who took the time to make his own cross and burn it on his own property would benefit . . . how?

Why am I bringing this up? Well, for a bunch of reasons. I have more points to make than can be found at an English Setter competition.

First, people who live under real oppression have no need to fabulate oppression. To paraphrase Madge from the old Palmolive ads: They’re already soaking in it.

Second, when you live in an oppressive country, there’s no one you can take your grievances to because that is what it means to live in an oppressive country! 

The Hate Hoax Bonfire

And indeed, calling a real racist “racist” doesn’t work. “Name and shame” is not very effective against those who aren’t ashamed.

Which brings me to the third point: In non-oppressive countries, there are people to take your case to. Sohrab Ahmari put it nicely in an essay a couple of years ago:

And as Pascal Bruckner wrote in his essay “The Tyranny of Guilt,” if liberal democracy does trap or jail you (politically speaking), it also invariably slips the key under your cell door. The Swedish midwives driven out of the profession over their pro-life views can take their story to the media. The Down syndrome advocacy outfit whose anti-eugenic advertising was censored in France can sue in national and then international courts. The Little Sisters of the Poor can appeal to the Supreme Court for a conscience exemption to Obamacare’s contraceptives mandate. And so on.

This is a hugely important point, and there’s an urgent need for more people to understand it. A free society is a rich ecosystem of competing institutions. Some are powerful, some weak. Some have great influence in a specific sphere of life: the American Bar Association, the military, the Catholic Church, whatever. Some only have power in a certain place: the county zoning board, the local police, your parents, etc. But none have unchecked power over the whole of the society and, thanks to the Constitution, that goes for the government itself, too.

A free society is a honeycomb of safe havens, competing authorities — legal, moral, cultural — that allow for people to find safe harbors from other institutions

ibid

And the hoaxes often get rewarded, at least for a while. And it’s rare to see one punished.

Goldberg wanders into economics. But what is economics except the organized study of how people respond to incentives?

A truism of economics is that you get more of what you subsidize and less of what you tax. I have no quarrel with that. But it seems to me we don’t think enough about how this principle applies to areas we see as outside of economics.

For instance, contrary to what one hears in the left-wing punditsphere, there’s a high cultural penalty — a tax, if you will — on open racism, which is one reason there is so much less of it today.Already, I can hear throats clearing to say “Oh yeah, what price has Donald Trump paid!!!?!?!” Well, leaving aside the merits of the cases for and against the claim that Donald Trump is a racist, it’s transparently obvious that he’s paid a political price for the perception that he is one. The reflexive opposition to Trump by many of the media outlets from which he craves approval is driven in no small part by the widespread liberal assumption that he’s a bigot of one kind or another. Similarly, he’s almost surely paid a price among many independent and moderate voters, including the millions who voted for both Trump and Obama, because of how he’s perceived, fairly or not.

But my point here isn’t to talk about Trump, but to check the box so I don’t have to talk about him further.

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The sort of racism Smollett manufactured has never been lower in the United States, but rather than celebrate or express gratitude for this incontestable fact, people look for proof it’s worse than ever. Bereft of giants to slay, they construct windmills and pretend they are heroes for levelling their lances at them. Like the elders of Salem, they mistake their quiet hysteria for sober reality and believe every tale of witches beyond the tree line. On the principle that some things have to be believed to be seen, wearing a blanket at Oberlin is all the proof one needs for a moral panic over the invading armies of the Klan, just as the splash of a dolphin’s tale was proof of mermaids for horny sailors centuries ago.

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Hoaxes and hysteria-fueled misinterpretations are common on the left because a certain kind of pity and hate has become institutionalized, monetized, and sacralized. But while pity and hate take a certain recognizable, custom-made form on the left — call it bespoke woke — the left doesn’t have a monopoly on the larger phenomenon. Donald Trump demands pity almost daily, and he gets it. And the pitiers get their opportunities for hatred, too. Christopher Hasson is an exceptional case, but only because he took the rhetoric of pity and hate duopoly to an extreme conclusion.

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So I’ll leave with this depressing prediction. Obviously more Smollett-style hoaxes are coming. If the negative attention heaped on mass shooters is enough to inspire other losers to commit that kind of evil, it’s easy to imagine that the attention Smollett has gotten will inspire losers to do likewise. But that’s not my prediction. There will be a hoax involving MAGA hats, but the fake victims will be those wearing them. We already saw the hunger for this kind of thing in the Covington case — but those kids were in fact victims. President Trump invited that kid named Trump to the State of the Union precisely because he wanted to exploit this great reservoir of pity. And the coverage of this legitimate outrage will no doubt encourage others to get a piece of that on the cheap.

So mark my words, some loser, desperate to be lionized by Candace Owens or applauded at CPAC, will manufacture some story of victimhood that will ignite a bonfire of outrage on the right and a riot of sympathy about MAGA persecution. The mainstream media will suddenly remember the professional integrity it forgot in the Smollett case and debunk it. But before then, the pitiables of the right will claim victimhood by proxy and denounce the insensitivity of an uncaring media that hates them. The roles will be reversed, but the script will be the same, and the actors will all yell just a little bit louder, as the snake ups the tempo of its own repast.

ibid

I wonder what the actual proportion is

It seems like we’ve been getting a lot of reports of “hate crimes” that are wrong. Either they’re completely misrepresented — it’s not a Klan meeting, it’s white sheets draped over furniture in a room — or it’s a hoax.

I wonder how many hate crimes are real.

Certainly, when I hear of one, I’m starting to demand extraordinary proof. For example, when a food server posts a receipt with a racist insult scrawled on it instead of a tip, I want a handwriting comparison, and I want to hear the patron’s side of the story.

Scott Adams gets it wrong on abortion

If only women have a say on the subject of abortion, we need to throw out Roe v. Wade right now.

On abortion, I argue that Scott Adams, one of the smartest, most intellectually honest people in America, errs in thinking only women have a say. I want to preface this post by saying that I am a great admirer of Scott Adams, I think he’s completely intellectually honest, I believe his insights into persuasion are extraordinary, and I always feel enriched after I’ve listened to his explanations about persuasion.

Source: Scott Adams gets it wrong on abortion

Going Ebola Viral

The story of a confrontation between high-schoolers in MAGA hats and a Native American elder has gone viral. It is presented as a case of the teenagers intimidating a poor, oppressed Amerind.

Unfortunately, going viral isn’t necessarily good. some viruses have negative impacts on one’s health. Sometimes, the viral meme causes its recipient to bleed out all credibility.


The internet blew up over a (as it turns out) heavily-edited clip of white male Catholic March for Life high schoolers apparently taunting, mocking, and otherwise behaving badly toward a Native American elder.  Even many on the right condemned the MAGA hat-wearing boys for their perceived vile behavior.
The problem?  We didn’t get the whole story, and many people, including those on the left, are now expressing their regret at jumping too readily to condemn these boys.  As it turns out and in the true spirit of “unexpectedly,” there is much more to this story than we were first treated to in the initial reports.

Legal Insurrection

Here’s the take from Reason Magazine, not known to be rabid Trump supporters.

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It would be impossible to definitively state that none of the young men did anything wrong, offensive, or problematic, at some point, and maybe the smiling student was attempting to intimidate Phillips. But there’s shockingly little evidence of wrongdoing, unless donning a Trump hat and standing in a group of other people doing the same is now an act of harassment or violence. Phillips’ account, meanwhile, is at best flawed, and arguably deliberately misleading.
Unless other information emerges, the school’s best move would be to have a conversation with the boys about the incident, perhaps discuss some strategies for remaining on perfect behavior at highly charged political rallies—where everybody is recording everything on a cell phone—and let that be the end of it.
The boys are undoubtedly owed an apology from the numerous people who joined this social media pile-on. This is shaping up to be one of the biggest major media misfires in quite some time.

Reason.com

Well, of course one side is trying to make wearing a Trump hat in public an act of harassment or violence.

Instapundit has a number of posts on the topic.


ROGER KIMBALL: Radical evil, and the online lynching of a kid from Kentucky. Will journalists apologize if their portrayal of the Covington students vs Indian Elder incident turns out to have been wildly wrong?

Total non-sequitur of a question.

When is the DNC-MSM ever wrong?

UPDATE (FROM GLENN): When do they ever apologize? (Except to offended lefties, that is).

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Maybe the reason journalists assume that James O’Keefe’s videos are deceptively edited is that deceptive editing is the ordinary course of business for them.

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ANOTHER UPDATE: More good people apologize:


Roger Kimball on Instapundit


Like so many stories that supposedly conveyed the reality of Trump’s America, that so perfectly displayed white Christian menace, it turned out to be fake. Fake, like the Ohio University student who sent herself anti-gay hate mail; manufactured, like the racist harassment on a bus that Hilary Clinton tweeted about; an attempted frame-up, with liberal credulity made into the co-conspirator, like the vandalism of a Jewish cemetery done by a progressive reporter.

But good enough to share, good enough to cause doxxing, and justify the harassment and assault of children. I’m still chuckling at the New York Times and the Washington Post rushing out misleading and false stories — the latter with three bylines — without doing any original reporting besides a phone call to the Native American Elder, and a survey of reactions on Twitter.


 Michael Brendan Dougherty at National Review Online

Knoll’s Law of Media Accuracy: Everything you read in the newspapers is absolutely true — except for the rare story of which you happen to have firsthand knowledge.

Fake Gnus

Knoll’s Law of Media Accuracy: Everything you read in the newspapers is absolutely true — except for the rare story of which you happen to have firsthand knowledge.


Erwin Knoll, editor, The Progressive (Attributed)

I’ve also seen this attributed to Mark Twain and Henry Hazlett

The Religion of Environmentalism

I’m not sure if I read this piece by Michael Chrichton before or not, but listening to a friend of mine who is very definitely an environmentalist, I noticed how she seemed to believe in a Fall From Grace story. At one time in the past, the environment was in a perfect state. And then humans came along and started making changes, and every change humans make is, by definition, for the worse. (She did not receive that well.)

Today, one of the most powerful religions in the Western World is environmentalism. Environmentalism seems to be the religion of choice for urban atheists. Why do I say it’s a religion? Well, just look at the beliefs. If you look carefully, you see that environmentalism is in fact a perfect 21st century remapping of traditional Judeo-Christian beliefs and myths.
There’s an initial Eden, a paradise, a state of grace and unity with nature, there’s a fall from grace into a state of pollution as a result of eating from the tree of knowledge, and as a result of our actions there is a judgment day coming for us all. We are all energy sinners, doomed to die, unless we seek salvation, which is now called sustainability. Sustainability is salvation in the church of the environment. Just as organic food is its communion, that pesticide-free wafer that the right people with the right beliefs, imbibe.

Environmentalism is a Religion — Michael Crichton

So what about it?

There are two reasons why I think we all need to get rid of the religion of environmentalism.
First, we need an environmental movement, and such a movement is not very effective if it is conducted as a religion. We know from history that religions tend to kill people, and environmentalism has already killed somewhere between 10-30 million people since the 1970s. It’s not a good record. Environmentalism needs to be absolutely based in objective and verifiable science, it needs to be rational, and it needs to be flexible. And it needs to be apolitical. To mix environmental concerns with the frantic fantasies that people have about one political party or another is to miss the cold truth—that there is very little difference between the parties, except a difference in pandering rhetoric. The effort to promote effective legislation for the environment is not helped by thinking that the Democrats will save us and the Republicans won’t. Political history is more complicated than that. Never forget which president started the EPA: Richard Nixon. And never forget which president sold federal oil leases, allowing oil drilling in Santa Barbara: Lyndon Johnson. So get politics out of your thinking about the environment.
The second reason to abandon environmental religion is more pressing. Religions think they know it all, but the unhappy truth of the environment is that we are dealing with incredibly complex, evolving systems, and we usually are not certain how best to proceed. Those who are certain are demonstrating their personality type, or their belief system, not the state of their knowledge. Our record in the past, for example managing national parks, is humiliating. Our fifty-year effort at forest-fire suppression is a well-intentioned disaster from which our forests will never recover. We need to be humble, deeply humble, in the face of what we are trying to accomplish. We need to be trying various methods of accomplishing things. We need to be open-minded about assessing results of our efforts, and we need to be flexible about balancing needs. Religions are good at none of these things.

ibid

Time to punish those who bring false accusations

Article at The Independent Institute

Under Jewish law, they not only had a commandment saying “do not bear false witness”, they had a penalty for doing so. Under that law, the penalty for perjury was the perjurer would receive the same sentence the accused would have received had the false testimony been believed.

So the women proven to have made false accusations of rape should serve the same sentence handed down to convicted rapists, including having to register as a sex offender, stay away from schools, stay off the Internet, and so on. Forever. At least until we change the laws on rape.

With the Best of Intentions, of Course!

It seems that white progressives talk down to Blacks, as if adjusting for a presumed lower level of comprehension.


According to new research by Cydney Dupree, assistant professor of organizational behavior at Yale SOM, white liberals tend to downplay their own verbal competence in exchanges with racial minorities, compared to how other white Americans act in such exchanges. The study is scheduled for publication in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology

Yale Insights


Dupree and her co-author, Susan Fiske of Princeton University, began by analyzing the words used in campaign speeches delivered by Democratic and Republican presidential candidates to different audiences over the years. They scanned 74 speeches delivered by white candidates over a 25-year period. Approximately half were addressed to mostly-minority audiences—at a Hispanic small business roundtable discussion or a black church, for example. They then paired each speech delivered to a mostly-minority audience with a comparable speech delivered at a mostly-white audience—at a mostly-white church or university, for example. The researchers analyzed the text of these speeches for two measures: words related to competence (that is, words about ability or status, such as “assertive” or “competitive”) and words related to warmth (that is, words about friendliness, such as “supportive” and “compassionate”). 
Warmth, related to intentions towards others, and competence, related to the ability to carry out those intentions, are two fundamental dimensions of how we see others and portray ourselves in social interactions. Stereotypical portrayals of black Americans generally show them as being less competent than their white counterparts, but not necessarily less friendly or warm, Dupree explains.
The team found that Democratic candidates used fewer competence-related words in speeches delivered to mostly minority audiences than they did in speeches delivered to mostly white audiences. The difference wasn’t statistically significant in speeches by Republican candidates, though “it was harder to find speeches from Republicans delivered to minority audiences,” Dupree notes. There was no difference in Democrats’ or Republicans’ usage of words related to warmth. “It was really surprising to see that for nearly three decades, Democratic presidential candidates have been engaging in this predicted behavior.” 


Dupree and Fiske suspect that the behavior stems from a liberal person’s desire to connect with other races. One possible reason for the “competence downshift,” as the authors describe it, is that, regardless of race, people tend to downplay their competence when they want to appear likeable and friendly. But it’s also possible that “this is happening because people are using common stereotypes in an effort to get along,” Dupree says.
Initial data from follow-up studies suggest that describing a black person as highly intelligent, thus reversing the stereotype, or as already highly motivated to get along with whites, thus removing the need to prove goodwill, can reduce the likelihood that a white person will downplay their competence in their interactions with the black person.

Check Your Privilege

There is privilege in the world, but if you’re concentrating on skin color, you may be missing it.


Consider two Americans. One is named Mike. Mike is a straight white Christian male from a decaying industrial city in Ohio or Michigan. He never knew his father. His mother is hooked on painkillers. His home life isn’t great. Mom’s various boyfriends enjoy smacking him in the face. He gets passed around to a variety of family members. He gets into drugs early. Crime too. He drifts around high school and doesn’t graduate. He has no skills and no prospects.

The other American is Malia Obama.

Who has the privilege here? Which one of these citizens is going to have an easier time getting a potential employer on the phone? Who is more likely to find a suitable spouse? Which one of these people is going to have problems getting a mortgage? Who is going to have a better life?

The answer is obviously Mike. All Mike needs to do is present his “white privilege” card to Goldman Sachs, or the Walt Disney Company, or the United States Senate, and all doors will open, because white people like Mike are royalty. Mike will immediately be ushered to a velvet-upholstered throne and be instructed in how to fulfill his duties as a natural-born member of the country’s elite class.

Ah, the Left will protest, but Malia Obama is unique. There is only one of her. Well, two of her. Sort of. But anyway, blacks on average face more challenges than whites in the United States. Yes, but averages don’t tell us much about the lot of any individual. Happiness and success have much to do with personal circumstances — growing up in a stable, loving family; a good education; a strong work ethic. Having two parents who are able to get literally anyone in the world on the phone could help. Having no reliable parents could hurt. Race isn’t the ultimate or anywhere near the leading determinant of how your life turns out, and it’s sloppy to imply otherwise. Yet race determinism is everywhere, and if anything it seems to be growing in popularity.

Race determinism long ago became beloved by the far left but these days even moderates such as Clinton-administration official–turned–CNN pundit Kirsten Powers embrace it. Powers decreed that dislike for Hillary Clinton was no excuse for voting for Donald Trump. “They’ll say, ‘Well, I’m not racist. I just voted for him because I didn’t like Hillary Clinton.’ And I just want to say that’s not — that doesn’t make you not racist. It actually makes you racist.” Powers is hardly alone in this kind of thinking — the New York Times’ new editorial-board member, Sarah Jeong, tweeted, less than three months before she was hired, “‘I am not a racist’ is now a surefire confirmation of racism.” Jeong is a graduate of Harvard Law School. “The heartbeat of racism is denial,” ran the title of a Times column by Ibram X. Kendi, who claimed that President Trump’s assertions that he was not a racist constituted “ugly denials.” Kendi didn’t say these were ugly lies; the mere denying is ugly.

Like alcoholism or homosexuality back in the day, and witchcraft or Communist-party loyalty before that, racism is an unfalsifiable accusation. By denying it you merely make your accusers giggle. Your only hope is to confess and ingratiate yourself with the court by identifying other wrongdoers. Identifying lots of other wrongdoers is your best bet.

When Powers’s CNN remark ran into disbelief and mockery on Twitter, she redoubled her efforts to demonstrate that her thinking had degenerated to the confused-undergraduate level:

Kirsten Powers
@KirstenPowers
For those upset abt my comments about racism+Trump supporters, I also said that ALL white ppl (not just Trump supporters) need to examine their own racist assumptions/white privilege that are the result of living in a society that privileges white people. That includes me.

If “ALL” white people are beset by “racist assumptions,” then all white people are racist. All white people are therefore horrible. There’s a word for casting aspersions on people for the sole reason that they belong to a particular race; it’ll come to me in a moment . . .


The ‘White Privilege’ Canard