Jussie Smollett and the “Time of Deceit”, by Jonathan Turley

The Smollet affair was a farce, but the initial reactions to his implausible claims say a lot. From Jonathan Turley at jonathanturley.org:

elow is my column in USA Today on the aftermath of the Jussie Smollett verdict and what the case says about our state of both politics and journalism. As discussed yesterday, some figures and groups are still insisting that people need to believe Smollett regardless of the evidence or the verdict.  Despite media figures calling his account “beautiful” and “brave,” seventy-five percent of the public believe that he staged the racist attack. The insistence by some that he is innocent shows how our national dialogue has become decoupled from facts. It simply does not matter that Smollett was clearly and inescapably guilty. He has to be innocent to fit a narrative so he is innocent in the view of some. As the editor said in “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance,” it is very simple: “[w]hen the legend becomes fact…print the legend.”

Here is the column:

The guilty verdict in the trial of Jussie Smollett was hardly a surprise to anyone who followed the evidence rather than the coverage of the case. Co-conspiratorsvideotapes and text messages all showed that his claim of a racist attack by President Donald Trump supporters was a hoax. However, the judgment of the jury was also a judgment of many in our media and our politics who immediately embraced his facially ridiculous claims as true. Once again, jurors showed that they are not taking the race bait that was snapped up by many politicians and reporters.

Let’s be clear. The guilty verdict does not simply mean that Smollett is a liar or someone who engaged in disorderly conduct. He is a race baiter. His lies were to create a false claim of a vicious racist attack where, even in the ultra-liberal city of Chicago, a Black man can be targeted by roaming MAGA-yelling, bleach-pouring white supremacists. It was meant to use our deep and painful racial divisions for personal aggrandizement or advantage.

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