Within hours of the Smollett verdict, apologists were dropping opinion pieces. MSNBC had two alternate reality pieces up within minutes, the first by a Joy Reid acolyte who defended Smollett and deflected blame to Trump. Both had the same theme — Smollett remains a victim.
I cannot imagine a more obvious fabricator than Smollett. He perpetrated a hoax that was completely unmoored from reality. Nonetheless, MSNBC’s Ja’han Jones took just a few hundred words to deflect a critical eye from Smollett to Trump supporters. Why? Because Smollett’s fiction could have happened. Never in the history of heaven and earth will anyone ever produce two Trump supporters walking the frozen streets of Chicago, with a noose and a gallon of bleach in hand at 2 AM in the midst of a winter vortex waiting for a random gay Black guy to pass by so they can yell “This is MAGA country!” Jones never acknowledged the absurdity of that silly story, instead, incredibly, he offered that it was “totally plausible.” He wrote:
Even more comical, in my view, was the predictable conservative outrage over Smollett’s allegations. Conservatives took to social media in 2019 to express outrage over the dropped charges. How dare someone make such a heinous claim about followers of their dear leader, they screeched. Violent, masked white guys who shout Trump slogans and use chemical agents to attack victims?
Many on the right shamed those of us who knew such a claim was totally plausible — and then the Jan. 6 insurrection happened.
In a bit of irony, Jones’ link for the Jan.6 “insurrection” is a clip of MSNBC’s own serial liar, Brian Williams, waxing about January 6th.
Within a week, the fiction brewed in the fevered imagination of Smollett was recognized as absurd. Once the barest of facts came to light, anyone with a working frontal cortex recognized it as a hoax, but not for Jones and not for another MSNBC contributor named Zach Stafford. Stafford and Smollett are kindred spirits. Both are black, gay, and weave fictions for pay.
In a moment of unintended honesty, Stafford writes:
It doesn’t matter if the actor, who starred on “Empire,” really was beaten up by people yelling “This is MAGA country!” and is wrongly being punished or if he did stage an elaborate hoax, as the jury decided…
After Stafford admits that facts don’t matter, he then acknowledges that everyone who wanted to jump in on Smollett’s side did. That group included President Trump who called Smollett’s claim “horrible.”
But then the story was analyzed and the lies didn’t match facts. Smollett was accosted by Trump supporters at 2 AM. They just happened to have bleach and a noose. Smollett fought back but he never dropped his tuna sandwich. He waited until he got home, then called the cops. The noose, he left around his neck, the tuna sandwich survived as well.
None of even the barest of facts mattered then, nor do they matter now. Not once does Stafford admit that the story was a really bad fiction. Instead, he insists that a guilty verdict will translate into more “hate crimes” going unreported because “victims” will get the Smollett treatment. The opposite is true. Hoaxers might think twice before inventing lies for personal gain, so when actual hate crimes occur they will be believed. People actually victimized will still come forward because — facts.
Smollett isn’t a victim. He never was. He’s a fraud and now he’s a convicted criminal who will forever be known as the inventor of a mountain of lies. Smollett’s conviction signals that if you invent a hoax and insist on repeating the hoax you might be prosecuted. Nothing more. Nothing less.
Smollett wasn’t prosecuted over the crime he claimed happened, he was prosecuted for inventing a hoax, holding on to that hoax, and lying to the police and prosecutors for almost three years.
Stafford closed his article with astonishing claims. He wrote:
What is so important for us to do in this moment, as we look to what’s next, is to ensure work is done to stop the epidemic of hate facing folks who look like Smollett. Trump supporters are not being subjected to hate crimes for supporting Trump on any level — full stop.
Trump is an expert in gaslighting America, and if we continue to allow the Smollett case, no matter where one stands on it, to detract attention from everyday people impacted by hate in this country, it would be the greatest gaslight moment of all — and a signal of more to come.
He spent his entire article avoiding Smollett’s undeniable guilt, then offered that Trump supporters are not subjected to hate, on any level, ending with the inevitable “circle-back” to Trump.
Smollett and Stafford are perpetual victims who cuddle with false narratives of Trump supporters lurking around corners looking for gay black men to bleach and noose at 2 AM.
Who is gaslighting America?