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What If They Graded Hoaxes Like Hurricanes
© Jack Cashill
Laird Wilcox, arguably the nation’s foremost hate crime hoax detector, has had a lot to keep himself busy lately.
The Jussie Smollett hoax has finally forced the mainstream media to acknowledge what Wilcox and others paying attention have known for decades: the left has been shamelessly spinning politically useful hoaxes since the October Revolution a century ago.
Wilcox’s 1994 book, “Crying Wolf: Hate Crime Hoaxes in America,” is still the standard in the field. Wilcox is no crank. His research collection is housed at the Spencer Library at the University of Kansas.
With so many hoaxes in the news, it might be useful to expand on Wilcox’s work and classify hoaxes as though they were hurricanes.
Category I hoaxes occur almost daily. The trail of destruction is usually limited to a given college campus. The emotional damage includes fainting, swooning, and crying. The physical damage includes piles of discarded fliers and pools of melted candle wax.
Late in 2017, for instance, the normally sane Kansas State University suffered three Category I hoaxes in the space of a few months. In one case, a 21-year-old black man defaced his own car with racist graffiti. This inspired a weepy campus march before the hoax was exposed.
The marchers also lamented the destruction just a few days earlier of a Jewish Sukkah, a temporary hut constructed for use during a week-long Jewish festival.
A grad student who worked on “diversity initiatives” conveniently found the remains of the Sukkah and was quick to cry “hate.” The police investigated and determined that the Sukkah was knocked down in a wind storm.
A few months before that a noose was found on campus among a scattering of ropes. After much fuss, the police put this issue quietly to rest as well.
“Due to the size, the material, and the placement, there’s nothing to indicate [racism] was the intention,” said a K-State detective whose common sense was as unwelcome on campus as head lice.
Category 2 hoaxes cause enough angst to get national attention. The Smollett hoax and the Covington Catholic hoax fall into this category. The exposure of the scam limits the damage.
Category 3 hoaxes have serious political consequences. They go largely undetected and their exposure as hoaxes is underreported. The church burning hysteria of 1996 falls into this category.
Spun wildly by the hard left National Council of Churches (NCC) and the Center for Democratic Renewal (CDR), the hoax hit America’s newsrooms like a veritable Katrina.
In a three-month span, the NCC and CDR scam generated more than 2,000 articles, including three huge layouts on consecutive days in USA Today, a two-page spread in the New York Times and incendiary headlines like the following from the New York Daily News, “Flames of Hate: Racism Blamed in Shock Wave of Church Burnings.”
This being an election year, President Clinton used a June radio address to warn America of the “disturbing rash of crimes that hearkens back to a dark era in our nation's history.”
A month after Clinton’s radio address, the Associated Press, having analyzed six years of federal, state and local data, quietly announced that there had been more fires at white churches in the south than black, that the totals for 1996 were within the normal range, that the numbers of fires had dropped off considerably since 1980, and that there was “no evidence . . . of a conspiracy or of a general climate of hatred.”
The suspects included blacks and whites, insurance scammers, devil worshippers, drunken teenagers, and even bored fire fighters. As is their wont, the media buried the correction.
Category 4 hoaxes are rare. They must have significant political consequences and, to gain traction, they need a complete buy-in from the major media.
It is not enough that the media get things wrong. They must be knowingly and recklessly indifferent to the truth. The Russia hoax falls into this category. So too does the cover-up of the TWA Flight 800 shoot down in 1996.
Category 5 hoaxes have long lasting, worldwide consequences that permeate the culture. Two come to mind. The lesser of the two is climate change (neé global warming), now in its fourth decade and still gaining strength.
The more destructive of two has been wreaking moral havoc worldwide for 160 years and shows only the slightest signs of abating.
So powerful are its supporters and so sacred its roots that I risk criticism from my own allies for daring to point out the obvious, namely that Darwinism, neo or old school, is nothing but wind.
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