Social media lit up Wednesday night after video footage surfaced of a white, mentally disabled man being scalped, forced to drink toilet water, injected with needles and threatened with a knife by four African American youths screaming “Fuck Donald Trump!” and “Fuck White People!”
Almost instantly, the hashtag #BLMKidnapping was promoted by both mainstream conservative pundits and alt-right personalities in an apparent effort to single out the far-left protest group Black Lives Matter for the incident. But as of yet, there has been no verifiable information, statements or evidence linking the four assailants, who have since been arrested and charged with hate crimes, to the Black Lives Matter organization.
The primary motivation behind the promotion of this hashtag and this narrative is to push back at a mainstream media culture that demands President-elect Donald Trump personally denounce every alleged hate crime committed against minorities since the election.
Whether it’s a story of a hijab being removed or a swastika spray painted on a playground, the media has gone out of its way to suggest that Trump himself responsible for each of these acts.
The #BLMKidnapping hashtag is a reaction to media figures who rush to judgement in alleged “hate crime” cases in an effort to promote a preferred narrative, even before all the facts of a given case are known. Often times they end up embarrassing themselves when these cases turn out to be hoaxes.
One woman’s report of violent Trump supporters removing a hijab on a subway must be reported as fact and called a “hate crime.” Meanwhile, the Chicago kidnapping and torture case is being treated with far more prudence and caution. Media outlets are no longer so certain that race must have played a role.
Yes, the media has acted shamefully, and has been careless and biased while reporting supposed hate crimes. Yes, there should be a demand for accountability.
But the problem with the political right when battling both the left and the media, in this case, is they don’t seem to understand when they’ve won.
Black Lives Matter has been in damage control mode ever since a mass shooter, claiming he was motivated and inspired by the movement, went on a rampage in downtown Dallas that left five police officers dead and several more wounded. Shortly after Dallas, another individual shot and killed six police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, claiming revenge for a police shooting that sparked a Black Lives Matter protests that quickly escalated into riots.
The election of Donald Trump was not only about change from Barack Obama’s policies, but also about social change. Americans watched for years as Black Lives Matter protestors blocked traffic, torched cities, openly called for the death of police officers, looted businesses, and disrupted political rallies. Voters made their decisions accordingly.
The Chicago kidnapping case is horrific enough. Using the #BLMKidnapping hashtag to make a political point is not necessary and will only generate sympathy for Black Lives Matter.
The response to the Chicago kidnapping is not completely unwarranted. For weeks, mass media has been pushing stories of hate crimes which have been discovered to be hoaxes. Buzzfeed, to their credit, just yesterday covered 28 incidents in depth.
As written here before, the case of Yasmin Seweid went viral, as did the false claim of a YouTube agitator being kicked off an airplane for speaking Arabic. The New York Times reported, as fact, a case from San Jose of a woman being attacked, but offered no retraction when the story turned out to be false.
The question should be asked of mainstream media: How much of this glorification of false hate crimes and muted retractions in the name of proving a narrative has inspired others to commit “revenge” crimes?
Our media and our current president have spent the past eight years wagging their fingers at Ferguson and Baltimore, while CNN anchors chant “Hands up don’t shoot” in front of a national television audience. There has to be some culpability for creating this climate. That’s the only way to temper misleading and trolling hashtags.
Barack Obama gives his farewell address in six days, in the very city, his home city, where this horrific kidnapping occurred. It’s only fitting this is how the Obama era of “racial healing” will come to an end.
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