“The dangerous lies spewing from the right wing is killing & hurting our people.”
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her fellow Democrats are facing a reckoning.
As reports roll in suggesting that actor Jussie Smollett orchestrated an attack against himself, Ocasio-Cortez has been reminded of her recent certainty that the incident was yet another “hate crime” in an America supposedly in moral decline.
Twitter users have drawn the freshman congresswoman from New York’s attention to a post from Jan. 30 in which she criticized the media for not even more unquestioningly accepting Smollett’s claim to have been assailed by “MAGA” lovers screaming the N-word.”
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Ocasio-Cortez denied at the time that anything could simply be “racially charged” or that the attack was “possibly” homophobic. No, she said, without any hard evidence, this was undoubtedly a “racist and homophobic attack.”
There is no such thing as “racially charged.”
This attack was not “possibly” homophobic. It was a racist and homophobic attack.
If you don’t like what is happening to our country, then work to change it. It is no one’s job to water down or sugar-coat the rise of hate crimes. https://t.co/QAi0IYtSeR
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) January 30, 2019
She further suggested that “Entertainment Tonight,” apparently her go-to source for breaking news, was guilty of trying to “water down or sugar-coat the rise of hate crime.” Her argument seemed to be that journalists should be working as activists, rather than aspiring to be truth-tellers, in an effort to “change what’s happening in our country.”
On Saturday, the Zero Hedge Twitter account cited Ocasio-Cortez’s tweet along with a new CNN report that two Nigerian brothers who were friendly with Smollett are cooperating with Chicago police in a probe to determine if the star of Fox’s “Empire” made up the whole attack. The right-wing website asked Ocasio-Cortez: [W]ould you care to revise your statement”?
— zerohedge (@zerohedge) February 17, 2019
Ocasio-Cortez’s tweet was in keeping with her approach to the facts, which has been casual at best, and her willingness to dictate journalistic standards to the media seemingly based on her sense that she deserves privileged treatment as she undertakes her “morally right” progressive crusade. This attitude has been ascendant on parts of the political left, where identity-based grievances have sometimes been deemed immune to evidence.
Indeed, Ocasio-Cortez was far from alone in her hysterical response to the Smollett case. As other conservative Twitter users pointed out, a long list of prominent Democrats instantly joined the liberal masses in accepting Smollett’s account as gospel and elevating it to a symbol of America’s supposed culture of hatred and violence.
The Washington Examiner’s Will Ricciardella, tweeted out a partial accounting on Sunday.
Just some Jussie Smollett record keeping.
I’m sure the apologies for hopping on the narrative train with no evidence will start pouring in. pic.twitter.com/do26pve4z0
— Will Ricciardella (@WillRicci) February 17, 2019
Among those cited were Rep. Rashida Tlaib, a Democrat from Michigan, who made explicit what others left as subtext: “The dangerous lies spewing from the right wing is killing & hurting our people.” It was unclear who exactly “our people” were.
"When one of the most famous black and gay men in America is not safe, the message is clearer than it has ever been." The dangerous lies spewing from the right wing is killing & hurting our people.
— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) January 30, 2019
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and presidential candidates Sens. Kamala Harris of California and Corey Booker of New Jersey similarly humiliated themselves.
According to the latest reports, the Nigerian brothers, Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo, agreed to cooperate with Chicago police after they were confronted with evidence that they bought the rope allegedly used in the attack on Smollett at a local hardware store. The police have moved from investigating the attack as a potential hate crime to trying to figure out whether the actor made up the whole story, reports said.
But Smollett has continued to play the victim. The actor is “angered and devastated” and has been “further victimized” by reports that the men told police that he enlisted them to attack him, his attorneys said in a statement released late Saturday night. They outright denied the claims against their client.
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“As a victim of a hate crime who has cooperated with the police investigation, Jussie Smollett is angered and devastated by recent reports that the perpetrators are individuals he is familiar with,” began Smollett attorneys Todd Pugh and Victor Henderson. “He has now been further victimized by claims attributed to these alleged perpetrators that Jussie played a role in his own attack. Nothing is further from the truth and anyone claiming otherwise is lying.”
The lawyers went on to express disbelief at the notion that Smollett could have be so betrayed by the brothers, with whom he worked on “Empire.”
Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi acknowledged Saturday that newly discovered information has “shifted the trajectory” of the probe, ABC reported.
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The brothers, who are reportedly the figures captured on publicly circulated security camera footage, were initially considered persons of interest and then potential suspects, police said. On Wednesday, their home was raided and they were brought in for questioning by police. They have since been released and restored to the status of persons of interest.
Smollett, 36, emotionally shared his account of the incident Thursday on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” He said that two men jumped him outside his Chicago apartment in the early hours of Jan. 29. The assailants pegged him as a gay and black actor from TV, he said, and used racial and homophobic slurs against him – at one point shouting “This is ‘MAGA’ country!” After the attack, he noticed a rope around his neck and bleach stains on his clothes, he said.
In the interview, Smollett claimed to be persecuted not just by his attackers, but by American culture more broadly. He said he was “pissed off” about both experiences and blamed Donald Trump for his plight – even though, as host Robin Roberts pointed out, the president had condemned the attack.
“I come really really hard against 45. I come really really hard against his administration. I don’t hold my tongue. I can only go off of their words,” Smollett said, referring to the “MAGA” slogan and slurs he said his attackers shouted.
Smollett also said he thought his story would have been questioned less if the assailants had been members of a minority group.
“I feel like if I had said it was a Muslim, a Mexican, or someone black, I feel like the doubters would support me a lot more, and I feel like that’s an issue in our country right now,” he told Roberts.
TMZ reported Friday that Smollett repeatedly claimed his attackers were white.
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