Ed Driscoll

'Who Will Be the Left’s Emmanuel Goldstein Next Week?'

“Happy National Hate Week! Today, we’re all hating on Indiana. Who will be the left’s Emmanuel Goldstein next week?,” Ann Coulter asks:

Evidently, the sole function of the media these days is to subject the public to a steady stream of manufactured events: “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot”; nuclear power kills; Lena Dunham’s rape by a college conservative at Oberlin; the “mattress girl” raped at Columbia University; Jon Stewart is funny; a fraternity gang-rape at the University of Virginia; and a law protecting religious freedom will lead to separate water fountains for gays in Indiana.

The whole country has to keep being dragged through these liberal hate campaigns, but as soon as the precipitating event turns out to be a gigantic hoax, the truth is revealed like a bedtime story being read to a child: The ending is whispered and the narrator tiptoes out of the room.

Here’s a time-saver: Whenever one of these conscience-shocking stories is promoted to front-page status by the New York Times and involves:

– police brutality;

– the environment;

– a campus rape; or

– gays;

… you can be pretty confident it’s a hoax. As the saying goes, it didn’t happen until it’s reported by The New York Times, and not even then.

Yesterday, an enterprising young TV reporter named Alyssa Marino at an Indiana ABC affiliate asked a pizza parlor in Walkerton (population  2,248) their thoughts on gay marriage, as Scott Ott writes at the Tatler:

ABC-57 reporter Alyssa Marino’s editor sends her on a half-hour drive southwest of their South Bend studio, to the small town of Walkerton (Pop. ~2,300). According to Alyssa’s own account on Twitter, she “just walked into their shop [Memories Pizza] and asked how they feel” about Indiana’s new Religious Freedom Restoration Act.Owner Crystal O’Connor says she’s in favor of it, noting that while anyone can eat in her family restaurant, if the business were asked to cater a gay wedding, they would not do it. It conflicts with their biblical beliefs. Alyssa’s tweet mentions that the O’Connors have “never been asked to cater a same-sex wedding.”

What we have here is — as we called in journalism school jargon — “no story.” Nothing happened. Nothing was about to happen.

If I were forced to mark out a story line, it would be this: A nice lady in a small town tries to be helpful and polite to a lovely young reporter from “the big city.”

In other words, Memories Pizza didn’t blast out a news release. They didn’t contact the media, nor make a stink on Twitter or Facebook. They didn’t even post a sign in the window rejecting gay-wedding catering jobs. They merely answered questions from a novice reporter who strolled into their restaurant one day – who was sent on a mission by an irresponsible news organization.

And as a result, the leftwing found its latest target of hate:

BuzzFeed posted its own inaccurate headline, with the kicker: ”The Internet has unleashed its wrath.”

All of those eyeballs benefit the TV station, which sells advertising on its website. It also helps several young, minor-market reporters who hustled and stumbled their way into the national spotlight. But don’t blame them. Blame the editor.

Meanwhile, over at Yelp.com, more than a thousand “reviews” of Memories Pizza rapidly accumulated, quickly overwhelming the positive comments from actual customers who like the pizza, the hospitality and the small-town charm. Folks who never heard of Walkerton attacked Crystal O’Connor’s business, her morality and her Lord. Many of the remarks included racially charged descriptions of genitalia and sex acts. “Reviewers” also posted pictures of naked men, of Adolf Hitler shouting “Ich habe ein pizza” (I have a pizza), and of Jesus gesturing with his middle finger. Over on Facebook, the restaurant’s 5-star average rating rapidly plunged to one star, as non-customers slammed away at Crystal’s little business.

Fortunately, there may be a little bit of good news for the shop’s owners:

In the late 1990s and pre-9/11 21st century, like many journalists, I filed lots of pieces for various technology magazines loaded to the brim with “Digibabble and Fairy Dust” as Tom Wolfe would say, on how the World Wide Web would usher in the wonderful shiny new happy fun interconnected world. Don’t get me wrong — I still love the Web, but I hadn’t foreseen its ability to summon the mobs from 1930s Universal Frankenstein movies off to randomly destroy today’s designated heretic. As Sonny Bunch writes in the latest Weekly Standard, “The Internet is the mob’s best friend,” particularly when the MSM gives it its marching orders.Which brings us back to Ann Coulter’s question: Who will be the next Emmanuel Goldstein?

Have no fear — CNN is already hard at work finding that person.

Related: “Limbaugh: Stephanopoulos Again Triggers Culture War Attack on GOP.” Meanwhile, Kathy Shaidle dubs this “the tweet of the year:”