News & Politics

It's Okay to Admit You Were Wrong about Smollett, Even if It Means a Trump Supporter Was Right

President Donald Trump hands a signed "Make America Great Again," hat back to a supporter, Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017, in Reno, Nev. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Hi. It’s me again, one of the few people in 2019 America who doesn’t hate Donald Trump so much that I can’t think straight, nor love Donald Trump so much that I can’t think straight. It can get a bit cold and lonely out here in the wilderness, far from the firelight and community spirit of both the #NeverTrump and #AlwaysTrump camps. Things can get confusing, without the comfort of seeing reality through the filters of “Will this hurt him?” or “Will this help him?” Trying to look at things as they are, rather than how I’d prefer them to be, is tiring. I envy you folks who already know everything. I’m sorry you hate my guts, but I can live with it if the only alternative is to stop thinking for myself. I’ll continue to view current events as they are, regardless of how they affect people I do or don’t like.

Take the Jussie Smollett story, for example. Three weeks ago, I’d never heard of him. Now everybody has heard of him. Why? Because he claimed he was beaten up by racist, homophobic Trump supporters. If you’re #NeverTrump, that’s all you needed to hear. The mere accusation was sufficient. It was too good to check. You didn’t need any evidence, and the outlandish, counterintuitive details of Smollett’s story didn’t phase you. If you’re #AlwaysTrump, you assumed he was lying and you resented being blamed for something you didn’t do. As it turns out, the #AlwaysTrump folks were right. They were vindicated.

For what it’s worth, I was skeptical about Smollett’s story from the start. It just didn’t add up:

It confirmed my biases, but that alone isn’t proof of anything. And here’s a recap of my subsequent conversations with credulous libs who were certain it happened just as Smollett said it did:

I hope you’ll humor me as I luxuriate in the feeling of being right about something. It’s increasingly rare and I reserve the right to enjoy it.

Of course, because Smollett claimed his attackers were Trump supporters, all the people who don’t want Trump to be president had to weigh in. That included most of the current Democratic Party candidates for president. Here’s one:

And here’s what Cory Booker is saying now:

Translation: “The initial story confirmed my biases and gave me a political weapon to wield against my opponent, so I swung away without worrying about whether it was true. This new information threatens to prove me very, very wrong, so now I’m stalling for time until I can come up with some really good bull$#!+.”

It’s the same thing that happened with Nathan Phillips vs. MAGA Hat Kid, which was one month ago today. In the space of four short weeks, most of the current Dem contenders have loudly and proudly fallen for two huge hoaxes intended to demonize Trump supporters. They assumed the worst about their opponents, they were wrong, and they have not apologized. Somebody might ask them why they keep doing that, if we had a press that was interested in the truth.

We don’t.

Caleb Howe at Mediaite has collected a whole lot of snap judgments on Jussie Smollett’s wild, implausible story, from people who call themselves journalists. They spread fake news, and now they’re making a bunch of excuses for spreading fake news. Then they wonder why people don’t trust them.

The only alternative would be to admit they believed a ridiculous story because they wanted to believe it, and to apologize to the people they smeared by associating them with a hate crime that never actually happened.

How likely is that?