Why Does the MSM Keep Falling for Obvious Hoaxes?

Jussie Smollett  File Photo

Another clueless reporter is *shocked* that the Jussie Smollett story turned out to be a hoax:

This is just sad:

The national outrage that simmered after actor Jussie Smollett said he was attacked by people shouting racial and anti-gay slurs was fueled in part by celebrities who spoke out loud and strong on social media.

But the outrage has now been replaced by surprise, doubt and bafflement as the singers, actors and politicians who came out in support of the “Empire” star struggle to digest the strange twists the case has taken. Some conservative pundits, meanwhile, have gleefully seized on the moment.

The narrative that just a week ago seemed cut-and-dry has become messy and divisive — and it’s all playing out again on social media.

If there was a "national outrage" over the dubious incident, it was limited to gullible left-wing journalists, celebrities, politicians, and activists.

The "narrative" only seemed "cut-and-dry" to people who were looking at the case through lenses clouded by their anti-Trump bias. It seemed made up to those of us who noticed that Smollett's allegations were outlandish, implausible, and riddled with inconsistencies from the get-go.

Yet even as his story started falling apart (which happened almost immediately), the national media clung to their precious narrative.

There's been much commentary in the past few days about the MSM's lack of critical thinking skills in covering not only the Jussie Smollett "hate crime" fairy tale, but a number of other bogus stories as well.

Over the years, the MSM has fallen for hundreds of hate crime hoaxes, reporting on them as if they were confirmed facts, rather than mere allegations. By the time the story is proven to be a hoax, the media has already moved on to the next manufactured outrage. This phenomenon has only increased since the election of President Trump. Yet people still expressed shock and surprise when it became obvious that Smollett had staged his own hate crime.

Author Roxane Gay tweeted Saturday that she doesn’t know what to say, but that the situation is a “mess” and a “travesty.”

“I genuinely thought no one, and especially no one that famous, could make something like that up,” Gay wrote. “The lie is so damaging. The time the CPD has spent/wasted on this. The people who supported him.”

The AP goes on to note that "there is a consensus among those who very vocally supported Smollett from the outset, it’s that no matter what happens in this case, they will still believe victims."

DuVernay said: “Whatever the outcome, this won’t stop me from believing others. It can’t.”

Gay echoed her sentiments, tweeting that she does not regret believing Smollett.

“I’m not going to stop believing people who say they have suffered,” Gay wrote. “Because more often than not they are telling the truth.”

They say this even as the egg is still dripping from their faces. Meanwhile, Trump supporters who are sick of being smeared are said to be "gleeful" because another hate crime manufactured to make them look bad turned out to be a hoax.

But fake hate crimes aren't the only type of bogus story the MSM routinely falls for.

In the past two years the national media has also rushed to embrace the phony Steele dossier, a multitude of fake Deep State leaks on the Trump/Russia probe that turned out to be spectacularly wrong, the outlandish Kavanaugh smears, and the Covington smears.

PJ Media's own Roger Simon called the media's propensity for believing the unbelievable "magical thinking."

Good Therapy defines magical thinking as "the belief that one’s own thoughts, wishes, or desires can influence the external world. It is common in very young children. A four-year-old child, for example, might believe that after wishing for a pony, one will appear at his or her house."

Another possible explanation for the media's gullibility would be confirmation bias, which is defined as "the tendency to search for, interpret, favor, and recall information in a way that confirms one's preexisting beliefs or hypotheses." The overwhelmingly liberal media tend to embrace stories that confirm their own biases and ignore those that don't.

The Federalist's Mollie Hemingway meanwhile bluntly noted on Twitter that much of the media's credulous reporting on dubious stories in recent months can be explained by the fact that a lot of reporters just aren't terribly bright.

However, many commenters here at PJ Media and elsewhere are convinced that the media -- en masse -- knew the story was bogus from the start, but pushed it anyway because it fit their anti-Trump narrative. That may be true for some in the media, but I think that's giving most of them too much credit.

I suspect that a combination of all of the above can explain the epidemic of fake news in the past few years. Their left-wing bias has been a disgrace for decades and it it's only getting worse. Sadly, there's no reason to believe it won't continue to sully their reportage for the foreseeable future.