Oops, they did it again!
From Rolling Stone to Ferguson, liberal politicians, activists, and journalists keep stumbling over two self-imposed hurdles: gullibility and impatience.
First, those on the Left are too enraptured with their “narratives” to let basic skepticism help them separate fact from fiction. They desperately want certain things to be true. And when those things prove false, the leftists wind up in trouble.
Second, they rush to judgment, instantly convicting their favorite villains in the Court of Public Opinion and fitting them with nooses — just before the entire gallows collapses beneath them. Their bêtes noires include young, white, male heterosexuals; conservatives (preferably gun owners); and allegedly racist white men (usually police officers) who supposedly target and kill innocent blacks. These precious stories quickly crumble, but not before liberals have embroiled America in one rancorous and exhausting national shouting match after another.
WOMEN UNDER ASSAULT
As the Washington Free Beacon’s Matthew Continetti observes in a first-rate essay, one powerful and enduring narrative is that women are under constant assault by a violent, patriarchal “rape culture” that permeates American life.
• Rolling Stone has shifted into reverse and sped away from Sabrina Rubin Erdely’s article alleging that seven men gang-raped a freshman named Jackie at the University of Virginia’s Phi Kappa Psi (PKP) fraternity house in the fall of 2012. When the article was published on November 19, liberal media outlets broke into a war dance, embracing Erdely’s opus as definitive proof that horny young straight guys pose a clear and present danger to virtually any female who dares walk across a college campus. And if they are fraternity boys, all the worse. “Stop enabling criminals,” one protester’s picket sign demanded: “Ban Greek life at UVA.”
On cue, vandals sprayed the PKP house with graffiti and shattered its windows. UVA president Teresa Sullivan suspended fraternities and sororities until January.
Soon, though, Erdely’s article imploded amid glaring inconsistencies and unverifiable details.
Jackie claimed to have been invited to an autumn pledge party; PKP holds such events only in the spring. She said her date was a PKP brother named Drew, who worked with her as a lifeguard at a campus swimming pool. PKP says none of its members was employed as a lifeguard at that time. Drew told the Washington Post that he belongs to a different fraternity and doesn’t know Jackie.
Meanwhile, Jackie claimed to have been trapped in a pitch-black room, yet she could identify some of her attackers’ faces. She said she was raped atop shards of glass from a coffee table through which she had been thrown. One would think rapists might try to avoid slicing up their genitalia while violently committing barbaric sexual felonies.
Jackie contends that she fled PKP down a side staircase that, in fact, does not exist on a night when the fraternity said it held “no date function or formal event.” Jackie said that, after three hours of brutal rape, with her back soaked in blood, she asked her three best friends, two men and a woman, to take her to the hospital. They refused.
“The three friends launched into a heated discussion about the social price of reporting Jackie’s rape,” Erdely wrote. The male friends fretted that getting involved could foil their own Greek ambitions. Jackie’s pseudonymous female pal, Cindy, finally convinced the two men that they all should dummy up because “we’ll never be allowed into any frat party again.”
If this all sounds unbelievable, Rolling Stone today agrees. Managing editor Will Dana wrote on December 5: “In the face of new information, there now appear to be discrepancies in Jackie’s account, and we have come to the conclusion that our trust in her was misplaced.”
• The UVA hoax eerily resembles the Duke University lacrosse mirage. In March 2006, a black stripper named Crystal Gail Mangum claimed that three white lacrosse players raped her during a party.
The New Black Panthers, among many others, protested near Duke. Lacrosse coach Mike Pressler endured threatening e-mails and vandalism. Duke professor Houston Baker wondered, “How soon will confidence be restored to our university as a place where minds, souls, and bodies can feel safe from agents, perpetrators, and abettors of white privilege, irresponsibility, debauchery, and violence?”
This gang rape never happened, either. Even worse, Mike Nifong, the Democratic district attorney in Durham County, pushed for rape charges even though he doubted Mangum’s story. Nifong hoped to agitate his party’s black voters in order to fortify his reelection prospects. North Carolina’s then–attorney general, Roy Cooper, called this fiasco “a tragic rush to accuse” and dropped all charges against the lacrosse players. In June 2007, Nifong was disbarred for “dishonesty, fraud, deceit, and misrepresentation.” He egregiously and unconscionably had abused his office to crush innocent citizens and ignite racial strife for political gain.
THE AL-QAEDA OF THE RIGHT
A second liberal narrative teaches that Republicans, conservatives, and Tea Partiers constitute a sort of domestic al-Qaeda of the Right. Free-marketeers are so bent on limited government that they will shoot or blast their way toward a balanced budget.
• When Jared Lee Loughner opened fire on then–Representative Gabrielle Giffords (D., Ariz.) on January 8, 2011, the Left instantly arose as one. They blamed the Right for the highly damaging but non-fatal shooting of Giffords, as well as the shootings of the 13 others Loughner wounded and the six he killed.
“Violent acts are what happen when you create a climate of hate,” columnist Paul Krugman roared. “And it’s past time for the GOP’s leaders to take a stand against the hate-mongers.” Then–MSNBC host Keith Olbermann barked: “If Sarah Palin . . . does not repudiate her own part in amplifying violence and violent imagery in politics . . . she must be dismissed from politics.” Palin’s PAC had produced a graphic map with crosshairs on congressional districts held by Democrats, including Giffords’s, that it had targeted for Republican takeover. Democrats also have placed bull’s-eyes on maps of CDs they have targeted for victory. For decades, both parties “targeted” candidates without controversy.
This tale imploded once Loughner’s Pima Community College schoolmates called him frightfully deranged. Complete with misspellings and grammatical errors, Loughner’s online gibberish more than confirmed their diagnosis.
“I bet your hungry. . . . Because i know how to cut a body open and eat you for more then a week. ;-),” Loughner stated in one Internet forum. Loughner — whom Hillary Clinton denounced as “an extremist,” although he had expressed no coherent political views — pontificated in a YouTube video: “Every human who’s mentally capable is always able to be treasurer of their new currency.” He further explained: “The government is implying mind control and brainwash on the people by controlling grammar.”
• When two deadly bombs ripped through the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013, the shrapnel barely had fallen to the ground before liberals started pinning the detonators on conservatives and tax fighters.
According to CNN’s Tim Lister and Paul Cruickshank, “A senior U.S. counterterrorism investigator told CNN that pressure-cooker bombs have also been a signature of extreme right-wing individuals in the United States who he said tend to revel in building homemade bombs.”
“We really don’t know who did this,” Obama strategist David Axelrod told MSNBC. “It was Tax Day.”
MSNBC’s Chris Matthews announced, “Normally, domestic terrorists, people tend to be on the far right.”
As it turned out, the bombs were not planted by militant supply-siders. The Tsarnaev brothers, a pair of Muslim Chechen immigrants, deployed those explosives. Tamerlan, 26, died in a police shootout as he and Dzhokhar, 19, reportedly were en route to New York City with more bombs. Dzhokhar’s federal trial begins January 5.
BLACK AND WHITE
The Left’s third and most persistent narrative is black and white. Black Americans suffer at the hands of white racists, especially gun-owning civilians and trigger-happy, bigoted cops. The Left clutches this theme like bellowing babies gripping their blankets during a thunderstorm.
• When police officer Joseph Crowley responded to a call about a black male seemingly breaking into a home in Cambridge, Mass., he detained and questioned the man. Speaking at a White House news conference, President Obama quickly denounced this intervention. He said that “the Cambridge police acted stupidly” and added, “There’s a long history in this country of African Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately.”
Actually, Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. had been locked out of his own house and was trying to get in through a window. People rarely enter their homes that way. So, when Officer Crowley saw something, he did something. He investigated and made sure nothing was amiss. After Gates stopped calling him “a racist cop,” Crowley and a Hispanic officer and a black policeman who had arrived on the scene established the professor’s identity and freed him.
Though presented as an example of white-police oppression, this was just a cop attempting to protect Gates’s property from what, at first blush, looked like an intruder. In hindsight, Gates should have said thank you.
• George Zimmerman’s fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin, 17, expanded immediately into a racist-white-man-kills-innocent-black-youth epic. Al Sharpton and the other usual suspects jetted to Sanford, Fla., to stir the ethnic cauldron. “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon,” Obama said, injecting himself, yet again, into a case about which he knew dangerously little.
Once more, the black-and-white narrative soon unraveled.
George Zimmerman was not white. He turned out to be a “white Hispanic,” whatever that means. His mother came from Peru and had an Afro-Peruvian grandfather. This now black-and-tan story slipped further away from the Left when it transpired that Zimmerman had taken a black date to his prom, founded an insurance business with a black partner, and spoken up at a Sanford City Council hearing on behalf of Sherman Ware, a homeless black man. Zimmerman also is a Democrat who had voted for Obama and urged his loved ones to do so. This was hardly the behavior of a hardened anti-black bigot.
Zimmerman’s trial proved catastrophic for the State of Florida. Jonathan Good, a witness for the prosecution, testified that he saw Martin atop Zimmerman’s chest, in a “mixed-martial-arts position,” assaulting Zimmerman just before the latter shot Martin in self-defense. Zimmerman’s broken nose and the cuts on the back of his head supported this account. Filled with these and many other reasonable doubts, a racially mixed jury acquitted Zimmerman of second-degree-murder charges.
• Having learned absolutely nothing, Sharpton, other left-wing rabble rousers, and Attorney General Eric Holder poured into Ferguson, Mo., where white police officer Darren Wilson had shot the unarmed “gentle giant” Michael Brown, a black 18-year-old. Once again, liberal activists and journalists spun a ballad of white oppression and violence at the expense of a harmless, college-bound black youth. Yet again, their touching fantasy soon collapsed.
Surveillance footage found the giant not so gently robbing cigars from a convenience store. Brown then strong-armed the shop’s clerk. Physical evidence (including a federal autopsy and two earlier medical examinations) and most eyewitness accounts indicated that Brown had attacked Officer Wilson in his car and, moments later, charged at him like a bull in Pamplona. A racially representative St. Louis County grand jury decided that Wilson fired at Brown in self-defense and, thus, acted within Missouri law. Despite picket signs about “racist police terror,” no one has produced a speck of evidence that racial animus guided or even influenced Wilson’s actions that fateful afternoon of August 9.
To spare those on the Left from humiliating themselves any further, here is some free advice: Before dashing into the streets and screaming about race, class, or gender — calm down, slow down, and ask questions.
— Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News contributor and a media fellow with the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace at Stanford University.