From a BLM leader to CNN’s Oliver Darcy, coming to grips with the hoax being exposed is a tough thing.
I’ve often thought that, for most people, political belief is a strong edifice made of hundreds of thousands of bricks.
Note I didn’t wrote “political affiliation,” because a lot of people merely have a kneejerk affiliation that doesn’t amount to much of a belief system at all. For some of them, it might be made of one big brick which is something like “my parents believe this so I do too” or “everyone in my neighborhood or of my race believes this so I do too.”
This type of person could have a weak system that’s easily knocked down by information that challenges it, but the catch is that such people often are so uninterested in politics that they never even expose themselves to that information. Or some of them continue to care more about the opinions of others and are loathe to change their own because they see that as a betrayal of family or group.
But for those who have an actual belief system, it’s based on bit after bit of information the details of which are often imperfectly remembered but which all combine to form that edifice known as political belief.
And that in turn is why something like the revelation that Jussie Smollett perpetrated a hate crime hoax with the potential of causing riots and almost certainly motivated by Trump-hating animus is unlikely to matter to them at all.
Some, like Los Angeles BLM leader Melina Abdullah, will take the hardest left line and say that the police are lying, the evidence doesn’t matter, the jury system is rigged against black people, and Jussie spoke truth. But a lot more will probably rationalize it in the manner of CNN’s Oliver Darcy:
He complains that Sean Hannity, “and other bad faith media personalities on the right, used Smollett’s conviction to (predictably) attack the news media and aim to delegitimize the credibility of the entire press.”…
“Propagandists,” Darcy continues, “know that their power increases substantially when they can convince their audiences not to trust other sources of information. And so, Smollett’s case is very valuable to them.”
This is almost humorous to someone on the right, because of course it’s a good description of what the left does. But be not amused, because to Darcy’s audience this is a description of the right, and it gives them a way to dismiss Jussie Smollet as an exception to the rule they believe to be true, which is that such overtly racist attacks are real and are common in today’s America.
“When you cannot argue on the facts, it is much easier to dismiss a story in its entirety and go after the credibility of the press for reporting on it. It’s the timeless play — one that played on repeat during the Trump administration . . .”
So the message goes something like oopsies, the press made a teensy mistake regarding Smollett. It’s a one-off, an exception, but one that gives the always-nefarious right a golden opportunity to pounce and pretend that it means something when it doesn’t and when it’s the right that’s always lying.
That can persuade not just the stupid but many smart people, especially if not too many stories like Smollett’s come filtering through because their news sources fail to report them. Their brick edifice is made of many false “facts” that they “know” to be true. For them, it takes penetration by many many many such incidents as the Smollett story or one absolutely huge and sometimes personal incident, and even then it takes a willingness to say, “Hey, this thing I trusted to be true wasn’t true, and how many other things have I trusted in the past that weren’t true? I need to find out.”
Unless they take that last step and follow through, the edifice will stand.
[Neo is a writer with degrees in law and family therapy, who blogs at the new neo.]DONATE
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