(Article by Joseph Wulfsohn republished from FoxNews.com)
Rachel Richardson alleged that a fan from Brigham Young University (BYU) hurled the n-word and threats at her “throughout the entirety of the match” between the two schools on Aug. 26. Her in-the-moment allegation led to the immediate removal and permanent ban of the suspected racist and BYU issued apologies to both Richardson and Duke University.
The liberal media quickly ate it up.
Richardson was featured prominently on ABC’s “Good Morning America” and was interviewed about what she claimed to have experienced during its Aug. 30 broadcast. ABC News correspondent Janai Norman said she was “really impressed” with how the 19-year-old sophomore “was handling all of this,” to which co-host George Stephanopoulos replied “a lot of grace.”
ESPN, ABC’s sister network, similarly offered uncritical coverage of the saga. Stephen A. Smith shamed BYU for failing to “expeditiously” address the alleged racist incident. Fellow ESPN host and Duke alum Jay Williams wore a Blue Devils sweatshirt on-air in solidarity with Richardson, telling the athlete, “Hold your head high.”
CNN went even further with its coverage. Alisyn Camerota and Victor Blackwell grilled BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe for not taking swift action, Weekend anchor Jim Acosta invited former NAACP president Cornell William Brooks to lambast BYU. Other CNN programs including “New Day” and “Don Lemon Tonight” dedicated substantial airtime to the controversy.
The New York Times ran the dramatic headline “Racial Slur During College Volleyball Game Leads to Fan Suspension” and quoted Richardson’s father writing, “‘Here we are,’ Mr. Richardson, who said he grew up in Fort Worth when it was still desegregating, said in the interview. ‘It’s 2022, and we’re dealing with 1960s issues.’” The father was also interviewed by CNN and ABC News.
In the end, however, his daughter’s claims were false. Lengthy investigations, which involved interviewing eyewitnesses and reviewing security camera footage from the game, concluded that the fan in question was not exhibiting the behavior he was accused of. In fact, BYU issued an apology to him and rescinded his ban.
“The media falls for these fake hoaxes for the obvious reason. It plays into the Democratic far-left narrative that this is a racist country,” civil rights attorney and Fox News contributor Leo Terrell told Fox News Digital. “To the left, the allegation is more important than the facts… The media won’t cover the investigation. The media will not cover the fact that the accuser was basically lying…. The media will never let facts get in the way of sensational headlines regarding racism, systemic racism, institutionalized racism. In essence, the media and the Democrats will ignore the ultimate truth and move on to another hoax.”
The BYU volleyball story was certainly not the first time the media rushed to peddle allegations of racism without reservations, and likely won’t be the last.
The Defamation of Nicholas Sandmann
In 2019, a group of MAGA hat-wearing students from Kentucky’s Covington Catholic High School were waiting for their bus on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial following the March for Life before they were being taunted by a group of Black Hebrew Israelites. The students responded by shouting their school’s chants, which apparently offended a group of Native Americans who were also in the area for a different march.
However, what went viral was a video of a confrontation between student Nicholas Sandmann and Native American elder Nathan Phillips. While Sandmann did nothing but smile at Phillips after the elder approached him, liberals on Twitter and in the media portrayed the teen as the racist aggressor.
NBC News’ José Díaz-Balart accused Sandmann of “harassing” Phillips. Then-CNN anchor Chris Cuomo alleged Sandmann made “a choice” of “turning it into a standoff.” Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart declared, “Nothing justifies what the Covington students did.”
Julio Rosas, senior writer for Townhall and author of “Fiery But Mostly Peaceful: The 2020 Riots and the Gaslighting of America,” told Fox News Digital it took “internet sleuths” who delved into hours of footage that had been circulated online to find the truth from the event rather than actual journalists who got to the bottom of the viral confrontation.
“You would think that the media would have learned a lesson by now and not just automatically take these claims at face value, but they still too, because there’s an incentive to do so,” Rosas said. “When it especially comes to racially-charged supposed situations, they just throw journalism standards to the wayside because they just want to hop on the latest and greatest kind of outrage. And I just think we’re gonna continue seeing the media make these types of egregious mistakes. And yet, they have the audacity to ask why trust in the media is so low.”
Sandmann filed multimillion-dollar defamation lawsuits against news outlets that peddled the falsehood that he and his classmates instigated the confrontation with Phillips. NBC News, CNN and The Washington Post settled their lawsuits while Sandmann’s lawsuits against The New York Times, CBS, ABC, Gannett and Rolling Stone were tossed out of court by a federal judge. Sandmann said he intends to appeal the ruling.
The Jussie Smollett hoax
Days later, in the early hours of Jan. 29 during a historic polar vortex in Chicago, “Empire” star Jussie Smollett alleged he was attacked by two MAGA hat-wearing thugs who yelled racial and homophobic slurs at the actor while he was out getting a Subway sandwich, yelling “This is MAGA country!” He claimed the two men assaulted him, poured bleach on him and tied a noose around his neck.
The incident was quickly denounced by the left, including then-Sen. Kamala Harris who called the attack a “modern day lynching.” The media similarly offered sympathetic coverage. “GMA” anchor Robin Roberts sat down with Smollett for his first interview following the alleged incident, offering minimal skepticism to his claims.
The court trial later revealed that CNN anchor Don Lemon had texted Smollett about how the Chicago Police Department did not believe him.
As it turned out, it was a hoax. Police said Smollett orchestrated the attack, hiring two Nigerian brothers to assault him while wearing red hats. Smollett was later charged and convicted for his crimes against the city of Chicago but was let out of jail just six days into his 150-day sentence.
Bubba Wallace’s ‘noose’
In June 2020, amid the nationwide unrest following the murder of George Floyd, NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace generated headlines after believing he was the target of racism.
Wallace alleged that a “noose” was placed in his garage at the Talladega Speedway. NASCAR swiftly denounced the apparent act of racism. Even the FBI launched a probe into who planted the “noose.”
The media felt no need to launch any investigation of its own. CNN, in particular, sped to the conclusion that the noose was real. Anderson Cooper unequivocally believed the story, telling viewers that “racism” was “directed at a star of NASCAR, who’s been helping in the drive against hate… tonight, the questions about how someone was able to get inside Bubba Wallace’s garage stall to leave a noose.” CNN colleague Jim Sciutto decried, “This happens in the year 2020 is just beyond belief.”
It was “beyond belief” because it wasn’t a noose after all. It turned out to be a rope attached to the garage door that was installed long before Wallace arrived at Talladega Speedway.
In September 2021, amid the migrant crisis that has plagued the Biden administration, viral images showing Border Patrol agents on horseback attempting to corral a group of Haitians attempting to cross into Del Rio.
Liberal critics claimed the border agents were using “whips” on the migrants, causing President Biden to quickly condemn the agents, who were swiftly punished pending an investigation.
In reality, they weren’t using “whips” but rather reins to control the horses. The photographer who took the viral images disputed the claim that the agents were whipping the migrants. The border agents were eventually cleared of any wrongdoing.
But that didn’t stop the media from galloping ahead with the falsehood.
MSNBC host Joy Reid repeatedly accused the border agents of “whipping” the migrants, linking their alleged actions to the Fugitive Slave Act. She reacted to the photos on Twitter and reacted, “This is beyond repulsive. Are these images from 2021 or 1851?”
CNN’s Victor Blackwell suggested there isn’t a “distinction” between the agents using whips versus reins. Vice News ran the headline, “US Border Agents Are Removing Haitian Migrants Using Horses and Whips.”
The New York Times accused the border agents of “using the reins of their horses to strike at running migrants.” That report was later corrected, admitting it had “overstated” what was known at the time and that the paper had not seen “conclusive evidence” that proved the whipping took place. Most other outlets did not issue such corrections.
Rosas suggested the reason that the media keeps latching on to these racial hoaxes is because there are “no repercussions” to those who push the falsehoods.
“Until there are consequences for this bad journalism, nothing’s going to change,” Rosas told Fox News Digital.
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