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Old 02-19-2019, 09:26 AM
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Why did the MSM fall for the Jussi Smollett hoax?


HERE is the story. A prominent black Chicago actor claimed 2 men (wearing MAGA hats) assaulted him and shouted racial and homophobic phrases. Also putting a noose around his neck.

The MSM of course jumped all over it and made the guy a hero.

Good grief, this guys story had "fake" written all over it. Using cliches, not giving over his phone, playing up the the press (here he is being interviewed on Good Morning America), playing up to current political divisions (wearing a MAGA hat is an instant crime). But they ran with it. Now they have been quietly deleting tweets and issuing apologies.

Question: Why cant a good reporter smell a liar and distinguish between someone telling the truth or not?

Here is a great article :Why Does the MSM Keep Falling for Hoaxes?


One big reason - they WANT to believe the guy. They WANT to go after someone wearing a MAGA hat. This guy, for example, pulled his tweet about Trump supporters and their "weaponized bigotry". His exact words "Anyone who thinks supporting You Know Who isnít tantamount to providing artillery for weaponized bigotry needs to take a hard look in the mirror.Ē


But why? Ok, I see someone hating Trump but why lose their objectivity in doing their job? Why not wait until the truth comes out before jumping in with your anti-MAGA tweets?
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Old 02-19-2019, 09:34 AM
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One reason is because the risk of not going along with it is too great. They must comment, it is their job to comment immediately nowadays. There is no allowance for investigation. They must put every story in context of whatever narrative they are pushing. The shrieking hoards of PC police will swarm on them for any deviation. They will sense capitulation to reason and pounce.

If they said it seemed fake, the swarms will descend and they could be out of a job even before the true details come out. Of course now that it is a known fake, there will be no real consequences for the people who participated in the coverage, meaning their calculation was correct in a way.

You notice that not many people bought the lie on these boards. There wasn’t much discussion I saw. I actually breathed a sigh of relief that no real person was believing this stuff.

Last edited by WillFarnaby; 02-19-2019 at 09:36 AM.
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Old 02-19-2019, 09:43 AM
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The MSM of course jumped all over it and made the guy a hero.
If they jumped all over it, how come I never heard about it? Are you sure it wasn't the right-wing media who jumped all over the initial reports?

Last edited by scr4; 02-19-2019 at 09:44 AM.
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Old 02-19-2019, 09:46 AM
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Why did the MSM fall for the Jussi Smollett hoax?


  • Because Smollet is black
  • Because Smollet is gay
  • Because of the claim that his attackers said "this is MAGA country"
  • Because the MSM hates Trump and wants to prevent his re-election
  • Because the story fit their narrative
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Old 02-19-2019, 09:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Urbanredneck View Post
HERE is the story. A prominent black Chicago actor claimed 2 men (wearing MAGA hats) assaulted him and shouted racial and homophobic phrases. Also putting a noose around his neck.

The MSM of course jumped all over it and made the guy a hero.

Good grief, this guys story had "fake" written all over it. Using cliches, not giving over his phone, playing up the the press (here he is being interviewed on Good Morning America), playing up to current political divisions (wearing a MAGA hat is an instant crime). But they ran with it. Now they have been quietly deleting tweets and issuing apologies.

Question: Why cant a good reporter smell a liar and distinguish between someone telling the truth or not?

Here is a great article :Why Does the MSM Keep Falling for Hoaxes?


One big reason - they WANT to believe the guy. They WANT to go after someone wearing a MAGA hat. This guy, for example, pulled his tweet about Trump supporters and their "weaponized bigotry". His exact words "Anyone who thinks supporting You Know Who isnít tantamount to providing artillery for weaponized bigotry needs to take a hard look in the mirror.Ē


But why? Ok, I see someone hating Trump but why lose their objectivity in doing their job? Why not wait until the truth comes out before jumping in with your anti-MAGA tweets?
Can you provide some articles from the actual mainstream media "falling for the hoax"? The one from USA Today seemed like straight ahead reporting of what the police said was going on. I tried to find something from the NY Times, but again it was just the Times reporting on what the police said. Before it came out as a hoax, do you think it would be appropriate for the MSM to ignore the story completely, claim it was a hoax (even though the police weren't claiming that), or something else? The fact was that a celebrity claimed to have been attacked and went to the police who investigated. The articles I read simply told that story and described the police's actions. I'm not sure what you're looking for.
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Old 02-19-2019, 09:50 AM
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I'll say the reason I was skeptical of Smollett from the beginning, is while the large national media was reporting the story very credulously, I was noticing local TV news and such in the Chicago area were using phrases like "alleged attack" and et cetera. I'm a little too lazy to dig up the links now, but while none of these stories were directly doubting the narrative, they were also explicitly not endorsing it. That's a red flag to me because I know a little bit about how local journalists operate, I think when they're hesitant to embrace a story it means they know some stuff is already wrong back channel. Like probably police sources had let leak "off the record" that the reported crime looked fishy.

That's not enough to run a story on, but it's enough to not go all in on the narrative. Mainstream media on the other hand doesn't have the local police contacts or really even the concern to get that aspect of the story right, because the story as presented is scandalous which means more viewers which is what MSM is all about.

So when more details later came out showing the story was on shaky ground, I wasn't that surprised because of the tone of the original local reporting--likely the local police beat writers actually had gotten back channel info this was a suspect case to begin with. They couldn't run with it at the time, but it influenced how their outlets reported on the case.
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Old 02-19-2019, 09:59 AM
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When journalists report on the facts of an actual ongoing criminal investigation, but later it turns out the person making the report was lying, that's not "falling for a hoax." That's just reporting the news.
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Old 02-19-2019, 10:03 AM
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If they jumped all over it, how come I never heard about it? Are you sure it wasn't the right-wing media who jumped all over the initial reports?
This. I watch a fair amount of CNN and MSNBC, yet I’ve only seen this discussed here. Maybe I should get my news from more reputable sites like pjmedia

Last edited by Ann Hedonia; 02-19-2019 at 10:07 AM.
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Old 02-19-2019, 10:05 AM
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If they jumped all over it, how come I never heard about it? Are you sure it wasn't the right-wing media who jumped all over the initial reports?
I'd like to second this. I realize it's absolutely impossible to convince the OP that his claim is wrong, but I, too, had never heard of this story until it started to come out that Smollet probably lied about it... at which point it was all over the right-wing media.

Hell, I'd never even heard of Smollet until yesterday (or the day before, I honestly can't remember).
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Old 02-19-2019, 10:12 AM
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When journalists report on the facts of an actual ongoing criminal investigation, but later it turns out the person making the report was lying, that's not "falling for a hoax." That's just reporting the news.
What is it when they put him on Good Morning America?

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Old 02-19-2019, 10:19 AM
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I'm less concerned about the MSM falling for this, as major democratic figures latching onto this as gospel truth, and, even now, wanting to give this guy the benefit of the doubt until all the supposed information comes in. I think we know enough by now.
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Old 02-19-2019, 10:22 AM
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If they said it seemed fake, the swarms will descend and they could be out of a job even before the true details come out. Of course now that it is a known fake, there will be no real consequences for the people who participated in the coverage, meaning their calculation was correct in a way.
Essentially there's not a lot of risk for going with it, and a lot of risk for not going with it. If they go with the story, they can claim they were duped, he lied, it's his fault, etc... with the added bonus of getting to cover the stories about the lies, and the mea culpa, etc... At no point does it become their fault/problem for not uncovering the lie, so long as they're reporting what the police told them. That's the key, I think- not to actually dig their own info, but just report that there was an attack involving Smollett, etc...

If they don't go with it and treat it skeptically, they run the risk of looking like they were caught flat footed, not sufficiently sensitive to that sort of story, etc...
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Old 02-19-2019, 10:24 AM
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When journalists report on the facts of an actual ongoing criminal investigation, but later it turns out the person making the report was lying, that's not "falling for a hoax." That's just reporting the news.
Yes. A semi-famous person says he was the victim of a terrible crime. Seems like something the media should report on. I don't think anyone said "and his story is true." They reported the facts, and as far as I know, reported them accurately.

Lots of crimes have a red flag or two. It doesn't necessarily mean the crime was a hoax. In this case, those were reported too. I remember hearing about "no surveillance video" and that he was on the phone to his agent at the time of the alleged attack.
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Old 02-19-2019, 10:29 AM
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It bears mentioning / repeating that, for the most part, the "MSM" reported what the CPD told them. The CPD has had some notable race-related screwups lately, so they seemed to have erred on the side of caution / credulousness with their official stories.

I didn't follow the case too closely, but it definitely seemed...off. I'm genuinely surprised that, in the process of faking a crime, they did such a sloppy job.
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Old 02-19-2019, 10:39 AM
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Why didn't the right wing media immediately expose the hoax?

ETA: Instead they just posted stuff like this: https://www.foxnews.com/entertainmen...ble-hate-crime

Last edited by Ravenman; 02-19-2019 at 10:42 AM.
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Old 02-19-2019, 10:50 AM
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Well, basically, because the facts on the ground at the time didn't say "hoax". They said "newsworthy crime". Sure, it sounds unlikely, but then again, so does "Gay man beaten, tied to a fence, and set on fire". A lot of crimes seem weird or unlikely. The police certainly took it seriously enough to investigate it. The fact is, we didn't know this was a hoax until recently, and at that point, the mainstream media did, in fact, report on it being a hoax.

But hey, at least the alternative media figured out that it was a hoax. Right?

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Why didn't the right wing media immediately expose the hoax?

ETA: Instead they just posted stuff like this: https://www.foxnews.com/entertainmen...ble-hate-crime
Whoops!
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Old 02-19-2019, 10:57 AM
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Old 02-19-2019, 10:58 AM
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Confirmation bias.
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Old 02-19-2019, 11:01 AM
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The simplest answer to the OP's question is that the media - all the media, not just the mainstream media - does not have his power to judge actions by knowing what happens two weeks later.
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Old 02-19-2019, 11:08 AM
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The media did not go along with a hoax. The OP is complete nonsense.

The media reported what the police told them happened, which is what they ALWAYS do. When the police had a different take on the situation, the media reported that as well.
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Old 02-19-2019, 11:20 AM
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I likewise never heard about it until after the news was that the story might be fake.

That said, of course it was reported at the time. Why wouldn't it be? But there's a reason the news reports that so-and-so claimed this or according to police officers on the scene or even "sources close to the ___ tell us." They'll even name other news sources if they didn't get it directly.

News is about reporting information quickly, giving as much information as they have at the time. No news organization is going to say something definitely happened before it has been investigated.

When the police investigate an accusation that turns out not to be valid, does that mean they "fell for it"?
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Old 02-19-2019, 11:20 AM
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AFAICT, the media reported the facts (i.e. "according to the police...", "according to Smollett...") accurately. They interviewed Smollett because he's famous and claimed he was the victim of a hateful violent attack.

That's what the media should do. Is anyone arguing they shouldn't have reported the facts, or shouldn't have interviewed a prominent person who claims they were the victim of a hateful, violent attack? If not, what's the problem?
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Old 02-19-2019, 11:32 AM
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... Is anyone arguing they shouldn't have reported the facts, or shouldn't have interviewed a prominent person who claims they were the victim of a hateful, violent attack? If not, what's the problem?
Perhaps they should have waited for the investigation to be completed?
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Old 02-19-2019, 11:34 AM
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So am I hearing that the journalists covered the story as they should? They in fact were very credulous and unquestioning. I guess it’s up to you if that’s how you like your journalism.
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Old 02-19-2019, 11:38 AM
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So am I hearing that the journalists covered the story as they should? They in fact were very credulous and unquestioning. I guess itís up to you if thatís how you like your journalism.
As has already been stated, the media reported what the police told them, then made corrections as they were given out. How the holy fuck would you have reported the story?
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Old 02-19-2019, 11:38 AM
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So am I hearing that the journalists covered the story as they should? They in fact were very credulous and unquestioning. I guess itís up to you if thatís how you like your journalism.
Which journalists were "very credulous and unquestioning"? I'm sure there were some, but the vast majority of the reporting that I read, and saw, was strictly factual (i.e. "the police say xxxx, Smollett says yyyy...").
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Old 02-19-2019, 11:39 AM
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Perhaps they should have waited for the investigation to be completed?
Is that how the media you follow do it?
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Old 02-19-2019, 11:42 AM
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Perhaps they should have waited for the investigation to be completed?
So, Lee Oswald (allegedly) shoots JFK, but you don't want any reporting until the investigation is completed?

Every day the media report on crimes before the investigation in completed. Every damn day. Because a number of those cases each year turn out to be different than first reported, you want the reporting to stop? Why? What's the problem with the news coming out like it always does. Initial reports, then follow up reporting, then final conclusion. I suspect a great many stories evolve over time for one reason or another.
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Old 02-19-2019, 11:43 AM
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From thinkprogress.org: Top Republicans, White House silent about attack on Jussie Smollett, despite ‘MAGA’ comments

This is only one story but it's disturbing journalism because it is all technically true. At the time, no prominent Republican had said anything whereas numerous prominent Democrats had weighed in, some calling it a hate crime.

Last edited by Covfefe; 02-19-2019 at 11:44 AM.
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Old 02-19-2019, 11:46 AM
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From thinkprogress.org: Top Republicans, White House silent about attack on Jussie Smollett, despite ĎMAGAí comments

This is only one story but it's disturbing journalism because it is all technically true. At the time, no prominent Republican had said anything whereas numerous prominent Democrats had weighed in, some calling it a hate crime.
Let's keep the goalposts in one place, please-I think we're talking about how the media treated the story.
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Old 02-19-2019, 11:51 AM
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From thinkprogress.org: Top Republicans, White House silent about attack on Jussie Smollett, despite ĎMAGAí comments

This is only one story but it's disturbing journalism because it is all technically true. At the time, no prominent Republican had said anything whereas numerous prominent Democrats had weighed in, some calling it a hate crime.
Do you consider thinkprogress.org to be the MSM? If not, this seems very off-topic.
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Old 02-19-2019, 11:53 AM
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Which journalists were "very credulous and unquestioning"? I'm sure there were some, but the vast majority of the reporting that I read, and saw, was strictly factual (i.e. "the police say xxxx, Smollett says yyyy...").
Yes. And they took what he had to say without question, defining credulous and unquestioning. Again, if you and others donít desire truth-seeking journalism and just want quotes of what has been said, maybe there is a market for that.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/variety...203123627/amp/

https://www.usatoday.com/story/life/...ck/2709986002/
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Old 02-19-2019, 11:53 AM
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Perhaps they should have waited for the investigation to be completed?
So, we should have heard nothing about the Watergate investigation, the Iran-Contra scandal, the Whitewater investigation, or the Benghazi investigation until it was all completed? Like, a literal media blackout? How about the Son of Sam killings? Should that have had a media blackout until Berkowitz was found?

I think you're setting a very strange standard for reporting.
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Old 02-19-2019, 11:56 AM
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Yes. And they took what he had to say without question, defining credulous and unquestioning. Again, if you and others donít desire truth-seeking journalism and just want quotes of what has been said, maybe there is a market for that.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/variety...203123627/amp/

https://www.usatoday.com/story/life/...ck/2709986002/
What news media do you follow that does it the way you supposedly want it done?
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Old 02-19-2019, 11:56 AM
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Yes. And they took what he had to say without question, defining credulous and unquestioning. Again, if you and others donít desire truth-seeking journalism and just want quotes of what has been said, maybe there is a market for that.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/variety...203123627/amp/

https://www.usatoday.com/story/life/...ck/2709986002/
Can you point out where USA Today fell for the hoax? I skimmed the article and it was all "the police reported...", "Smollett said..."

Do you consider a column in Variety to be the MSM?
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Old 02-19-2019, 11:59 AM
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Yes. And they took what he had to say without question, defining credulous and unquestioning. Again, if you and others donít desire truth-seeking journalism and just want quotes of what has been said, maybe there is a market for that.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/variety...203123627/amp/

https://www.usatoday.com/story/life/...ck/2709986002/
In the USA Today article, can you point to exactly what passages you find objectionable?

The way I read it, the reporters probably went a little out of their way to attribute allegations to the multiple police officers that were quoted by name, who in turn specifically stated what Smollett told them. Further, the police asked for help from the public in determining what happened, which may have been the first indication that pieces of the story were missing.
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Old 02-19-2019, 11:59 AM
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I am going to go back on one thing. I rewatched the GMA interview and the interviewer kept a straight face even though Jussi seemed to be trying to get a reaction from her by initially laughing and then crying. But she seemed pretty stoic so I'm wondering if she also had her doubts.
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Old 02-19-2019, 12:01 PM
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Smollet made some incredible statements about the attack and the interview he gave was laughably duplicitous. You would have to watch videos to see the context in which the media was covering this. I’m not going to dig up a bunch of stuff off YouTube.

I was reassured when leftists here weren’t falling for the okey-doke, but that may have been a mistake.
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Old 02-19-2019, 12:01 PM
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I am going to go back on one thing. I rewatched the GMA interview and the interviewer kept a straight face even though Jussi seemed to be trying to get a reaction from her by initially laughing and then crying. But she seemed pretty stoic so I'm wondering if she also had her doubts.
What media do you watch that isn't what you call "MSM", and how was it reported there?
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Old 02-19-2019, 12:02 PM
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Smollet made some incredible statements about the attack and the interview he gave was laughably duplicitous. You would have to watch videos to see the context in which the media was covering this. Iím not going to dig up a bunch of stuff off YouTube.

I was reassured when leftists here werenít falling for the okey-doke, but that may have been a mistake.
What media do you follow that does it "right"?
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Old 02-19-2019, 12:03 PM
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So, Lee Oswald (allegedly) shoots JFK, but you don't want any reporting until the investigation is completed?

Every day the media report on crimes before the investigation in completed. Every damn day. Because a number of those cases each year turn out to be different than first reported, you want the reporting to stop? Why? What's the problem with the news coming out like it always does. Initial reports, then follow up reporting, then final conclusion. I suspect a great many stories evolve over time for one reason or another.
I think if they would have just reported so and so was attacked in a reported hate crime, and then NOT do all the anti-MAGA stuff, then I would be ok.
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Old 02-19-2019, 12:04 PM
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Can you point out where USA Today fell for the hoax? I skimmed the article and it was all "the police reported...", "Smollett said..."

Do you consider a column in Variety to be the MSM?
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In the USA Today article, can you point to exactly what passages you find objectionable?

The way I read it, the reporters probably went a little out of their way to attribute allegations to the multiple police officers that were quoted by name, who in turn specifically stated what Smollett told them. Further, the police asked for help from the public in determining what happened, which may have been the first indication that pieces of the story were missing.
There is an overabundance of credulity and no questioning whatsoever.

The point is what isnít there, context to his claims. Info on the neighborhood would nice, apparently that tipped off a few folks that the story was a hoax.
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Old 02-19-2019, 12:05 PM
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What media do you watch that isn't what you call "MSM", and how was it reported there?
At work they sometimes have NBC, CBS or others on but normally I dont "follow" any.
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Old 02-19-2019, 12:05 PM
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I think if they would have just reported so and so was attacked in a reported hate crime, and then NOT do all the anti-MAGA stuff, then I would be ok.
What "MSM" did all the "anti-MAGA stuff"?
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Old 02-19-2019, 12:05 PM
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Originally Posted by WillFarnaby View Post
There is an overabundance of credulity and no questioning whatsoever.
I didn't ask what your opinion is of the article. I'm asking specifically what passages you object to.
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Old 02-19-2019, 12:06 PM
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What media do you follow that does it "right"?
I prob consume similar media as you but can laugh at silliness when it appears, which is often.
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Old 02-19-2019, 12:06 PM
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At work they sometimes have NBC, CBS or others on but normally I dont "follow" any.
The where the hell do you get your news...or do you consider all the news to be "MSM"?
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Old 02-19-2019, 12:07 PM
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I didn't ask what your opinion is of the article. I'm asking specifically what passages you object to.
The entire article exhibits an overabundance of credulity. Pick one.
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Old 02-19-2019, 12:08 PM
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The entire article exhibits an overabundance of credulity. Pick one.
No U.
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Old 02-19-2019, 12:09 PM
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I object to all of them.
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