Posted on January 2, 2020

A Case Study in Lying Without Lying

Gregory Hood, American Renaissance, January 2, 2019

A 2014 study found that only 41 percent of Americans read the news beyond the headlines. A 2016 study reported that people have not even clicked on 59 percent of links they promote on Twitter. My guess is that these numbers are now even worse because of the flood of content, which some researchers say is shortening attention spans. In 2015 (which seems like a lifetime ago), Microsoft published a study claiming our attention spans had declined below those of goldfish.

In 2016, Science Post, a humor website, published an article with the headline “Study: 70% of Facebook users only read the headline of science stories before commenting.” The bulk of the article was “lorem ipsum” gibberish. Nearly 50,000 people shared it; the Washington Post noted that many did so “quite earnestly.”

Now consider the way The Hill reported the following story:

Some comments decry Donald Trump supporters, “imperialists,” or “anti-refugee hate.”

The Hill did not mention that the criminal was a black hobo. Harold Eugene Denson III spat on a Ukrainian immigrant, told the victim to “go back to your country,” and threatened to slice him with a box cutter. It all began when Mr. Denson threw trash on the Ukrainian’s car dealership. Mr. Denson reportedly said the property didn’t belong to the victim because it was “American soil.”

Harold Eugene Denson III

I suppose this could be a case of extreme civic nationalism gone awry. However, it’s probably just another black bum doing something violent while screaming whatever insults come to mind. Mr. Denson needs his head examined, not homework assignments about immigrants.

Some people in the comments pointed out that the criminal was black and the victim was (presumably) white. This didn’t stop insults against Donald Trump supporters.

Most media saw only the immigration angle.

Most people will see these headlines and conclude this was a hateful attack by a “white conservative.” The truth is buried beneath the headlines, beyond which most people don’t read.

Silly stories like this are why so many people think there’s an epidemic of “hate crimes” inspired by President Trump, when there’s no such thing. The real problem is sensational headlines that push a political point of view.