Posted on September 26, 2022

From Jussie Smollett to BYU, the Media’s History of Peddling Race Hoaxes

Joseph A. Wulfsohn, Fox News, September 26, 2022

Last month, claims made by a Black volleyball player from Duke University made national headlines.

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.


{snip} 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 In fact, BYU issued an apology to him and rescinded his ban.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 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.”


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. {snip}


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.”


{snip} 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 whose 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.