Tyranny of small minds

Greg Smith, Managing editor

I just read an opinion piece published in another school newspaper, the Yale Daily News. In a February 7 column titled “Evil is banal,” Yale student Isis Davis-Marks basically argues that white men should be stalked and monitored so that dirt on them can later be used to destroy their lives. No, I’m not making this up.
The view expressed by Davis-Marks is similar to that of Sarah Jeong, who was last year appointed to the editorial board of the New York Times. Jeong has written “it’s kind of sick how much joy I get out of being cruel to old white men,” among other things. Although leftists have tried to explain away Jeong’s views as “quasi-satirical” hyperboles, Jeong has done nothing to distance herself from her statements and has a knack for doubling-down on them at every opportunity.
The pattern of dividing society into groups that are favored and those that are not and railing against the latter whenever convenient seems to be reflected in the news media’s credulity of anything which reflects poorly on males, particularly those from disfavored religious or racial groups. Exhibit A, of course, is the botched coverage of the exchange between Catholic high school students from Kentucky and an antagonistic counter protester following the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C. The narrative rolled out by the media was that the group of evil white male students was antagonizing Native American elder and Vietnam veteran Nathan Phillips. (Phillips, as it turns out, is a professional protester whose claims of having served in Vietnam were untrue.)  It was also reported that the students chanted “build the wall” and made derogatory comments toward Phillips’ group. Days after the exchange, however, video footage surfaced which revealed that it was Phillips who sought to antagonize the group of students, who had just been jeered by a separate group, known as the “Black Hebrew Israelites.”  There was no evidence that the students ever chanted “build the wall,” though the words were actually chanted by the Black Hebrew Israelites. The students, as it turned out, acted rather admirably to an adverse situation, created entirely by “adults,” and booed the Black Hebrew Israelites when they made homophobic remarks.
The problem, here, is that Davis-Marks, Jeong and others are eager to classify people based on their gender, racial identity, or religious affiliation to serve what they see as a truthful narrative—that those groups, particularly white males and, in the case of the Covington students, Catholic white males from the south wearing “MAGA” hats (wow, these kids checked all of the countercultural boxes, didn’t they?)—are hateful. News organizations, like CNN, the Washington Post and the New York Times spun the story in the way they did even when the actual facts were entirely inconsistent with that reporting. The narrative went so far that the Twitter mob of ignorant celebrities advocated violence against the students. No joke.
And the media continue to push their flawed narrative, ignoring reality as they go. As I write this, the implausible story of the “attack” on actor Jussie Smollett continues to unwind. Smollett claimed that he was attacked by two men who were wearing “MAGA” hats (of course!) and spewing racial and homophobic slurs. Smollett’s story was improbable, to say the least (clue no. 1:  how many Trump supporters even knew who Smollett was before this story broke?), but that didn’t stop the media from advancing the unbelievable story of the “attack” on Smollett and cloaking it in credibility, a la Covington. It fit their fake narrative, so they went with it.
Let me acknowledge that as a white guy from Western Springs, I will never face the type of prejudice that many African-Americans have faced, particularly those in the Jim Crow south. But the Covington phenomenon, the role of the news media in promoting their narrative and the numbskull celebrities encouraging violence against high school kids should concern all of us. Isis Davis-Marks, Sarah Jeong and those bullying members of society to advance their agenda at CNN and the Washington Post are promoting a form of social tyranny, even intellectual fascism. Doing, saying, or writing anything to shamelessly promote their prevailing narrative always trumps the facts.