How Jussie Smollett’s Exoneration Proves The Media is The Absolute Worst
What happened to Jussie Smollett in the weeks after his alleged attack is a capsule of events that should make us soberingly aware of how we’ve evolved away from the delivery of news that is cohesively dignified, and dependably fulfilled in the assignment of unbiasedness.
The shit fest that followed the harrowing hours after the “breaking news” was scarily suffocating, thanks to the numerous updates from “police sources” that were plastered on timelines with rapid intensity, as the zigzag diagram of the polarizing case, captivating the nation, continued to display the erratic nature of a climate that woefully plays host to nationalized dysfunction, with the tools of disorder that encourages participation.
Even the incompetent mess of a president wasn’t too occupied with the imaginary crisis at the border or the real life emergency of gun control to tweet his displeasure at the way his deadly rally cry #MAGA has been grossly distorted by the bad press of a hate crime that allegedly never happened.
The “unnamed police sources” dropping sketchy hints that were meant to plant the seeds of doubt with choreographed suggestiveness was the earliest sign that Jussie Smollett wasn’t going to get fair treatment while the investigative process played out to the tune of conformed chaos.
Once the indictment hit, all hell broke loose. And when I say hell, I mean there was a blast of media mayhem that was profoundly over-powering with the mustiness of how news organizations both liberal and conservative, were on alert with bated breath for the spotlighted Black celebrity to fall hard with that resounding thump.
Trump’s #MAGA misfits wanted justice for the public smearing, not because they give a damn about how their mere existence endorses the murderous motives of White male terrorists, but because of the political battlefield that has taken on a nefariously threatening stance due to the outlandishness of an administration that’s outfitted with well-positioned renegades.
Trump’s ascension to the seat of absolute power was ignited by the diseased landscape of the media and social media, and how those tools of engagement have manifested the unyielding lust for packaged untruths that are acceptable as long as they feel good enough to eat.
Reputable organizations like CNN and others in that realm, tried to walk the tightrope of restraint during the earlier stages of the scandal, but once the Chicago P.D. ceremoniously announced what most had already begun tweeting with fingers crossed — the moderately disciplined act gave way to a full blown embrace of exactly what journalists from the golden era would never have tolerated.
Top primetime anchors like Anderson Cooper, Chris Cuomo and Don Lemon, could hardly contain themselves, as they measuredly gloated in the brew of Smollett’s takedown, by harping on the so-called evidence that was damningly tangible to refute.
The well-lit segments featured Cooper condescendingly challenging Smollett’s counsel, Mark Geragos, with the suaveness that airily implied that regardless of the argument for the defense of one of the “most hated humans in the country,” there wasn’t a shred of doubt that the indictment was fairly levied.
Cuomo and Lemon settled for their superior grasp of the law, and how despite Smollett’s insistence that he was innocent, anyone with a working brain could’ve called the perfect ending to an “open-and shut-case” that didn’t require additional accompaniments to drag it out.
Industry trades like The Hollywood Reporter took the more theatrical approach with the splashy exposé that creepily traced Smollett’s very typical trajectory as a child actor to the present TV star and burgeoning musician, while steadfastly highlighting and exaggerating the tumultous periods in the middle.
The major takeaway from that headache-inducing hit piece was the desperate need to enlighten readers on how the intense pressures of celebritydom, coupled with the verified bouts of depression that was garnered from a timely tweet — evidently collided to release the explosiveness of a “True Hollywood Story” that was expectedly headed for a downward spiral.
Truth be told, as soon as the news cycle erupted with the “story of the year,” the first instinct was to write a loving letter of support for Smollett and the community he represents.
Black members of the LGBTQ community are particularly vulnerable to acts of violence, and in almost all cases, there’s no justice for the battered and bruised or murdered souls.
Case in point is the vanished headline of the latest victim to be found dead in the home of wealthy Democratic donor Edward Buck, who happens to be a White man with a demonstrated fetish for young Black gay guys, and his ravenous appetite tends to have lethal consequences.
Days after my inaugural piece was activated, the “mysterious unnamed and unvetted sources” began popping up everywhere.
The underlying theme hinted at the strong likelihood that the young Black man at the center of the mayhem, was in fact a fraud, who for reasons that were unclear, chose to stage an elaborate “hoax” to maximize his station as the conveniently primed target of a crime that the presently divisive nation demands.
Social platforms were disorganized by the political implications derived from the cumbersomeness of being on the wrong side of injustice, that had little to do with Smollett’s shattering reputation and emotional shell, and more to do with the urgent need to thread through the heated competition to viral victory with the mud stains of a victim who was being -re-victimized by systemic default.
There was a need to focus my next piece on the direness of our state-of-affairs and how nauseating it was and still is to witness the utter lack of humanness when it comes to a crisis that should force a break from the volatileness, that has become the mandatory mode of communication that click-baiters and traffic-manipulators rely on for their bread and butter.
Regardless of whether or not the attack was real or fake, there would be no winners or losers in a game that wasn’t meant to be initiated in the first place.
And now we’ve come full circle with the update from Smollett’s legal team, that confirms all 16 charges have been formally dropped.
Here’s the actor’s immediate response to the new development:
The media’s response will replicate the circus that preceded what can be interpreted as a full exoneration, as over-exposed and over-paid law analysts and entertainment correspondents will indulge in the over-analytical theories of how this solvable case has reverted back to its original mind-boggling settings with the twists and turns to boot.
But will there be the much-needed shakedown of seasoned pros who have all but abandoned the requirements of job duties in the investigative realm?
The “story of the year” got very dark, very quickly, thanks to the directionless pursuits of reporters, who gauge the temperature of Twitter and Facebook before tackling complex narratives.
There’s little or no attempt to approach pending items with the professionalism that eradicates the hovering sensationalism, that has sadly become the dominant element for news organizations, big and small.
The lazy reportage could be attributed to the way poison from the top drips down to every functioning facet with the threat to clog the valves of transparency, that should’ve permitted healthy and progressive dialog that rightfully questions the mysteries of why the Chicago P.D. didn’t fight against the potency of “unnamed sources” spreading filth on the internet.
Or why the details about the “Nigerian brothers” and the exact role they played was fuzzy in the beginning and then frustratingly narrowed with heavy reliance on the parts that would justify Smollett’s guilt.
And lastly, it’s beyond unfathomable and greatly disappointing that reporters refused to utilize their army of resources and brain power to make the case for how that suspiciously “perfect ending” with the glitzy footage of the “surrender” and the well-rehearsed statement from the uniformed hero, with the added summation of the silly reasons why the “hoax” was implemented — seemed too good to be true.
As we enter next frontier in this searing saga of “man versus unreality” we must task ourselves with the burden of unveiling exactly why we prefer the authority to be misguided sleuths, who are able to coerce the moodiness of news items, even if we’re fucking with the real lives of those accused, who may not be deserving of the reckless game of ping-pong at their expense.
Major news outlets need to accept that they no longer manage the integrity of what we internalize for our daily nourishment because when it comes to investigative activities, and the relentless drive to exhaust every angle with the dedication to remaining stoically neutral until the news breaks with the reward for those enviable characteristics — the media is the absolute worst!