Are you a “far-right extremist”? There’s a simple test to find out. If you doubt that homophobic Trump supporters are prowling the streets of Chicago looking to beat up gay TV stars, you’re a “far-right extremist,” according to Alex Henderson of AlterNet. Henderson declared that “some extremists on the far right” — including syndicated columnist Michelle Malkin — are responsible for suspicions that actor Jussie Smollett was not attacked by Republicans in the wee hours of Tuesday morning. Only an “extremist” could doubt Smollett’s story, according to Henderson, although Chicago police have so far been unable to verify it. As Patrick Poole of PJMedia observed Thursday, “the ongoing investigation into the alleged hate crime… has raised more questions than it has answered.” While the area near where Smollett claims to have been attacked is “heavily monitored,” Poole noted, police who “have reviewed hundreds of hours of surveillance video” couldn’t find any that showed the alleged attack. But Patrick Poole is probably an “extremist” by Henderson’s standards, and maybe the Chicago cops are, too.
Getting labeled “far right” is astonishingly easy in the Trump era, when Democrats and their media allies would have us believe that the White House is occupied by the reincarnation of Adolf Hitler and that the nearly 63 million Americans who elected him are “white nationalists” or “alt-right” or some other scary term. If you vote Republican, you don’t actually have to do anything to be accused of crypto-Nazi sentiments by the purveyors of progressive paranoia. Merely express support for the president’s agenda (or opposition to the Democrats’ agenda) and you’re a latter-day Eichmann. This rhetorical escalation, with ordinary law-abiding conservatives being routinely smeared as “fascists,” can best be understood as a psychological after-effect of the 2016 election. Barack Obama’s popularity had convinced liberals that they were “on the right side of history,” Hillary Clinton was therefore destined to become America’s first female president, and when she lost, her supporters freaked out so completely they might never recover.
One symptom of the Great Liberal Freak-Out is a tendency to see “hate” everywhere. Imagining that Trump’s election betokens a resurgence of racism, liberals are certain that would-be Klansmen and neo-Nazi sympathizers are skulking around stealthily in every conceivable disguise, planning God-knows-what, so that just about anything might be interpreted as “evidence” of racist tendencies. Just recently, accusations of racism resulted in a highly anticipated novel being withdrawn before publication despite the fact that (a) none of the accusers had read the as-yet-unpublished book, and (b) the author is a young Chinese immigrant named Amelie Wen Zhao. This news prompted one man to remark on Twitter that “we’re essentially now burning books before they are even written.” There is no reason at all to believe Ms. Zhao is a “far-right extremist,” but no one is beyond suspicion in the age of the Great Liberal Freak-Out.
Only Republicans ever merit the accusation of “extremism” in the minds of the anti-Trump media. Nothing any Democrat proposes — not even infanticide — is far enough out of the mainstream to deserve being labeled “far-left” by the standards of people who think CNN and MSNBC are engaged in objective journalism. Because liberal journalists consider any policy endorsed by Democrats to be mainstream, by definition, then by the same standard, any opposition to the Democrat agenda is inherently wrong and, as a corollary to this principle, any policy advocated by Republicans (e.g., actually enforcing U.S. immigration laws) is not mainstream. Once you understand how this works, you see why the utmost radicalism on the Left is entirely acceptable to the anti-Trump media.
Consider, for example, the left-wing mobs who call themselves “Antifa.” One of their D.C.-based leaders, Joseph Alcoff (a/k/a “Chepe”) was recently arrested on 17 charges “in connection to the Antifa mob attack against two Marines in November.” If any liberal journalist has branded Alcoff a “far-left extremist,” I missed it. The anti-Trump media are very skillful at ignoring violence by the Left, and CNN viewers probably have no idea that two U.S. Marines, Alejandro Godinez and Luis Torres, were attacked in Philadelphia by left-wingers who falsely accused these young Latino men of being “white supremacists.” More recently, an “Antifa” radical in Oregon was shot to death by police after he pulled a 9-mm pistol on them in a Jan. 11 altercation at a Eugene middle school. An investigation found the officers acted in self-defense in the shooting of left-wing radical Charlie Landeros, and Eugene police on Monday found “incendiary devices” planted outside police headquarters. But this violent extremism was apparently not newsworthy enough for CNN to pay attention.
In the age of the Great Liberal Freak-Out, left-wingers can attack innocents on the streets of Philadelphia or threaten police with pistols in Oregon without meriting attention from the national media, which only cares about violence if it involves the “far right” and thereby feeds their anti-Trump narrative of ubiquitous “hate.” And this was one reason why conservatives were skeptical when Jussie Smollett, best known for his role as a gay R&B singer in the Fox TV series Empire, claimed he was attacked in Chicago by two ski-mask-wearing men who reportedly shouted, “This is MAGA country!” The story sounded too perfect, like something scripted with an MSNBC audience in mind and, given that practically every celebrity in Hollywood is an outspoken Trump-hater, why would right-wing thugs target this rather obscure actor in Chicago? Michelle Malkin made the obvious points:
Question: How many racist, homophobic menaces wander around the upscale Streeterville neighborhood of liberal Chicago at 2 a.m. carrying rope and bleach, yelling about “MAGA country”?
Question: How many racist, homophobic menaces have ever heard of “Empire,” could recognize Jussie Smollett, or know or care anything about his sexuality?
Such doubts are simply common sense, but apparently common sense is now “far right” extremism. Malkin has spent years documenting the “hate” hoaxes perpetrated by the Left, particularly on college campuses. In the wake of the 2016 election, after a black man was arrested for faking “pro-Trump” vandalism in Philadelphia, Malkin wrote: “As I have long observed, liberals see racism where it doesn’t exist, fabricate it when they can’t find it, and ignore it within their own ranks.” This is true, and while we don’t yet know what happened to Jussie Smollett in Chicago, we have every right to be skeptical of the ready-made narratives promoted by purveyors of anti-Trump paranoia.