Newsbait: The New Way To Influence Public Opinion

Did you hear the horrible story about the gay man Jussie Smollets? This somewhat successful actor had been beaten, had chemicals poured on his face, and the assailants also put a noose around his neck.

It is a horrible story and anyone with any amount of decency would be appalled by hearing it. We can all hope justice will be done when they apprehend these perpetrators. Beating the crap of someone because they are black, or any color, or because they are gay is just wrong.

But what is curious to me is that the story made headlines on ABC News, NBC Nightly News and This Evening with CBS News, and has been repeated with great frequency on the cable news channels, and “driving a national debate” about race relations and so-called rampant racism AND homophobia in America, which I propose is non-existent.

This most recent attack is an illustration of a tragedy, an isolated one, not the rampant racism and gay outrage than is being portrayed by the news media at large.

I am especially curious because the story came out of nowhere, and no one is quite sure who this so-called celebrity is, plus his story is very vague. No witnesses, no video, no description, just the victim and his story. Curious how it went viral even as it is still under investigation. What is the backstory? who approached whom? What kinds of chemicals were used? Details are sketchy, but the point is that it happened and we are all made to feel outraged.

Thousands of people get victimized everyday. This story, if true, serves as a reminder that there are some really bad people in society, which we know. But does it illustrate rampant racism in America today? Does it highlight a growing trend of gay-beatings? Stories like these are indeed very rare, and yet this story appeared on our Twitter feeds, Facebook, and the major News outlets simultaneously, almost as if it was planted for a specific purpose to stir intended debate.

Again, not taking anything away from the victim, but why this victim, one in which so few details are known?

On New Years Day I just happened to check my Twitter feed and there it was, another unusual story of a hate crime. I thought to myself, why am I getting this story? And I never heard any follow up on the story after that, except that my 19 year old son told me he saw the story on Twitter. Are you telling me that my son and I follow the same news outlets? I hardly think so, and yet another hate- crime pushed out to social media.

Who exactly is pushing out these racial strife stories? And if you wanted to “drive a national debate,” to remind us that black gay men are sometimes the victim of assault, what about attacks on gay white men? transgenders? women? young girls? young boys and older people who also get robbed and often times killed every day, are they not also worthy of a national debate?

The real irony of this current story, which is sad, is that famed Hollywood producer Bryan Singer is accused of a history of sexual assault on young men, and no one seems to be having a national debate on how to control gay-sexual predators.

Taking nothing away from the victims, except to say that news-bait exploits these victims by using their story to push a narrative in order to drive a specific debate to further an agenda, in this case that gay men are victimized.

We have laws against assault, hate-crime laws, and child-safety laws. Assaults one on group of people are shown to be rare, not rampant. In fact, nationally, the FBI reports assaults, including assaults against gay men and women, are down significantly to pre-1970 lows.

So the next time you get a news tweet or hear a news story about the latest horrible assault, ask yourself “why am I being told this story,” to promote rage? emotional sadness? or is it because I am being manipulated into an unnecessary debate about supposed rampant racism or homophobia in America, and news-bait is designed to shape public opinion towards a specific agenda, or against a specific person.

It is not without notice that one actor is now blaming Trump for the assault on Smollets, on all race assaults in America, proving my point that newsbait drives agenda, which in this case, seems to once again make Trump the reason for all of our social ills, detracting from the real issue of sexual violence, or violence predicated on prejudice.


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