The Next Duke “Rape” Case
Perhaps you missed it, the case of the "Jena 6." These were the 6 black high school students from Jena, Louisiana whom national race hucksters like Al Sharpton, the NAACP, and the mainstream media attempted to turn into the Chicago … Read More
Perhaps you missed it, the case of the "Jena 6." These were the 6 black high school students from Jena, Louisiana whom national race hucksters like Al Sharpton, the NAACP, and the mainstream media attempted to turn into the Chicago 7 or the Guildford 4. Last December, they beat the living daylights out of a white student. Yet in a bizarre (and ultimately all-too-predictable) rendering of the story, the usual suspects swept in and turned this incident into the next Selma. Nearly 20,000 people gathered there last month to protest, and it is this incident that led Jesse Jackson to claim that Barack Obama was "acting white" for not joining him in the usual race-baiting hysterics.
The source of the left-wing ire about the Jena 6 was an incident earlier last year in which black students at Jena High School sat under what was alleged to be a "whites-only tree," only to find three nooses hanging from said tree the next day. What followed was a series of tit-for-tat incidents between black and white students, leading ultimately to the violent beating of Justin Barker, age 17.
I had suspected that there was something fishy in the liberal media's telling of this story (see Stanford Law School Professor Richard Thompson Ford's dispassionate analysis of the story in Slate), which is why I was a bit perturbed to see the Human Rights Campaign, the country's leading gay rights organization, take the side of the Free the Jena 6 protesters several weeks ago. If there was any "gay angle" to this series of events (and there isn't) it would be an expression of sympathy with the white student randomly set upon by 6 students and beat beyond unconsciousness simply because he was white. According those who support "hate crimes" legislation, this is a hate crime, unless they wish to retroactively change the definition of the proposed law so that only blacks can be victims and whites perpetrators. Change, furthermore, Barker's sexual orientation to homosexual, and you have the prototypical gay bashing. But no, the Human Rights Campaign, ostensibly a non-partisan organization, apparently wants some chits with the "black" and "progressive" "communities" and decided to cast any concern for the truth of the matter to the wind and join in this ridiculous spectacle.
Well, as with the Duke case, the situation in Jena was not what Al Sharpton and the perpetually over-earnest American Prospect (which is always seizing upon faux-incidents like the "Jena 6" to call for a "national conversation" about race, labor, or purple ponies) made it out to be. In yesterday's Christian Science Monitor of all places, Craig Franklin, an editor of the local Jena Times newspaper, offers a short and devastating analysis of the "distorted story of the Jena 6." He wrote the piece mostly as a response to the "hundreds" of calls his paper has received from national media looking for an accurate version of the events that took place. To put it bluntly, nearly every single aspect of this story has been sensationalized and mis-reported by mainstream media outlets." In fact, I have never before witnessed such a disgrace in professional journalism," Franklin, a career journalist, writes.
One might hope that Jackson, Sharpton, the Prospect, the Human Rights Campaign and everyone who shuttled down to Jena and back to have their photo taken would apologize to the people they slandered — as in the Duke case — and perhaps exercise a little more restraint the next time The Big Story That Exemplifies The Need For A National Conversation On Race comes over the transom. Don't count on it.