But should we even care?
Remember how two MAGA enthusiasts supposedly attacked Jussie Smollett and then the police didn't find any evidence and then they seemed to think he actually orchestrated the whole thing and then he was indicted on 16 felony accounts?
Well now prosecutors have dropped all the charges against Smollett and he's quadrupling down, saying he's "been truthful and consistent on every single level since day one." So first of all, what the hell?
Did this attack happen or didn't it? If it did happen as Smollett insists, how did the Chicago police department fail to find any evidence whatsoever? What was the deal with those two brothers who admitted to being paid by Smollett?
And if it didn't happen, why would the prosecutor possibly drop all charges? Is this just another case of a celebrity getting off the hook? Is someone high up a really big fan of Empire?
Unfortunately, the case file is completely closed, so no information about the reasoning behind this will be released to the public.
While the whole Jussie Smollett case seems to have been a massive waste of time all around, it also says something more substantial about the way media coverage shapes social narratives. When a story like this breaks, even if we approach the claims with skepticism, people jump to conclusions one way or the other – either assuming it happened or assuming the subject is lying. In other words, someone is always assumed guilty, be it the "attacker" or the "victim."
In this vein, stories like the Jussie Smollett case will always cause a cultural divide one way or the other, no matter how neutral the reporting may be. It's impossible to cover a loaded story like this one without causing polarization. So is the answer to simply ignore this type of story before they're fully formed (assuming that ever even happens)? Or does the public benefit from the media circus in the many cases where these stories turn out to be true (ie: Harvey Weinstein)? Perhaps we just need to learn to strike the proper balance. Of course, that's easier said in hindsight.
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