In our opinion: Jussie Smollett scandal exposes the corrosive effects of instant certainty

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  • Elizabeth Bennet Pemberly, UK, 00
    Feb. 26, 2019 10:11 a.m.

    In every situation, the media has jumped to the defense of the leftist, and in every case they have been proven wrong. Perhaps the real lesson to be learned is that the media should be more balanced, and not a propaganda piece for the left.

  • Utefan60 , 00
    Feb. 26, 2019 10:06 a.m.

    2 bits - Cottonwood Heights, UT, the Deseret News allowed you to make comments on what I said. Now they had better let me comment back!

    First our leaders did not decry this! At least not Trump until he was pushed and prodded almost a week later to say "it was a shame" When asked if his rhetoric had anything to do with it? He replied "I only say nice things." 2 bits, is that really what a leader should say about such a deplorable act targeted at Democrats? Huh?

    The previous Republican Chairman decried Trump's lack of response a few days after the arrest. Reported in the Associated Press. Yet Trump was tweeting about Smollett within minutes after it happened.

    He was also tweeting to the kid with the MAGA hat to go after the "fake" news. That's a leadership response? That is childlike behavior, plain and simple

    His leadership on this issue is non existant to those who educate themselves.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Feb. 25, 2019 8:56 a.m.

    RE: "At the same time this happened a Coast Guard member threatened to kill "liberals and those of the press", yet not a single word from this country's supposed leadership"...
    Uhmmm, he also said he wanted to kill "every human on the planet" (not just liberals). You kinda conveniently left that part out.

    Google "US Coast Guard officer hoped to 'kill every person on the earth' - BBC"...

    I know he wanted to kill Democrats, and that's evil. But he also wanted to kill every person on earth. You seem to gloss completely over that fact, as if it's only evil because he wanted to kill Democrats.

    The guy was just evil. He wanted to kill every person on the earth (Democrats and Republicans, white and black, every person on the earth). He was crazy.


    RE: "Yet not a single word from this country's supposed leadership"...
    Turn off MSNBC and you would know that our leadership has clearly denounced this.

    Google 'Trump responds to arrested Coast Guard officer - CNN"...

    Google "'I think it's a shame': Trump comments on Coast Guard officer accused -WashingtonPost"...

    Is that "not one word"?

    Don't make up your own news, post it, and pretend it's reality.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    Feb. 25, 2019 8:41 a.m.

    Watching the talking head programs on cable, CNN and MSNBC made similar points and did some introspection on the role of the media. This was very responsible on their part. As for Fox, introspection and self-criticism is not in the cards. Remember, it's a partisan propaganda network.

  • Utefan60 , 00
    Feb. 25, 2019 6:27 a.m.

    If the facts come out to be true, then what this man did was horrible and did damage to those very groups that he is trying to use. That said, the "liberals" as many call those who oppose Trump have been equally angry at this possible fraud. They are not defending him. Unlike the Trump supporters who deflect at every chance to avoid dealing with the lies and deceit we hear every day. There is a difference. And it is called hypocrisy.

    At the same time this happened a Coast Guard member threatened to kill "liberals and those of the press", yet not a single word from this country's supposed leadership.

    That is far worse. Yet neglected by our "leaders" Why?

    The reason there is instant judgement in our society is the fact that we live in an era that fact checking by reliable sources including the "fake media" provide us with information to see through the daily lies and dishonesties that spew out of the White House. It's called discernment. Honest, moral people research and try to separate truth from fiction.

    This case has raised the issues, and the Conservatives are thrilled. However one very stupid event does not nullify the thousands of lies we hear.

  • Akman Santaquin, UT
    Feb. 24, 2019 1:09 p.m.

    Playing eager people like a fiddle is nothing new. The people hoping for dirt on anything Trump were off to the races in a blinding spray of manure, as my father would say.

    Fire, ready, aim partisanship rules social media and the political landscape. I see nothing changing on the horizon. The point of concern isn’t that the media got duped, but that Mr. Smollett was confident and had no doubt that it would work. This is the trend with a media ever lying in wait to run with anti Trump news.

  • I M LDS 2 Provo, UT
    Feb. 24, 2019 12:08 p.m.

    "Unless you are Brett Kavanaugh."

    Are you absolutely certain about that?

    Of course you are! Instant partisanship, regardless of relevance.

  • slowdive Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 24, 2019 6:18 a.m.

    certainty in most things, well, IMO, in all things - is never ever a good thing, with the best answer often being "I Don't Know"
    (?s over !s) / questions over exclamations
    nary one Yellow Brick Road to a destination
    to keeping that Mind Wide Open idea
    my .10c

  • MacMama Sandy, UT
    Feb. 23, 2019 4:17 p.m.

    “Even in the wake of evidence revealed, his attorneys were actually correct when they reminded everyone that Smollett enjoys the presumption of innocence until proven otherwise in court.‘

    Unless you are Brett Kavanaugh.

  • Say No to BO Mapleton, UT
    Feb. 23, 2019 3:39 p.m.

    My last post disappeared, so I'll try another topic.

    Some here are calling for us to respect Jussie's due process. Think about it for a minute. Police Super Eddie Johnson, a man who knows all the evidence available, has just called Jussie on the carpet about the threat letter and the staged mugging.

    Johnson is black and works at the pleasure of an alt-left mayor. Chicago is a sanctuary city. Rahm celebrates gay p[ride.

    Do you think Eddie Johnson would have said those things if there was any inkling of reasonable doubt regarding Jussie's actions? Do you think Rahm would have allowed him to say those things?

  • 👌Antidote To Chaos ,
    Feb. 23, 2019 11:47 a.m.

    "In our opinion: Jussie Smollett scandal exposes the corrosive effects of leftist media bias."

    There, fixed it.

    Just about the same title that could be used for the Covington Catholic affair.

  • zipadeedoodah Lehi, UT
    Feb. 23, 2019 10:52 a.m.

    @Swirl - Orem says people rush to judgement but then states "Sandmann was not innocent in the affair and his libel lawsuit is without merit. The teen was clearly being a disrespectful."

    Wow! So Swirl is the judge and jury on that one I guess.

    That is not what I saw. I saw a native american who walked up to Sandmann and pounded his drum in Sandmann's ear in an intimidating manner. Let's see how this one pans out. My guess is the the Washington Post will settle it quietly out of court because I don't think it will come out well for them if taken to a jury.

  • Brett AA Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 23, 2019 10:29 a.m.

    During the height of the #metoo movement, which was long over due, the common refrain from the activists was in order to be truly a supporter of woman and specifically those that suffer sexual abuse/harassment, you must start by “believing them”. You were encouraged to unequivocally and without hesitation completely believe the claim. This always bothered me because, first our justice system is supposed to be innocent until proven guilty and second, just as importantly, it assumed that no false claims ever happen. I think this movement was and is needed to change some issues in our culture, but as with all near mob like movements the pendulum went too far the other direction.

  • countryvoice3 Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 23, 2019 9:36 a.m.

    2bits.."We kinda need to wait for the investigation to release their results before judging him on collusion don't you think?

    Do you think you have enough to judge him already? "

    Dig down further 2bits. You can be guilty of something without being guilty of a crime.

    Obstruction is in plain sight, because of Trumps own admissions. He admitted publically he fired Comey because of the Russian probe. He publically numerous times criticized Sessions for recusing himself from the investigation calling him disloyal. He has hired two Attorney's General who have publically not only criticized the investigation but have called it illegal.

    Who knows all or any of this is illegal..but it's clear obstruction and could easily have a political consequences if only in the next election.

  • 4601 Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 23, 2019 9:30 a.m.

    The media thrives on click-bait headlines and topics that fit their political narrative. Retractions and subsequent in-depth reporting are usually buried in the back pages, if reported at all. The NYT's motto of All the news that's fit to print has become All the fits our agenda, we print.

  • wyoming cougar Green River, WY
    Feb. 23, 2019 8:56 a.m.

    While I believe in the presumption of innocence, I find it interesting that his lawyers are reminding people of that presumption, and even the DNews pushes it-

    But where was the presumption of innocence for Brett Kavanaugh, or for the Lt. Governor of Virginia, or for Donald Trump Trump that matter?

    It's too bad that we have to be reminded of that in today's world as we're all so anxious to judge (and not always righteous judgment).

    It's not just a social media issue, it is most definitely a media issue (including local papers), and a political (politicians) issue. It's amazing how many political leaders quickly deleted their social media posts as the truth came out.

  • countryvoice3 Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 23, 2019 8:43 a.m.

    "And yet we must make an important distinction. Instant certainty is not the same as the need to give purported victims the benefit of all doubts."

    This is where it gets hard both in the beginning and during due process when an alleged act by nature won't have much "hard" evidence.

    Blaming the media, is weak unless you can show they did distort. Every time I've seen reports on stories referenced here the media I watch goes out of its way to point out the act is alleged, and uses the phrase "if true" throughout the conversation. The rest is up to me.

    I have noticed something recently that the progressive side is so overwhelmed by the egregious lying of Trump and his supporters, so overcome by Trumps egregious demeaning of our foundational institutions, and so astonished by the viper pit of people Trump has surrounded himself with all his life, that they are starting to have to work really hard at objectivity. Hang in folks. Hopefully this implodes on itself.

  • Eponymous Eggplant Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 23, 2019 8:39 a.m.

    @Tolstoy: The only reason the facts are not widely known and believed is that the media/entertainment/socialist complex refuses to publish the facts that have already dribbled out, from testimony under oath, inspector general reports, and so on. That's not an issue of instant certainty, but rather, toxic bias in service of corruption, or as n8ive american called it, being "protected." Perhaps your question to me would be better directed to the editorial staff.

  • kolob1 Sandy, UT
    Feb. 23, 2019 8:14 a.m.

    @Say No to BO - Mapleton, UT

    "Journalists and their editors so wanted the story to be true. It complemented their anti-Trump narrative. "

    No. No one needs a Jessie Smollet story to be anti Trump. Just read his tweets every morning about the "traitors" in the Justice department. Incidents like the Jessie Smollet story are fecund grist for Donald Trump.

    Smollet's duplicity and lies server as a buffer to Trump's duplicity and lies.

  • thunderbolt7 Dutch John, UT
    Feb. 23, 2019 8:12 a.m.

    This misguided editorial misses the point. The concluding paragraph states, "For the American people ... the lesson should be to reserve judgment." But the major media is complicit; it gives bad information to the American public by jumping to conclusions and publishing false, misleading, or inadequate information, which justifiably gives rise to accusations of "fake news." Because much of the media is already anti-Trump, the Smollett hoax fit right in with their narative and simply confirmed their preconceived bias, so it must have been true.

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    Feb. 23, 2019 7:32 a.m.

    @ a_voice_of_reason

    I found your comment even better than the editorial. Thank you. I especially appreciate the appeal to give people the benefit of the doubt. Our hyper-partisanship actually encourages the opposite and it's so destructive. And false! We are all human beings. We all possess human nature. That makes us all far more alike than we are different. It also makes us complicated messes that requires nuance rather than black/white thinking to capture what's actually true.

    IMO, it is true that part of the reason so many instantly believed Smollett is because 1) his story fit a preconceived narrative; and 2) that narrative isn't entirely false. It is also true that those now pointing fingers feel vindicated because it fits their preconceived narrative of the other side and that narrative isn't entirely false.

    Finally, for what it's worth, I think it's human nature to reach snap judgments. We're designed to. But we don't have to act on them and, more importantly, we can remain open to modifying them as more information comes in.

  • cowshed Provo, Utah
    Feb. 23, 2019 4:22 a.m.

    The sad part is not just that real victims may be disbelieved, but that many will be afraid to report for fear of prosecution if they can’t prove their case.

    Even sadder is that hate still exists among us at all. Remember the Sermon on the Mount.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 22, 2019 11:04 p.m.

    On the matter of Patriots' owner being cought in the sex traffic place, best not rush in, wait for the tape! we

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 22, 2019 10:18 p.m.

    @2bits My point is Trump's obstruction of Justice to counter russiagate is right out in the open. This newspaper should be able to render judgement on THAT.

  • Tolstoy salt lake, UT
    Feb. 22, 2019 10:03 p.m.

    @Eponymous Eggplant
    Given your absolute certainty perhaps you should share the flawlise and independently varifiable proof to support their claim about Clinton.

  • EPoint Roy, UT
    Feb. 22, 2019 9:25 p.m.

    I agree with the premise of this editorial.

    Most of us know nothing except what we read, hear, see from media representations. Actually Pres. Trump calls out "fake news" so often it begins to have an effect and we trust no one. Rep. Bishop has repeatedly said much work is getting done in the national legislature, but the media only plays up a stalemate and hypes the disagreements. Instant certainty is especially egregious when it is based on untrustworthy reports. We must wait and see how things play out, as we really know nothing first hand.

  • Eponymous Eggplant Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 22, 2019 9:11 p.m.

    @Tolstoy: "Thank you for the perfect illustration that absolute certainty is not exclusive to one side or the other in any of these cases."

    Have you perhaps conflated "instant certainty" and "absolute certainty?" Careful analysis, seeking out and weighing objectively the facts CAN bring us to absolute certainty. That's the whole point of critical thinking, and why succumbing to kneejerk reactions ("instant certainty") makes us more vulnerable to be taken in by hoaxes.

    @n8ive american: You're absolutely right, based on documentary evidence and an objective standard of justice -- the polar opposite of "instant certainty."

  • Eponymous Eggplant Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 22, 2019 8:06 p.m.

    "However, Sandmann was not innocent in the affair and his libel lawsuit is without merit. The teen was clearly being a disrespectful."
    "Instant certainty" or confirmation bias, may be important, but it's not the primary factor, in my opinion. Rather, it is the inability to apply principles of critical thinking. Generations of being spoon-fed media and entertainment seems to have atrophied Americans' ability to make reasoned judgments.

  • Tolstoy salt lake, UT
    Feb. 22, 2019 6:25 p.m.

    @n8ive american
    “We already know for certain that it is actually Hillary/Russian collusion. She was just protected..”
    Thank you for the perfect illustration that absolute certainty is not exclusive to one side or the other in any of these cases.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Feb. 22, 2019 4:31 p.m.

    Every day I encounter instances like the "Jussie Smollett scandal". It happens while I'm driving, when I watch TV, listen to the radio or in public places. It has a name, Advertising. And it is usually a lie.

    It is created by a person or group of people for Money. My real objection to it is having to see and hear it over and over and over...

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Feb. 22, 2019 3:30 p.m.

    @marxist - 9:46 a.m.
    Trump/Russia collusion is a perfect example of what we're talking about.

    Look how many Democrats Assume they already know what happened and judge him based on leaks to the media, and the media reporting as if they have the whole story (and they don't).

    Muller hasn't released the results of the investigation or said Trump colluded with Russia... and so many Democrats are instantly-certain he is guilty of collusion. Before Muller even started his investigation.

    Thanks for the perfect example of the problem we are discussing.

    Instant certainty based on your prejudice and Assumptions based on leaks and partial info is the perfect example.

    We kinda need to wait for the investigation to release their results before judging him on collusion don't you think?

    Do you think you have enough to judge him already?

    Why do the investigation if you've judged him already?

  • DoomHamster Syracuse, UT
    Feb. 22, 2019 2:58 p.m.

    This, to me, is the part of the reason why we are admonished by The Lord to always forgive on a personal level and to advocate for mercy. We do not know the whole story...ever.

    The other reason being that if we fail to forgive and fill our hearts with more and more rancor we will, ultimately, forget how to love each other and disintegrate into ever smaller enclaves of hatred.

  • 1covey Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 22, 2019 1:16 p.m.

    When people want to press an agenda, it's easy to set up these kinds of situations where a "quick to judge" response is elicited from a lot of people, including the media, who are looking for a headline grabber. Competition spurs them on. We do need to step back and take a hard look at claims that are unverified. We have to restrain our impulses.

  • n8ive american Shelley, Idaho
    Feb. 22, 2019 1:00 p.m.

    @marxist - Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 22, 2019 9:46 a.m.
    "Jussie Smollett scandal exposes the corrosive effects of instant certainty"

    Perhaps, but at some point we also have to render a judgement, e.g. Trump/Russia collusion. Are you going to dither on that forever?

    We already know for certain that it is actually Hillary/Russian collusion. She was just protected.

  • Swirl Orem, UT
    Feb. 22, 2019 11:40 a.m.

    This article raises important questions about our society's demand for "instant certainty" and disregard for due process. However, it misdiagnoses the cause of this: a media that is driven by instant gratification and "alternative facts." This isn't just a "liberal" problem either. Just as some may be quick to judge moments of racial prejudice, the instant reflex of so many conservatives when stories of discrimination appear is to deny that racism exists at all. We are in a very divided society and we all live in our echo chambers. We no longer seek out facts or opposing views; we merely regurgitate the beliefs of the pundits.

    That the article used the Nick Sandmann scandal as evidence exposes its own biases. It is true that when the Sandmann story blew up, key details were overlooked and there was a rush to judgment. However, Sandmann was not innocent in the affair and his libel lawsuit is without merit. The teen was clearly being a disrespectful.

  • a_voice_of_reason Woods Cross, UT
    Feb. 22, 2019 11:26 a.m.

    Well-written editorial. I wish all those wanting to take some kind of political stand on this could get off their party platform of choice and actually re-read the article as a politically neutral statement. The point of the article isn't pointing fingers at either party, or supporting either party. The point is that we as people need to learn to reserve judgment when we don't have all the facts. The tribalism, the court of public opinion, prejudice, instant certainty, etc. All these factors have continued to deepen within our society in recent years. It's not good for any of us. Reserve judgment. Give people the benefit of the doubt. Try to understand before you condemn. This doesn't mean we give people a "free pass." It means we don't fly off the handle at the first sign of our particular "tribe" being wronged - whether that is our political party of choice, social movement, religious organization, company, team, club, etc. Let the dust settle. Seek to understand. Then move forward as appropriate. You wouldn't drive a winding mountain road in a blinding blizzard - you'd pull over and wait for visibility.

  • Chris B Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 22, 2019 11:10 a.m.

    As we’ve seen time and time again, what starts as “discrimination” by conservatives against minorities and lgbt individuals turns out to be racism and bigotry by the liberal lgbt community against the right.

    If lgbt and racial minorities care about ending discrimination, they should start by looking in the mirror

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Feb. 22, 2019 10:43 a.m.

    RE: "the corrosive effects of instant certainty"...
    There's that term again. It seems to come up a lot now days.


    RE: "Instant certainty" used to be called "prejudice"...

    And we used to discourage "Pre-Judice". Today it just seems acceptable. Especially by those in the media.


    We've had a lot of instances where people in the media saw something that they though supported their prejudices... and ran with it. Only to find out it wasn't what they thought, and they jumped to conclusions that were not necessarily correct (they just fit their prejudices or stereotypes for people).

    I hope we are learning from this.

  • mhenshaw Leesburg, VA
    Feb. 22, 2019 10:34 a.m.

    >>Are you going to dither on that forever?

    Waiting for evidence (ie the Mueller report) isn't dithering.

  • 112358 Alpine, UT
    Feb. 22, 2019 10:08 a.m.

    This editorial omits the driving factor behind both the Smollett and the Sandmann cases: a press eager to publish stories that fit its (liberal) world view. Both cases fit the “Trump supporters are racist” narrative that the press has been eager to peddle.

    Social media certainly played a major factor in the Smollet and Sandmann cases, but the press provided the fuel that social media mobs fed on. The need for restraint, skepticism, due diligence, fairness, and ideological balance by the press is more urgent than ever.

  • Gil Bates Mayfield, UT
    Feb. 22, 2019 10:12 a.m.

    This editorial is rich, given the narrative the D News supports and encourages on a daily basis. Let's not be selective in our examples of fake news and conventional wisdom.

    "Instant certainty" used to be called prejudice.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 22, 2019 9:46 a.m.

    "Jussie Smollett scandal exposes the corrosive effects of instant certainty"

    Perhaps, but at some point we also have to render a judgement, e.g. Trump/Russia collusion. Are you going to dither on that forever?