I think we can all agree that Michigan Representative Rashida Tlaib is crazier than the ex-girlfriend in a Miranda Lambert song. Her antics with the DC Mean Girls clique have already become the stuff of legend, like a good college drunk story that ends in a barnyard off of a remote stretch of Highway 6 trying to explain to the nice officer how you got there and what you were doing with that chicken. And all that came even before she called the President a “motherf**ker” in public—proving yet again that our political discourse has descended to a level somewhere between the conversation in a middle school boys bathroom and a 2 Live Crew song.
Methinks there is a method to her madness, however—and it’s not just because everything that emanates from Washington these days seems to be the rhetorical equivalent of, “Don’t worry, honey. I’ll still respect you in the morning.” The message is also ham-handedly crafted to generate the maximum amount of outrage, pretty much reflecting the news media’s modus operandi. Case—or cases—in point: Tlaib’s dedication to spreading hate crime stories far and wide. The Washington Free Beacon has a pretty good roundup of her faves for 2019, all of which naturally present a rather ugly portrait of the United States as a country rife with racism.
Only problem is, none of them were true.
I have little doubt that the young Ms. Allen is quite lovely—but the story she told about being attacked by three white boys sure wasn’t, and must’ve caused them a lot of grief until she recanted her story. Did Tlaib recant her tweet after the truth came out, though? Nope. I guess the Christian school where the wife of the Vice President teaches made too juicy of a target to care about the facts—or the collateral damage done to innocent youngsters.
The Beacon then points out this classic:
Yes, that’s the Covington Kids hoax—in which serial grifter and stolen valor huckster Nathan Phillips banged his drum for a media eager to believe his tale of being accosted by MAGA hat wearing teenage thugs from a Catholic school (I’m sensing a pattern here). The story soon fell apart upon closer scrutiny—i.e., actually watching the video of the incident—but did Tlaib clear things up in her Twitter feed? Nah. Where would the fun in that be?
Then there was this:
Anyone who believed Jussie Smollett’s story had to be trying really hard to look past its—um, shall we say—inconsistencies, but that didn’t deter Rashida Tlaib. Neither did the later revelation that Smollett paid a couple of hapless Nigerians to attack him and make it look like a hate crime. Not since Jeff Gillooly and Shawn Ekardt took a club to Nancy Kerrigan’s knee had an assault been so incompetently carried out. Tlaib, alas, maintains her support for Smollett, as her steadfast refusal to delete this tweet so clearly attests.
And who, as the Beacon highlights, can forget this?
The freakout in the checkout, followed by that delicious comeuppance when the supposed villain of the story, Eric Sparkes, confronted Erica Thomas in front of a TV crew and revealed himself to be. . .a Cuban progressive who hates Donald Trump! As it turned out, he was also the victim of Thomas’s aggression, as later confirmed by surveillance footage from inside the store. Tlaib’s reaction? “Meh.”
So there you have it. Perhaps Rashida Tlaib should make her next campaign slogan “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me four times—that’s cool.”
I’m just kidding, of course. The truth is that Tlaib—and the news media—know damn well what they’re doing when they trumpet these stories, because they want them to be true. They want to advance the narrative that America—and more specifically, Trump’s America—is a vicious and cruel place to minorities. That’s why a story that a little black girl got attacked at Karen Pence’s Christian school is simply too good to check out. They also know that when the story blows up—as it so often does—by the time the media get around to issuing a half-hearted correction, the fake news will have taken root so firmly that it doesn’t matter.
The only difference with Rashida Tlaib is that she has dispensed with the correction altogether. With the path they’re currently on, it probably won’t be too long before the media don’t even bother.