Saturday, August 04, 2007

Barone on Hoax Believers

Here's one of my favorite pundits, Michael Barone, offering his explanation for why people like Duke faculty's Group of 88 and so many in the media fell for an obviously false story.

How could anyone believe that a brutal thirty minute beating, chocking and gang-rape of a young black woman by three strong white male athletes would leave the woman without so much as a small cut requiring even one stitch or any swelling that required ice pack treatment?

Many academics, news reporters and editors, and "victims' advocates" fell for such a story, Barone says, because of a need:

to believe that those they classify as victims must be virtuous and those they classify as oppressors must be villains. A need to believe that this is the way the world usually works.

Except it doesn't. Cases that fit this template don't come along very often. In this country, black-on-white crime is far more common than white-on-black crime (black-on-black crime is far more common still).

You won't see the characters exercised by the Duke case looking at the recent case of three University of Minnesota players accused (whether justly or not) of rape -- they happen to be black.

This need to believe that the victim class is always virtuous and the oppressor class is guilty is widespread, and perhaps growing, in this country and abroad.

It is particularly strong among those lucky enough to get paid to observe the way most people work and live -- academics, journalists, apparatchiks of advocacy organizations.
That may be a big part of it.

But I still find it hard to believe that such people have let their ideology carry them to a point where they actually believe absurdities such as those Crystal Mangum invented.

I'll be writing about this again soon. In the meantime, what do you think?

Barone's entire column is here.


Anonymous said...

Barone, the best political analyst in the nation, is correct.

Anonymous said...

John -

I can also refer you to an article by Thomas Dalrymple. It wouldn't surprise me to know you have read him before.

The article was published July 2007 on the New English Review website:

(Sorry for the cut & paste)

In summary: self-perceived intellegansia need to discover big problems so they can be seen as leading the way to the 'correct' solution.

Keep up the great work. (I hope someday you are able to crack the N&O.)