Media circus acts sacrifice truth for leftist agendas
A recent disturbing video trend on the social media platform TikTok turned out to be another hoax. Newsweek said, "[O]ver the past week, TikTok users have been making videos warning people about an alleged 'national day' of rape and sexual assault." Only two days prior, the same writer, Khaleda Rahman, at the same publication, offered a very different message:
If you come across videos that promote rape, sexual assault or violence of any kind, click on the arrow on the lower right side of the video — located just below the comment function.
Ms. Rahman's advice is sound — if someone should ever come across any videos of the sort. The problem is, no such videos exist on TikTok, nor does it appear they ever did. Newsweek was not alone in their early reporting of the alleged trend. At least four national or international legacy media outlets ran stories without vetting the facts. The implicit question is, how did so many media outlets get fooled yet again?
As with most media circus acts, it presents a handful of possibilities for how this sort of story gains traction. The polite way to frame the debacle is through willful ignorance. As a legal statute, the term generally applies to taking possession of stolen property or avoiding reasonably obvious facts to further one's interests. Ms. Rahman, Newsweek, and other legacy outlets are not in any legal danger due to their reporting on the TikTok hoax. At the same time, they continue to place themselves in positions fraught with moral hazard by ignoring reasonable standards for investigative journalism in a vain attempt to peddle their wares.
The episode is part sensationalism and part moral crusade. These two goals seem to go hand in hand with greater regularity as the status of social justice warriors increases only at the expense of tearing down society's institutions and its heroes. In the instance of the TikTok debacle, no singular or specific target was identified. Instead, the ambiguous boogeyman is any and all men who don't stand to virtue-signal that sexual assault is "bad" and "wrong."
For the record, all reasonable people think rape is wrong. It is a defining characteristic of being a reasonable person. There are numerous requirements to meet this standard — none of which is necessary as a public declaration on the part of those same people. Murder is equally unreasonable. Society does not require an oath of loyalty from citizens that they condemn murder. For some reason, social justice warriors demand these oaths, though, when their pet projects take center stage. Last month, Teen Vogue demanded the resignation of (read: fired) an incoming award-winning editor for tweets made ten years ago. The comments in question were allegedly anti-Asian and homophobic. The would-be editor, Alexi McCammond, was seventeen when she feverishly typed them into the annals of history.
McCammond has a steep hill to climb for the social crime of adolescent ignorance. Rahman of Newsweek has no such penance to do. It hovers around an unspoken truism that exists across Western civilization. Moral crusaders cannot commit moral wrongdoing if they act within the confines of their social justice crusade. All deeds of the SJW are fair play because they were conducted under the auspices of creating a better society. The converse is that anyone who hasn't taken the social justice loyalty pledge may see his career destroyed because of long lost offhand comments or minor transgressions already settled.
The resulting dynamic is more than lopsided. One party cannot be held accountable. The other party cannot escape any moral statute of limitations. Like any great crusade, the distortion of morality permits gross amorality. Acts and statements by the protected class — typically the crusaders — exist outside the bounds of moral and immoral definitions. It is Machiavellian as the ends justify the means.
The willful ignorance of Ms. Rahman and her colleagues perpetuated a story that should have easily been vetted. If videos promoting sexual assault existed on the social media platform at one point in time, they would leave behind a digital footprint, even if erased. Authorities at TikTok were quick to say they found no evidence that anything of the kind ever existed. Still, the loyalty oath is required, even though no transgression occurred. Virtue-signaling flooded social media platforms as one after another user took his turn to swear an oath to something all reasonable people already condemn.
Media outlets that stoked the fire — presumably for clickbait — won't be made to answer for their failure to investigate. Social justice warriors lock arms, reminding Americans of a moral code that predates society. Since it was a hoax, no crime was committed — certainly not on the part of the SJWs who assumed the worst in their fellow man. Lost in all of this is another torn thread in the moral fabric of society. When only good and decent people are made to answer for moral crimes, it raises the question: what happened to our moral boundaries?
Out of curiosity, who is "okay" with sexual assault, anyway?
Image via Pixnio.
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