Press reports of the sinister appearance of nooses as threats or as a form of racial initimidation are suddenly everywhere.
7 Eyewitness News today offers a typical example:
Authorities are investigating the third apparent hate crime at New York City schools– in just the last two weeks. A noose was found hanging from a tree in a playground in Queens yesterday– one day after a principal in Brooklyn received a noose in the mail.
And politicians are responding with a rash of proposed laws, some making displaying a noose a hate crime and a felony.
The problem is that, until this September, when leftwing coverage of the so-called Jena Six having spread to Black talk radio finally reached the mainstream media, no one thought of nooses as a racial symbol at all.
But, in the customary media avalanche fashion, a false statement was published by the first paper, and was repeated by the second, and before very long, a considerable body of public record exists attesting to validity and universal acceptance of another piece of arrant nonsense.
But the indefatigable Michelle Malkin is on the case, thank goodness, using her bully pulpit to republish a Christian Science Monitor article by Craig Franklin, which notes that just about the entire Jena Six story is a myth from top to bottom.
By now, almost everyone in America has heard of Jena, La., because they’ve all heard the story of the “Jena 6.” White students hanging nooses barely punished, a schoolyard fight, excessive punishment for the six black attackers, racist local officials, public outrage and protests â€“ the outside media made sure everyone knew the basics.
There’s just one problem: The media got most of the basics wrong. In fact, I have never before witnessed such a disgrace in professional journalism. Myths replaced facts, and journalists abdicated their solemn duty to investigate every claim because they were seduced by a powerfully appealing but false narrative of racial injustice. …
Myth 1: The Whites-Only Tree. There has never been a “whites-only” tree at Jena High School. Students of all races sat underneath this tree. When a student asked during an assembly at the start of school last year if anyone could sit under the tree, it evoked laughter from everyone present â€“ blacks and whites. As reported by students in the assembly, the question was asked to make a joke and to drag out the assembly and avoid class.
Myth 2: Nooses a Signal to Black Students. An investigation by school officials, police, and an FBI agent revealed the true motivation behind the placing of two nooses in the tree the day after the assembly. According to the expulsion committee, the crudely constructed nooses were not aimed at black students. Instead, they were understood to be a prank by three white students aimed at their fellow white friends, members of the school rodeo team. (The students apparently got the idea from watching episodes of “Lonesome Dove.”) The committee further concluded that the three young teens had no knowledge that nooses symbolize the terrible legacy of the lynchings of countless blacks in American history. When informed of this history by school officials, they became visibly remorseful because they had many black friends. Another myth concerns their punishment, which was not a three-day suspension, but rather nine days at an alternative facility followed by two weeks of in-school suspension, Saturday detentions, attendance at Discipline Court, and evaluation by licensed mental-health professionals.
Of course, it’s not really surprising that the teen-age pranksters “had no knowledge that nooses symbolize the terrible legacy of the lynchings of countless blacks in American history.” That particular identification would only have been made (before last September) by hyper-racially-sensitive obsessives. The lynching of blacks in the post-Civil War pre-WWII era is commonly treated as a key feature of the American catalogue of racial crime, but the reality is that lynchings were equal opportunity forms of mob justice.
Lynchings occurred as spontaneous outbursts of public indignation over particularly objectionable crimes, in which a suitable quorum of the community assembled proved unwilling to wait for legal due process to unfold, and having –rightly or wrongly– concluded the suspect’s guilt was incontrovertible, simply proceeded without further ado to the immediate application of justice.
Nor was lynching a unique feature of the segregated American South. As recently as 1933, there was a lynching in the San Francisco Bay area, following a kidnap-murder in San Jose. The perpetrators wound up dangling from the recently-completed (1929) San Mateo-Hayward Bridge.