The Hoax Illusion
The BYU-Duke Incident was not a hoax. It was also fake
As you may have heard, the media went all-in on a story about racism at BYU that turned out not to be true. Fellow Substacker Jesse Singal has a thorough breakdown of how it happened, with a specific focus on shoddy reporting from the New York Times. As the dust settled, media institutions sheepishly walked back their immediate condemnations of the LDS university. CNN initially featured a lot of commentators speaking of the allegations as unassailable facts. Now, CNN is acknowledging its errors and criticizing South Carolina women’s basketball coach Dawn Staley for a stubborn refusal to let her team play its scheduled games against BYU, despite exonerating evidence.
By the way, CNN excerpted LeBron James jumping the gun on social media over yet another viral incident. In fairness to Bron, the full weight of prestige press was amplifying this version of events, over the course of a few days. Even Utah governor Spencer Cox said, in a tweet he would later delete:
Just catching up on this terrible story. I’m disgusted that this behavior is happening and deeply saddened if others didn’t step up to stop it. As a society we have to do more to create an atmosphere where racist a**holes like this never feel comfortable attacking others
I’d prefer if this were just a media tale, because then this misfire would be compartmentalized. Unfortunately, I suspect the story is about something a bit deeper, a larger issue than what even many outraged conservatives are claiming.
To explain what’s happening, here’s a deceptive image you’ve possibly seen before. It’s so famous that you might immediately be aware of how to answer.