Skip to comments.At Air Force Academy, A Perfect Hoax For The Age Of Trump
Posted on 11/16/2017 4:50:10 AM PST by Oshkalaboomboom
It's hard to exaggerate the praise heaped on Air Force Gen. Jay Silveria after his impassioned speech against racism went viral at the end of September. Silveria, superintendent of the Air Force Academy, spoke after five black cadet candidates at the academy's prep school found racial slurs written on message boards outside their rooms.
"If you can't treat someone from another race or a different color skin with dignity and respect, then you need to get out," an angry Silveria told students. "If you can't treat someone with dignity and respect, then get out." When video of his speech hit the internet -- nearly two million YouTube views -- and then cable TV, and then the old-fashioned press, the applause began. Silveria, some said, was a true American hero.
But in a few of the nation's largest media outlets, the acclaim wasn't just about Silveria. For some, celebrating Silveria was at least as much, if not more, about President Trump than it was about the Air Force general. For them, it was not enough to praise Silveria. One must also to denounce Trump.
The Washington Post published an editorial headlined, "Moral guidance, if not from the president." Silveria's speech was "a welcome reminder of what leadership can look like," the paper wrote, "all the more necessary and welcome because of the absence of leadership at the highest levels of government."
On television, CNN took a leading role in lauding Silveria. Anchor Brooke Baldwin began a segment on the general by saying, "Some say the president's rhetoric is divisive, not that of a commander-in-chief. Others will say that's why they love him. What is true, whether you agree with him or not, he has a tendency to go too far, to divide rather than unite. There's a moment I wanted to share with you today that has so many people saying, 'Those are the words of a leader,' at a time when the divided nation needs them most."
Baldwin played a long clip of Silveria's speech and then introduced a live interview with Silveria himself. She began the interview with, "May I just say bravo ... "
CNN's Don Lemon also reported the Silveria story as a Trump story. "I really hope the president is watching tonight as well as his supporters," Lemon said, adding that Silveria's words "are a stark reminder of everything our president is not saying."
"I think it's just a crying shame we don't have this kind of leadership from the president," added CNN's Van Jones.
Now, as everyone knows, there's an update to the story. The cadet candidate who reported the racial slurs has admitted that he was behind the whole thing. It was all a hoax. The young man, who is black, has left the academy.
Anyone who follows such incidents, certainly anyone in the news business, should have known that there was a substantial chance the Air Force Academy vandalism was a fake. Too many such incidents have turned out to be hoaxes not to raise suspicions about new ones, pending the results of an investigation.
There was the young black man in Kansas who admitted writing racist graffiti on his car. There was the black man in Michigan charged in three racist graffiti incidents at Eastern Michigan University. There was the young Muslim woman in New York who admitted making up a story about being attacked by white Trump supporters. The black Bowling Green State University student who said white Trump supporters threw rocks at her. The University of Louisiana student who said a white man wearing a Trump hat tried to pull off her hijab.
Then there was the wave of stories about threats to Jewish community centers -- stories that received widespread news coverage in the context of the new Trump presidency. Most of the threats were made by a teenager in Israel, with the others made by a former journalist who was somehow trying to get back at a former girlfriend.
None of that means that all hate crimes reports are false. But it does mean people reporting and commenting on them should be cautious until the facts are known.
Gen. Silveria chose not to be cautious.
Now, Silveria has chosen to double down on his message. "Regardless of the circumstances under which those words were written, they were written, and that deserved to be addressed," Silveria said in a statement to the Colorado Springs Gazette. "You can never over-emphasize the need for a culture of dignity and respect -- and those who don't understand those concepts aren't welcome here."
There's also a need for accuracy when the head of the Air Force Academy makes a high-profile statement that reaches millions of Americans.
But it seems unlikely Silveria's jump-the-gun performance will hurt him, certainly not with those who repeatedly brought President Trump into coverage of the phony hate crime. When CNN reported Silveria's response to the hoax revelation, Baldwin was quick to offer support. "Well, he's right," Baldwin said of Silveria. "The words ring true. It's just unfortunate to learn who really (did it)."
Ah, yes...the old, "the end justifies the means" explanation.
This is the equivalent of jumping up and down screaming in a fine restaurant, demanding that experienced diners use their utensils correctly, and properly place their napkins. Then, when the maitre 'd discretely informs you that everyone IS using correct manners, instead of apologizing, you yell even louder, that "good manners are important!"
In the end, you insult everyone (and in particular, the President), and you rationalize your bad behavior, rather than apologize.
“...as in that West Point grad that should be shot.”
Spenser Rapone, the virulent communist.
Why is this POS still in the Army? He is a traitor and a risk to national security.
It was ONE hoaxster - and he was already in hot water for some other fool thing. There is only so much you expect to happen to a kid besides expulsion, and he is no longer a student here.
Granted that his action constituted a slur on the student body and the institution itself. Maybe he can get a job working for Jesse Jackson . . .
I’m going to have to check out those Veritas Videos, although I know it’s just going to make me hate them more. If I can hate them more, which is debatable.
Air Force Gen. Jay Silveria . . . it’s time for a replacement sooner rather than later.
Hello!! Didn’t read the article ,did ya.....he cited MANY HOAXSTERS!
I took the reference to many hoaxers in the reply to refer to all the black students at the AF academy.
I confess that your reading works, so my critique was to that extent invalid.
Yep, and, unfortunately, Silveria’s statement is all too indicative of the character and perspective of far too many flag officers in the ranks of our current military leadership.
Cadets are on probation while students at any of the service academies. This dismissal is for a character and moral integrity issue. Big leadership hit. The cadet is no only not going to be an Air Force officer, he is not going to be an officer in any branch of the services ever. And the incident probably cast a cloud over any attempt to enlist in the armed forces as well.
As for non-military government service, the dismissal will come up in any security background check.
With the passage of time and sustained superior job performance, the young man might transmute the incident into what it probably was, a sophomoric prank that went badly sideways when adult political activists, military and otherwise, saw a “teachable moment.”
He is one of many. That dude who heads the Coast Guard needs to hit the road as well. Most, if not all these Obama butt boys, are part of the swamp.
By the way, Marlene is here with us now. She has only one Doberman left now. 😀😁
Hang in there bro. 😀😆😄😁👍🇵🇭
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