…Mr. Reilly eventually compiled a database of 346 hate-crime allegations and determined that less than a third were genuine. Turning his attention to the hoaxes, he put together a data set of more than 400 confirmed cases of fake allegations that were reported to authorities between 2010 and 2017. He allows that the exact number of false reports is probably unknowable, but what can be said “with absolute confidence is that the actual number of hate crime hoaxes is indisputably large,” he writes. “We are not speaking here of just a few bad apples.”
The author’s bigger concern, and rightly so, is the growing politicization of hate crimes, especially when they are directed at underrepresented groups and regardless of whether they in fact happened. The sad reality is that there is no shortage of individuals and entities with a vested interest in exaggerating racial tensions in the U.S.—from civil-rights organizations to corporate diversity officers to professors of race and gender studies.
These alleged incidents are invariably seized upon by politicians and activists looking to feed a sacrosanct belief among liberals that discrimination and oppression are the main drivers of inequality. “In the mainstream media we hear almost constant talk about scary new forms of racism: ‘white privilege,’ ‘cultural appropriation,’ and ‘subtle bigotry,’ ” Mr. Reilly writes, yet “a huge percentage of the horrific hate crimes cited as evidence of contemporary bigotry are fakes.”
If “Hate Crime Hoax” merely offered examples to illustrate the extent of this phenomenon—and the book offers nearly 100—it would be providing a much-needed public service. But Mr. Reilly has a larger point to make. The Smollett case isn’t an outlier. Increasingly, it’s the norm. And the media’s relative lack of interest in exposing hoaxes that don’t involve famous figures is a big part of the problem.