April Fools Day Hoax Roundup

Does it seem to you that there have been a lot of big-time hoaxes lately? In late February the most widely-publicized alleged “hate crime” in years — the Jussie Smollett caper — was revealed as a hoax; and then just a few weeks after that the Mueller Report was completed, and it turned out that the single most intensely covered news event of my entire lifetime — the “Trump/Russia collusion” story — was also a hoax.

These were not minor or insignificant hoaxes. Both were a huge focus of mainstream press and media coverage and commentary, in the first case for several weeks, and in the second for over two years. Both fed the dominant media narrative of opposition to President Trump and hatred of him and his supporters. Both hoaxes were accepted uncritically and without a hint of skepticism by essentially all of the progressive press and media, who repeated and amplified them at great extent right up until they suddenly unraveled.

But with the extreme focus on these two hoaxes, perhaps you are losing track of the fact that these are just two of some dozens of similar hoaxes perpetrated by the same press and media players in recent years. Today, in honor of April Fools Day, the Manhattan Contrarian performs the public service of reminding you of the extent to which you are subject to a constant barrage of hoaxes originating from the mainstream press, media (including social media), and often also the government; hoaxes that are then endlessly repeated and amplified, all in the service of increased political power for the left.

Hate Crime Hoaxes

If you search the recesses of your memory, you will likely be able to come up with at least a few prior hate crime hoaxes that got big media play before the truth came out. One of the biggest was the University of Virginia fraternity gang rape hoax of 2014, originally perpetrated upon the world by Rolling Stone magazine. Going back several more years, there was the Duke lacrosse team gang rape hoax of 2006. If you follow this issue, you may also remember some others, like the December 2016 case of muslim Yasmin Seweid (who claimed that two white men yelling “Donald Trump!” snatched her hijab while she was riding on the New York subway; she later recanted); or the September 2017 incident at the Air Force Academy (racist graffiti turned out to have been written by an African American student who was a target of the graffiti); or the 2016/17 racist graffiti incident at Eastern Michigan University (perpetrated by an African American former student, who pled guilty to the crime).

Well, friends, these are just a tiny sample. For a very recent update on another corner of this game, check out the long piece by Andy Ngo about Portland, Oregon, that appeared in yesterday’s New York Post with the headline “Inside the suspicious rise of gay hate crimes in Portland.” It seems that the past few months have seen a supposed epidemic in Portland of some 15 or so hate crimes allegedly perpetrated against gay and transgender people by white supremacists and/or Trump supporters. Many of the alleged crimes have been hyped extensively on social media, complete with “GoFundMe” campaigns in some instances. Ngo reports in detail on his attempts to verify whether any of these alleged crimes actually occurred as alleged. His efforts reveal that most of the alleged incidents were not even reported to the police, and of those that were, none could be corroborated. Queries addressed to the claimed victims get no responses, and only lead to Ngo getting blocked from social media accounts.

But let’s get to some bigger numbers. A guy named Wilfred Reilly (himself African American) is just coming out with a book titled “Hate Crime Hoax: How the Left is Selling a Fake Race War.” Reilly had an op-ed in USA Today on February 22 headlined “Hate crime hoaxes, like Jussie Smollett's alleged attack, are more common than you think.” How common?

Doing research for a book, Hate Crime Hoax, I was able to easily put together a data set of 409 confirmed hate hoaxes. An overlapping but substantially different list of 348 hoaxes exists at fakehatecrimes.org, and researcher Laird Wilcox put together another list of at least 300 in his still-contemporary book Crying Wolf

The Climate Change Hoax

No, I am not saying that the whole idea that “the climate is changing” is a hoax. But there are two aspects of the endless drumbeat of climate “news” from the progressive press that are definitely hoaxes: (1) the assertion that so-called “extreme weather events” have greatly increased in frequency and severity in recent years, and (2) the assertion that global average surface temperatures have greatly increased in recent years and are currently at or near all time records.

You have read the rote assertion that “extreme weather” is becoming more frequent and/or severe due to human carbon emissions so many times that by now it is part of the background noise of your existence. Seemingly the most authoritative and sober of media outlets throw such a line into most any story about the climate, without feeling the need to provide any kind of factual support. Example: From the lead story in The Economist, February 9, 2019, headline “The truth about big oil and climate change”:

In America, the world’s largest economy and its second biggest polluter, climate change is becoming hard to ignore. Extreme weather has grown more frequent. . . .

Another example: From the New York Times, September 19, 2018, headline “Humans Are Making Hurricanes Worse. Here’s How.”:

Human intervention is making natural disasters unnaturally harmful, both in causes and effects, and the number of ways our own influence is making things worse, taken together, is sobering.  On a global scale, we are bolstering the destructive potential of hurricanes and other extreme weather events by driving climate change. . . .

These claims, and hundreds of others like them, are pure bunk. In fact the data on so-called extreme weather events — everything from heat waves, to hurricanes, to tornadoes, to droughts, to floods, and so forth — are all easily available, and clearly show that there are no increases in any category other than normal fluctuations, and certainly nothing that can be attributed to human influences. Here is a link to a definitive document compiling evidence in all significant categories. (Full disclosure: I was involved in the preparation of this document.)

On the question of claimed records in the “global average surface temperature” data, don’t get me started. Regular readers at this site know that that data, promulgated by NASA and NOAA, has been materially altered, mostly by lowering early-year temperatures, in order to create and enhance an apparent warming trend that does not exist in the record as originally officially reported. For more information than you will ever want to know about this subject, go to my now-twenty-two part series, The Greatest Scientific Fraud Of All Time. (That link goes to all 22 of them.)

For the last two years, the temperatures in all government data series — even the fraudulently-altered NASA and NOAA series — have gone down. Might you think that that would at least slow down the dissemination of the hoax? That’s not how this works. From the New York Times, February 6, 2019, headline “It’s Official: 2018 Was the Fourth-Warmest Year on Record”:

NASA scientists announced Wednesday that the Earth’s average surface temperature in 2018 was the fourth highest in nearly 140 years of record-keeping and a continuation of an unmistakable warming trend. . . . “We’re no longer talking about a situation where global warming is something in the future,” said Gavin A. Schmidt, director of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies, the NASA group that conducted the analysis. “It’s here. It’s now.”

Their own chart accompanying the article shows that the last two years had declining temperatures, but they go right ahead and say that it is all “a continuation of an unmistakable warming trend.” I guess they just have the secret knowledge that you will never understand.

The Poverty Hoax

What I call the “poverty hoax” is the systematic exclusion by the government, when it reports on the prevalence of “poverty,” of more than $1.2 trillion in annual government spending (at all levels of government) on programs and redistributions going to low income people. Of some 83 federal programs that distribute money or in-kind services to low income people, 76 of them are intentionally not counted when calculating the number and rate of people “in poverty.” Even massive programs that are indistinguishable from cash — prominent examples being food stamps (SNAP) and the EITC — are systematically excluded. The whole idea is to deceive the voters into supporting yet more spending on redistribution programs, which then again will not be counted, and the “poverty rate” will magically once again fail to decline. As I wrote in my post of October 19, 2018:

At this point the basic information as to how the Census Bureau calculates “poverty” is widely distributed, and has to be well known and understood by anyone with even a cursory knowledge of the subject. You can’t pretend to know anything about this subject unless you know that of 83 federal welfare programs, only 7 are counted into “income” when assessing “poverty,” and 76 — including massive near-cash distributions like food stamps and the EITC — are excluded. In other words, you have to know that the government “poverty” measure is intentionally structured so that no amount of government anti-poverty spending can ever cause it to go down, and so that people who live on the distributions will always be counted in “poverty” no matter how lavish those distributions may be and no matter how well the economy might perform.

And yet, as I reported in that post, both the New York Times and Washington Post had just published pieces regurgitating the latest Census Bureau “poverty” data without even mentioning the systematic scam to their readers, and instead using the occasion of non-declining “poverty” statistics to bash President Trump. I quoted the Times’s piece of September 13, 2018, as follows:

On Wednesday, the Census Bureau released its 2017 annual report on the poor that offered a stark counterpoint, suggesting that the national recovery has bypassed many of the 40 million to 45 million Americans estimated to be living below the federal poverty level. . . . The report comes as the Trump administration seeks to curtail safety net programs, in part by playing down the severity of poverty in the country.

Pathetic. For more than 100 articles on the Poverty Hoax, go to my “Poverty” tag. And while there, pay some attention to the closely-related “food insecurity” hoax, by which the government — as always with the aggressive complicity of the progressive media — scams you into thinking that all the people receiving the food stamps are somehow still “hungry” by having them respond to the meaningless question “‘We worried whether our food would run out before we got money to buy more.’ Was that often, sometimes, or never true for you in the last 12 months? “ And then there is also the closely-related “income inequality” hoax. Indeed, there really is an endless supply of these things.


You would have to be sound asleep to fail to notice the unifying elements that run through all of these hoaxes:

  • Factual support that runs from non-existent to totally fictitious, no matter how easily available accurate and contradictory information and data may be.

  • All in service of a program of bigger government, more government spending and programs, and (at least since the 2016 campaign) opposition to the President and/or condemnation of his supporters.

In the aggregate, these and related hoaxes constitute not just some minor footnotes to the news, but rather the dominating themes of news coverage in the progressive press and media for years on end. The term “fake news” hardly does justice to what is going on.

On April Fools Day, I sure hope that you are not an April Fool.