In a story about hate crimes following Donald Trump’s win in the presidential election, CNN puts anonymous graffiti messages in the “hate crime” category, but dismisses assaults on white people as “other attacks.”
Using the Southern Poverty Law Center’s tally of hateful incidents since the election, CNN reports a wave of hate crimes is sweeping the country and implies Trump and his supporters are responsible. “Fears of heightened bigotry and hate crimes have turned into reality for some Americans after Donald Trump’s presidential win,” the story begins. “And the list of incidents keeps growing.”
The story contains a running list of these incidents, most of which are examples of hateful graffiti messages found in various places and not crimes against individuals committed on the basis of race or some other prejudice. Several swastikas were found painted on a playground in New York City, for example, and “Heil Trump” was found painted onto an Indiana church. Other accounts, such as a woman’s claim she was robbed by Trump supporters because she was wearing a hijab, have not been proven.
Actually the clearest example of a hate crime in the story is the assault of a white Trump supporter caught on camera. Several black men brutally beat the man in the video, verbally calling him “white boy” and accusing him of voting for Trump as bystanders cheer them on. CNN buries details of this and other attacks against Trump supporters deep in the story, and does not designate them as hate crimes.
After noting the SPLC’s tally and a report from the FBI about a spike in hate crimes against Muslim Americans in the year preceding the election, CNN explicitly excludes the accounts of violence against Trump supporters from the tally. “And it’s not just incidents of hate crimes that have happened since the election; there have been reports of other attacks, too.”
Here are the rest of the “other attacks” CNN apparently does not consider to be a crime motivated by racial prejudice. Two men were arrested and charged with assault in connection with the beating of a man waving an American flag and holding a Trump sign in Connecticut. And students beat up a young Trump supporter at a protest following the election in Maryland.
While several people have been arrested and charged with assault in connection to these accounts backed up in some cases by video evidence, many of the “hate crimes” consist of graffiti and vandalism and have yet to result in the identification of a culprit. They vary in severity, from a simple “Trump” written on a Muslim prayer door to a more sinister photo of a black doll hanging from a curtain rod circulating around a college campus. Most of them have not been definitively tied to Trump voters.
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