Something ain’t right: Conservatives outraged after Jussie Smollett charges dropped.

Smollett’s attorneys announced in a statement that all 16 counts of criminal charges had been dropped and his record “has been wiped clean.” The actor was then charged for allegedly falsifying a police report regarding his claim that he was “brutally attacked” by two masked Trump supporters who targeted him for being a black, openly gay man. Now, we live in a time where falsehood is a new truth. When we believe in false perspectives of society, false opinions, we become filled with lies and completely immerse ourselves into the generation of lies.

The history of humankind is strewn with crafty and seasoned liars like Jussie. Many are criminals who spin lies and weave deceptions to gain unjust rewards or the raise he’s been looking for. As lying has come to be recognized as a deeply ingrained human trait, social science researchers and neuroscientists have sought to illuminate the nature and roots of the behavior. How and when do we learn to lie? Researchers are learning that we’re prone to believe some lies even when they’re unambiguously contradicted by clear evidence. These insights suggest that our proclivity for deceiving others, and our vulnerability to being deceived, are especially consequential in the age of social media. Our ability as a society to separate truth from lies is under unprecedented threat.

Two weeks after the reported assault, Smollett appeared on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” telling anchor Robin Roberts he was heartbroken when he found out people were doubting his story.

“Who the f*** would make something up like this?” he asked. “I have to acknowledge the lies, and the hate. And it feels like if I had said it was a Muslim, or a Mexican, or someone black, I feel like the doubters would have supported me much more. A lot more. And that says a lot about the place that we are in our country right now.”

Sources: Timothy R. Levine, Journal of Intercultural Communication Research, 2016.
Evelyne Debey, Acta Psychologica 2015.
Kim Serota, Oakland University.

“I think people need to hear the truth,” he added. “’Cause everybody has their own idea. Some are healing and some are hurtful, but I just want young people, young members of the LGBTQ community — young black children — to know how strong that they are.”

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