No, the “real victims” of false narratives are not the ones the narratives were made to serve

Are police officers are the real victims of unarmed black men being shot dead by the police? Of course not – that would be an insane thing to believe. Even though police officers might be coming under more scrutiny as a result of recent incidents, that’s not the same thing as actually being a the victim of those incidents.

The problem is that these incidents are probably facilitated by a police narrative. In the wake of the killing of Walter Scott, a Fox legal analyst revealed that planting weapons used to be standard procedure for cops. Does this mean that cops are pure evil? No. It means that within police culture there exists have a narrative that isn’t necessarily backed up by evidence specific to the relevant incident. The argument would go that criminals exist, and sometimes criminals get lucky and can get away with it due to a lack of evidence. It’s up to the police officers to tilt the scales in the favor of justice by bending the truth. And since black men commit a disproportionate amount of the crime, there is a problem that has to be solved with evidence-agnostic action that may break a few eggs to make the omelet.

Women actually facing harassment aren’t the “real victims” of Ellen Pao’s failure to achieve her dishonest shakedown of Silicon Valley. Businesses targeted by ideological profiteers are. The ideology is based on the specious claim of the culture of Silicon Valley is a “boy’s club.” Because Silicon Valley is like this, any specific Silicon Valley company is guilty by association. This claim that Pao’s company must have been guilty of discriminating against women was made by the media before they even had the evidence. They made an evidence-agnostic claim that if Silicon Valley is sexist in general, any charge of sexism made against any tech company must true. Every narrative like this demands that we make examples of those who embody its fears.

When UVA rape story broke, the media was already waiting for it to happen. After all, fraternities as institutions of white male privilege, and therefore “rape culture,” are a mainstay of fashionable progressive demonology. When the hysteria died down and the story came under scrutiny, it unraveled. It turned out that Rolling Stone just didn’t really check their facts on the ever so narrative-friendly incident. But while the story was eventually skewered by the media, there was no real desire to adjust the narrative of a rape crisis on campus. The “real victims” of the fanciful hoax were actually women on campus, since their claims will now be more easily dismissed. It’s not the men or fraternities that were falsely accused of rape. It can’t be. When the narrative has such an embarrassing failure, the only victims of such a failure can be those who the narrative was built to serve.

Thankfully, the media doesn’t have the same narrative in favor of police officers. Just because black people are overrepresented in crime doesn’t mean that every instance of a black man being shot dead means that he deserved it. Discrimination happening doesn’t mean that any given company is guilty of it and should be made an example of. Rape being a crime that happens doesn’t mean that every overheated story about it must be taken gospel. Evidence needs to come first in these kinds of situations, and victims need to be properly identified as the villains of an agenda-driven mythology.


  1. You might be interested to know the term ‘rape culture’ itself was repackaged by NPR and the CPI in 2010. That’s right, the media literally invented rape culture out of thin air in 2010. Christina Sommers has a great article on this subject.


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