Teens (possibly) making-up stories has grabbed our nation’s attention over the last few weeks.
First there was the story of 14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed. Mohamed became world famous after he was handcuffed by police and suspended for bringing to school a homemade clock. School officials deemed it a prank bomb and treated it a severe violation of its zero tolerance policies.
Mohamed disagreed and said he only brought his invention to show off to a friendly teacher. The media whole-heartedly bought the high school freshman’s side of the story — with a heavy dose of Islamophobia concern to boot. According to our nation’s most esteemed journalists, Mohamed wasn’t punished because he brought a clock to school that looked remarkably like a fake bomb. He was punished because our country hates “inventing while Muslim.” (RELATED: Don’t Bring A Clock To School Unless It Looks Like A Clock)
Besides ignoring the multitude of cases involving non-Muslim students getting suspended for finger gun gestures and pistol-shaped pop tarts, the media overlooked the fact that young Ahmed likely didn’t invent the greatest clock of all-time. In fact, an expert figured out the device was actually a reassembled, vintage Radio Shack time-teller.
Additionally, there’s the long-history of public relations stunts on the part of Mohamed’s family that has prompted speculation that the whole episode was engineered by Ahmed’s dad to gin up attention towards the supposed problem of Islamophobia.
But these discoveries haven’t resulted in Twitter rescinding its job offer for Mohamed and President Obama tweeting a clarification that the teen did not build such a “cool clock” after all. Nor has the media outside the world of conservative journalism done anything to highlight the oddities of the case and has reverted to comparing anyone who doubts Ahmed as akin to 9/11 truthers.
Several outlets continue to harp on the alleged Islamophobia that resulted in Mohamed’s suspension, which has naturally resulted in calls for the Department of Justice to investigate the case.
Meanwhile, Mohamed’s family is educating high-profile dignitaries on how racist America is and enjoying the unwavering support of the media and the left — all the while refusing to allow the boy’s former high school to release their side of the story.
At the same time Mohamed is enjoying acclaim in spite of ever-mounting doubts, another teen’s alleged fib is garnering national attention. Oddly enough, this other teen is also connected with Ahmed’s story.
C.J. Pearson is a 13-year-old conservative pundit with a large fan base. Pearson garnered a lot of attention recently when he released a video excoriating Obama for congratulating Ahmed, which quickly earned over a million views on YouTube. Soon thereafter, the teen commentator embarked on a Twitter campaign against the president.
On Wednesday, Pearson claimed Obama’s official Twitter account had blocked him and produced a screencap as evidence. However, a very thorough investigation by The Blaze determined that the conservative teen was probably not blocked by @POTUS and the picture-proof evidence was likely forged. This revelation of teenage impropriety was picked up and expanded upon by The Washington Post in a widely-shared article.
You may wonder: how does a 13-year-old allegedly lying that he was blocked on Twitter by the president become national news? But the real question to ask is: how does a 13-year-old become a political thought leader?
The reason why Pearson’s possibly false claim was important is because many conservatives unwisely decided that a teenager should be a spokesman for the movement. Pearson’s episode illustrates this author’s assertion that politics is not a good place for kids. (RELATED: Kids Have No Place In Politics)
While it was appropriate to turn @POTUSblockghazi into a national story, it does beg the question as to why Mohamed is not receiving the same scrutiny from the mainstream media as Pearson? His bomb/clock is arguably a bigger story and has become a battle in the culture war. Why does Ahmed still received unquestionable support for his less-than-foolproof claims?
That’s because Mohamed’s tale solidifies a media narrative and Pearson’s doesn’t. Liberals want to believe that middle America is a hotbed of rabid Muslim hatred and different-looking kids will be arrested just for being too smart. Mohamed is, in the words of Daily Beast writer Dean Obeidallah, “the Muslim hero America’s been waiting for.” Thus, liberal pundits and policymakers can’t discount his story since it’s become a classic fable of evil conservative rubes victimizing a noble Muslim genius.
Rather than continuing to parrot the Mohamed family agenda, it’d be better if the media actually looked into the story and see why Ahmed brought a weird clock in a brief case no high school freshman carries around. There’s no reason the Muslim clock-maker can’t receive the same scrutiny as the conservative block-claimer.
The purpose of journalism is to deflate falsehoods and verify truth — not propagate falsehoods and ignore truth on behalf of a narrative.