The "B" Hoax

Funny how a quickly a non-story can become a story.

When reportsfirst surfaced yesterday--and by "surfaced" I mean "appeared atop the all-powerful Drudge Report"--that a " 6'4", 200-lb African-American male" in "dark clothing" punched, kicked and scratched a "B" (apparently for "Barack") into the face of the woman he was mugging outside a Pittsburgh ATM after he spotting a McCain bumper sticker on her car, I made a conscious decision not to comment.

My reasoning was simple. Despicable individuals exist. Some of them shout "kill him" at John McCain rallies; others cut people who disagree with their politics. But since 99.9 percent of McCain and Obama supporters are normal, sane human beings, the press probably shouldn't encourage the public to think otherwise by obsessing over the 0.1 percent who aren't. That's why I didn't report on the bigots who occasionally crop up at Sarah Palin events. And that's why I wasn't going to report on "Borro."

Until, that is, this afternoon, when Pittsburgh authorities revealedthat 20-year-old Texas native Ashley Todd--the alleged "victim"--had confessed to making the entire story up (and injuring herself in the process). Of course, only Todd, a McCain volunteer, can say for sure what her motives were. But the deliberately inflammatory description she created of her fictional assailant--big, black, pro-Obama--provides us with a rather unsubtle hint. Like the "Kill Him" crowd, Todd belongs to the 0.1 percent of McCain supporters who happen to nuts, or bigoted, or whatever. The difference is that when those folks shout "kill him," they only expose their own ugliness. Todd tried to make other people look ugly.

I'd say she deserves her 15 minutes of infamy.