In the wake of the University of Wyoming student who was recently caught faking a rape threat, James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal asks why this sort of thing happens so often.

‘Hate Crime’ Hoaxes

A student at the University of Wyoming has received a misdemeanor citation for a Facebook post that “allegedly threatened” a female UW student, the amusingly named Laramie Boomerang reports. The target of the post was Meg Lanker-Simons. The student who is accused of sending it is Meg Lanker-Simons…

Why are phony “hate crimes” so common, especially on college campuses? We’d like to go through a few obvious answers, all of which have merit, and then delve a bit deeper into the psychology of such incidents.

One obvious answer is that people do this sort of thing to get attention. Multicultural identity politics, which is a dominant force on campus and a significant one off it, creates a perverse incentive structure by rewarding victims of purported hate and going easy on hoaxers. In March Michelle Malkin wrote of an incident in which her alma mater, Ohio’s Oberlin College, experienced a rash of racist graffiti.

The college president and three deans “ostentatiously published an ‘open letter’ announcing the administration’s decision to ‘suspend formal classes and non-essential activities.’ ” The incident drew national media coverage–but the denouement didn’t: “After arresting two students involved in the spate of hate messages left around campus, police say ‘it is unclear if they were motivated by racial hatred or–as has been suggested–were attempting a commentary on free speech.’ ”

Lanker-Simons, unsurprisingly, turns out to be quite the left-wing activist herself. The Boomerang reports that in 2010 she successfully sued the university challenging its decision to bar domestic terrorist and presidential pal Bill Ayers from speaking on campus.

Read the original article:
'Hate Crime' Hoaxes (The Wall Street Journal)