By Sebastian Jones- WPRB News
If you’ve tuned into cable news in the past few days, you’ve no doubt heard about how a young woman named Ashley Todd from Texas, who had been in Pittsburgh, PA working for the McCain campaign, claimed she had been assaulted by a “6’4″ black male”, who upon seeing her McCain/Palin bumper-sticker proceeded to scratch out a “B” (for Barack, we must presume) on her cheek.
Turns out she made the whole thing up. KDKA in Pittsburgh reports on what will probably go down as the most flagrant case of race-baiting this election cycle, if not in recent memory:
“Police say a campaign volunteer confessed to making up a story that a mugger attacked her and cut the letter B in her face after seeing her McCain bumper sticker; now she’s facing charges.
At a news conference this afternoon, officials said they believe that Ashley Todd’s injuries were self-inflicted.
Todd, 20, of Texas, is now facing charges for filing a false report to police.”
The whole incident is eerily similar to the Francisco Nava affair last December here at Princeton, which wound its way into the national press. From Time:
“Weeks of death threats appeared to come to grisly fruition on the evening of Dec. 14, when Francisco Nava, 23, a Princeton University junior, arrived at the University Medical Center with his face bruised and bloodied, exhibiting the signs of a concussion. According to the story he told police, Nava, an officer of the Anscombe Society, a prominent conservative social values advocacy group on campus, had been on his way to see a local high school student he mentors when two men, both towering above six feet and dressed in black clothes and ski caps, grabbed him from behind. Holding him against a wall, Nava said, they hit his head repeatedly against the bricks. “Eventually I just blacked out,” Nava told the Daily Princetonian. The only catch? The whole story was a hoax.” (emphasis mine)
The similarities continue:
Nava was an outspoken conservative activist here on Princeton’s campus. When his story of being beaten for his beliefs made the rounds, conservatives on and off campus were in an uproar. One wrote in a column for the Princetonian suggesting what happened to Nava was, “part of a pattern designed to silence members of our community who speak out against the hookup culture and sexual liberationist ideology.”
After Todd went to the police with her harrowing story, the President of the local Pittsburgh College Republicans went on TV to condemn the attack as a “hate crime” and the conservative blogosphere expressed similar concerns.
The Southern Poverty Law Center has put together a report last Spring on similarly false anti-conservative “hate crimes.”
Why individuals commit these kind of acts is probably impossible to say– but the collective conservative victimhood that follows is even harder to comprehend. Had Ashley Todd heard of Francisco Nava? It’s not entirely implausible, particularly considering she was active enough in the conservative movement to be working for the National College Republican Committee right up until (presumably) today.
In the end, Todd’s and Nava’s ultimate victim is the movement each purported to be serving and, evidently, willing to bleed for. They have each done their part in reducing the credibility of the conservative movement (particularly on college campuses) at a time when it needs all the help it can get.
Update: And it gets stranger… Talking Points Memo reports that the McCain campaign put out a press release on called up several reporters about Todd’s “assault” before the police had said anything about it… see for yourself:
Late Update: I just spoke with the man at the center of TPM’s report about the McCain campaign pushing the Todd story, regional communications director Peter Feldman, who told WPRB that those reports are, “just not true and completely incorrect.”