Knockout games, bigoted receipts, and self-inflicted HIV

In both cases, social media firestorms erupted over stories that inflamed certain passions and fulfilled certain expectations. The narratives were too good to check. But the press is suddenly very interested in “debunking” the Knockdown Game, building off a hysterical piece in Slate that alleges – based on nothing more than the deep-seated ideological convictions of the author – that the rash of random, racially-charged attacks can’t possibly be happening.

This Knockdown Game knockdown has to be one of the most bizarre media obsessions ever. It’s an objective fact that the game is happening – even the “debunking” pieces admit it! – but they’re trying to literally wish it out of existence, presumably because they don’t like the commentary it’s attracting from conservatives. …

Perpetrators have been busted for these assaults, and have talked to police and reporters about the mixture of bored youth, random cruelty, and racism that inspires the “game.” But evidently a few left-wingers have decided none of this is actually happening, video evidence be damned, leading to the utterly insane cascade of narrative disintegration typified by this USA Today article: