Nick Sandmann is a teenager who made mainstream media headlines for simply wearing a Make America Great Again red cap—the story became one of the biggest over the weekend.
So, what happened?
Some mainstream media outlets saw a bunch of teenagers from Covington Catholic High School wearing MAGA caps near a group of Native American elders outside of the Lincoln Memorial and assumed the situation had to be racist.
Rather than waiting for facts, some outlets ran with the narrative that the teenagers approached and harassed the Native American group, even taunting racial slurs. Short clips and captivating headlines were enough for these mainstream media outlets to run the story.
CNN even reported: “A crowd of teenagers surrounded a Native American elder and other activists and appeared to mock them after Friday’s Indigenous Peoples March at the Lincoln Memorial.”
Nathan Phillips, an elder with the Omaha tribe, said the confrontation felt like “hate unbridled.” In the moment, he said he was scared for his safety and the safety of those with him.
The behavior of the students from Covington Catholic High School — an all-boys’ school in Northern Kentucky — triggered widespread condemnation from lawmakers and celebrities as well as the school district, the mayor of the neighboring town and Covington’s Roman Catholic Diocese.
The Washington Post reports 64-year-old Phillips is “a veteran in the indigenous rights movement” and an “Omaha tribe elder and Marine veteran.”
The National Review reports Phillips’ account of the situation completely contradicted Sandmann and the media decided to run with the former:
The kids from Covington Catholic High School in Covington, Ky., were ambassadors for causes much bigger than themselves: Catholicism and the right to life. As such, they should have comported themselves better than to jeer and do a tomahawk chop in front of Phillips. Ideally, the kids would have ignored him and walked away. Until about ten minutes ago, it was broadly agreed in our culture that kids are allowed to do some dumb things because they’re kids. Should these kids’ lives be ruined because some of them responded to obnoxious provocation by being a bit rude themselves? I’d say their reaction was if anything more restrained than you would expect from teenagers. I’d advise them to do better next time. I certainly wouldn’t consider expulsion.
Phillips, on the other hand, is an adult, and he repeatedly lied about what happened to the Washington Post, which was utterly taken in by him and reported everything he said uncritically.
Sandmann, who is a junior at Covington, was immediately the victim of online scrutiny and there were reports that: his principal should be fired, he should be expelled, and the people involved were doxxed.
As more details developed, it seemed the mainstream media narrative didn’t capture the whole story.
Unedited, full videos show the complete opposite was true: the Native American group members were the ones who approached Sandmann and his teenage colleagues.
From BizPac Review:
The mainstream media had an epic weekend underscoring why they are “fake news.” Just days after BuzzFeed published another sham anti-Trump story, the media was forced to walk back defamatory claims that a MAGA hat-wearing teen had harassed a Native American during a pro-life march in Washington.
As BizPac Review, the media immediately ran with the false narrative that Nick Sandmann ― a junior at Covington Catholic High School ―had harassed and made racist slurs at left-wing activist Nathan Phillips. The narrative was promoted using doctored, edited video tape with the audio silenced.
“The Native American activist had approached Nick Sandmann and his schoolmates ― not the other way around,” BizPac Review reports.
The report continued: “And Sandmann never said anything racist; in fact, he said nothing at all while Nathan Phillips loudly banged his drums inches from Nick’s face.”
CNN’s Jake Tapper broke off from his company’s coverage of the story and obtained a statement from Sandmann.
The teenager said: “I was not intentionally making faces at the protester. I did smile at one point because I wanted him to know that I was not going to become angry, intimidated or be provoked into a larger confrontation. I am a faithful Christian and practicing Catholic, and I always try to live up to the ideals my faith teaches me — to remain respectful of others, and to take no action that would lead to conflict or violence.”
“I am mortified that so many people have come to believe something that did not happen — that students from my school were chanting or acting in a racist fashion toward African-Americans or Native Americans,” the 15-year-old said. “I did not do that, do not have hateful feelings in my heart, and did not witness any of my classmates doing that.”
CNN later offered the following information to clarify that the vulgar comments were being made by members of a third group which was present:
A new video that surfaced Sunday shows what happened before and after the encounter Friday in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington.
In the new video, another group taunts the students from Covington Catholic High School in Kentucky with disparaging and vulgar language. The group of black men, who identify as members of the Hebrew Israelites, also shout racist slurs at participants of the Indigenous Peoples Rally and other passersby.
After mainstream media mischaracterized Sandmann as a villain, and subsequent evidence proved his innocence, apologies began to ring in for the teenager.
Check out the full video below:
This is a new, unedited video with the original sound, which is indisputable proof that the Native American man approached the Catholic school kids
— Israel & USA forever (@IsraelUSAforevr) January 20, 2019
CNN’s Ana Navarro refused to apologize even after watching the video, claiming people could interpret the situation differently: