The Leftmedia's 'hate' narrative lynch mob
By Mark Alexander
Earlier this month, after reading initial reports that a group of Catholic school teenagers wearing MAGA hats had a confrontation with a man described as an esteemed "Native American elder," I gave it an eye roll. Considering the source of those reports, the usual Leftmedia provocateurs — CNN, The New York Times, and The Washington Post — I figured it was, like most of what they regurgitate, 10% substance and 90% fragrance.
After all, one day before this incident, mainstream media outlets had swallowed an uncorroborated BuzzFeed report hook, line, and sinker, despite the absolutely rotten reputation of the source. And they continued to saturate their cable and Internet consumers with the assertion that Trump had asked his then-personal attorney, Michael Cohen, to lie — until Robert Mueller had his spokesperson issue a rare statement refuting most of the BuzzFeed report. Just another page in the annals of the MSM's fake-news history book.
Surely these outlets wouldn't drop one fake news story that burned them badly only to pick up another. But they did. With so much egg still fresh on their faces, their "journalistic vision" was likely even more obscured.
Sure enough, in less time than it takes to say "Dan Rather," the same mass media that had flooded its outlets with the BuzzFake narrative seized on the "mob of white racist MAGA boys taunts noble native warrior" hate narrative and buried its consumers in a fresh load of bovine chips.
The reason for rushing to judgement was obvious — it played right into the "white privilege" hate narrative too many Americans have been reflexively conditioned to believe. In other words, it had all the essential fixings of a great media ad revenue generator.
These kids were from a Catholic school, so the Left hates them almost as much as they hate Catholic Supreme Court nominees. (Times sure have changed since the Democrats embraced the Kennedy clan.) The students were white teenage boys, whom the Left hates. They are from the South, which the Left hates. They were in town for the March for Life, which, to the Left, completes a sort of Trifecta of Hate.
Some of them were wearing Make America Great Again hats supporting Donald Trump, whom the Left hates. Those hats symbolize the Trump administration's extraordinary record of domestic and foreign policy achievements, which the Left hates.
Thus, the narrative on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial was a great fit for the Democrat Party's singular political platform and agenda: "Hate Trump!" It also dovetailed perfectly with the Demo race-bait hate narrative. (Last week I wrote about the contrast between that hate narrative and the harmony narrative promoted by Martin Luther King.)
Of course, the "mob of white MAGA boys" hate narrative propagated by all the Leftmedia outlets was a lie — an abject and incontestable lie. Unfortunately for these teens, there was no special prosecutor standing in the gap to set the record straight. There was only a rapidly growing social-media lynch mob ready to hang them for their crimes against humanity.
So let's review the making of this mass-media-generated public hysteria.
There were more than 100,000 people in DC for the March for Life. Many were high-school and college students. The adult leaders of the Covington, Kentucky, Catholic High School had instructed the boys to meet at the Lincoln Memorial at the conclusion of the march. The boys gathered there and waited for their buses, which had been delayed by road closures.
Waiting for their bus, they were confronted by a group of radical black supremacists, members of a hate group that calls itself the Black Hebrew Israelites. For an hour before Omaha "tribal elder" Nathan Phillips stepped into the fray, the undisputed video evidence clearly shows the hateful black nationalists relentlessly hurling repulsive epithets at the boys and singling out two black Catholic students to torment. "Y'all dirty-ass little crackers, your day is coming," they threatened.
The white Catholic students did not interact with the black agitators and instead surrounded their black classmates to protect them. (I had a run-in with this crew in Baltimore last year, and their hateful racist rhetoric was the real "hate" story here.)
As this confrontation unfolded, a group of Native Americans participating in the Indigenous People's March, Phillips among them, then approached the boys, some shouting, "White people, go back to Europe! This is not your land!"
Phillips, himself a separatist radical protester with a history of fake confrontation claims, walked toward the boys banging his drum. He singled out one student, 15-year-old Nick Sandmann, and got within inches of the boy's face, chanting loudly at him and banging his tom-tom drum.
Phillips claimed, "They were in the process of attacking these four black [Hebrew Israelites]. These young men were beastly and these old black individuals was [sic] their prey, and I stood in between them and so they needed their pounds of flesh and they were looking at me for that. ... Here this young guy doesn't even see me as a human being."
So Phillips insists he was coming to the defense of the black supremacists, who had been screaming insults at the teenagers for an hour. Ironically, he also claimed the group of Catholic teenagers "looked like a lynch mob," which is precisely what Phillips's lies created.
Sandmann, whose account is clearly backed up by video recordings, was confused and shaken by the aggression of now a second group of agitators, so he stood still smiling at Phillips.
Covington Catholic High School chaperone Jill Hamlin summed up the incident: "We were all just gathered on the steps. We had obviously heard the horrific insults that were thrown at our children by the black Hebrew Israelites. ... I don't know why Nathan Phillips chose Nick Sandmann. I think he would have targeted anyone but maybe it was because Nick Sandmann had the courage to look this man in the face and he tried to diffuse the situation by not reacting, by standing there respectfully."
Phillips eventually walked away, and the confrontation would have ended there, except members of the Phillips party sent Leftmedia outlets photos and short video clips of the event, giving an entirely different narrative — one they could turn into a national story. Virtually every MSM outlet reported that this group of white kids was mercilessly mocking and harassing a Native American tribal elder.
Phillips was quick to respond to the MSM feeding frenzy with his "narrative" — and he fed these outlets just what they wanted to hear. He told MSNBC that the boys were an "ugly mob." He told CNN and other outlets, "This young feller put himself in front of me and would not move. ... I heard them saying, 'Build that wall. Build that wall.' ... What I was witnessing was just hate."
But not one second of the video evidence supports any of Phillips's spurious claims.
That notwithstanding, and having willfully ignored the journalistic obligation to corroborate Phillips's remarks, The New York Times alleged that the boys had "mobbed" him. Soon, WaPo, CNN, ABC, NBC, and their co-conspirators were running with that Fake News narrative.
Within hours of the initial reports, the Covington Catholic High School and its Kentucky diocese shamefully issued a joint apology to elder Phillips, noting, "This behavior is opposed to the Church's teachings on the dignity and respect of the human person."
It was the joint apology that gave me pause to reconsider my initial reaction, thinking the reports might be correct. And then National Review joined the condemnation, prompted, I'm sure, by the official apology.
NR published a scathing rebuke, "The Covington Students Might as Well Have Just Spit on the Cross," in which its deputy managing editor, Nicholas Frankovich, declared, "They mock a serious, frail-looking older man and gloat in their momentary role as Roman soldiers to his Christ." He continued, "'Bullying' is a worn-out word and doesn't convey the full extent of the evil on display here."
But once questions about the prevailing Leftmedia narrative began to surface, NR removed the article and social-media condemnations from other NR principals. Then the publication replaced it with pieces entitled "Nathan Phillips Lied. The Media Bought It" and "Upholding a Narrative Backfires on the Mainstream Media."
To NR's credit, both the editorial board and Frankovich published apologies. The editorial board noted: "In this business all we can do is own up to mistakes when they happen. We apologize to our readers and especially to the Covington students, who didn't need us piling on."
Furthermore, NR's Molly Powell later called out the black supremacist who assailed the Catholic boys: "If you watch the nearly two-hour YouTube video ... you will see the black men, all adult, hurling insult after insult at the students, for well over an hour."
Of course, Trump-hating neo-con Bill Kristol, editor-at-large of the recently defunct Weekly Standard, removed without apology his disgraceful social-media post that asserted, "The contrast between the calm dignity and quiet strength of Mr. Phillips and the behavior of the #MAGA brats who have absorbed the spirit of TrumpISM — this spectacle is a lesson which all Americans can learn."
At present, there have been no retractions or apologies from The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, and the rest of the Leftmedia lynch mob, all of which slandered the Catholic school boys with their reports. Not one apology; nothing; silence. That is to be expected.
But in a WaPo "Acts of Faith" article about the Hebrew Israelites, Sam Kestenbaum concedes they "may actually be at the center of a roiling controversy that has gripped the nation in recent days." He adds, "A longer video soon bubbled to the surface, widening the lens. It showed how a group of half a dozen Hebrew Israelites had, in fact, been goading and preaching at both the Native Americans and high schoolers, using profanity and highly provocative language."
And NBC Today is taking heat from its Leftmedia cadres for interviewing Sandmann and allowing him to tell his side of the story. Cohost Savannah Guthrie asked Sandmann, "Do you feel from this experience that you owe anybody an apology? Do you see your own fault in any way?" He responded, "As far as standing there, I had every right to do so. I was not disrespectful to Mr. Phillips. ... I respect him. I'd like to talk to him."
The Leftmedia's narrative worked like a charm — until it didn't. Veteran journalist Brit Hume, when asked about the MSM's handling of this incident, replied, "Appalling. What's so striking about this [is that] it's a phenomenon we have seen over and over again."
Recall the shameful comment by leftist columnist Evan Thomas after the media persecuted the Duke Lacrosse team: "The narrative was right, but the facts were wrong."
It amounts to what House Speaker Nancy Pelosi defined as a "wrap-up smear": "You make up something. Then you have the press write about it. And then you say, 'Everybody is writing about this charge.' It's a tool ... to just have [the media] talking about what you want them to be talking about."
There has also been no apology to the boys from the Covington school and diocese, though I note Catholic leadership has been slow to apologize to boys suffering abuse in the past.
We all owe a debt of gratitude to Robby Soave, associate editor with Reason magazine, who thoroughly documented how the media wildly mischaracterized the incident, including almost two hours of video debunking the MSM narrative. Soave notes, "This is shaping up to be one of the biggest major media misfires in quite some time." (At least since the BuzzFeed misfire a day earlier.)
The young man at the epicenter of the false narrative, Nick Sandmann, released a statement explaining his perspective on the events, and the video footage clearly backs his account. He says, "The [black] protesters said hateful things. They called us 'racists,' 'bigots,' 'white crackers,' 'faggots,' and 'incest kids.' They also taunted an African-American student from my school by telling him that they would 'harvest his organs.'" He added, "[I was] 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. I did not do that, do not have hateful feelings in my heart and did not witness any of my classmates doing that."
Meanwhile, a mudslide of leftist hatred had all but buried Sandmann and the other students.
Predictably, CNN led that charge, with Ana Navarro declaring the boys were "racists" and "a— wipes." Keith Boykin said, "The MAGA-hat wearing Covington Catholic High School students mocking Elder Nathan Phillips at the Indigenous Peoples March in Washington are direct descendants of the white privilege that empowered white kids to mock Elizabeth Eckford at Little Rock Central High School in 1957." Legal analyst Bakari Sellers said, "[Sandman] is a deplorable. Some people can also be punched in the face." Former CNN commentator Reza Aslan followed, "Have you ever seen a more punchable face than this kid's?" (Memo to Sellers and Aslan: Come take a swing at this face...)
Disney producer Jack Morrissey said the boys should be killed, posting a photo of blood spewed from a wood chipper under the caption, "MAGAkids go screaming, hats first, into the wood chipper."
Typical of celebrity Twitter responses was that from Trump hater Kathy Griffin, who insisted the kids names should be published so they can be targeted for retribution. "I want NAMES," declared Griffin. "Shame them. If you think these f—ers wouldn't dox you in a heartbeat, think again. Names please. And stories from people who can identify them and vouch for their identity."
According to a Twitter spokesperson, "Posting a person's private information without their express permission is a direct violation of the Twitter Rules," but don't hold your breath waiting on Griffin's social-media accounts to be pulled down.
Others pilled on.
"Saturday Night Live" writer Sarah Beattie said that she will have sex with "whoever manages to punch that MAGA kid in the face." Here is a sample of other celebrity knee-jerkers... Alyssa Milano: "The red MAGA hat is the new white hood." Billy Crystal: "The kids parents must be so proud." Shaun King: "I am so deeply grieved and angry by this as young kids in MAGA hats surrounded and mocked a beloved Native American elder yesterday."
Laughably, Massachusetts senator and notorious Native American impersonator Elizabeth Warren insisted, "Omaha elder and Vietnam War veteran Nathan Phillips endured hateful taunts with dignity and strength, then urged us all to do better." (Phillips is probably one of her relatives.)
On the subject of Phillips's military record? That's as genuine as Warren's Native American heritage claims. Phillips is not a Vietnam War veteran.
In his CNN interview Sunday, he twice claimed, "I'm a Vietnam veteran." He had previously claimed, "I'm what they call a recon ranger. That was my role." Those are both lies. But Phillips, who enlisted as Nathan Stanard, was a private for a couple years, stationed in Nebraska and California as a refrigerator mechanic. His record indicates he was AWOL in both locations.
But he makes no effort to correct the record in the media echo chamber.
UPI: "laughing and chanting at Vietnam War veteran Nathan Phillips..." Washington Post: "Phillips, an Omaha tribe elder who fought in the Vietnam War..." Slate: "Nathan Phillips, a Vietnam War veteran..." Huffington Post: "Phillips served in the Vietnam War..." TMZ: "A mob of MAGA hat-wearing teenagers swarmed around a Native American Vietnam veteran..." Even a GoFundMe appeal notes: "Native American Vietnam War Veteran Nathan Phillips was mocked and harassed..."
Finally, the student most maligned by the Fake News narrative, Nick Sandmann, has invited Nathan Phillips to meet for a conversation about the incident. But Phillips rejected the boy's offer, saying, "It's not the right time. ... He stole my narrative."
As for the impact that false narrative has had on the kids at Covington and their families, Jim Wilson, who was a chaperone for the DC visit, said, "The schools slogan is, 'A spirit that will not die.' They are embracing that." But the death threats keep coming.
As for the Leftmedia talkingheads, if they wonder why so many Americans dismiss their biased news narratives, they need look no further than this disgraceful, slanderous "news."
Fake news has been around in one form or another since Gutenberg invented the printing press. In 1710, Irish essayist and cleric Jonathan Swift wrote in his work The Examiner, "If a Lie be believ'd only for an Hour, it has done its Work. ... Falsehood flies, and the Truth comes limping after it; so that when Men come to be undeceiv'd, it is too late."
In more contemporary parlance, "A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting its boots on." And indeed, this one did.
Mark Alexander is the executive editor of the Patriot Post.