Out of control: U.S. media under pressure after major errors with inflammatory impact

by WorldTribune Staff, January 22, 2019

The major media are or should be reeling after two major blunders in a matter of days. Then again, news consumers frequenting these outlets may not even be aware.

After BuzzFeed’s story which claimed President Trump had instructed Michael Cohen to lie to Congress was debunked by the special counsel’s office, it only took one day for the progressive media to find a new target from which to jump to conclusions.

Illustrative photo

Lessons clearly not learned from the BuzzFeed blunder, the major media rushed to vilify a group of Covington Catholic High School students who were seen on video allegedly surrounding a Native American activist at a Jan. 18 Washington, D.C. rally.

When subsequent videos showed that the students were not only approached by the activist first, but were verbally accosted by a religious group, Black Hebrew Israelites, which have been labeled by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group, the media jumped into correction mode – but it was too late.

“Once you’re convicted in the court of public opinion, the retraction – if it ever happens in a newspaper – is on section D and in fine print on the back page,” Rep. Thomas Massie, Kentucky Republican, told Fox News Radio host Todd Starnes.

The students, who had been mercilessly slammed on social media, received so many threats that the school had to cancel classes on Jan. 22.

“After meeting with local authorities, we have made the decision to cancel school and be closed on Tuesday, January 22, in order to ensure the safety of our students, faculty and staff,” Robert Rowe, the school’s principal, wrote in an email to parents and employees. “All activities on campus will be cancelled for the entire day and evening. Students, parents, faculty and staff are not to be on campus for any reason. Please continue to keep the Covington Catholic Community in your prayers.”

Massie told Starnes that “We were all told what to think. We were told to think that these kids had surrounded this man. We were told to think that these kids were chanting, ‘build the wall.’ We were told to think that Nick Sandmann was smirking out of disrespect at the older veteran. But, none of that was true.”

“Now it’s following these kids home. It will follow them for the rest of their lives. And that’s why it’s incumbent on people who are elected to take up for these kids for people in positions of power to try to undo this,” Massie said.

Some haters even called for the names of Covington students seen in the videos to be made public.

Kathy Griffin tweeted: “Ps. The reply from the school was pathetic and impotent. Name these kids. I want NAMES. Shame them. If you think these f—ers wouldn’t dox you in a heartbeat, think again.”

Some people’s calls for the students to be identified led to efforts that misidentified the students and leaked the personal information of people who had nothing to do with the incident.

According to Twitter: “Posting a person’s private information without their express permission is a direct violation of the Twitter Rules.”

Several other celebrities were quick to judge the Covington students.

John Cusack said in a social media post: “This Covington School thing is beyond belief…the lack of basic Respect for an elder (any elder) is the number one symptom of a SICK society….MAGA CATHOLICS paving the road of ignorance…you are a DISGRACE…look that word up, it means something….learn your History, Catholics,” the star wrote Sunday. “Grow some spine Clergy…lead by example and stop embarrassing the rest of us who know better. There is NO supporting MAGA that can be rationalized.”

Debra Messing was significantly less subtle in her rebuke, tweeting: “Mocking, condescending, disrespecting, A—HOLE”

New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman tweeted: “There are dozens of students laughing and egging on the behavior. Will be interesting to see if anyone is actually expelled, as officials suggest is possible.”

Los Angeles-based trial lawyer Robert Barnes offered to represent the Covington families should they decide to sue the New York Times.

Barnes tweeted: “I will represent the kids for free if they want to sue @maggieNYT for obvious libel.”

Barnes told PJ Media that “anyone who doesn’t correct and retract” their false smears would be subject to a lawsuit and that updated stories merely indicating “a more complex picture has emerged” would not necessarily be enough.

President Donald Trump issued a pair of tweets on the incident: “Looking like Nick Sandman & Covington Catholic students were treated unfairly with early judgements proving out to be false – smeared by media. Not good, but making big comeback! “New footage shows that media was wrong about teen’s encounter with Native American” @TuckerCarlson”

“Nick Sandmann and the students of Covington have become symbols of Fake News and how evil it can be. They have captivated the attention of the world, and I know they will use it for the good – maybe even to bring people together. It started off unpleasant, but can end in a dream!”

Read the statement from Nick Sandmann, the Covington student featured in the widely viewed videos, here


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