Covington Catholic Is the Terrible Sequel to the Kavanaugh Case. “But this is America in 2019, and it’s full of rage and hate. And parents of young men know that hostile people would instead want to destroy your child’s life. They would want to destroy your own livelihood. They would wish violence on him and you. They would try to destroy your school, and they would mock your faith. And then, even when their rage is proven to be unfounded, they would spend days hunting through your background and your school’s history to try to find some reason to hate you anyway.”
Of the most culturally deplorable boxes one can check in progressive America in 2019, the boys of Covington Catholic High School have most of them: white, male, Christian, attendees at the annual March for Life in Washington, and wearers of MAGA hats. What’s not to dislike? So when four minutes of video footage emerged online this weekend showing the students appearing to harass a Native American Vietnam veteran named Nathan Phillips, America’s media and cultural elite leapt to judgment.
A short video clip of student Nick Sandmann supposedly “smirking” as Mr. Phillips banged his drum in the student’s face went viral, and instantly the boys of Covington Catholic in Kentucky were branded racists.
Best-selling author Reza Aslan tweeted that the high school junior had a “punchable face.” Former Democratic Party chief Howard Dean opined that Covington Catholic is “a hate factory.” GQ’s Nathaniel Friedman urged people to “Doxx ‘em all,” i.e., make their personal information public.
Meanwhile, mainstream news outlets published misleading accounts of what happened based on incomplete information. And pundits on the right and left rushed to demonstrate their own virtue by trashing high school students as somehow symptomatic of America’s cultural rot in the Age of Trump.
Only it turns out there was a much longer video, nearly two hours, showing that almost everything first reported about the confrontation was false, or at least much more complicated. The boys had been taunted by a group of Black Hebrew Israelites, who shouted racist and homophobic slurs. Far from the boys confronting Mr. Phillips, he confronted them as they were waiting near the Lincoln Memorial for their bus.
It also turns out that Mr. Phillips is not the Vietnam veteran he was reported to be in most stories. On Tuesday the Washington Post offered a correction, noting that while Mr. Phillips served in the Marines from 1972 to 1976, he was “never deployed to Vietnam.”
Our political-media class is mostly trash, and their “have you no decency” talk is a sham.
Related: “The urge to believe in something can be so great that people can sincerely see things that aren’t there. The social media obsession with racism and toxic masculinity eventually turned the Covington boys’ ‘smirking faces’ into the new Evil Clown sighting of 2019.”