Nick Sandmann, the 16-year-old high school student at the center of the 2019 March for Life fracas that took place in Washington, D.C., says that he has been under siege since the incident took place. Snippets of video footage featured Sandmann standing still, while Native American activist Nathan Phillips was beating a drum very close to him, went viral. From my description, which I tried to make as accurate and neutral as possible, why would such a scene go viral? What’s so exciting? Was Nick’s facial expression a smile, a smirk, or “deer in the headlights” indecision? According to CNN, the Washington Post and other
lamestream mainstream media, Sandmann was smirking, betraying his intention of mocking and threatening Phillips’ protest. Protesting what by beating a drum? I never have figured that out. How did all those media outlets know what Nick Sandmann was thinking or that he was mocking rather than confused or nervous?
Neither Sandmann nor any of his classmates from Covington Catholic High School in Kentucky, had actually threatened or mocked Phillips. It was, in fact, later determined that Phillips had approached the group of students and infringed on their personal space. Was Nick a shy kid (who was just there with his classmates to support the idea of letting “unwanted” babies live) who didn’t know how to react to a much older and aggressive man with long gray hair beating a drum within his personal space, surrounded by cameras and reporters? Or was he an arrogant, entitled racist Catholic white kid who was there to mock and embarrass a “native American elder Vietnam veteran”? The media narrative, based solely on their interpretation of a screenshot of a snippet of video, presented the latter as fact. The real facts were the former.
So what, you ask? This story is almost a year old, and we are in the midst of an unprecedented worldwide pandemic, so why bring out old news? It isn’t old news to a kid whose only crime was being in the wrong place at the wrong time, with the wrong melanin content and the wrong religion, and the wrong facial expression (could there have been a right one)? It matters quite a bit, because that very same media is stoking fear and misportraying government efforts to manage the tradeoffs between protecting our health and our economy. Why would they do that? For the same reason they demonized an innocent kid, blew up a facial expression into an accusation of racism. In their own minds they are innocent of wrongdoing, because Trump is evil incarnate, and high school boys who are white, pro-life and Catholic deserve to be pilloried in the media….even if they are innocent!
In an interview with Fox Nation host Lara Logan, Sandmann said that his life has been threatened from day one. On Monday’s “Fox & Friends,” Logan said that Sandmann will be “tarnished with this stigma forever” and branded as “some arrogant, racist kid” because of the biased and inaccurate media coverage. Logan added that the media — some of which never retracted their initial erroneous reporting — put Sandmann at risk. “The media’s role in it has never been fully addressed,” Logan insisted. “Most outlets didn’t retract their stories. CNN settled in a massive lawsuit — the sum was undisclosed — but that was evidence. And it was just the beginning in a series of lawsuits that are to come.” During the interview, Logan and Sandmann were pictured visiting the Lincoln Memorial. “As we stood there, people began to stare at Nick and it became uncomfortable,” Logan narrated in the clip. “He was mindful of the death threats and bomb threats against him, his home and [his attorney Todd McMurtry]. So we decided to leave. The long looks followed us on the way.”
“Everywhere I go, there is someone that will point me out,” he said. As they left the memorial, Logan asked, “Does that happen all the time?” “It happens everywhere I go,” the teen admitted. “From in my community to different parts of the country. Everywhere I go, there is someone that will point me out.” The high school student added that he’s always aware of his surroundings — because he has no other choice. “It’s going to be that way for how long?” Logan asked. “Probably forever,” Sandmann responded. “It’s a constant threat and it’s a terrible threat. But you can’t choose to live your life in fear or they’ve won and they robbed you of your life.”
Do you think anyone who makes their living in the lamestream media cares? Or would be willing to say, “we were wrong, we did a bad thing”? Probably not. At least I haven’t read about or heard anyone do so. After the Covid19 threat subsides enough to look back, will these same media types admit that their fear-stoking was not helpful?