The story of a confrontation between high-schoolers in MAGA hats and a Native American elder has gone viral. It is presented as a case of the teenagers intimidating a poor, oppressed Amerind.
Unfortunately, going viral isn’t necessarily good. some viruses have negative impacts on one’s health. Sometimes, the viral meme causes its recipient to bleed out all credibility.
The internet blew up over a (as it turns out) heavily-edited clip of white male Catholic March for Life high schoolers apparently taunting, mocking, and otherwise behaving badly toward a Native American elder. Even many on the right condemned the MAGA hat-wearing boys for their perceived vile behavior.
The problem? We didn’t get the whole story, and many people, including those on the left, are now expressing their regret at jumping too readily to condemn these boys. As it turns out and in the true spirit of “unexpectedly,” there is much more to this story than we were first treated to in the initial reports.
Here’s the take from Reason Magazine, not known to be rabid Trump supporters.
It would be impossible to definitively state that none of the young men did anything wrong, offensive, or problematic, at some point, and maybe the smiling student was attempting to intimidate Phillips. But there’s shockingly little evidence of wrongdoing, unless donning a Trump hat and standing in a group of other people doing the same is now an act of harassment or violence. Phillips’ account, meanwhile, is at best flawed, and arguably deliberately misleading.
Unless other information emerges, the school’s best move would be to have a conversation with the boys about the incident, perhaps discuss some strategies for remaining on perfect behavior at highly charged political rallies—where everybody is recording everything on a cell phone—and let that be the end of it.
The boys are undoubtedly owed an apology from the numerous people who joined this social media pile-on. This is shaping up to be one of the biggest major media misfires in quite some time.
Well, of course one side is trying to make wearing a Trump hat in public an act of harassment or violence.
Instapundit has a number of posts on the topic.
ROGER KIMBALL: Radical evil, and the online lynching of a kid from Kentucky. Will journalists apologize if their portrayal of the Covington students vs Indian Elder incident turns out to have been wildly wrong?
Total non-sequitur of a question.
When is the DNC-MSM ever wrong?
UPDATE (FROM GLENN): When do they ever apologize? (Except to offended lefties, that is).
Maybe the reason journalists assume that James O’Keefe’s videos are deceptively edited is that deceptive editing is the ordinary course of business for them.
Roger Kimball on Instapundit
ANOTHER UPDATE: More good people apologize:
Like so many stories that supposedly conveyed the reality of Trump’s America, that so perfectly displayed white Christian menace, it turned out to be fake. Fake, like the Ohio University student who sent herself anti-gay hate mail; manufactured, like the racist harassment on a bus that Hilary Clinton tweeted about; an attempted frame-up, with liberal credulity made into the co-conspirator, like the vandalism of a Jewish cemetery done by a progressive reporter.
But good enough to share, good enough to cause doxxing, and justify the harassment and assault of children. I’m still chuckling at the New York Times and the Washington Post rushing out misleading and false stories — the latter with three bylines — without doing any original reporting besides a phone call to the Native American Elder, and a survey of reactions on Twitter.
Michael Brendan Dougherty at National Review Online
Knoll’s Law of Media Accuracy: Everything you read in the newspapers is absolutely true — except for the rare story of which you happen to have firsthand knowledge.