If someone walks up to you and bangs a drum in your face, are you guilty of harassing the drummer? You might be if you’re white and wearing a MAGA hat. Just a day after rushing to judgment about a BuzzFeed story that claimed President Trump had instructed Michael Cohen to lie to Congress — a story Robert Mueller’s own office subsequently debunked, the blue-checkmark media elite had a new instant narrative to promote. It was a tale perfectly tailored to liberal biases: white Catholic teenagers in MAGA hats had harassed an old and frail Indian veteran during the March for Life, which was also the date of an Indigenous People’s March.
BuzzFeed had just two anonymous sources, purportedly in ‘law-enforcement,’ for its story, which a few brave souls found to be rather too little to justify the attendant hype. The contrarians appear to have been right, but what BuzzFeed misreported was so perfectly attuned to elite and progressive anti-Trump sensibilities that no hesitation was necessary before accepting the tale as true.
No lessons were learned from the story’s collapse, either, to judge by the frenzy that next broke out from the same sort of people over the case of Covington Catholic High School and Native American activist Nathan Phillips. Once again, enlightened opinion did not wait on much evidence before reaching a verdict: a one-minute video clip of a teen in a red MAGA hat smirking right in front of Phillips while the elder beat a hand drum and sang was all the proof required. This was a hate-motivated outrage perpetrated by white Trump supporters. Case closed.
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The narrative assumed that the Covington boys had surrounded Philips and stood right in his face, grinning in silent insult. When a second video seemed to show that it was in fact Phillips who had approached the teens, it received even less attention — much as those few voices of caution about BuzzFeed’s fable were ignored by the true believers. But there are more videos, including one that’s nine-minutes long and provides a great deal of interesting context.
Here is a longer video suggesting that the encounter was not as simple or one-sided as many supposed it to be. All those who issued denunciations on the basis of shorter videos should be ready to qualify or correct them as more information emerges.https://t.co/OxhCYyapBS
— Matthew Schmitz (@matthewschmitz) January 20, 2019
The teen is not smirking in this clip, and Phillips has an entourage with cameras. One of the Native activists argues with a Covington teen, who argues back. This and other clips have shown the Indian activists racially taunting the teens, saying things like ‘go back to Europe.’ Phillips has claimed that the teens were chanting ‘build the wall!,’ but that isn’t in any of the videos that circulated Saturday. Based on what can actually be seen and heard, it’s looks as if Phillips and his crew sought out Catholic teenagers and tried to make them uncomfortable. And of course, they recorded it. (Notably, however, both the American Indian protesters and the Covington teens rein in the activist and teenager who get into a shouting match. An appropriate attempt at restraint was has been completely ignored.)
The videos appear to depict more than one engagement between the Indians and the Catholic teens, and without knowing which happened first, and what circumstances led to the first encounter, it’s hard to form any conclusions, if fairness is your objective. Maybe the teens chanted ‘Build the wall!’ or something else at the Indian activists, which prompted Phillips to approach them. But so far, there’s no evidence to support that scenario, only the words of Phillips and his associates. That hasn’t stopped blue-checkmark media figures like former CNN blatherskite Reza Aslan from not only branding the teens as racists but in Aslan’s case musing about inflicting violence on them:
Honest question. Have you ever seen a more punchable face than this kid’s? pic.twitter.com/jolQ7BZQPD
— Reza Aslan (@rezaaslan) January 20, 2019
Rhetorical questions about punching kids? Imagine the response of Aslan’s professional friends if he’d asked that about, say, one of the high schoolers campaigning for gun control after the Parkland, Florida shootings. Or imagine Aslan saying that about any teenager who’s not wearing a MAGA hat. Nonviolence and protecting children don’t apply when you’re an enemy to the woke, enlightened left. And another double-standard bears mention, as well: watch the rest of the nine-minute video with the Covington teens after the encounter with the Indian activists. Also on the scene are a group of Black Hebrew Israelites, a crackpot sect that takes this occasion to spew gay-baiting rhetoric at the Covington teenagers. This part of the Covington’s teens’ experience in Washington, D.C. has somehow gone unmentioned in most media, and the social justice enforcers on Twitter have not paid any attention at all to the hate explicitly vented here — certainly nothing like the outrage lavished on the Phillips-Covington incident.
But try to imagine for a minute that instead of black separatist leader ‘General Yahanna’ (for it seems to be he) asking teens, ‘You proud of sodomy? You look like a product of sodomy!’, someone in a MAGA hat saying that. Do you think it would get a little more coverage? Do you think Reza Aslan would start fantasizing about tossing punches? I can tell you for damn sure he’s not going to punch General Yahanna, and not just for reasons of political correctness. It’s a lot easier to bully high-school student than angry militants.
Time will reveal what really happened between the Covington students and Phillips, though it may be too late to give them justice. If they’re guilty of what liberals assume, of taunting and provoking Phillips, then they deserve harsh punishment by their school. But with the climate of outrage that’s been created around these Catholic teenagers already, the school may not want to look too closely, lest it find itself forced to fight for the truth rather than submitting to the power of the righteous narrative — a costly battle, and the enforcers of correct opinion know it. They count on it. They don’t need all the facts when they already know the people they want to hate.