It is unclear what the purpose of the Washington Post’s publication of an editor’s note (reprinted below) at 5:17 p.m. Friday, the beginning of the weekend document dump. Maybe it was intended as a first step toward rectifying the damage it did to students of Covington Catholic High School, or maybe the paper can ill afford to cough up the $250 million in damages that one of the students, Nick Sandmann, is seeking from the Post, and it is hoping the mea culpa will be enough to persuade the teen who was the face of “enemy” to call off his dogs.
The Sandmann family’s attorneys, Todd McMurtry and experienced libel and defamation lawyer L. Lin Wood of Atlanta, have also filed suit against dozens of other organizations and individuals, from presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren to actress Alyssa Milano, journalists Maggie Haberman, Ana Cabrera, and David Brooks, and national media outlets like the The New York Times, CNN, GQ and TMZ. Nathan Phillips, the American Indian “elder” most responsible for the ugly incident, has also been named in a defamation suit.
The crux of the lawsuits, as far as the media outlets go, is not just the reporting of fake news but the dereliction on the part of those outlets in their willingness to accept without investigation details about the incident that conformed to their preconceived notions of what happened. These included the assumption that the Covington teens were all Trump supporters — as though that’s sufficient grounds for persecuting them — and that the teens confronted and impeded the path of Phillips.
As a result of the media’s cherry-picking of the video to support their leftist narrative, the teens and their received death threats, a frightening indication of how wrong the situation could have gone.
Here is the Post’s statement:
Editor’s note related to Lincoln Memorial incident
A Washington Post article first posted online on Jan. 19 reported on a Jan. 18 incident at the Lincoln Memorial. Subsequent reporting, a student’s statement and additional video allow for a more complete assessment of what occurred, either contradicting or failing to confirm accounts provided in that story — including that Native American activist Nathan Phillips was prevented by one student from moving on, that his group had been taunted by the students in the lead-up to the encounter, and that the students were trying to instigate a conflict. The high school student facing Phillips issued a statement contradicting his account; the bishop in Covington, Ky., apologized for the statement condemning the students; and an investigation conducted for the Diocese of Covington and Covington Catholic High School found the students’ accounts consistent with videos. Subsequent Post coverage, including video, reported these developments: “Viral standoff between a tribal elder and a high schooler is more complicated than it first seemed”; “Kentucky bishop apologizes to Covington Catholic students, says he expects their exoneration”; “Investigation finds no evidence of ‘racist or offensive statements’ in Mall incident.”
A Jan. 22 correction to the original story reads: Earlier versions of this story incorrectly said that Native American activist Nathan Phillips fought in the Vietnam War. Phillips said he served in the U.S. Marines but was never deployed to Vietnam.