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    Nick Sandmann lawsuit fallout: Washington Post issues small ‘correction’ and huge explanation

    Nick Sandmann lawsuit fallout: Washington Post issues small ‘correction’ and huge explanation

    WaPo issues a non-correction correction for its botched coverage of the Covington Catholic High School kids.

    Nick Sandmann, the media’s object of hate after false reports he was part of a group harassing a Native American activist, sued The Washington Post for defamation.

    2. In a span of three (3) days in January of this year commencing on January 19, the Post engaged in a modern-day form of McCarthyism by competing with CNN and NBC, among others, to claim leadership of a mainstream and social media mob of bullies which attacked, vilified, and threatened Nicholas Sandmann (“Nicholas”), an innocent secondary school child.

    3. The Post wrongfully targeted and bullied Nicholas because he was the white, Catholic student wearing a red “Make America Great Again” souvenir cap on a school field trip to the January 18 March for Life in Washington, D.C. when he was unexpectedly and suddenly confronted by Nathan Phillips (“Phillips”), a known Native American activist, who beat a drum and sang loudly within inches of his face (“the January 18 incident”).

    * * *

    7. In targeting and bullying Nicholas by falsely accusing him of instigating the January 18 incident, the Post conveyed that Nicholas engaged in acts of racism by “swarming” Phillips, “blocking” his exit away from the students, and otherwise engaging in racist misconduct.

    As I expressed in the above-linked post, I have questions and doubts about the legal foundation of the Sandmann lawsuit, though without a doubt he was maligned by WaPo and most of the media. Whether that gives him a legal claim that can survive in court remains to be seen.

    Late Friday afternoons are reserved in the political world for bad news. It is, in most cases, a dead zone of attention spans.

    WaPo did something curious late this Friday afternoon, it issued an Editor’s Note and Correction to its original report. But the “correction” part was actually quite small, it had to do with whether Phillips actually was a Vietnam veteran. But before getting to that correction, WaPo gave a lengthy defense of its coverage.

    Here’s the full Editor’s Note:

    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 developmentsViral 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.

    It’s obvious that the “correction” to Phillips’ Vietnam record was just the excuse to issue what amounts to a non-correction correction to the misleading initial reporting.

    As Prof. K.C. Johnson put it on Twitter:

    Friday-news-dump editor’s note essentially concedes that entire framing of original coverage was wrong.

    Mollie Hemingway points out that this all is a pretend correction, and

    In a Friday night update in the midst of a massive lawsuit, Washington Post tries to quietly acknowledge, and downplay, its layers of false and defamatory reporting on the Covington High School boys who attended the March for Life.

    I don’t know what, if any, impact such a belated non-correction correction will have on the lawsuit. But WaPo obviously is worried enough to put the bad news in a late Friday afternoon dump.


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    willow | March 3, 2019 at 5:50 pm

    Please, edit button needed!

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