If ever an article needed fisking, it is The Guardian’s disgraceful piece today on the #CovingtonGate saga. Where other news sources like The New York Times and the Washington Post have furiously back-pedalled now that the full facts have come to light, The Guardian has doubled down and run a piece alleging that the “changed narrative” is a consequence of the “conservative media” running interference rather than the simple Occam’s Razor of the evidence now having been fully reviewed – and there is a lot of evidence: hours of video footage covering the entire ‘event’.
So let’s jump in and give The Guardian’s reporter Jason Wilson of Portland, Oregon (where else!?) a good fisking. He writes:
Conservatives have realized they can construct a parallel reality and have it accepted
No, it has become transparently clear to anyone with any sense that the parallel reality was constructed by a shadowy Twitter account (now suspended) which was retweeted by bots until thousands of fools suffering Trump Derangement Syndrome (a transatlantic variation of Brexit Derangement Syndrome) took over until crazed people – some of them public figures – threatened blameless children with violence. Some public figures even offered incentives (including sexual favours!) to anyone willing to assault the smiling boy. Occupy Democrats piled in on social media turning it into a meme shared and shared and shared. Soon not only the boy in the photo, but a boy mistakenly identified as the boy in the photo were getting death threats and being ‘doxed’ by keyboard warriors egged on by celebrities like Cathy Griffin.
In just four days, teenager Nick Sandmann and his fellow students at Covington Catholic high school have gone from social media pariahs to conservative heroes.
Yes, because it took four days for for the frenzy to die down after fresh evidence showed the full picture, cuing the frantic deletion of virtue-signalling tweets by celebrities afraid they’d be sued. I hope they are. Top-brand mainstream media outlets like the aforementioned NYT and WP, but now also CNN and the BBC all issued corrections, again, in the hope that they won’t be sued. I hope they are.
On Tuesday night, Fox News hosts continued to feast on the controversy, which was sparked by a standoff between Covington Catholic high school students and a Native American veteran called Nathan Phillips.
Turns out he isn’t even a Vietnam war veteran. He used the odd term “Vietnam-times veteran” and stood by as it was unsurprisingly reported that he was a Vietnam Veteran. In his statement, the boy at the centre of the saga even thanked Mr Phillips for his service. It has now been revealed that Phillips served as a refrigerator repairman for the Marine Corps stationed in Nebraska from 1972 – 1976 (i.e after the Vietnam War had ended) and left after a three-and-a-bit years of service (to fridges) still with the rank of ‘Private’ and a few AWOL marks against his name. This hasn’t stopped virtue-signallers from hailing Phillips “a True American Hero”.
Footage show students wearing pro-Trump Maga hats taunting the Omaha tribe elder.
No it doesn’t. The video – as everyone knows by now – shows Phillips wading into the middle of a group of boys who were singing and dancing to ‘school spirit’ songs. He stands there beating his drum followed by associates some of whom are filming. The confused teens assume he’s joining them and continue singing and dancing to the beat of his drum. There is no evidence on any of the footage to suggest that the teens were anything but good natured.
The relentlessly repeated talking point – that there was a collective “rush to judgment” on the boys because they were Trump supporters – was used by conservative anchors Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham to attack mainstream media and left leaning social media users.
Because that’s what it was: a collective rush to judgement. Phillips went to the media with a story that changed several times. He claimed he was interposing himself between “the beast and their prey”. The ‘beasts’ were the boys. They ‘prey’ were ‘four black gentlemen’ characterised as “preaching about the Bible and oppression” as CNN paraphrased Phillips. Only “the four black gentlemen” as we now know were members of a fanatical antisemitic and homophobic cult called the Black Hebrew Israelites. Their organisation is even listed as a ‘militant hate group‘ of racial supremacists by the Southern Poverty Law Centre, a left-leaning organisation.
As the hours of footage now reveals, the BHI laid into the group of school boys waiting for their bus. They used racial language and homophobic slurs to harass and harangue the boys for a sustained period of time. They turned on one of the black teens, telling him his classmates would harvest his organs. “No, we love you,” the boys reassured their friend. “Booo! Who cares!” the boys shout defiantly when the BHI start telling them people, including President Trump, are “faggots”.
Ironically the BHI also racially abused the Native Americans, telling them that they deserved to lose their ancestral lands because they worshiped totem poles and animals and called them “Uncle Tomahawks”, a creative variation on a popular racist trope.
The boys asked their teacher if they could do their school team spirit cheers to drown out this relentless hatred.
This is not in dispute. It is on the video.
On Wednesday morning, Sandmann got almost nine minutes of airtime on a national breakfast program to make his case, after his family hired a Republican-linked PR firm.
Gosh! 9 minutes! After tens of thousands of people shared a libel on social media and a mainstream media had piled into him all weekend on the basis of a lie? And wouldn’t your family hire a PR firm of media professionals to help if you suddenly found yourself at the centre of an international media shitstorm for no good reason? This moronic Wilson hack wouldn’t expect a defendant to appear in court without a lawyer, so why should it be any different when you find yourself in the dock at the court of public opinion?
Again, in the hours of raw video footage, there is nothing in the boys’ behaviour that can be described by a sane person as ‘aggressive’. In contrast, one loud group of shrieking adults hurled racist and homophobic abuse towards them in the most vile of terms, and another loud group of chanting adults approached them and beat drums in their faces. For activists who on other days promote “jazz hands” because applause is too triggering to fail to characterise either of these actions by groups of adults as aggressive – and instead reserve that term for boys who just stand there smiling – is bordering on pathological.
Media outlets have been effectively gaslighted, and many climbed down from coverage which was based on the most clear and obvious interpretation of the boys chanting, making gestures and making tomahawk chops.
Jesus wept! People have reviewed the video evidence which shows nothing of the sort. If any gaslighting is taking place, it is your article in The Guardian. The boys were chanting and performing hakka moves before the Native American group arrived and appeared to join in with them, not the other way round. Phillips changed his story at one point from interposing himself between “beast and prey” to that he wanted to go up the steps of the Lincoln Memorial but the boys blocked his path. Once again, the video evidence shows he had a clear path to do so but instead elected to divert to the left and walk directly into the group of boys, who were already chanting and dancing to drown out the racist and homophobic insults still being hurled by the BHI.
You have to be willfully blind not to see this with your own eyes in the video footage. This is part of the reason Phillips keeps changing his story. No real journalist continues to regard a source who changes their story as credible. Except, obviously, The Guardian.
What it tells us is that in 2019, conservatives understand they can construct a parallel reality and have it accepted. They can act in bad faith and prevail, using tried and tested tactics that liberal media continue to fall for. Those are:
Are you for real? A group of teenage boys waiting for a bus has been blamed for the actions of professional provocateurs and an acknowledged hate group, both comprised of adults. Normally adults are expected to act more responsibly, but for some reason when the kids are white and the adults are brown and black, it is the kids who must be held accountable. This is the patronising racism of the Left: where black men shouting racist and homophobic slurs are not held accountable; where Native Americans shouting “go back to Europe” to children are not held accountable; but a group of (mainly) white teenagers, one of whom is smiling, must be destroyed in the interests of racial harmony.
If Trump wins again, will anyone be surprised?
One thing that rightwing media understands much better than their liberal counterparts is that the ubiquity of recording devices at any current protest tends to shatter the public record into dozens of pieces.
God forbid an unedited raw video recording could reveal the truth. But as we now know , the Left feels that it is more important to be morally right than factually correct, so this is no surprise. And how odd that Phillips’s crew all had cameras at the ready as they marched into the group of boys. And who was it who unleashed weaponized video in the first place, throwing this boy’s life into disarray?
A particular version of events based on early footage can always be called into question, and another version put forward as definitive, as more footage, and alternative edits of footage emerge. Partisans can pick and choose, knowing that a definitive version of what happened may not emerge before the news cycle has moved on.
It wasn’t “early video” you cretin. It was carefully framed and selectively edited video. It was only when the extended raw video footage was obtained that any context could be found showing your carefully crafted and manipulated propaganda was false. Hilariously, it is true that “partisans can pick and choose” before a “definitive version of what happened” can be found, because this is precisely what happened here, orchestrated by leftwing activists, including Occupy Democrats.
Just as importantly, additional footage allows the discussion to be reframed. Instead of asking why a group of schoolboys were protesting wearing hats that many in the community view as a symbol of racism, conservatives quickly turned it into a game of who approached whom, and began discussing the teenagers as if they were literal martyrs.
It is not “a game of who approached who” it is the bloody facts. Would you describe an assault as “a game of who hit who” or is it actually important? And who cares about the hats? It is one’s right in a democratic country to wear hats supporting the political party of the President of the United States. Imagine if adults had accosted kids wearing Obama apparel and subjected them to this level of harassment which, I shouldn’t have to remind you, included vile racist and homophobic language. Why are we talking about something as abstract has hats when other parties- the Black Hebrew Israelites and the Native Americans – actually can be heard using racist language? Or doesn’t that matter?
The most influential revisionist account of the confrontation to emerge was written by Reason’s Robbie Soave. In a commentary on the two-hour version of the original video (which readers were unlikely to watch in full), where Soave reframed the discussion to include the actions of a group unrelated either to the students or to Native protesters, and claimed that there had been no wrongdoing on the part of the students. Conservatives picked this ball up and ran with it as far as they could.
Huh! “Revisionist”. You mean the plain truth. Notice how he says snidely “which readers were unlikely to watch in full” as if you might have missed something salient if you didn’t, or as if the Reason writer hoped you might not in case his interpretation crumbled. On the contrary, if you do watch it in full, you will merely be subjected to even more evidence of the BHI’s foul mouths (directed towards both the kids and the Native Americans), and even clearer evidence that Nathan Phillips is a liar.
So far, conservative media has been unified and resolute in hammering the narrative that Nathan Philips, a Native American veteran, somehow provoked the boys by coming between them and a small group of Black Hebrew Israelites, to whose insults they had responded with chants.
It is not a narrative. It is the truth. Watch the raw unedited video.
No amount of additional footage showing their Maga-yelling rowdy behavior and sexist comments before the event – not even clear and concise edits showing how aggressive and provocative the teens were and how calm Phillips was – is capable of knocking them off this course.
Someone found 8 seconds of footage of a girls sneering at a blurry group of boys who are on-screen for less than 2 seconds in a video with no context, no evidence it was on the same boys or even from the same day, and it was posted on another trolling twitter account which included nasty racist snipes. So hardly credible. And even if it were true, what difference does it make? It doesn’t change the fact that Nathan Phillips went on air and to the print media and lied about what happened to him. It is not the first time he’s run this story. He was involved in an almost identical showdown in 2015.
If you want a lesson in how this kind of persistence works, look at the coverage from Gateway Pundit since Saturday. Very early on, Jim Hoft recognized the symbolic value of the confrontation, doggedly pushed his own, partial interpretation of events, smeared everyone on the other side, and then brought the entirety of conservative media with him. (Earlier, even some conservative outlets had been critical of the boys). His reward was seeing that version of events trumpeted by Tucker Carlson on Monday night, who also launched a broadside at any conservatives who had wavered from exonerating the teens.
The raw video exonerated the teens. Luckily there was raw video or your disgraceful lies in the disgraceful rag The Guardian would have stood. And let’s not pretend this is the first time this stunt has been pulled. A few weeks ago the Left-wing social mediasphere went into overdrive looking for a “middle-aged white man in a red pickup truck” – a “monster who must be stopped” – who supposedly was emblematic of “Trump’s America” when he gunned down a young black girl and her mother (who survived) to lie about everything and get everyone riled up. It later turned out that her daughter was killed in a drive-by by a (black) gangster and his (black) accomplice.
Last year social media was in a tiz over the racial harassment of a black woman pulled over for speeding by “a racist white cop”. She shared her tearful testimony on Facebook and a public outcry ensued, forcing the police to release the raw unedited bodycam footage of the officer involved. This showed up her lies and the officer was nothing but respectful and professional throughout… or “changed the narrative” as the moronic Jason Wilson might say, by exonerating the cop… by showing the truth. How very inconvenient to the virtue-signallers and rage-addicts of social media.
That night, and Tuesday, Carlson’s fellow Fox News hosts were singing from the same songsheet. And if Fox News presents a unified message, the president frequently echoes it.
It’s hard for everyone NOT to sing from the same hymn sheet when they have all seen the same evidence with their own eyes. This is why every credible news outlet, from CNN to the Washington Post has now apologised. It is not some huge conspiracy. It is a commendable mea culpa and an acknowledgement that social media is corrupting journalism.
Another tactic conservative media uses is to only consider the most appalling versions of opposing arguments, and to focus their audience’s anger on reliable scapegoats.
It is hard to imagine the gall required by a journalist supporting the propagation of a false narrative which mischaracterised the actions of teenager to the point where he and his family are receiving death threats and his school has been closed due to safety concerns to talk about ‘scapegoats’? Just who is being treated as scapegoats here? The white teenagers are, because you can’t bring yourself to criticise racist and homophobic black men or a lying Native American activist.
To avoid confronting reasonable arguments or new evidence, conservatives emphasize the worst of the other side – like tweets calling for violence or doxxing. Tweets calling for violence or doxxing against high school students are obviously and clearly unacceptable, but nor are they typical of the criticisms made of the boys, their school and their conduct. They also focus the audience on liberal journalists and celebrities – mostly women – who their audience feel comfortable in deriding and dismissing.
Jason Wilson mentioned gaslighting earlier – the manipulation of people by psychological means into doubting their own sanity. Isn’t this what he is in fact doing? He’s inviting people to dismiss what they see with their own eyes and to believe his constructed version of events. Liberal journalists and celebrities (‘mostly women’ he adds for added woke-cred) are not being “focused on” at all. Instead what we see from these public figures is furious backpedalling for fear of being sued if their libelous tweets go to court. I hope – as I said before – that they do.
As of Wednesday, as a result of these well-worn tactics, liberal media has almost completely backed away from their initial, justified take on the story.
Yes, watching raw unedited video footage which entirely supports the boys’ version of events and which shows the BHI to be a disgraceful bunch of bigots and the Native American activist Nathan Phillips to be a serial liar will cause the sensible media to back away from the original story based on selective and manipulative framing of the story, which – contrary to your desire for Leftist propaganda against imaginary beasts – is never justified.
When will we ever learn?