Doubling-down only works when you are right
The Tale of Two Fake News Stories
by Sean Gangol
Special to L. Neil Smith’s The Libertarian Enterprise
You would think with the public’s trust in the media being at an all-time low that all the major outlets would be a little more cautious about what they call news. Who am I kidding? The media will never learn from its mistakes. They will just keep doubling-down on the very tactics that continue to compromise their credibility. First there was that BuzzFeed story that alleged that Trump had ordered his staff to lie to investigators. This was supposed to be the Gotcha movement that the media and Trump haters have been waiting for, ever since he took the White House. This was the moment that all the Trump hating celebrities had saved their thousand-dollar bottles of Champaign for. Unfortunately, they uncorked their overpriced bottles a little too soon.
The Mueller team, who has spent the past two years wasting our tax dollars trying to find nonexistent evidence to Trump’s alleged collusion with Russia actually rejected the BuzzFeed story on the grounds that it simply wasn’t credible. Of course, this really shouldn’t have been a surprise to anybody. Why? 1. The story came from BuzzFeed. 2. The story came from BuzzFeed. 3. The story came from BuzzFeed. This is the same media outlet (if you can call it that) that had already sold a phony story about Trump playing watersports with Russian prostitutes. Apparently, they have never heard the expression, fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Expecting quality journalism from BuzzFeed is like expecting quality Italian food from Chucky Cheese. Yet, they are always willing to sacrifice whatever journalistic integrity that they have left, just so they can try in vein to catch Trump with his pants down. They are starting to look even more pathetic than Charlie Brown hoping for the moment that Lucy doesn’t move the football.
Unfortunately, I didn’t find the next piece of fake news as amusing as the phony BuzzFeed story. I think we have all heard the story that involved the drum playing Indian and a group of school boys from Covington Catholic high school who were waiting for a bus to pick them up from their field trip at the Lincoln Monument. First, they found themselves surrounded by members of a racist militant group known as the Black Hebrew Israelites who hurled all kinds of vile and hateful insults towards them as an attempt to provoke a fight with a group of fifteen-year-olds. Then some strange Native-American man decided to beat his drum in the face of Nick Sandmann, one of the Covington boys who would be made famous for doing nothing more than standing there with an awkward smile on his face. Sadly, that wasn’t even the worst part of their ordeal. Instead of vilifying the black militants who tried to provoke a fight with a group of minors or the creepy old man beating the drum in the face of a kid who was doing nothing but minding his own business, the Covington boys were made out to be villains of the story.
Since they were a bunch of white kids wearing MAGA hats, it was assumed by the media and pretty much everyone on the left that they were the bad guys who took it upon themselves to harass a group of Indians. Even right-wing outlets such as The National Review and conservative commentators such as Ben Shapiro condemned the Covington kids before getting the full story. It also didn’t help that Nathan Phillips, the drum beating Indian, told the media that he feared that the boys would instigate a fight with the Black Hebrew Israelites, so he started beating the drum as a way of diffusing the situation. Of course, nobody dared to question someone from arguably the most marginalized ethnic group in America, especially one that they believed to be a Vietnam vet. When footage of the kids being cursed at by the black militant group, along with Philips being the actual harasser surfaced, it didn’t bold well for the outlets that rushed to judgement. Some of them made retractions, while others such as Bill Maher and certain people from Good Moring America decided to double-down and continue portraying these Covington students as the bad guys.
The reason why I don’t find this subject as amusing, is because it involved a group of young boys who didn’t deserve to have their names dragged through the mud. They especially didn’t deserve to be doxed or have their lives threatened by an angry Twitter mob. There was no excuse for the way the media treated these students. The Covington kids did nothing wrong. Their only crime is that they were white and they had MAGA hats on. The only people who have been harassed in this instance, were the Covington boys. First, it was by a bunch of black militant bullies, who I don’t believe have the actual stones to pick on real men. Then it was by a strange old man who not only decided to beat a drum in the face of one of the boys, but aided the media in their campaign of defamation against the students. Not only were Phillips’ actions a disgrace to the Indigenous people of this country, but to our servicemen as well. I think it is also worth pointing out that while Phillips did serve in the Marines, he didn’t spend a single day in Vietnam. Granted, most of the claims about him being a Vietnam vet came from the media and not Phillips, so I will cut him a little slack on that misunderstanding, but he did claim to serve as a Recon Ranger, a position that doesn’t exist in the Marines. Unless he meant Marines Recon, which would still be untrue. According to Don Shipley who mostly spends his spare time exposing phony Navy SEALS, Phillips spent his service repairing refrigerators. So, I think it’s safe to say that we can add stolen valor to his list of disgraces.
Then there was the media and the Twitter mob, who I can honestly say that I never thought much of to begin with, but after they tried to ruin the lives of those young men over something completely asinine is low, even for them. I know that there are some who don’t believe in defamation lawsuits, but I personally believe that in this particular case, it is long overdue. The media didn’t hesitate for a minute to try and destroy the lives of these young men, for no good reason. This goes way beyond bad journalism. They need to face the consequences whenever they try to destroy the lives of private citizens. Before I conclude to this article, I would like to say to those who continue to double-down on their original assertions about Sandmann and his classmates, you need to know that doubling-down only works when you are right.
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