On Friday a Carter-appointed judge based out of Kentucky dismissed Covington Catholic High School student Nick Sandmann’s $250 lawsuit against The Washington Post.
Filed in February, the suit had accused the Post of engaging “in a modern-day form of McCarthyism” wherein it “attacked, vilified, and threatened” Sandmann, a 16-year-old teenager, for being a “white, Catholic student wearing a red ‘Make America Great Again’ souvenir cap” who had the apparent gall to smile innocently as a Native American man rudely banged a drum in his face.
The incident between Sandmann and the Native American man — who was later identified as far-left activist and known troublemaker Nathan Phillips — occurred at the Lincoln Memorial following the March for Life on Jan. 18.
Following the incident, Phillips rushed to the media to smear Sandmann and his Covington Catholic High School peers. And like a slew of other outlets, including CNN, the Post shared Phillips’ allegations without first verifying them.
But in a 36-page ruling Friday, U.S. District Judge William Bertelsman dismissed Sandmann’s allegation that the Post’s decision to uncritically share Phillips’ allegations was wrong.
“The Court accepts Sandmann’s statement that, when he was standing motionless in the confrontation with Phillips, his intent was to calm the situation and not to impede or block anyone,” he wrote. “However, Phillips did not see it that way.”
“He concluded that he was being ‘blocked’ and not allowed to ‘retreat.’ He passed these conclusions on to The Post. They may have been erroneous, but as discussed above, they are opinion protected by the First Amendment. And The Post is not liable for publishing these opinions.”
It’s not clear whether Bertelsman took into consideration that Sandmann was bombarded with death threats because of the media’s false narrative that he was the one who instigated the incident.
In reality, the exact opposite happened. As Sandmann and his Covington peers stood outside the Lincoln Memorial just relaxing, a group of black supremacists affiliated with the Black Hebrew Israelites hate group began accosting them with racist insults.
Phillips then tried to confront the kids with a loud drum — while they were just trying to mind their business and rally for their school — to allegedly try and reduce the growing tension. It’s unclear why he didn’t confront the hate group instead.
None of this footage was shared by the media. Instead, everybody, including the Post, shared the original video up top in what appeared to be a concerted effort to smear Sandmann and his peers as insensitive, racist teenage boys, and falsely accuse them of instigating the events that transpired that afternoon.
“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,” the suit had noted.
Responding to Bertelsman’s decision to dismiss the suit Friday, Sandmann’s father revealed that the family plans to ask an appellate court to review the case.
“I believe fighting for justice for my son and family is of vital national importance,” he said in a statement to The Cincinnati Enquirer. “If what was done to Nicholas is not legally actionable, then no one is safe.”
The evidence suggests he’s right. The media have developed a disturbing habit of publishing dubious allegations without first verifying their legitimacy. The same thing happened vis-à-vis former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian collusion.
For years the media breathlessly ran reports hyping up dubious, since-discredited allegations that President Donald Trump is a traitor and Russian puppet who conspired with Russian President Vladimir Putin to alter the outcome of the 2016 presidential election and has, since his election to office in late 2016, been working on behalf of Putin, not the American people.
The fear their false reporting triggered among the arguably gullible masses was so severe that it triggered a rise of so-called “Trump Anxiety Disorder” among some.
Except in the case of Sandmann, the false, unverified allegations against him triggered a endless wave of death threats, smears and personal insults.
Yet despite the consequences of the media’s false reports, the Post remains unrepentant.
“From our first story on this incident to our last, we sought to report fairly and accurately the facts that could be established from available evidence, the perspectives of all of the participants, and the comments of the responsible church and school officials,” a spokesperson said to the Enquirer.
Opining back in March about the media’s habit of sharing false information, Fox News host Tucker Carlson predicted that they’ll never be held to account.
“You’d like to believe the people who did this will be held accountable,” he said specifically of the Russian collusion delusion conspiracy theory. “They hurt our country. They poisoned our public sphere. They distorted our foreign policy. They terrified our population. They should be punished. It’s not like we don’t punish people here. We live in a society where people lose their jobs for believing in biology, where college students risk having their lives ruined for telling the wrong joke. America is suddenly an extremely punitive place.”
“These people will escape what they deserve,” he added in defeat. “You know they will, because they so often have before. The very same people who’ve pushed the Russia collusion conspiracy are the ones who told us Saddam had weapons of mass destruction in 2003.”
“A few years later, they assured us the housing market was absolutely solid, no problem. Go ahead and invest. Just the other day, they informed us that we’ll have to stay in Syria and Afghanistan forever because of threats only they understand. Tomorrow, they’ll be telling you to take the bus to work because of global warming.”
It appears his prediction certainly holds true in the Covington case, all thanks to Judge Bertelsman.
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