Who knew that it would be a 16-year-old Catholic student from Kentucky who would finally make the Washington Post pay for their fake news agenda? But that’s how it’s shaping up to be – at least if Nick Sandmann of Covington Catholic High School is successful in his lawsuit against the newspaper giant. His attorneys announced a defamation lawsuit against the Post on Tuesday, accusing the paper of grossly misrepresenting the story of what happened at the Lincoln Memorial last month in a way that “targeted and bullied” the young plaintiff. They are seeking $25 million in damages to make amends for the ridiculously unfair coverage.
“In a span of three 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, an innocent secondary school child,” the lawsuit contends, possibly giving us a preview of who Sandmann’s attorneys could sue next.
“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’ [Native American drummer/activist Nathan] Phillips, ‘blocking’ his exit away from the students, and otherwise engaging in racist misconduct,” the lawsuit continues. “The Post ignored basic journalist standards because it wanted to advance its well-known and easily documented, biased agenda against President Donald J. Trump (‘the President’) by impugning individuals perceived to be supporters of the President.”
The Post was one of the first (and worst) out of the gate with its coverage of the incident – coverage which extended to initial interviews with Phillips that misconstrued the entire episode. The Post did not question Phillips’ account of what went down, content to rely on social media outrage, their own connotations of what white, Christian Trump supporters must be like, and that infamous photograph to tell a story they couldn’t bother investigating themselves.
We believe strongly in the First Amendment, and we also believe that the courts must be very cautious about penalizing news organizations for making honest mistakes. That said, the Post has been well to the other side of “honest mistakes” for some time now, and this time it caught up with them. It’s one thing to defame and lie about President Donald Trump day in and day out, it’s another to put an innocent high school kid through the fake news ringer. The Post should have to pay for their reckless coverage.