Home National OPINION: Attacks on Covington Catholic students are unjustified

OPINION: Attacks on Covington Catholic students are unjustified

6 min read

Opinion writer Charlotte Caldwell argues against the media’s reaction to the viral Covington Catholic kids video, in which high school students on a field trip were engaged in an altercation with a Native American protester, among others.

For days now, the internet has been bombarded with videos and photos depicting teens from Covington Catholic High School at the March for Life in Washington, D.C. as appearing to be taunting a Native American man. New video has surfaced that portrays a different angle, so why are these children still receiving threats?

The hours of video footage taken from multiple viewpoints shows that Nathan Phillips, a Native American veteran, seeming to approach the teens, while the kids were being harassed with phrases like “go back to Europe,” by a group of self-described black Hebrew Israelites. This footage doesn’t show the kids chanting “build that wall,” though accounts from Phillips and others argue the kids were chanting it.

Just as the adults at the rally have their right to free speech as guaranteed by the constitution, so do these kids.

At first, many sources, including the March For Life movement and celebrities, were quick to paint the story to make it look like these kids were being disrespectful towards Phillips. Even Phillips himself told CNN that he felt the crowd wanted “to have the freedom to rip him apart.” Since then, outlets like the March for Life movement have redacted their claims, but some just don’t know when to accept that they were wrong and move on.

Take Disney film producer Jack Morrissey, for example. After the telling videos surfaced, he tweeted a picture of a woodchipper with blood spurting out the end with the caption, “#MAGAkids go screaming, hats first, into the woodchipper.” Even if the kids did what they are accused of doing, a tweet like this crosses multiple lines.

One journalist has already been fired for making death threats to the kids through Twitter, but that doesn’t rectify the statements he posted along with others who have been sending ill will to these families.

Under the hashtag #Verifiedbullies on Twitter, the list continues on: actor Ron Perlman, author and role-playing game designer Jeffrey Grubb, and actor and comedian Michael Rapaport. No matter actor or writer, both professions have had their fair share of questionable statements.

The media has come under fire recently with Buzzfeed’s claims on the Mueller investigation facing scrutiny from the Special Counsel’s office, and hasty initial reporting along with the Twitter storm from verified accounts on the Covington Catholic kids in close proximity only adds fuel to the fire of fake news accusations.

With trust in the media still recovering from the all time low of 32 percent in 2016, outlets and online personalities alike need to do more digging before they post questionable material that can hurt their reputation in the long run. Otherwise, the fake news stigma will only continue to grow.


Charlotte Caldwell is a freshman at Ohio University studying journalism. The views and opinions expressed in this piece are exclusively her’s and not those of The New Political.


Editor’s note on Feb. 1, 2019: This piece has been edited and modified from its original publication to better focus on the argument regarding the treatment of the students that attended the incident from Covington Catholic High School by media outlets and online personalities. Argument(s) regarding a possible motive behind Nathan Phillips or other speculative takes not central to the core argument have been removed. We apologize to the reader for any disparities this has caused.

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  1. Hallie Taylor

    January 27, 2019 at 8:33 PM

    You write your articles very well and I agree that outlets need to do more digging before they post their material! Keep up the good work:)


  2. Citizen

    April 8, 2019 at 7:02 PM

    They did do their research and chose what to put out there in their news. Their only regret is some people where not stupid enough to take it at face value and investigated it themselves into what really happened and brought that info out to the public. BTW, that native American “protester” has a long history of instigating and getting in other peoples faces to try to stir things up. He was interviewed after and talked pretty big but when the kid that he went after said publicly to ask him for a peaceful 1 one 1 talk to try to understand each other, this guy got real quite and avoided the question, he knew he would be exposed.


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