https://www.nationalreview.com/2019/01/nathan-phillips-lied-the-media-bought-it/ (mods, I've been away for years so sorry if this is in the wrong forum... feel free to move) As a very quick aside, I've avoided discussing politics on here for the past few years given my time constraints from family and work. However, this issue has grabbed my attention in a way that won't let go. I think this is vitally important to hold our media accountable and this is the perfect example. Also, this is a long-ass post with a ton of time-stamps of the events. Sorry for the length but it's important to get the truth here. This is a critical issue because the truth matters. Note, not that it should matter but I'm not a MAGA supporter. I'm not a Democrat either. I vote almost entirely libertarian in local, state, and national elections with a few small exceptions (Trump won't be an exception in 2020). It is remarkably clear at this point that the Nathan Phillips / MAGA kid story is a perfect storm of media malfeasance. Initially, the optics were perfect... you had all the ingredients for a good ol' fashion mess. You had the weathered and noble-in-appearance native person. You had the clearly-affluent white kid right in his face, complete with preppy clothes, a stupid MAGA hat, and a Trumpesque compressed-lips grin. You had a freeze-frame moment of what appears to be a bunch of white kids crowding around the native man and they are clearly yelling and excited. You had reports of these kids yelling things like 'build the Wall!' to the native man and 'Trump 2020!' There were even some lovely reports that these nasty white kids were antagonizing a peaceful 'group of African Americans' "preaching the Bible." All of that mixed together into a wonderful cocktail that was quickly peddled as 'white teens mock Native man and harass him during peaceful march.' It initially looked exactly like all that. Either horrible or wonderful, depending on your perspective. NYT, CNN, HuffPo, etc. all immediately ran with it. Twitter was a firestorm. Reddit was ablaze. There were calls for the kids to be exiled, expelled, have their life ruined, murdered, punched in the face, labeled a Nazi, etc. The principal had to be fired, so said the internet. The family should be ashamed. So forth and so on. The kid was doxxed quickly and the kid and his family have now had death threats come their way. Well done, Internet! Great job, tolerant left! However, the truth has started to rear its ugly, persistent head. Here are the facts that are now incontrovertible. If you disagree with any of these, please post a link with the timestamp of the evidence and I'll quickly edit / recant whatever part is wrong. Here is a link to the entire episode. The kids were on a field trip to DC for a March for Life. (widely accepted) They completed the march early in the day and did some sightseeing. (widely accepted) They were told by chaperones to gather at the Lincoln to then walk together to the bus area. As a quick aside, if you have participated in group trips like this, you have probably seen that it is much more efficient to gather in a large open area *near* the buses versus actually at the bus stop where there is more traffic, etc. While waiting, the kids were antagonized by the Black Hebrew Israelites. The BHIs were yelling slurs, curses, and generally being morons to all those around them including the Native Americans and the Covington kids. Those curses included yelling the N word at the few black kids among the group and the C word at the white kids. (0:11:50 of video) They also called them other names like peckerwoods and incest lovers (1:11:00 of video). The BHIs also disparaged the NAs by mocking their religion. (see first minute of linked YT, specifically 0:35:00 but it then continues for about an hour) The kids did not respond in kind to the BHIs. Instead, they began to do school cheers and chants which are generally positive in nature and were not targeted at any group in particular. (starting around 1:09:00 or so) The boys (who were criticized for mocking Mr. Phillips by doing the tomahawk and chants) were doing those types of chants and dances well before Mr. Phillips walked up. It appears to be a part of their normal school chants. Note, there are many, many schools that have chants like that. Whether you think that is racist or not is up to you but I think we can all agree that having a chant with a tomahawk gesture that you do all the time is wildly different than specifically and only doing that chant in front of a Native American person. See 1:11:40. The kids stop chanting at 1:12:00 on the dot and appear to be planning their next chant. Many of them huddle down and they appear to be discussing among themselves while the BHI guys continue to harass them. Mr. Phillips comes into the frame at 1:12:22 while the kids are still relatively quiet. He walks right by the antagonistic BHIs and heads directly into the crowd of kids. There is a large open path to his right if he wanted to approach the Lincoln Memorial. See the freeze frame at 1:12:27. He is NOT heading to the Memorial and is instead walking directly into the group of kids. If he wanted to go to the Memorial, there was a direct, open, straight-line path to his right. He didn't take that. Note, if you are outside of a group and then march into the middle of the group, you will be surrounded. That's just how that works. Upon the crowd noticing Mr. Phillips, they begin to cheer, jump, and dance in rhythm to his drum. See 1:12:55. Mr. Phillips stood in front of the crowd for a minute and then begins to walk into the middle of the crowd. See 1:13:20. The kids are now in front of and to the side of him and the BHIs are behind him still recording. They appear to think Mr. Phillips is condemning the kids. The BHI guys then seem disgruntled that the kids are enjoying the drumming and even remark to themselves "now they gonna join in huh?" See 1:13:45. Let's pivot to a different video that shows the closeup. Mr. Phillips progresses through the crowd that is now around him. The kids, still cheering along with the beat of his drum, appear to be having a good time and laughing / smiling. One could assume that they are mocking him by the nature of their chanting / cheering but given that it is the exact same type of chant / cheer and handmotion that they did before Mr. Phillips walked up (see 1:11:40 of first video... Mr. Phillips didn't appear until later)... that is questionable. Personally, I think if the kids had the self-control to avoid engaging with the BHI guys, they probably weren't mocking the Native guy either. There are multiple reports from multiple kids saying they thought he was hyping them up or agreeing with them. Their actions seem to support that. Mr. Phillips stepped up to Mr. Sandmann and got directly in his face. See 0:40-0:50 of the video. Mr. Sandmann does not appear to move and appears to be having a good time until the drum is being struck inches from his eyes / ears by a man he presumably has never met before. The drum is being struck close enough to him that he reflexively blinks as a defensive action at around 0:01:05 of the video. There is a wide berth around Mr. Sandmann at this point where Mr. Phillips could easily have gone around him had that been his intention. See 0:01:45 of the video. The drum stays immediately in Mr. Sandmann's face. See 0:03:37 of the video to see how close. It is literally less than 6 inches from Mr. Sandmann. Let's flip to a different video of the same incident. Two of the bystanders, one kid and one Native American, start arguing immediately to the side of Mr. Phillips and Mr. Sandmann. The audio isn't clear at the beginning but you can see it start around 16:14. The Native American says to the white kid to go back to Europe because they have only been here "two or three generations" compared to "us who have been here millions of years." As a quick aside, where would the left stand if the Natives had been saying that to newly arrived migrants from Central America? See 0:16:28 of video. Mr. Sandmann hears the argument and motions over to the kid arguing and tells him to stop in an attempt to defuse the side argument. He does not appear to want conflict. He does not engage the Native American who is arguing. See 16:52. Mr. Sandmann decides to leave with the other kids and walks away from Mr. Phillips. See 17:00 to 17:15 of video. (note that this link has a later section which cuts back to a different angle when Mr. Sandmann and Mr. Phillips were still face to face) Let's ignore for a second the atrocious, reprehensible reporting of the incident. Let's also ignore the massive amounts of calls for his kid's head on a platter, literally or figuratively, from many on the left. Let's instead focus on what Mr. Phillips said of the incident. Here he is immediately after the incident: He starts by saying that he heard them say "build that wall" several times. See start of video. Note that this is not audible on any of the videos being circulated. Normally the absence of evidence doesn't count as the evidence of absence but in this case, when there is complete video recording from multiple sources at multiple positions in the crowd with zero support, I think we can agree that at best, Mr. Phillips was mistaken and at worst, he deliberately engaged in an awful lie. Here he is later that night: He starts by asking "who allows the children to treat others that way?" I'm not sure what he is referring to as there is zero evidence in the videos of any poor behavior by the kids. He is either mistaken or appears to be spinning this to a certain agenda. At 0:00:30 he says he didn't want to confront the kids and was scared and at fear. I have my own opinion of whether that is truthful but I'll let others decide for themselves. Here is the formal interview with CNN: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZY1GfvJWeGY He says he was there and saw "the sea of angry faces" at 0:00:40. First, there were clearly angry people there but it wasn't the kids... it was the BHI protesters. He says the kids were angry at the other group (they weren't by all video evidence) and they were ready to transfer it to him and "rip me apart." 0:01:07. That's a gross misrepresentation of the truth. He says he was trying to "move out of the way" at 0:01:46. That's absolutely not true as per early evidence provided. He marched at an angle away from the Memorial and into the crowd of students. He says "this young feller put himself in front of me" at 0:01:52. That's not true. Mr. Sandmann did not move at all. Mr. Phillips walked directly up to him. He says "I couldn't move because if I took another step, I would be putting myself into his space." I think we can agree that's a lie as well. Banging a drum inches from a person's eyes and ears is "putting yourself in his space." See 0:01:55. He says that what the youth were doing was tearing down the spirit and fabric of America. See 0:02:55. That's not true as the kids were doing nothing to warrant any type of reaction like that except school chants. Surely Mr. Phillips is not suggesting that doing group chants for spirit and enjoyment is tearing down the fabric of America. That would be... ironic. So what should we take away from this? Here are my thoughts. The media got out in front of itself... again. It must do a better job of checking the facts before reporting. The mob mentality of social media screwed up again by doxing a 16 year old and causing him to get death threats. Members of Congress should probably wait to get all the facts before denouncing something as hate, disrespect, and intolerance. Looking at you specifically Congresswoman Deb Haaland. While the optics were enticing, a person's social position shouldn't justify how quickly we believe them. We shouldn't automatically assume that the wealthy looking white kid was doing something wrong to the less affluent (in appearance by modern standards) Native person. That's just as bad as the other way around. We should instead treat everyone with respect and look at the actual facts. The media owes the Sandmann family and Covington Catholic a massive apology for their gross malfeasance in reporting. They literally endangered the lives of those kids by how they handled this by reporting things as facts that were not true at all. Now, back to my main point. Mr. Phillips is not a hero in this event. He is a coward, a liar, and a race-baiting butthole. How is he a coward? He is a coward for ignoring the grown men (the BHIs) who were screaming slurs at everyone around them. He instead targeted kids who were doing nothing wrong at all other than school chants even though they were continually provoked. Grown men don't act like that. Grown men shouldn't walk up to a random teenager and beat a drum so close to their face that they literally start blinking reflexively. He picked on the kids and bullied them instead of the adults who were acting incredibly poorly. How is he a liar? His version of the events is not a misrepresentation or twisting of the truth. His version is the opposite of the truth. The kids didn't surround him. He walked into the middle of them. The kids weren't full of hate. They started dancing to the beat of his drum after already chanting and dancing before he walked up. Mr. Sandmann didn't get in his way. He walked up to Mr. Sandmann directly. He wasn't blocked from going around him. He had plenty of room to go around him. The kids didn't say "build that wall." He lied about the entire event. How is he a race-baiting butthole? He is a race-baiting butthole because he lies about multiple things that are guaranteed to play on current tensions. Build the wall. Mocking him. Full of hate. Fear of the future of the country. All the while, he avoided the adults who were acting horribly. The kids threatening and harassing him. I know there are multiple takes to this story but this is a point that I am not seeing emphasized enough. Mr. Phillips instigated with the crowd of boys, acted like an butthole, and then lied about it for a media-spin afterwards. That, my passionate friends, is what an butthole would do.