To say that the mainstream media really screwed up on the Covington Catholic saga is putting it lightly. Between attempting to make kids out to be racist villains based on nothing but the word of activists and their readiness to believe them because the kids were white, male, and wearing MAGA hats, the media has so much egg on its face that they’ll be wiping it off for a long time.
The Washington Post is just one of the many media outlets who royally screwed the pooch when it came to this debacle. According to it, they were just trying their best to keep up with a story. The real problem was with what WaPo calls the “Trump Internet,” who pounced on the poor Washington Post as it attempted to report the facts.
On Wednesday, WaPo released an article titled “A viral story spread. The mainstream media rushed to keep up. The Trump Internet pounced.” The article centers around the Washington Post attempting to make excuses and feel sorry for itself about how the Covington Catholic story played out for it. What’s more, it made sure you understood that the reason it looked so bad is that opposition press, all of which is apparently of the right-wing conspiracy theory variety, was ready to act.
“The online supporters of the president were ready for a moment like the Covington Catholic controversy,” declared WaPo, who then went into describing the play by play events that guided their reporting.
The outlet then proceeds to tell the story of releasing facts as they had them, and were unaware of the whole story, building it as they went. The trouble is that the story they built was definitely one-sided, as they proceeded to release quotes from the likes of Nathan Phillips and nearby activists who were clearly not friendly to the Covington Catholic students, or the truth for that matter as it was falsely claimed the students were shouting “build the wall.”
The Post claimed it was unaware of such factors as the Black Israelites, a hate group that was screaming vile, racist things at the students just nearby.
“Post journalists worked diligently on Saturday and Sunday to present the facts of the incident as we learned them,” Cameron Barr, managing editor of The Post, said in a statement. “This was a complex encounter involving many people with sharply different perspectives — we reported what we could verify by talking to participants and witnesses and examining the available video. As is often the case, reporting over time allows a more complete picture to emerge.”
Only the Post didn’t complete the picture. A narrative was generated with the help of the Post that painted the students as the evil racists the left and its press had been preaching about for ages. There were multiple videos that told the truth of the story circulating, and it took Reason’s Robby Soave to actually watch the videos and get the real truth of things.
Then the tide started to turn and the narrative began to collapse right on top of the heads of those who held it, the Post included. WaPo marks this as a turning point in the story, but that its so-called diligent reporting was suddenly turned against it by conspiracy theorists on the right such as Mike Cernovich and Gateway Pundit.
According to WaPo, they pounced on the fact that WaPo’s reporting hadn’t caught up to the whole story yet and made it seem like WaPo was attempting to jump on a story that would damage Trump and the right without facts.
This is a weak tactic by the Post to make it seem as if its opposition isn’t the citizenry who did its due diligence and actually went through the footage to get the facts, but crazy conspiracy theorists with connections to the alt-right. The narrative from WaPo’s explanation article is “we’re the calm diligent press trying to get a story right, and they’re the crazy Pizzagate right-wing press pointing fingers at poor, noble us.”
The fact is, from Reason to RedState, the Covington Catholic story was being told the proper way while the Washington Post was painting a narrative, and releasing side articles such as “The Catholic Church’s Shameful History of Native American Abuses.”
The scary part is that this isn’t a good sign for the media.
WaPo seems to be holding itself as a victim of a right-wing smear campaign, when really it was called out by the citizenry for attempting its own smear campaign against a group of kids as well as the right, and Christianity.
This is giving off the vibe that the mainstream press isn’t going to learn its lesson. It’s going to view itself as a noble entity soldiering on in the face of an evil right-wing attack machine.