COVINGTON, Ky. (ChurchMilitant.com) - Many on the Left are demonstrating their hypocrisy in the continuing attacks on the Catholic pro-lifers from Covington Catholic High School.
Initially, a video clip circulating the internet over the weekend seemed to show a Native American activist surrounded by pro-life teenagers and being mocked by them. That activist, Nathan Phillips, claims the kids threatened him and chanted "build the wall."
But a more complete video surfaced that undermined Phillips' narrative. It shows Phillips approaching the crowd of teens and beating his drum inches from the face of a boy wearing a "Make America Great Again" hat. Despite this, many on the Left have maintained their condemnation of the pro-life teens, with some even calling for violence against them and their school.
Catholic and pro-life leaders were also quick to condemn the boys. Some of them have apologized for their knee-jerk reactions (including most recently the archdiocese of Baltimore), but school administrators and Bp. Roger J. Foys of the Covington diocese have not yet apologized for their initial condemnation.
The Covington diocese released a statement Tuesday about a "third-party investigation" and mentioning the possibility of "corrective actions" toward the students involved in the incident.
Then on Wednesday, it was reported that Bp. Foys has asked the students to stop giving interviews and statements to the media defending themselves. According to a report, Bp. Foys told school administrators he didn't want the boys talking to reporters owing to safety concerns, and the school agreed. The students, who are still facing death threats and online harassment, say they are willing to obey the bishop's request.
Nick Sandmann, the Covington Catholic student who stood face-to-face with Phillips and got trashed on social media for smiling at the man, gave an interview with NBC's Today show that aired Wednesday morning. Sandmann told interviewer Savannah Guthrie, "My position is that I was not disrespectful to Mr. Phillips. I respect him. I'd like to talk to him."
Phillips issued a response to Sandmann's interview accusing Sandmann of lying. Phillips said of Sandmann, "He did not apologize, and I believe there are intentional falsehoods in his testimony."
Currently, there appear to be tentative plans for Phillips to meet up with Sandmann and the other Covington Catholic students to "break bread" and discuss their differences.
Some left-leaning pundits and news outlets are doubling down on their bias against the pro-life high-schoolers, while others have issued corrections and apologies.
Democratic Party leader and former Vermont governor Howard Dean opined, "Covington Catholic High School seems like a hate factory to me" and has not backtracked on this comment.
Commentators on MSNBC compared the MAGA hat-wearing boys to Neo-Nazis and Ku Klux Klan members over the weekend.
In contrast, one writer for The Atlantic wrote an op-ed titled "I Failed the Covington Catholic Test," with a subtitle stating, "Next time there's a viral story, I'll wait for more facts to emerge."
An attorney representing the Covington Catholic students and their families announced this morning a 48-hour waiting period for reporters and public figures to apologize, after which he would start filing libel suits against members of the media for running with the false, sensationalist narrative that led to all the death threats.
As violent rhetoric targeting the young men's high school continues to appear on Twitter, the social media giant is failing to crack down on the threats of violence against minors.
One Twitter account, "Uncle Shoes," has issued repeated calls for people to shoot and kill Covington Catholic students and their parents.
Although some of these menacing tweets have been deleted, the account remains functioning.
Update: While the tweet original referenced in the email appears to have finally been removed by Twitter, tweets like this remain up and his account appears to be unaffected.#VerifiedBullies pic.twitter.com/ImBp8OrMHF— Civiltarian (@Civiltarian) January 22, 2019
Actor Ben Hoffman, using his country-music alter ego "Wheeler Walker Jr.," tweeted out, "If you know this little s**t, punch him in the nuts and send me the video of it and I'll send you all my albums on vinyl, autographed."
Church Militant has been told that students at Covington Catholic's "sister school," the all-girls Notre Dame Academy, are being bullied online due to photos posted on Instagram showing them hanging out with Covington Catholic students.
In other news, doubts are arising about how trustworthy Phillips is.
Reports referred to Phillips as a Vietnam veteran, but he never served in Vietnam — he had only called himself a "Vietnam-era veteran." Moreover, Phillips apparently went AWOL (absent without leave) three times during his four years.
Here it is. Nathan Phillips (aka Nathan Standard) was in the reserves/active from 1972-76. Mostly, he was a refrigerator technician. He served stateside, not in Vietnam, went AWOL three times and went to the brig three times. https://t.co/1Zj3O5mU2h via @YouTube— Mahound's Paradise (@MahoundParadise) January 23, 2019
Tuesday afternoon, Catholic News Agency published a report alleging that Phillips and other activists tried to interrupt Catholic Mass at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. This alleged incident occurred during a Saturday evening Mass, just one day after the now-infamous encounter with high school students outside the Lincoln Memorial.
A shrine security worker told CNA, "There were about twenty people trying to get in, we had to lock the doors and everything."
The guard added, "We had hundreds and hundreds of people from all over the country come here to celebrate life, to celebrate each other together. That a protest tried to come inside during Mass was really the worst."
Some have pointed out that Phillips keeps changing his story on what happened during the Jan. 18 encounter. Initially, he said the kids surrounded him and blocked his path to the Lincoln Memorial. But when video evidence disproved that, he started saying he approached the crowd because he wanted to diffuse the tension between the young pro-lifers and the hate group that was cussing and shouting slurs at them.
There is now an online petition, with more than 20,000 signatures, calling on both Bp. Foys and the mainstream media to retract their condemnation of the young men from Covington Catholic High School.
Covington, Kentucky is one of several towns just across the Ohio River from Cincinnati, Ohio. Local restaurateur Jeff Ruby — the controversial, outspoken owner of a high-end steakhouse chain with a location in downtown Cincinnati — offered the students and Phillips a free meal for them to "break bread" and discuss the controversy. Phillips initially rejected the offer, but some reports indicate he has changed his mind and accepted the invitation.
Watch the panel discuss the Left's demonization of pro-life students in The Download—Covington Clash.