It was the hate crime of the century.
Or so some in the media appeared to think, judging by the condemnations and mass hysteria that followed initial footage of a group of Covington Catholic High School students — some of whom were wearing MAGA hats — supposedly harassing an older Native American man.
Except, what may have seemed to be one thing at first turned out to be something else altogether:
As details emerged, some individuals and outlets who had been quick to condemn the students retracted their words and even apologized.
National Review published a scathing piece by its deputy managing editor, Nicholas Frankovich.
The outlet pulled the article on Sunday and published an explanation by editor Rich Lowry.
“Anyway, if not a hoax, this at the very least was not what it initially seemed,” Lowry wrote. “I deleted my original tweet and we also took down a strongly worded post by my colleague Nick Frankovich that relied on the incomplete video. It’s another reminder — even for an old hand like me — that it’s best not to make snap judgments and to wait for all sides of a controversy to have a chance to be heard.”
Dilbert creator Scott Adams apologized in person, with coffee.
Reason editor Robby Soave did his research and eventually called the story a “rush to judgment.”
Meghan McCain and CNN’s Jake Tapper seemed to agree:
Others weighed in as well. (RELATED: Pro-Choice Advocate Made Up A Hate-Crime – Against Herself)
Robert George, Princeton Professor and former chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, apologized for “jump[ing] the gun.”
Dreher wrote in The American Conservative:
It is possible that the Catholic boys were complete asses. My initial judgment was that they certainly were that. You don’t treat a peaceful elderly person like this. Even if they thought he was wrong, those boys owed him respect. Yes, the old man approached them, but they could and should have handled him with respect. They come off as bullies.
But then I watched more clips, showing the greater context of the incident. It is not as simple as it has been portrayed. Below is a more complete video account of what happened. In it, one of the Catholic boys is overheard asking, “Does anybody know what he’s doing? Does anybody know what’s going on here.”
And, in it, one of the Indians with Phillips shouts: “White people, go back to Europe. This is not your land.” He curses the students with f-bombs (video is NSFW). He goes on: “You’re being a white man about it. That’s all you know how to do.”
You didn’t see that in the news reporting, did you?
The majority of the apologies and retractions have come from sources that most would consider right-leaning.