The problem with hot takes is that they often require people to extrapolate from incomplete information. There are certain circumstances where this is extremely problematic — say, if it involves high school kids being blamed for a racist incident based on a short video and the fact they were wearing “Make America Great Again” hats.
Unfortunately for everyone who had en fuego takes involving how horribly racist the kids from Covington Catholic High School were, it turns out there was a longer video than the one that first appeared on Twitter.
It also turns out that Nathan Phillips, the Native American activist at the center of the claims, was pretty much a liar and that the incident was instigated by the fine racists with the Black Hebrew Israelites, who called the teenagers “a bunch of incest babies,” among other racial slurs.
So yes, that was pretty wrong. For those who had condemned the teenagers, there seemed to be two paths.
For those on the left, there was usually either deleting all of the tweets they had made or doubling down, coming up with insane reasons why your lying eyes didn’t get why the Covington kids were still incorrigible bigots.
The more sensible figures decided to either back away or issue an apology.
As The Daily Caller noted, the apologies began to roll in after Reason’s Robby Soave did a piece on how badly the media had missed it on the Covington story:
Uhhh….. okay… well, the media really got this one wrong…
— Robby Soave (@robbysoave) January 20, 2019
My take: Extended video footage contradicts claims by Nathan Phillips, shows black nationalist hate group hurling obscenities at the kids, who remain very well behaved and harass no one. https://t.co/oJFab00xIB
— Robby Soave (@robbysoave) January 20, 2019
Soave’s piece noted how the longer version of the video from the incident contradicted Phillips’ original story and showed the kids as, for the most part, confused at just what was happening.
CNN’s Jake Tapper retweeted Soave’s story:
.@reason: “Video footage strongly contradicts Native American veteran Nathan Phillips’ claim that Covington Catholic High School boys harassed him. The media got this one completely wrong,” writes @robbysoave https://t.co/9Ki4iiTkQ9
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) January 20, 2019
Conservatives who had judged the teens harshly were also quick to apologize.
Charlie Kirk, founder of the conservative group Turning Point USA, David Brooks, the New York Times’ in-house conservative columnist (by Times standards), and Meghan McCain, daugher of the late Sen. John McCain, were among them.
I just watched the unedited video of the high school kids at the March – they did nothing wrong, and I correct an earlier tweet
The left intentionally misreported the facts (typical) to destroy these kids lives to blame it on Trump
Media made this a top story to wreck lives
— Charlie Kirk (@charliekirk11) January 20, 2019
Yesterday I had one impression of the maga kids from Kentucky. Now after seeing more videos I have a different more complicated impression. Makes all the hot takes seem silly.
— David Brooks (@nytdavidbrooks) January 20, 2019
My friend @robbysoave is one of the best journalists I know… I, like many others may have reacted too quickly. Apologize for being part of a media pile on. Please read his piece. https://t.co/WhJ5auQ3TQ
— Meghan McCain (@MeghanMcCain) January 20, 2019
There were even some on the liberal side of things — like actress Jamie Lee Curtis — who apologized for their rush to judgment.
There are two sides to every story. I made a snap judgment based on a photograph & I know better than to judge a book by its cover. I wasn’t there. I shouldn’t have commented. I’m glad there wasn’t violence. I hope theses two men can meet and find common ground as can WE ALL! pic.twitter.com/R20v9ot2Ey
— Jamie Lee Curtis (@jamieleecurtis) January 21, 2019
Then again, there were some people who were so attached to their side of the story that they were willing to do anything to preserve the narrative.
As a representative sample of that side of the aisle, I present to you Rep. Ilhan Omar, whose sympathies were with the Black Hebrew Israelites and who accused the boys of shouting “It’s not rape if you enjoy it,” a statement not credibly backed up by anything:
Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., has apparently deleted an overnight tweet going after Covington Catholic students anew, after facing a social media backlash for her comments. pic.twitter.com/uzMdOQftXX
— David Woodruff (@drwoodruff72) January 23, 2019
She ended up deleting it. Apparently, that’s the liberal Democrat lawmaker version of apology.
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