The narrative has almost completely unraveled. By now, almost everyone is aware of the controversy surrounding Nathan Phillips, a Native American activist who implied that teenage boys from a Catholic high school were racist toward him in Washington, D.C.
But his claim quickly collapsed. After numerous videos of the alleged “confrontation” emerged, news outlets were forced to backtrack and admit that of all the groups involved, the MAGA-hat wearing teens actually conducted themselves fairly well. Phillips was exposed as exaggerating if not blatantly lying about what happened.
Then news broke that the Native American wasn’t honest about his military service, either. It looks like his claims about being a “recon ranger” were nothing but bunk.
Here is the transcript of CNN’s interview with Native American elder Nathan Phillips, who made headlines everywhere after a video showed him in a face-off with a Catholic school student in front of the Lincoln Memorial https://t.co/4vr1V1ESsg pic.twitter.com/RRTLWb9juy
— CNN (@CNN) January 22, 2019
In reality, Phillips never went to Vietnam and spent his time repairing refrigerators thousands of miles away from combat. Not exactly a Medal of Honor career.
Now, it appears that the man who has been caught exaggerating about the MAGA hat incident and his own background also has a history of crime.
“Nathan Phillips, the Native American activist who falsely accused Covington Catholic High School students of blocking him during a confrontation he initiated, has a criminal record — including assault and escape from jail — and appears to have misrepresented his military service,” The Washington Examiner reported.
While many people have made mistakes in their youth, the revelation about Phillips’ criminal record is relevant, as it makes his push to criticize law-abiding students who did nothing wrong particularly hypocritical.
“Phillips, 63, suggested high school junior Nick Sandmann, the teenager at the center of the viral encounter after separate D.C. rallies, face expulsion for failing to ‘accept any responsibility’ or apologize to Phillips publicly,” The Examiner reported.
But what was Phillips himself doing around the same age? Racking up a criminal record and fleeing from responsibility, it seems.
“In his own teenage years and early 20s, Phillips, using his adoptive name Nathaniel R. Stanard, was charged with escaping from prison, assault, and several alcohol-related crimes, according to local news reports at the time from his hometown of Lincoln, Neb,” the newspaper continued.
The Western Journal obtained clippings from some of those crimes that Stanard was involved in.
One 1974 article from The Lincoln Star reported that the Native American was “charged with escaping from the Nebraska Penal Complex where he was confined May 3.”
The same year, he was arrested for assault, along with other crimes connected to drinking and driving. (Presumably, that assault charge was a bit more serious than standing still while smiling.)
Then there’s the gross exaggeration of his military service. It might be one thing if it was establishment news outlets which jumped the gun by declaring Phillips a “Vietnam Veteran” without fact-checking. But it seems that the Native American himself spread lies about his record.
“You know, I’m from Vietnam times. I’m what they call a recon ranger. That was my role,” he said to Vogue Magazine.
“Military records provided to the Washington Examiner show that Phillips served in the Marine Corps Reserve between 1972 to 1976 and held the rank of private, E-1, on April 18, 1975,” that outlet reported. “According to records obtained by former Navy SEAL Don Shipley, Phillips was listed as Absent Without Leave (AWOL) three times.”
And no, he was never a “recon ranger,” which appears to be a bizarre portmanteau of the U.S. Army Rangers and USMC Force Recon. Phillips never left the United States during his time in the military and certainly never fought in Vietnam.
Now, to be clear, none of this means that Phillips should be burned at the stake. He appears to have had a confused and aimless life, settling into drum-banging political activism and seeking media attention as something between a drifter and a grifter. That isn’t unheard of.
But the unraveling “noble native” narrative does mean that the media and the public should think twice before taking him at his word.
His long list of fabrications, exaggerations and run-ins with the law shows how believing claims without checking facts can go off the rails — yet that’s exactly what the establishment media has been doing for the last week nonstop.
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