Just weeks after a massive $250 million lawsuit was filed against The Washington Post for its reckless and dishonest reporting of an incident between Kentucky teenagers and a group of Native American protesters, the media outlet has finally added an editor’s note to its initial coverage.
The note, posted Friday evening, does not apologize for the role the Post’s biased “journalism” played in smearing Covington Catholic teenagers and getting them death threats, but does say subsequent reporting contradicted or failed “to confirm accounts provided” in the initial story.
“A Washington Post article first posted online on Jan. 19 reported on a Jan. 18 incident at the Lincoln Memorial. Subsequent reporting, a student’s statement and additional video allow for a more complete assessment of what occurred, either contradicting or failing to confirm accounts provided in that story — including that Native American activist Nathan Phillips was prevented by one student from moving on, that his group had been taunted by the students in the lead-up to the encounter, and that the students were trying to instigate a conflict,” the editor’s note begins.
The note goes on to state that the high school student (Nick Sandmann, who is not named in the editor’s note but is the one suing the Post) accused of acting racist toward Phillips “issued a statement contradicting his account.” The Post also lists the apology from the Covington, Kentucky bishop who had previously condemned the students based on the poor early reporting that the Post contributed to and an investigation for the Diocese of Covington that found the students’ claims were backed up by additional video as having led to the decision to post the editor’s note.
“Subsequent Post coverage, including video, reported these developments: ‘Viral standoff between a tribal elder and a high schooler is more complicated than it first seemed’; ‘Kentucky bishop apologizes to Covington Catholic students, says he expects their exoneration’; ‘Investigation finds no evidence of ‘racist or offensive statements’ in Mall incident,’” the editor’s note concludes.
The note also includes the correction that was added to the article on January 22, which had incorrectly identified Phillips as a Vietnam veteran, which he was not.
Again, there was no apology to the students who were smeared as racist bullies, when, in fact, these students were the victims of racist bullying by Black Hebrew Israelites and intimidation from Phillips and his activist friends who walked into the group of teenagers and began banging a drum just inches from Sandmann’s face as he politely smiled (this smiled was denounced as a racist “smirk” by smug media types).
Let’s also remember that the Post’s follow-up coverage — the “more complicated than it first seemed” article — does not absolve the outlet of its lack of basic journalism when it rushed to smear teenagers because they were wearing Make America Great Again hats and had attended the March for Life. Just days after the initial, terrible, coverage, the Post published an opinion piece claiming “The face-off between Catholic school teens and a Native American elder is a reminder of 500 years of conflict.”
The Post is only issuing this editor’s note now because of legal action by Sandmann’s attorneys. The note makes clear the outlet acted unethically in its initial reporting, but doesn’t offer an apology to shield itself from acknowledging that it made a grievous error. Also, the editor’s note is behind a paywall, because even long overdue corrections should raise revenue, right?