The main sources of misinformation for most were the well-respected and revered-on-the-left New York Times and Washington Post, whose employees are considered the ultimate legitimate journalists.
When the two leading newspapers of record sprint out in front promoting a false narrative, it speaks to an ingrained industry problem and failure. The immediate condemnation of the Covington Catholic children may have been sparked and spread through Twitter, where righteous indignation is always an instant whipsaw, but the august Times and Post, which should be above such standards, swallowed whole the narrative, and ignored the truth.
Any questions on why the mainstream media are today held in such contempt? This needs to be case study No. 1 in journalism schools.
Singer Island, Fla.
After reading this article, I am really hoping that this was a true moment of clarity. Donald Trump supporters are people, too. They should be treated with the respect that we demand from them. We need to stop demonizing every Trump supporter as evil or as “the other.” It’s not healthy for the stability of the country or for our own mental health. We are labeling a whole group as evil and immoral based on nothing but its political affiliation.
Thank you for the honesty, and thank you for starting the process of healing this divided nation.
I agree. If more of your counterparts on both sides shared the same willingness to confess error, be intellectually honest, and strive for more balanced reporting, the world would undoubtedly be a much better place.
San Francisco, Calif.
Your initial reaction to the video of spoiled Catholic schoolboys taunting an elderly Indian musician was the correct one. We don’t need more context to determine if specific instances of lynching were justified any more than we need more context for the descendants of criminals celebrating their ancestors’ crimes. They are both unequivocally immoral. A group of white kids wearing MAGA hats can “protest” whatever rights it doesn’t want women to have whenever and wherever it likes in America, because it’s a free country. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for nonwhite kids; they usually have the cops called on them immediately if they pull a stunt like this, and the media aren’t so quick to apologize for rushing to judgment. When you become an apologist for kids like this, you are teaching them that they are immune from consequences.
Long Beach, Calif.
Julie Zimmerman makes an important point about how many people, even journalists, jumped to conclusions about the incident at the Lincoln Memorial, driven by a penchant for outrage. There were countless mixed messages contained in the edited video clips of Nathan Phillips and Nick Sandmann, who appeared to be in a standoff. As an American Indian journalist and academic trained to analyze information from all possible angles and come to some kind of understanding of the evidence, I agree that much of the reactionary rhetoric and hateful response to the Covington students was misguided and outright wrong.