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22 Jan, 2019 09:41

Breaking the silence: Trump blasts media for pouncing on ‘MAGA boys’

Breaking the silence: Trump blasts media for pouncing on ‘MAGA boys’

US President Donald Trump has finally commented on the controversy over a standoff between Catholic students and a Native American activist, which turned out to be not what the liberal media rushed to report.

The president, who was earlier criticized by people in the conservative camp for staying silent on arguably the biggest political story of the last weekend in America, voiced his support for a group of youths, who had been branded racists and spoilt rich kids last week. The group was “treated unfairly with early judgements proving out to be false” and “smeared by media,” Trump tweeted.

Later on Monday morning, Trump called the debacle a symbol “of Fake News and how evil it can be,” adding that the boys “have captivated the attention of the world, and I know they will use it for the good - maybe even to bring people together.”

The standoff between boys from the Covington Catholic High School in Kentucky and a Native American elder and Vietnam veteran outside the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC grabbed the attention of the national media last weekend. A viral video of the encounter showed a smiling student named Nick Sandmann watching the elder, Nathan Phillips, beating a hand drum, surrounded by other students wearing “Make America Great Again” hats. The footage gave impression that the pro-Trump youths were harassing the lone activist, and that is how the story was reported by many outlets on Saturday.

Journalists and the Twitteratti jumped on board before the full story came out, with a number of commenters revealing the boys’ personal details and some threatening violence against the kids. Disney producer Jack Morrissey tweeted a graphic image of someone being fed into a woodchipper, along with the caption “#MAGAkids go screaming, hats first, into the woodchipper.”

Author and former CNN host Reza Aslan described one of the boys as having a “punchable face,” as did network contributor Bakari Sellers. Comedienne Cathy Griffin demanded the boys - who she called “f**kers” be named and shamed, while Gizmodo editor Alex Cranz described the boy’s smile as “weaponized,” adding “you can’t fight that f**king smirk with a punch or words.”

The coverage proved to be inaccurate after more footage of the event emerged. The students didn’t mob Phillips – on the contrary, he approached their group as they were rallying against abortion. There was also another small group of activists nearby, identified as Black Hebrew Israelites, who insulted and harassed the Catholic students.

Also on rt.com Viral VIDEO of standoff between Native American & MAGA-hat-wearing boys splits America

The turnabout did not happen on its own, it emerged on Monday. A Louisville public relations firm called RunSwitch PR was hired by parents of the Covington boys to respond to the outcry and helped the families with their public statements and media appearances. Of course, some people see the involvement as evidence that the students are still just as bad as initially portrayed by the media, and that their parents basically bailed them out of trouble.

The scandal is the latest sign of political polarization in America, in which media outlets play a crucial part. Critics say that the media is failing in its primary role of informing the public about facts, and is instead taking a partisan approach to news and profiting from ignorant outrage.

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