WashPost Puts Covington Kids-Exonerating Report on Page One

February 14th, 2019 8:38 PM

Three weeks ago, The Washington Post wrote a story on the allegedly racist Covington Kids, smelling a pro-Trump rat. The online headline was "A viral story spread. The mainstream media rushed to keep up. The Trump Internet pounced."

But on Thursday morning came a surprise: the front page of the Post carried a story headlined “Report finds ‘no evidence’ of racist talk by students.”

Reporters Frances Stead Sellers and Kevin Williams calmly recounted how Covington Catholic High School students rode a bus from Kentucky to attend the March for Life and were faced with “widespread condemnation online” for allegedly saying racist things or appearing racist to Indian activist Nathan Phillips.

Now, the Catholic diocese of Covington commissioned a report from an independent firm, which found no evidence of racism by the Covington kids.

The firm, Greater Cincinnati Investigation Inc., said four licensed investigators spent approximately 240 hours interviewing witnesses and reviewing about 50 hours of Internet activity, including posts on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter and video from major networks.

On Wednesday, the diocese released the resulting four-page report. In it, investigators concluded that neither Sandmann nor other Covington students had behaved in an offensive manner that day.

“We found no evidence that the students performed a ‘Build the wall’ chant,” the report said, nor that the students made “offensive or racist comments . . . to Phillips or members of his group.”

The report concludes that some students did perform a “tomahawk chop to the beat of Mr. Phillips’ drumming” — an arm motion mimicking the swinging of a tomahawk that many Native Americans find offensive — “and some joined Mr. Phillips’ chant.” But the report makes no further comment on that behavior.

Phillips refused to talk to the investigators, which could suggest he doesn't really want to face in-depth questioning about the claims he made in the media...that they could not find on video. But the Post did include obligatory outrage from Indian activists about this investigation: 

“Maybe they didn’t say overtly racist things, but the context of the incident needs to be analyzed,” said Dina Gilio-Whitaker, a descendant of Colville Confederated Tribes of Washington and professor of American Indian studies at California State University at San Marcos, who called the report “unfortunate and disgusting.”

It “sidesteps problematic issues — such as the fact they were all wearing MAGA gear, which is, unfortunately, a visual cue,” Gilio-Whitaker said. “We have a history of people in MAGA gear attacking other people.”

[She is NOT a fan of "disrespectful white maga kids" and their "structural settler colonialism."]

The report did include a section about the hats, saying that most of the boys bought the headgear in Washington, where they had traveled to participate in the annual March for Life, an antiabortion demonstration. The report notes that, in previous years, some students bought “Hope” hats in support of then-President Barack Obama — and that such behavior violates no rules. [Although it suggests an odd juxtaposition with abortion-supporting Obama.]

Overall, the Post story was very sober and included no hand-wringing about "pro-Trump media" insisting the first reports from the scene were dubious. 

Sadly, this is not the kind of reporting the Post did in January. Their first reports sided heavily with Mr. Phillips and liberals, like the operator of a parody page on Facebook called “Covington Catholic White Male Entitlement High School.” Their fashion critic insisted the MAGA hats represented "a firestorm of hate."