The Washington Post has walked back claims about the military record of Nathan Phillips, the Native American activist at the center of a national controversy captured on video at Friday’s Woman’s March in Washington, D.C.
In a January 20 report titled — “‘It was getting ugly’: Native American drummer speaks on his encounter with MAGA-hat-wearing teens” — the Post‘s Cleve R. Wootson Jr., Antonio Olivo, and Joe Heim erroneously stated Philips is a veteran of the Vietnam War despite having not been deployed.
On Tuesday, news of the Post’s correction began circulating on social media. “Earlier versions of this story incorrectly said that Native American activist Nathan Phillips fought in the Vietnam War. Phillips served in the U.S. Marines from 1972 to 1976 but was never deployed to Vietnam,” the correction reads. The update does not have a time or date stamp.
The latest blunder follows a string of missteps by the establishment media who rushed to condemn a group of Covington Catholic High School students for there behavior during a confrontation with Philips on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.
At first the focus was on a short video showing one of the high school students, Nick Sandmann, wearing a red Make America Great Again hat and appearing to smile while a crowd of other teens laughed behind him, as he stood next to the 64-year-old Native American, who played a traditional chant on a drum.
Pull back further and a different view emerged, however, in a separate video showing members of a group calling itself the Black Hebrew Israelites taunting everyone on the mall that day, calling the Native Americans who had gathered there for the Indigenous Peoples March “Uncle Tomahawks” and ”$5 Indians” and the high school students “crackers” and worse. Additional footage shows the Black Hebrew Israelites calling the students “racist bastards,” “little dirty-ass crackers,” and “child-molesting faggots.” It was an ugly encounter of spewed epithets but one that nevertheless ended with no punches thrown or other violence.
In this case, the videos didn’t tell the whole story, all the parties involved agree. The high school students felt they were unfairly portrayed as villains in a situation where they say they were not the provocateurs.
“I would caution everyone passing judgment based on a few seconds of video to watch the longer video clips that are on the internet, as they show a much different story than is being portrayed by people with agendas,” Sandmann said in a statement. “I am being called every name in the book, including a racist, and I will not stand for this mob-like character assassination.”
President Trump himself weighed with several tweets in as some news reports questioned whether the early criticism of the students was warranted. The president tweeted Tuesday, in part: “Nick Sandmann and the students of Covington have become symbols of Fake News and how evil it can be.”
With temperatures still running high, Covington Catholic High School’s principal canceled classes on Tuesday, citing safety concerns for students and staff. “After meeting with local authorities, we have made the decision to cancel school and be closed on Tuesday, January 22, in order to ensure the safety of our students, faculty and staff,” Robert Rowe, the school’s principal, wrote in an email to parents and employees. “All activities on campus will be cancelled for the entire day and evening. Students, parents, faculty and staff are not to be on campus for any reason. Please continue to keep the Covington Catholic Community in your prayers.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.