What’s News? [With Updates]

On Friday, somewhere between 100,000 and 300,000 people attended the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C. The crowd dwarfed that at the Women’s Anti-Semites’ March the following day. Vice-President Pence addressed the March for Life crowd in person, and President Trump spoke via satellite.

Was that news? No. The only “news” that emerged from the massive rally arose out of a peaceful confrontation between some high school boys from Kentucky and an elderly Native American Man and a group of his followers. Supposedly, the boys treated the man disrespectfully. This became front-page news across the country. Why? Because it was important? Of course not; on Friday there were countless traffic accidents that deserved to make the news more than this encounter between teenagers and an aged activist. But this is how my home town paper, the Star Tribune, treated the story:

The MAGA hats were, of course, key to the story. They made the insignificant encounter into front page news, because the left-wing media got a twofer: an opportunity to smear both the right to life movement and President Trump and his supporters.

If you paid attention to the news, you would think that the only noteworthy thing that happened at the March for Life was the Indian/teenager standoff. Yet it turned out that even that meagre story was mis-reported. Rod Dreher and Roger Kimball have the details. In fact, if you look at video of the entire encounter, what happened was that the Kentucky teenagers, while waiting for a bus in front of the Lincoln Memorial, were being harassed by a separate group of eccentrics. The kids were jumping up and down and chanting when the Native American activist, along with several supporters and a camera, approached them and waded into the Kentucky teenagers, beating on his drum. He got into the face of one of the teenagers and pounded his drum a few inches from the boy in what was obviously intended to be an intimidating manner. A few moments later, members of the first group jeered at the Kentucky kids, calling them “faggots.” I have watched several videos of the incident, of varying lengths and shot from multiple perspectives, and haven’t see that the boys did anything wrong at all–certainly nothing warranting a news story.

The boy who is now being crucified on social media did nothing but stand still while the left-wing activist beat a drum in his face. Here is one of the videos:

This story was fake news at its worst, but the facts didn’t matter. The March For Life quickly denounced the high school students, their diocese has disowned them, and their school threatened to expel them. The lives of those who are recognizable in the videos will likely be ruined.

For what? Even if a group of high school kids had “mocked” a gang of aggressive activists who intruded into their midst, how is this front-page news? We are rapidly reaching the point where there is little actual news reported. Instead of news, we have narrative. What fits the far-left narrative is reported, whether accurately or not. What doesn’t fit the narrative is disregarded. Our news media exist not to inform us, but to propagandize on behalf of the left. No wonder no one trusts them!

UPDATE: Ed Driscoll has the latest at InstaPundit. A number of conservatives who initially jumped on the bandwagon have now apologized to the Covington Catholic kids. That’s good, but it would have been better not to chime in with a corrupt lynch mob in the first place.

FURTHER UPDATE: Left-wing news sources are now backing off. See, for example, the Star Tribune, which has dropped its original headline, “Students in MAGA Hats Mock Native American After Rally.” No acknowledgement, of course, that this was a flat out lie. Now, this is what we see:

American Indian says he tried to ease tensions at Mall

The revised story begins:

A Native American who was seen in online video being taunted outside the Lincoln Memorial said Sunday he felt compelled to get between two groups with his ceremonial drum to defuse a confrontation.

Nathan Phillips said in an interview with The Associated Press that he was trying to keep peace between some Kentucky high school students and a black religious group that was also on the National Mall on Friday.

This is complete bullshit, but the Associated Press knows that a large majority of readers will not have seen the video. The activist went looking for press coverage, dishonestly, and he got it.

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