Covington Catholic student’s defamation suit against Washington Post dismissed

Make sure to let us know what you think... we now have comments turned ON below the article!

Covington Catholic High School student Nicholas Sandmann’s $250 million lawsuit against the Washington Post was dismissed by a federal judge in Kentucky on Friday, Fox News reported.

Sandmann was seeking damages stemming from the allegedly defamatory manner in which he was portrayed in the Post’s reporting of a January confrontation between a group of students and Native American activist Nathan Phillips.

Viral encounter

At the heart of the litigation was a photo of Sandmann and Phillips facing each other on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., which went viral within hours of the event itself. The story received exetensive attention from the Post and countless other news agencies. Sandmann was wearing a Make America Great Again hat and was shown smiling broadly at Phillips.

News coverage accused Sandmann and other students of initiating a hostile encounter and taunting Phillips and other Native American protesters by saying “Build that wall,” “Trump2020,” and “Go back to Africa.” Videos released later showed that the neither Sandmann nor the other students initiated the confrontation and that they only chanted their school’s cheer as a way to try to drown out insults being shouted at them.

Phillips also alleged that Sandmann was trying to block him from leaving the area, but Sandmann denied that claim. The incident took place while the Covington Catholic students were attending the National Right to Life rally and Phillips was attending a Native American protest event taking place in the vicinity on the same day.

First Amendment grounds

The lawsuit alleged that the Post’s reporting triggered threats, bullying and reputational harm directed against Sandmann. Articles and tweets on the Post’s website and social media pages gave a false impression of events and led to a “mob of bullies which attacked, vilified & threatened” Sandmann, according to the complaint in the case.

The suit also claimed that the Washington Post “ignored the truth and falsely accused Nicholas of, among other things, ‘accost[ing]’ Phillips by ‘suddenly swarm[ing]’ him in a ‘threaten[ing]’ and ‘physically intimidat[ing]’ manner.”

U.S. District Judge William Bertelsman ruled that while the Washington Post may have gotten facts wrong in their reporting, the paper was protected by the First Amendment. Phillips stated that he felt intimidated and unable to leave the area, and the Post was within its rights to report his opinion and belief, according to the judge’s findings.

Sandmann’s family said they would appeal the decision. “I believe fighting for justice for my son and family is of vital national importance,” Nicholas’ father Ted Sandmann said. “If what was done to Nicholas is not legally actionable, then no one is safe.”

Truth matters

“The law must protect innocent minors targeted by journalists publishing click-bait sensationalized news,” co-counsel for the Sandmann family Todd McMurtry said in a statement. “This is especially true in the current hyper-partisan political environment.”

While it is true that the Washington Post is protected by the First Amendment, media outlets also have a responsibility to report the truth and should face serious consequences when failing to do so causes undue and irreparable harm to an individual’s reputation and good name.

Clearly, the Washington Post and other news agencies wanted to make Sandmann, a Trump supporter, look like a bigot and a bully. They carelessly rushed to judgment before all salient facts emerged, and with any luck, they will eventually be held accountable for the profound damage inflicted upon this young man.

349 Responses

  1. I have been exploring for a little for any high-quality articles or weblog posts in this kind of space . Exploring in Yahoo I at last stumbled upon this website. Reading this info So im satisfied to convey that I have a very excellent uncanny feeling I discovered just what I needed. I so much no doubt will make sure to do not put out of your mind this site and give it a glance regularly.

  2. I havent checked in here for some time because I thought it was getting boring, but the last few posts are good quality so I guess I will add you back to my daily bloglist. You deserve it my friend 🙂

  3. I loved as much as you will receive carried out right here. The sketch is tasteful, your authored material stylish. nonetheless, you command get bought an nervousness over that you wish be delivering the following. unwell unquestionably come further formerly again since exactly the same nearly a lot often inside case you shield this increase.

  4. Greetings! I know this is kinda off topic nevertheless I’d figured I’d ask. Would you be interested in exchanging links or maybe guest writing a blog post or vice-versa? My site goes over a lot of the same topics as yours and I feel we could greatly benefit from each other. If you’re interested feel free to shoot me an e-mail. I look forward to hearing from you! Great blog by the way!

  5. What i do not realize is actually how you are not really much more well-liked than you may be right now. You are very intelligent. You realize thus considerably relating to this subject, produced me personally consider it from so many varied angles. Its like men and women aren’t fascinated unless it is one thing to accomplish with Lady gaga! Your own stuffs excellent. Always maintain it up!

  6. Very good blog you have here but I was wondering if you knew of any discussion boards that cover the same topics talked about in this article? I’d really like to be a part of group where I can get opinions from other knowledgeable individuals that share the same interest. If you have any recommendations, please let me know. Thanks a lot!

  7. It’s a shame you don’t have a donate button! I’d certainly donate to this brilliant blog! I guess for now i’ll settle for bookmarking and adding your RSS feed to my Google account. I look forward to brand new updates and will talk about this blog with my Facebook group. Talk soon!

  8. Have you ever considered about adding a little bit more than just your articles? I mean, what you say is fundamental and all. Nevertheless think of if you added some great photos or videos to give your posts more, “pop”! Your content is excellent but with images and videos, this blog could certainly be one of the most beneficial in its field. Great blog!

  9. I am really loving the theme/design of your web site. Do you ever run into any web browser compatibility problems? A couple of my blog audience have complained about my site not working correctly in Explorer but looks great in Safari. Do you have any solutions to help fix this problem?

  10. Hey there would you mind stating which blog platform you’re using? I’m planning to start my own blog in the near future but I’m having a hard time deciding between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal. The reason I ask is because your design seems different then most blogs and I’m looking for something completely unique. P.S Apologies for getting off-topic but I had to ask!

  11. Thanks for one’s marvelous posting! I really enjoyed reading it, you may be a great author.I will remember to bookmark your blog and will come back down the road. I want to encourage yourself to continue your great work, have a nice evening!

  12. Hey there! I know this is kinda off topic nevertheless I’d figured I’d ask. Would you be interested in exchanging links or maybe guest writing a blog post or vice-versa? My blog discusses a lot of the same topics as yours and I feel we could greatly benefit from each other. If you might be interested feel free to send me an e-mail. I look forward to hearing from you! Superb blog by the way!

  13. This design is incredible! You most certainly know how to keep a reader entertained. Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved to start my own blog (well, almost…HaHa!) Excellent job. I really loved what you had to say, and more than that, how you presented it. Too cool!

  14. Hey! This post could not be written any better! Reading this post reminds me of my good old room mate! He always kept talking about this. I will forward this page to him. Pretty sure he will have a good read. Thank you for sharing!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.