I’m sick of hearing about the feral MAGA children at the Lincoln Memorial this weekend, and I bet you are too. But the mainstream media is retreating from its mostly accurate original coverage and seems determined to make the smirky little snot at the center of it the conservative victimhood cover boy:
— Savannah Guthrie (@SavannahGuthrie) January 22, 2019
Maybe it wouldn’t matter much if this sort of incident were rare, but it’s not. Here’s another from yesterday:
— The Hill (@thehill) January 22, 2019
An excerpt from that linked story:
The Star Tribune noted that Bridget Kahn commented on the post defending the flag’s appearance at the game. She said that it was hers and that it had been used by students as part of a USA theme night.
“I don’t see anything wrong with that,” she told the newspaper, adding that the students “don’t have a racist bone in their body.”
Kahn is the mother of a couple of the students with the flag and is therefore perhaps a little too mature to bat her eyes and play the dewy innocent. But I don’t believe for a minute the high school kids didn’t also know exactly what message that flag sent when they brandished it at a predominantly black visiting team.
This is commonplace these days. The president is a sexist boor and racist bully, and adults and kids alike are emboldened by his behavior. It’s an urgent national problem, and the last thing we need at this moment is for the mainstream media to droop into its usual defensive crouch.
On the Lincoln Memorial story, I’m not 100% sure, but I think Jake Tapper led the retreat when he retweeted some knob who writes for Reason and sought to muddy the waters by saying that additional video provided important context around the original viral Lincoln Memorial clip. I watched it, and it didn’t.
But that didn’t stop the MSM lemmings from following Tapper over the cliff. Here’s LZ Granderson at CNN with one of many bad takes:
It was such an easy sell — images of white kids from Kentucky wearing Make America Great Again hats and antagonizing elderly Native Americans seemed like racism personified. Right?
Not so fast. For those who believe all President Trump supporters are just a bunch of racists, the initial videos that surfaced of a confrontation at the Lincoln Memorial last weekend served as kindling for a fire that’s been burning since he was elected in November 8, 2016. Then the story got complicated.
I covered that 2016 election, from the numerous primary debates to that historic Tuesday night, and it’s been my experience that a significant number of Donald Trump’s supporters are racists. It has also been my experience that a significant number are not.
And while many liberals believe those ubiquitous red baseball caps are a modern-day white hood, the truth is they are not one and the same. The initial video clip of the Covington Catholic High School students — in which a teenage boy faced off with a Native American elder at the Indigenous People’s Rally — was a Rorschach inkblot.
The other clips that have since been released — in which a group of black men, self-identified as Hebrew Israelites, are seen taunting not only the students but hurling racist slurs at participants of the Indigenous Peoples Rally — is a reminder.
The decline in public libraries and the rise of tablets have made books less popular, but this age-old idiom still remains true: you can’t judge a book by its cover.
That’s not to suggest the high school students were all angels or that none of them harbor disappointing views about diversity. But the actions of the group of black men who identify as members of the Hebrew Israelites add depth to a story many thought was fairly easy to figure out.
And all because of a baseball cap.
It’s a reminder, alright — a reminder of the both-sides media contortions that are smothering our society. Somehow, the fact that a half-dozen African American crackpots taunted the MAGA teens first is supposed to make the boys’ subsequent treatment of a completely unaffiliated Native American man okay.
The behavior wasn’t okay, and this isn’t about a fucking baseball cap, no more than the MLK tournament incident in Minnesota was about a “USA theme night.”
People who flaunt their Trump garb, wave Trump flags, chant Trump’s name and scream “Build the wall!” at black or brown schoolmates or random passersby aren’t just expressing a different, possibly non-racist political opinion. They’re consciously aligning themselves with white supremacy, sexism and xenophobia that are ascendant in this country.
The fact that people in power hold these views is critically important. Contra Granderson, that makes the message even more menacing than that of a pathetic gaggle of Klansmen marching around a statue of Robert E. Lee with cops forming a barrier between the handful of sheet-wearers and an exponentially larger counter-protest.
The MAGA hats have the power. That’s the difference. And if that video clip was a Rorschach inkblot, it revealed the extent to which the mainstream media will go to excuse the misbehavior of white folks.
Anyway, I do think it’s important that the kids involved in the Lincoln Memorial incident were kids. Same goes for the high school students with the Trump flag. They aren’t irredeemable. Kids do dumb things that they grow up to regret later. Lord knows I did — and still do.
But making excuses for them does them no favors. Some things we do are shameful, and the capacity to experience shame is a good thing. It’s an opportunity for growth.
The problem is, adults aren’t giving these kids guidance. From the president on down, they’re encouraging the kids to act like bullies and shriek like scalded ferrets when anyone calls them on it. That’s the problem, and media self-flagellation is making it worse.