UPDATE #3: As most readers probably know, attorneys for Covington Catholic High School student Nick Sandmann filed a lawsuit against the Washington Post yesterday seeking $250 million in compensatory and punitive damages. Here's something that Sandmann's attorney, Lin Wood, added that should have some "respected" historians [sic] concerned:
“Nick Sandmann is 16 years [and] old has 2+ years to identify accusers [and] sue them, no member of [the] mainstream social media mob who attacked him should take comfort from not being sued in initial round of lawsuits which will commence next week. Time is Nick’s friend, not his enemy.”More than a few "historians" immediately took to Twitter after the initial "news" report to condemn Sandmann as a racist, bigot, etc., etc. They were part of the "social media mob."
The lawsuit claims that the WAPO “wrongfully targeted and bullied” Sandmann as part of “a modern-day form of McCarthyism.” It could be argued that the Twitter-Historian mob did the same thing.
After the truth came out, I did not see ONE apology for the false charges that came from these same "historians." Were I these "historians", I'd be a little nervous right now. They've made themselves a huge target in defaming a 16 year old kid. They were extremely careless and unprofessional. And they can be sure, screenshots were taken.
These "historians" did not practice due diligence. They did not seek out and examine all the facts objectively. They did rush to emotional judgement based on their political biases and agendas. And yet, these "historians" expect others to believe that they are objective in their profession. Right.
Sleep well for the next two years.
UPDATE #2: From the Wall Street Journal:
Most of those who so eagerly maligned these boys will face no lasting consequences, while the boys themselves will always have to wonder, when they are turned down for a job or a school, whether someone had Googled their name and found only half this story. This is an ugly moment in America, all right, but there are few things uglier than a righteous leftist mob. ~ Wall Street JournalUPDATE: Looks like the lawsuits are coming. If I were some folks, I'd be nervous. Let the scrubbing begin!
And, once more, Victor Davis Hanson proves that age and experience bring wisdom and maturity - something the moral reformer class of historians would profit from learning, though I doubt they will. At least not until they grow up.He said that "anyone who doesn't correct and retract" their false smears would be subject to a lawsuit and that updated stories merely indicating "a more complex picture has emerged" would not necessarily be enough. When asked if such stories would count as a retraction, he replied that it "depends.
In the current polarized climate concerning the shutdown, Trump, the media, etc., it would be wise for everyone to take a deep breath and wait at least 24 hours before snap editorializing, in response to the latest sensational morality tale flashing across electronic media. In the present climate, one video (or even three or four videos from different angles and elevations) is not necessarily worth a thousand words. ~ Victor Davis HansonEnd of update.
He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him. ~ Proverbs 18:13Going forward I've made a commitment to avoid, as much as possible, any politically focused posts. We're so polarized now, and the opposing camps so hardened in their positions, that any civil discourse (especially online) has become all but impossible. But, occasionally, there is an intersection that simply cannot be ignored.
I mentioned to someone this past Friday morning, that the Buzzfeed story about President Trump suborning perjury that posted Thursday evening would, by Tuesday, be proven to be full of holes. I was wrong. The story's credibility was nuked by Friday night. A lead at Breitbart read:
Allies of President Donald Trump are out in full force Friday night, rubbing in the revelation from Special Counsel Robert Mueller that BuzzFeed’s once-thought-to-be-explosive story alleging ex-Trump lawyer Michael Cohen provided Mueller with evidence that the president instructed him to lie to Congress is false.Given the reputation of Buzzfeed and the reporters associated with the most recent debacle, I was not at all surprised. Unfortunately, I was not at all surprised by the comments coming from a number of historians either. Like the breathless talking heads on CNN, MSNBC, NBC, et al, several prominent historians fell all over themselves to begin, once again, discussing Trump's imminent downfall and impeachment. No doubt, many of them closed their eyes Friday night with smiles on their faces confident that their Saturday morning cartoon shows would be interrupted with "breaking news" that impeachment hearings had already been scheduled.
But, alas, 'twas not to be. Instead, they awoke to the news that none other than Bob Mueller's office had taken the extraordinary step to publicly denounce the Buzzfeed story as "inaccurate." Many of these "objective" experts no doubt almost choked on their granola cereal as they realized that their hopes were, once more, dashed.
Even the Washington Post was quick to put a stake through the heart of the Buzzfeed story:
Mueller’s denial, according to people familiar with the matter, aims to make clear that none of those statements in the story are accurate.In other words, Fake News. And the WAPO, acting like an innocent bystander, also pointed out the obvious:
The explicit denial by the special counsel’s office is likely to provide further ammunition to complaints by Trump and his supporters that press coverage of him is unfair and inaccurate.Ya think?
But I didn't see any retractions or admissions of error by the historians on their blogs, websites or social media accounts. Nothing but crickets. And the embarrassing and emotionally fueled mistakes had only begun. The worse was yet to come.
A group of kids from a Catholic high school were at the March for Life protest on Friday. (As a sidebar, this type of civic-engaging activity is usually celebrated by the MSM and progressive historians when it's for a left-wing cause. But this was a pro-life protest, so . . . ) At the same time, they was another group of protestors shouting vile, racial, bigoted and homophobic slurs at the Catholic group. Several accounts confirm this aspect of the story. The Catholic group was then confronted by a Native-American counter protestor who waded into the middle of their peaceful protest while beating a drum. Ask yourself, how would most objective observers interpret that action?
But the video of the incident that first went viral appears to have been selectively edited to make it look like one of the Catholic high school kids initiated the confrontation and was trying to intimidate the Native-American protestor. Had that actually been the case, then stern criticism would be warranted. However, if you watch the unedited version of the video, you quickly realize that was not at all what happened. One could reasonably come away thinking it was the Native-American who was attempting to intimidate the high school kid.
Within minutes there were slanderous remarks made about the Catholic kids as the edited version of the video went viral; accusing them of being racists and bigots and suggesting they should be expelled and their teacher-chaperones be fired. Some commenters even suggested the kid featured in the video should be punched in the face. Social media at its finest.
Once again, a number of historians started promoting the "edited version" of the incident. Once again, they look like fools. And, once again, crickets.
One can only hope that the historians who are so quick to pass judgement without hearing the whole matter, and without at least confirming the facts first, are more careful when researching, writing and teaching history. But the cynic in me is doubtful.