Editor’s note: Media distortion of the recent encounter between Catholic schoolboys and a Native American activist near the Lincoln Memorial, and The Daily Signal’s coverage of that, prompted an outpouring from our audience. That’s the topic today. Write us at letters@dailysignal.com.—Ken McIntyre

Dear Daily Signal: “Tribal elder” Nathan Phillips speaks with a forked tongue, is my take on Katrina Trinko’s commentary (“The Left’s Use of Intimidation to Silence Christians”). Video of the entire incident shows Phillips is lying.

The kids from Kentucky’s Covington Catholic High School took abuse, without retaliation, from the group calling themselves Black Hebrew Israelites. The whole video shows that Phillips walked over to the boys and stood inches from the face of 16-year-old Nick Sandmann, who simply stood smiling at Phillips, who confronted him with his little tom-tom drum.

I’m not surprised at the fake news going viral among Trump haters. I expect as much from CNN, MSNBC, The Washington Post, and The New York Times. But I thought National Review was better than these; obviously, I was giving them too much credit for decency and fair reporting.

Anyone showing the slightest support for Trump (such as wearing a MAGA cap) is going to be targeted in the most vicious of ways, regardless of age.

What was surprising is that two Catholic bishops in Kentucky (Bishop Roger Foys of the Covington Diocese and Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of the Louisville Diocese) were among the first to jump on the rush-to-judgment bandwagon, condemning the boys for actions they didn’t commit.

These two Catholic bishops didn’t bother to speak to these boys, or their chaperones, first, or give them the presumption of innocence. In a follow-up statement, the dioceses said they were waiting for results of an “investigation” before commenting further, which is what they should have done in the first place.—Drew Page


President Richard Nixon talked about the silent majority. Those are really the people that fail to speak up and fail to vote, thinking that these failures don’t matter.

Today in high school, you are not exposed to civics or government. History concentrates on ancient issues. While these are important in understanding how Western civilization got to where it is today, it doesn’t give students the tools to function in today’s society.

My grandson is in the eighth grade, studying ancient history. He hasn’t discussed the Constitution or federalism at school, and has no idea how a city manager or strong mayor system works in municipal government. That is stuff that we began learning about in grade school.

As a Catholic, I’m dismayed by the response of the archbishop of Louisville and the bishop of Covington. Am I surprised? No. The church often fails to allow dissent and ignores free speech and doesn’t seem to believe in the principle of innocent until proven guilty. A freedom that the mainstream media also ignores.—William Downey

It’s OK to discriminate against Christians, but we can’t fight back? I’ve got news for you, leftists: This isn’t news. It’s been going on for years, and you’ve just been denying it.

We have God on our side, so we don’t have to worry about you. God will take care of the situation. But just to remind you: If you don’t change, you won’t like the outcome.—Estell Newton


If we let the liberal bullies continue to intimidate us, we lose time and time again. I am proud to be a church-going Catholic and that I am pro-life. Life starts at conception, which I always have believed and is now a proven fact by science. Abortion is murder, plain and simple.

If you are LBGTQ, go ahead and live your life as you so choose, but don’t force your lifestyle on me. I believe in and follow the Christian/Catholic teachings of the past 2,000 years that marriage is between a man and a woman, that children need to be and should be raised by a father and a mother, and that we as a society need to stop pushing God out of our lives, because in doing so our civilization has devolved into the morass it is currently in.

Every door of every church, mosque, and synagogue is open. Why not accept the invitation and pay a visit to one of them and see how you feel once you’ve gone? Who knows, your outlook on life may change in a positive and peaceful way.—Marion E. Daniels-Price

The left-wing concept of labeling everyone who holds views that differ from theirs as racists, haters, bigots, and more must be attacked using every means possible, including the courts.

Although rank-and-file lefties do not understand this, their leaders seek a one-party, authoritarian system, where they control everything without opposition. We are at a dangerous inflection point. The U.S. today is very much like late ’20s and early ’30s Germany.—Anthony Alafero


How about the radical idea that Christians should be tolerant and respectful of others, especially their elders?

It’s fine if children “want to” take a field trip to peacefully promote the sacredness of life, but don’t turn it into a confrontation. We will be across the street with “Keep your laws off my body” signs.—Jennifer Rosenberg


History is repeating itself. Early Christians suffered under Nero, Diocletian, et al. Not because they posed a threat to Rome, but because they refused to take part in the immoral activities and idol worship that everyone else did, which offended the emperors of that time.

Other people could worship whoever they wished as long as they “paid homage” to the Roman gods as well; they could coexist. The Christians worshipped only Christ, so they were accused of being blasphemers and atheists and no one tolerated them.

 People would tell lies about them and make them out to be idiots and hypocrites. Sound familiar?—Matt Bray


A message to the people on the left: Grow up! They act like spoiled adolescents when they don’t get their way.

I’m surprised Nathan Phillips didn’t roll around kicking and screaming instead of beating his tom-tom in the face of this young man—whose “crime” was wearing a MAGA hat in public.—Marco Beeman

A Closer Look at Media Bias and Ethics

Dear Daily Signal: This whole incident is shameful (“Media Misses: 3 Ways the Media Exposed Its Own Bias in the Covington Fiasco”). The so-called mainstream media is so blatantly lacking in journalistic ethics.

For those who are too young (or hindered by the long-term indoctrination of higher education by the leftist agenda to cripple the thought processes of future Americans), journalistic ethics were the “rules” that governed the reporting of news and events occurring here in America and around the globe.

Sadly, young people today are unaware of the “ghosts of journalism past”: Huntley, Brinkley, Cronkite, Reasoner, Murrow. When Americans tuned in for the news of the day, they were given the facts, not the facts as seen by the reporter or as influenced by his or her ideology.

The point here is that these ghosts of journalism past checked their facts and reported these vetted facts. And most telling, they did not call other “news people” or people in the news names. They did not speak out to encourage people to harass or threaten others with different opinions.

The point being: Throughout history, people who are unable to defend their ideology, or have been unable to engage in classic verbal debate, have and still do engage in bullying, belittling, threatening, lying, and inciting aggression and violence.—Deborah Wesselman


Well, the truth is out now, but many apologies are still missing. I am prouder of this group of right-thinking young men from Covington Catholic High School than I am of their bishop and many journalists who showed their true but fake colors.

These young men not only took their free time to march in a parade for life while New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio was approving the right to kill full-term babies, they wore hats supporting their ideals.

What’s wrong with supporting life and making America great again? Not one thing. Plenty wrong on the other side.—Fay Butler


“As Thomas Jefferson wrote, a free press is necessary and vital to the function of a free society. The First Amendment reinforces that.”

The “free” press or news media is not “free” in any sense of the word. They make tons of money from advertising. Networks charge you to be able to get news in any form.

They are free to criticize, but never free enough to apologize when proven wrong. They are free to anyone who wants to contribute to their pockets, but are not free with fact-checking.

So we should rename them the “not-so-free press” or fake news, or enemy of the Constitution. Wholly owned by cutthroats.—Karin Callaway, Florida


The mainstream media is still pushing the false narrative. NBC’s Savannah Guthrie, even after the long video showed Native American activist Nathan Phillips confronted the teen, refused to acknowledge that Phillips caused the problem.

Phillips said he forgave the teen instead of asking for forgiveness from the teen after evidence emerged  that Phillips initiated another incident at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. “Veritas liberabit vos” (“The truth shall set you free”) is dead in American “journalism.”—Jim Bahen


The media did not care if the story was true or not. Their agenda was to go after President Trump (the MAGA hats) and religion. They will never apologize for their actions.

They are deceitful and are backing the leftist and socialist agenda. In fact, they would probably sell their own mothers, wives, or children if it would benefit that agenda.—Mary Brandeberry


More two-minute hate from the media. I wonder if the stupid media, the street fools, the brain-dead zombies, and the useful idiots will ever stop and think just what they are doing and have done to this great country–and decent people–just to advance their progressive, Democrat, fascist, communist agenda? Will they ever learn by others’ mistakes?—Joe Samo

Jumping the Gun on Catholic Schoolboys

Dear Daily Signal: Why is it that every time the leftist media and the PC crowd say something vile, the conservative media reacts to it by accepting the premise, as indicated by Dee Dee Bass Wilbon and Deana Bass Williams (“The Full Story About the Kentucky Boys in MAGA Hats Emerges”)?

And it is these conservative people who say that we should not jump to a conclusion, when that is exactly what they do when asked to condemn a group of conservatives.

The diocese associated with this Catholic school condemned their students. In my view, the churches are the worst at accepting the political correctness mantra. So many of the institutions that we once admired are traveling the road to ruin. Even our government has a two-tiered system of justice.

This is bad, folks. We are losing our country, and the folks we thought were our friends are turning out to be our enemies along with our known enemies.—Randy Leyendecker, Kerrville, Texas


Personally, I have no idea what happened there. All I see is a lot of spin from both sides to suit their narrative.

My first experience with it was from the left, and I was not able to really get a bead on what really happened—just a lot of expressed “outrage” for these “disrespectful” teens. That sounded a little too pat.

First rule of detecting fake news: Is it designed to create outrage in the consumer? The left’s version of the story has all the hallmarks.

Now, I don’t think the MAGA teens were completely innocent. But my read on it is that they were mostly just being teens and are not nearly the monsters they’re being made out to be.—Edward Buatois


There was one black student in the group that was targeted by the black organization. The drummers walked amid the students and split them in two. The kids did not surround the drummers.

I am stunned by the vitriol of well-educated and older people, even some priests, that said some violent and evil things about 15- and 16-year-old kids.

At that age, my friends and I would have angrily reacted and rioted. Some of the women in the Women’s March did make violent statements. We could not ask for a group of young men to act better than these kids. The older men tended to exhibit real masculine toxicity.—Gary Sweeten


My take on the commentary by Dee Dee Bass Wilbon and Deana Bass Williams: I thought the Native American gentleman was very inspiring (“Yes, MAGA Hats Symbolize Something. But Not Hate.”). Who could argue with a healing prayer?

Some of the kids and some of the adults were behaving like jerks. The kid standing directly in front of him was lucky. He got the full dose of the healing mojo.

I don’t trust Trump and didn’t vote for him, but I don’t think it’s the kids’ fault that they are immature, naive, and believe his lies.

 In my opinion, the MAGA hats are more of a campaign slogan than an inspirational message. The hats are a tool that Trump passes out for free to get votes and approval ratings.

Companies that sell them do so to make a profit, not because they believe that they are helping to make America great. We can’t forget that Trump is a TV reality actor who depends on ratings from the media that he hates to help keep him rich.—Terri Baker


Trump has done more for minorities than Obama did. They certainly are doing better financially and with jobs. Talk is cheap, but income in the pocket and respect from doing a job are actual accomplishments.

Just remember not everybody likes everybody else, and the anti-Trumpers are the personification of that fact.—Timothy Dayton

Identity Politics Behind the Media Smears

Dear Daily Signal: Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels was only too aware of how easy it was to manipulate the people when you had totalitarian control over the media, academia, and more (“The Smearing of Teens in MAGA Hats Shows Identity Politics’ Danger”).

In this case, as Katrina Trinko’s commentary shows, the “good guys,” who were disciplined, Catholic schoolboys who had been taught not to escalate a provocation, were made to look like hate-filled bigots. The real culprits, who were harassing and intimidating people, were intentionally ignored by the hard-left media.

The level of hate being spewed by the left is astonishing. If you oppose their views, they will seek to destroy you. They will label you, denigrate you, push to have you fired, exclude you, and call for violence against you. They are the new fascists, and all of the redirection in the world can’t alter that fact.

They call Trump a fascist, but can’t cite any proof other than what they make up. Meanwhile, there are mountains of evidence of the left’s move toward fascism, from college campuses, to the workplace, to the media, Hollywood, and TV.

This desperate need to show that white people, Catholics, and Trump supporters are evil is destructive. Obama won the majority of the Catholic vote, yet his Dems have done nothing but attack Catholics. The left refuses to accept that nations are filled with citizens that hold opposing views.

That does not mean that if you are pro-life, you hate women, or that if you oppose putting every minority in the nation on welfare, you are a racist. Trump is helping the average American—something that hasn’t happened in decades.

Minorities haven’t done so well since Reagan, yet Trump is called a racist monster.

I don’t care if the president hates me or likes me. I want him to help me and the people do better. Life is not the fairy tale Obama led people to believe it is. Telling people that you are for them but putting policies in place that hurt them is not to be commended. It makes you a fraud.—Anthony Alafero


Watch the unedited video of the incident near the Lincoln Memorial and you will see, as has been clearly described in many places, that the Kentucky teens were approached by the Native American activist, Nathan Phillips, and his group, not the other way around.

The teens were trying to ignore the harsh insults from the Black Hebrew Israelites group by doing their own cheers, chants, whatever. They didn’t know what the Native American group wanted, and if they were supporting them or the other group.

I find it commendable that they managed to avoid a real confrontation and remained nonviolent, considering what was being shouted at them. A good example of “turning the other cheek,” as Christ taught us.—Samuel Owens


Seems to me that the snap judgments all came from a built-in assumption that the Kentucky kids were in the wrong. And that points to naked bigotry against white people, Catholics, and/or supporters of President Trump.—Charles Burge


I hope that those teens’ parents sue the media for what they have done, and perhaps even the Native American activist who lied about what happened.

This 16-year-old kid, Nick Sandmann, has gotten death threats. Shame on all those that were too quick to judge a white teen with a MAGA hat and basically throw him to the wolves.—Dawn August


Ban teens from wearing MAGA hats? This statement by a U.S. congressman, Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, just shows how endangered free speech really is.

There are two sides to every encounter/story. The fact that a Catholic diocese would issue a statement when they weren’t present and had no opportunity to investigate shows how “sensitive” they are, throwing the kids under the bus.—William Downey


Most ominously, this is a further indicator that atheists, pagans, and satanists are ready for a frontal assault on Christianity and a warning of pogroms coming against Catholics.  In particular, this is a dress rehearsal for the planned violent disruption of next year’s March for Life.—Miles E. Drake


In the 1960s, desecration of the American flag became a thing to wear as part of the “revolution.”

Those who demanded the right to do such things now want to take the right to wear a particular cap away from the youth of our nation. The reality that the ’60s protests weren’t about “free speech” is becoming clearly obvious.—John Jamison

The Nation’s Protections Against Mob Rule

Dear Daily Signal: The senseless hatred that appears to permeate our society will eventually destroy us if left unchecked, as Jarrett Stepman suggests in his commentary on the Covington Catholic High schoolboys (“The Covington Fiasco Is a Perfect Example of Why the Founders Distrusted Democracy”). The perfidious mainstream media has committed a despicable act by attempting to destroy those kids and has given fodder to their hate-filled audience.

However, there is a bright side to this travesty. The media went a step too far. Normally they can lie about public figures like politicians all they want because any challenge must prove malicious intent, something very difficult to do.

In the case of defaming the character of these kids, they have left themselves wide open to a massive lawsuit that could destroy them financially, and it can’t happen soon enough to satisfy me.

All of those so-called conservative journalists who gleefully hopped onto the bandwagon and castigated these kids should share in the blame and pay dearly for it. I include that idiotic bishop of that diocese in the cast of despicable characters who should feel the pain in their wallets.

I encourage all of the fair-minded lawyers and PR people to join together and bring this horrible behavior to an end. I fear for our country if we don’t put a stop to this wanton destruction of innocent people.—Randy Leyendecker, Kerrville, Texas


Without even talking with the boys at the pro-life rally, or their adult chaperones, Bishops Foley of Covington, Kentucky, and Bishop Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, took it upon themselves to immediately condemn these kids for things they didn’t do.

As the commentary by Jarrett Stepman indicates, the bishops threw gasoline on a fire that these kids were not responsible for starting, and gave credence to a false narrative that endangered these kids and their parents.

These bishops are as responsible as the fake news media for the threats made against these kids and their parents. They have no idea how much damage their reckless comments caused.

And as for Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, he has shown the level of his judgment. If it’s on YouTube, it’s got to be true, right, Congressman? Good job in shooting your mouth off before having the facts, but what the hell, it was a good opportunity to blame Trump for something he had no part in either.

Hopefully the decent and fair-minded people in Ryan’s district will understand the value of his judgment and remember it.—Drew Page


An excellent article by Jarrett Stepman. When the government is left to decide what news is fake and what is not, then there is no freedom of the press or speech.

What you have for a result is Nazi Germany all over again. If you disagree, they will come for you.

To learn what not to do, look to Europe and the supranational European Union. Now they are experimenting with the government’s deciding what is fake information. The Europeans fail to learn from recent history.—William Downey


These boys did nothing wrong. They make us all proud for their restraint and respect.

Their parents should be proud of them. They were targeted. This is the danger of social media. I fully support this school for teaching them good values.—Jere Crouse


Excellent piece. I have been reviewing the TV series “John Adams,” and there is a scene early on when Adams witnesses the shameful brutality of a man being tarred and feathered.

Agitators very easily could have elevated hysteria against these children, with one or many of them being seriously hurt or killed.

Even after the full video was out and it was crystal clear who were the aggressors, NBC’s Savannah Guthrie treated that child shamefully by asking questions that insinuated he was a provocateur: ”Do you think you should apologize?”

Apologize for what? Being the victim of media incompetence and dereliction of duty?

That this was a breathtakingly shameful display of mob rule by so many is one thing, but that the victims were children speaks volumes about where we are as a country, and it is not good.

The true light of goodness came through in Nicholas Sandmann during the interrogation by Guthrie. He looked like the rational adult; she looked like a nasty fool. Therein lies our hope.—Cap Nathan


Where is the justice for these young men falsely accused of something they certainly didn’t do? They should sue all of the media involved in this story, as well as Rep. Tim Ryan and that bishop for defamation of character. This was totally ridiculous.—Doris Gray


I condemn the socialist left, and particularly George Soros and his self-serving progressive cabal, for financing, promoting, and directing the sick, lame-stream media for promoting the decline of our national pride. America is the greatest nation to have ever existed on planet earth.—John F. Edwards


I was pleased to read that the mainstream media was slammed for their fake news. Today’s journalists do not always consider the facts. This is unfortunate. Learned a good lesson? I don’t think so.—Lawrence Applebaum


I think the situation is much worse than presented in Stepman’s article. The mainstream media were not the only ones that reacted as a mob. It was done by every single person and organization that passed unchecked details on, or did nothing to respond to the accusations when they read them.

Up until now, the political sides were pretty much divided as to which symbolic trigger words and visuals they responded to. By deliberate conditioning as to what is good and what is bad, each side has been formed.

Very few people actually fact-check anything that is said by people who think as they do. This time, on a mass scale, both the right and the left responded to the same trigger words.

Good: Indian, Vietnam War veteran, elderly, black, tribal. Bad: Red MAGA hats, Trump, white, Catholic, rowdy young people, and–added out of nowhere–build the wall. If that isn’t the makings of a mass mob, it is sure ready material.

From Machiavelli on to social media manipulation, how to manipulate people is a science. Leaders are put up in front of us who beat their verbal drums, and people respond as a mob, forgetting they still have to think independently with freedom.—Dorothy Margraf


I long for the days when the news was on two times a day for a half hour. Reporters reported the news, you never knew their opinion or political party.

There are no reporters left, just journalists who want to be the news.—Peter Raymond

Courtney Joyner and Sarah Sleem helped to compile this edition of “We Hear You.”