MAGA Hat-Wearing Teen Just Got a Settlement From CNN. Media: Learn Your Lesson.

CNN building jurors Manafort news reporters mediaWhile the media often portray themselves as noble guardians of the truth who keep a close watch on those in power, the reality is quite the opposite: It is they who are in power and often swoop down to crush the powerless.

This was the case in the frenzy surrounding Nick Sandmann, a teenage student at Covington Catholic High School who donned a “Make American Great Again” hat and became cast as a national villain overnight.

On Tuesday, Sandmann enjoyed some measure of vindication. After suing multiple media outlets for libel, including the Washington Post, he confirmed that CNN had reached a settlement with him for damages and “emotional distress” caused by the network’s coverage of the viral incident that took place in 2019.

The financial terms of Sandmann’s settlement were not disclosed.

In January 2019, a series of major media outlets published stories about a videotaped encounter he had with a Native American activist in Washington, D.C. That viral video proved to be highly deceptive, as was the media account about the incident, which painted a complex scene in simple terms.

It was a shameful example of media outlets rushing to fuel a preconceived narrative, recklessly pursuing a story with a high potential for “rage clicks” as well as high potential to permanently harm a teenager who never sought the public spotlight.

This story was fake news built on top of fake news, a leading example of why Americans have lost trust in media and journalists. It was Example A of how the media can fail to act with appropriate objectivity in the search to shine a light on those in power, and can instead be weaponized against the powerless who don’t have favored status in America’s elite newsrooms.

Celebrities, politicians, and social media mobs did the work of piling on to destroy a young person who had been carelessly dropped into the maelstrom.

In a now-deleted tweet, former CNN host Reza Aslan said that Sandmann had a “punchable face.”

The whole situation was a fine example of why the Founders distrusted unchecked democracy.

Crowds can easily be ginned up into a mob by false information, and as the frenzy peaks, the rights and very lives of individuals can be ruthlessly trampled on.

None of this would have happened if CNN and other outlets had been more cautious in their reporting on a story with such explosive potential. Instead, they were derelict.

They chose to push the tale that Sandmann acted in an aggressive and racist manner toward a Native American man, who simply wanted to protest peacefully and play music.

As my colleague, Katrina Trinko, wrote at the time: “Finally, [the media] had a piece of proof that supported their cherished narrative: that most Trump supporters were bigots and racists who backed the wall and other initiatives because of their racist views.”

Only after these stories were published, and the mobs had been armed with their digital pitchforks, did a slow trickle of information begin to reveal the reality of the situation.

With time, it became clear that the facts did not support the misleading initial reports and commentary.

Sandmann, it turns out, had not been the aggressor in the situation. The Native American man, Nathan Phillips, actually approached the teen after being egged on by a group of Black Hebrew Israelites, a black nationalist group, who had been yelling out racist and other derogatory comments, but were completely absent in the initial reporting.

In addition, many outlets initially reported (falsely) that Phillips was a “veteran,” which of course increased the rage toward Sandmann. That turned out not to be true after a review of his military records, which revealed that he had briefly been in the U.S. Marines, but never deployed.

In the end, the media’s forced story collapsed under the weight of evidence.

One would hope that the Covington fiasco would be a wake up call for the media, a “teachable moment.”

But given all of the other media follies in the last few years and a poor response to public criticism, it seems unlikely the media will change their ways.

To win back the public, media outlets need to ditch their preconceived narratives and work harder to find the truth.

Reprinted with permission from - The Daily Signal - by Jarrett Stepman

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8 months ago

Sue the Hollywood celebrities that also chimed in with their wealth of so called knowledge and don’t forget people like Warren and the bunch of I’ll advised dumycrats who jumped before they had even a full explanation of what really happened. These are the jokers who want to run the country. Act first, investigate later which may be to late.
God help our country. Oh yes I did say God. If that offends anyone, tough, just standing on my first amendment rights. The ones My fellow veterans and I fought for.

8 months ago

We can’t know the terms of the settlement, but I hope that Nick Sandmann stuck it to CNN and then broke it off. And that the same follows with all the remaining new agencies that slandered this young man.

8 months ago

I don’t like this settling out of court. Then CNN gets to admit to no wrongdoing. Hope that does not happen with NBC and the Washington Post.

John Karkalis
8 months ago

Let’s see if I have this right. A smiling kid wearing a hat that expresses a political view is automatically branded a racist, a bigot, an Intolerant snitty brat? Wow! as I approach my 80th year I thought I had seen it all. I was mistaken. Now if young Mr. Sandmann had been wearing a hat extolling the LGBTQ or Roe v Wade positions that would have passed muster. Of course the kid should not have been smiling. No self respecting leftist ever smiles. They are a gloomy lot. You and I know how wearing a MAGA hat sends the… Read more »

8 months ago


8 months ago

Veteran or not, “briefly” or not, does not excuse his behavior toward Nickolas. He was an adult, an ignorant one but still an adult. CNN (Communist News Network) should have also researched the facts on this story. Instead, they went off like a loose cannon, rolling around on a pitching deck. Nick, I sure hope you stuck it to CNN. They deserve it.

Steve Greenwell
8 months ago

CNN is fake news!!!!!!!!

Brenda Blunt
8 months ago

More of the media needs to be held accountable!

Mike Cajohn
8 months ago

I hope he got millions and continues his suit.

Lead Mule
8 months ago

This young Gentleman is one class act…
Stood his ground but was not disrespectful or hateful.
I wish there were more like him and the young men in his group.
God Bless them and God Bless America.. YEA

Rick J.
8 months ago

The loss of an unbiased media has had a very detrimental effect on our country.
Those of us who know better, must find a way to correct the situation, or the unethical
spin merchants will bring our country to ruin and all we love will be lost.

Robert Hellam
8 months ago

“Briefly in the Marines, but never deployed.” That does not mean the old fellow was not a veteran. Many of us veterans were never in combat, but we still served honorably, and we are still veterans.

8 months ago

President Trump started the ball rolling when he began calling the mainstream new outlets “FAKE NEWS”. They already hated him for calling attention to what they are, and they have been living up to the monicker with grand style. Twisting and turning everything they print and report to match their leftist agenda. Truth and dignity no longer knocks at the door of mainstream news. If you’re tired of it, don’t watch it or read it anymore. There are plenty of conservative news outlets around where the truth is told daily. So sad that our country has come to this. Hooray… Read more »

8 months ago

The media should wear their black eye proudly – they deserved it…

larry K Blair
8 months ago

I’m Over joyed , it’s no other feeling that can come close to this, fairness Seldom ever comes this way !

Stephen Russell
8 months ago

Expand to all media then OK since they ALL jumped on him etc then

8 months ago

This is great for Nick Sandmann and all Americans. The propaganda media has to be held accountable for their hate and lies. I hope President Trump will start lawsuits against the Fake News.

8 months ago


8 months ago

Please edit your own stories carefully:
“In addition, many outlets initially reported (falsely) that Phillips was a “veteran,” which of course increased the rage toward Sandmann. That turned out not to be true after a review of his military records, which revealed that he had briefly been in the U.S. Marines, but never deployed.”
If Mr. Phillips was a US Marine, even briefly, he was in fact a veteran (perhaps a Vietnam-era veteran) if not a Vietnam-deployed combat veteran.
Let’s all try to be accurate and non-inflammatory!

paul bonanno
8 months ago

I’m surprised at you Amac. “In addition, many outlets initially reported (falsely) that Phillips was a “veteran,” which of course increased the rage toward Sandmann. That turned out not to be true after a review of his military records, which revealed that he had briefly been in the U.S. Marines, but never deployed.” This is a very misleading statement worthy of the far left. This man served 4 years in the Marines (not brief by any standards) and is a veteran. Just because he wasn’t “deployed” to a war zone doesn’t mean he didn’t serve. Please refrain from these false… Read more »

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