Tags: Media Bias | Trump Administration | fake news | covington | nick sandmann | lawsuit | settlement

Donald Trump Jr.: Fake News Destroys Lives, But the Tide May Be Turning

donald trump jr. speaks and gestures during a campaign rally
Donald Trump Jr. speaking before his father, President Donald Trump, at a rally in El Paso, Texas, in February. (Nikolas Kamm/Getty Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 15 January 2020 05:39 PM

There's a long way to go, but the Covington Kids have struck the first blow in returning accountability to news media.

A year after he and his family's name was dragged through the mud by a social media mob, egged on by fake news, Covington Catholic High School student Nick Sandmann has secured a settlement of his defamation lawsuit against CNN. I hope it's a big one. He deserves it. And CNN deserves the hit.

Far too many journalists in this country are interested not in reporting the news or providing honest commentary, but in creating inflammatory incidents to "start a national conversation," or far worse, to sadistically humiliate private citizens they perceive to be their enemies.

Both problematic impulses were on display when "Black Hebrew Israelites" and a professional protester pretending to be a Vietnam veteran confronted a group of Catholic high school students from Covington, Kentucky, last January.

If there was a news story to report, it was the brazen aggression of the openly anti-Semitic Black Hebrew Israelites, who chose to scream racist and anti-Catholic slurs at the boys, who had just participated in the March for Life. Less than a year later, two associates of that very group would open fire in a kosher grocery in Jersey City, N.J., killing three people. Any journalist could have had a scoop on a rising, violent threat to Jewish-Americans that the Covington incident foreshadowed.

But that wasn't the story the media wanted to tell. It wasn't the "conversation" they wanted to start. The story they wanted to tell was about white Catholic kids "harassing" black activists and peace-loving Native Americans. So that's what they did, heedlessly embracing that biased impulse. They put 16 year-old student Nick Sandmann's face front and center of their reporting, claiming his "smirking face" made him a racist thug.

Some of the more dishonest participants in this pile-on would claim they were "just reporting the facts," but others let their guard down and more or less admitted they wanted to mess this kid's life up because he wore a MAGA hat. I wrote about this at length as soon as the real facts came out: Sandmann and the Covington Catholic students did nothing wrong. They were the victims of a set-up by leftist activists and it fit the media's biases so well they bought the rouse hook, line, and sinker.

This is how the modern American media operates far too much of the time, driven by ideology and hatred of people they think are different. And for far too long, they've done so with virtual impunity. Defamation suits against the news media are expensive and difficult to win. Because of the free press' role in preserving our democratic traditions, courts are often exceedingly deferential to reporters, even when they get the most important facts wrong.

The news that CNN agreed to settle with Sandmann for an undisclosed amount should have serious ramifications in the news industry. If the mainstream media were the professionals they claim to be, they wouldn't threaten the lives and reputations of ordinary Americans with their libels.

But this is the American fake news media we're talking about. They've got a long, steep climb ahead before they regain any respectability.

Donald Trump Jr. is the executive vice president at The Trump Organization and author of the New York Times bestseller "Triggered: How the Left Thrives on Hate and Wants to Silence Us."

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If the mainstream media were the professionals they claim to be, they wouldn't threaten the lives and reputations of ordinary Americans with their libels, Donald Trump Jr. writes for Newsmax.
fake news, covington, nick sandmann, lawsuit, settlement
Wednesday, 15 January 2020 05:39 PM
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