The Smirk Heard ‘Round the World

In a now famous video which took place on the Washington Mall on Friday, January 18th, a group of Catholic high-school students, attending the March for Life, ran across a group of  Native Americans holding their own march. During the interaction, a young man from Covington Catholic High School was approached by Nathan Phillips, a Native American man.

Phillips proceeded to bang his drum in the students face and chant for several minutes while the MAGA Hat-wearing teen smiles in what is being called the “latest touchpoint for racial tensions in America.” The video of this event soon went viral. In an article by the New York Times the incident is compared the massacre at Wounded Knee and the Battle of Little Bighorn.

Under pressure from the media complex, the Covington High school as well as the Diocese of Covington condemned the actions of their students giving the generic statement “This behavior is opposed to the Church’s teachings on the dignity and respect of the human person.”

After further footage of the event was inserted into the public consciousness, the NYT and many other outlets were forced to issue corrections and addenda to their original narrative, with the New York Times saying that

“Interviews and additional video footage have offered a fuller picture of what happened in this encounter, including the context that the Native American man approached the students amid broader tensions outside the Lincoln Memorial.”

Several MSM outlets attempted to publish the personal information of the students involved in the incident. Some have apologized, but only after it became clear that Phillips, who also falsely claimed to be a Vietnam War veteran, pursued and entered the crowd of students and was not, in fact, “surrounded” by them.

As of now, the Diocese has still not retracted their condemnation of their students, likely still fearing the backlash of the media.

Jeff Ruby of Cincinnati offered to facilitate a dialogue between the Covington Catholic students and Phillips. Phillips promptly declined.

The President has weighed in on the issue, writing several tweets in support of the students.


Every year hundreds of thousands of Americans march on Washington to protest Roe v. Wade, and mainstream media largely ignores it. Some have speculated that the reason for this is that the march tends to be composed of White conservative Americans. If that is true about the march generally, it is quite possible that this story gained so much traction because it featured a young religious white man in a Make America Great Again hat. People like Sarah Mervosh of NYT and Nathaniel Friedman of GQ desperately want this young man to be the bad guy. It is clear that they will abandon due diligence in order to reach that conclusion.

This time they were forced to retract their initial narrative, but many are wondering how many times have they gotten away with slander because the exonerating evidence wasn’t made readily available? How many people’s lives have been ruined by a media that seeks only to confirm their own bias?


Vincent Cucchiara

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *