Here are some things we know: This weekend, during the March for Life and surrounding demonstrations in Washington, D.C., a group of students from Covington Catholic repeatedly harassed Nathan Phillips, a Native American man. Since then, the students, their families, some of the mainstream press, and the entire Trumpian political apparatus have rallied together in a massive gaslighting campaign to convince America that actually, the nice white boys are the victims here. It’s only going to get much stupider from here.
Mediaite reported on Wednesday that some families of Covington Catholic students have hired Robert Barnes, a MAGA-loving attorney, who appeared on Fox & Friends to threaten legal action against anyone making false or defamatory statements about the teens, such as “Maggie Haberstam” of the New York Times. Barnes claimed the “three groups” of families he’s representing are giving journalists and celebrities a 48-hour “grace period” to delete their tweets and apologize.
Barnes is the latest character to bottom-feed off the mainstream press’ furious backpedaling on Monday and Tuesday as “more context” surfaced around the original video of Nick Sandmann, the Covington student at the center of the controversy, and Phillips. Thanks in no small part to the confusing presence of the Black Israelites cult, some slight discrepancies in different accounts of the story, and an enormous amount of cognitive dissonance, people seemed to forget what they had just seen. Still other videos, which showed the teens screaming, chanting, taking their clothes off, harassing women, and making rape jokes, did little to stop the runaway narrative that the media had rushed to condemn the teens.
All this got Nick Sandmann, the focus of the viral video, a sympathetic appearance on the Today Show and, predictably, immediate comparisons to the Kavanaugh case by the worst people online.
Covington Catholic students and their families are also now trying to explain away photos of students at the school in blackface during a basketball game a few years ago. Their excuse is simple: It was a “blackout” game where fans wear all black to show spirit. This is a common theme for high-school sporting events—my school did them, too—but somehow even in a rural-ass high school in the mid 2000s, I can’t remember anyone going all the way to blackface. More Covington Catholic MAGA kids used this excuse on Fox News, and it almost certainly will work, because the stupider and more convoluted they make this thing, the easier they’ll get off.
Will Barnes actually file suit? Who knows. It’s probably inevitable that at least one lawsuit comes out of this mess, but I’m not sure if Barnes would actually be stupid enough to sue the New York Times over an incredibly tepid Maggie Haberman take.
But stupidity seems to be the defining characteristic of everyone jumping to the defense of these angry idiot children, so we’ll just have to see. But one thing is clear: It’s only going to get dumber.