CNN this week agreed to settle a lawsuit with Nick Sandmann – a student from Covington Catholic High School who was filmed during a protest in Washington, DC last January.
This story is massively important because it sets a modern precedent that media outlets can be sued successfully. The settlement amount has not been released, but we can assume Sandmann will end up a very rich man. Hopefully, this case encourages more lawsuits against media outlets who are making up stories without bothering to check the facts before they publish.
Here’s what happened:
Nick Sandmann was part of a large group of students visiting Washington, DC in January 2019. On the last day of the trip, the students were directed to meet at the Lincoln Memorial before boarding busses.
On their way, they encountered a group of Black Hebrew Israelites (a known hate group). The Israelites were shouting insults at participants of the inaugural Indigenous Peoples’ March, which occurred that day alongside the 47th March for Life.
The Israelites soon began insulting the students. Video footage shows one man describing the students as “future school shooters,” “a bunch of Donald Trump incest children,” and “dirty ass crackers.”
After nearly an hour of verbal abuse, the students asked their chaperones if they could perform a pep rally chant to drown out the insults. That’s when Native American activist Nathan Phillips arrived.
Phillips later described the scene as a ‘large group of white men facing down a small group of black men.’ Video footage shows Phillips walking to stand directly in front of Sandmann while beating a drum. Sandmann did not move from where he had been standing and appears to ask some of his classmates to stop talking.
Phillips claimed Sandmann blocked his escape from the area. He also claimed he heard students shouting “build the wall.” Video footage does not support this claim.
CNN took advantage of the incident to portray Sandmann and the other students as racist.
“CNN couldn’t resist the idea that here’s a guy with a young boy, that Make America Great Again cap on. So they go after him,” says attorney Lin Wood.
“CNN brought down the full force of its corporate power, influence, and wealth on Nicholas by falsely attacking, vilifying, and bullying him despite the fact that he was a minor child,” reads the lawsuit.
CNN’s footage was broadcast to millions of viewers, and despite Nick’s pristine record, his life was forever changed. Nick was suspended from school after the trip and his family was forced to leave their home.
“Well, what CNN’s tagline is ‘facts first,’” adds attorney Todd McMurtry. “And what we believe their reporting was in this circumstance was lies first; cover-up second.”
Sandmann also filed suits against The Washington Post and NBC Universal.