Over the weekend, mainstream media did themselves no favors in trying to garner back their journalistic integrity by pushing at least two stories that ended up being widely disputed.
On Saturday, mainstream media outlets ran with BuzzFeed News report that claimed President Trump personally instructed his former attorney Michael Cohen to lie to Congress. It was later disputed—in its entirety—by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
On Saturday and continuing into Sunday, mainstream media outlets ran with another story which alleged teenage students from Covington High School were harassing a group of Native American activists outside of the Lincoln Memorial. CNN and other outlets claimed the students approached, surrounded, and harassed the Native Americans and included doctored and edited footage in their reports. The students were the ones that were approached, BizPac Review reports.
This may have been the worst week for #FakeNews ever.
— Bill Mitchell (@mitchellvii) January 21, 2019
The news reports of the students resulted in insults, doxing, and even death threats, ABC News reports.
Nick Sandmann, a junior at Covington Catholic High School in Park Hills, Kentucky, was accused of taunting and mocking a Native American protester at the end of the Indigenous People’s March on Friday, but the teenager said he’d been falsely accused.
“The protestor everyone has seen in the video began playing his drum as he waded into the crowd, which parted for him,” Sandmann said in a statement on Sunday. “He locked eyes with me and approached me, coming within inches of my face. He played his drum the entire time he was in my face.
“I never interacted with this protestor. I did not speak to him. I did not make any hand gestures or other aggressive moves. To be honest, I was startled and confused as to why he had approached me,” he added.
Sandmann disputed those claims in his statement on Sunday and said he never heard “any students chant ‘build that wall’ or anything hateful or racist at any time.”
“The protestor everyone has seen in the video began playing his drum as he waded into the crowd, which parted for him,” Sandmann said. “I did not see anyone try to block his path. He locked eyes with me and approached me, coming within inches of my face. He played his drum the entire time he was in my face.”
“I believed that by remaining motionless and calm, I was helping to diffuse the situation,” he added.
The teenager said he and his family have been personally targeted by the threats.
“I have received physical and death threats via social media, as well as hateful insults. One person threatened to harm me at school, and one person claims to live in my neighborhood. My parents are receiving death and professional threats because of the social media mob that has formed over this issue,” Sandmann said to ABC News.
Amid the backlash, American lawyer Robert Barnes offered to represent the students for free.
As BizPac Review also reports, the students involved in the altercation received the offer to sue mainstream media outlets:
Media figures who defamed, doxxed, bullied, and threatened Nick Sandmann and his MAGA hat-wearing teenage friends should get themselves a good lawyer.
Litigator Robert Barnes offered to represent Sandman and other students at Covington Catholic High School should they decide to sue the New York Times, CNN, and other lying media for defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Responding to a tweet concerning the altercation in front of the Lincoln Memorial, Barnes tweeted: “I will represent the kids for free if they want to sue… for obvious libel.”
Some outlets are reporting the school may sue, although it has not yet announced a decision.