CNN settled a lawsuit for its Nick Sandmann hoax, but the hoax itself shows everything that’s wrong with modern media.
First, CNN smeared an innocent teenage boy. That’s a fact. Nick Sandmann was with his friends when a group called the Black Hebrew Israelites called them “f-ggots.” Nathaniel Phillips was friends with members of the Black Hebrew Israelites.
A member of the Black Hebrew Israelites went on an anti-Semitic killing spree. What Are Black Hebrew Israelites, the Group Jersey City Shooters Were Linked To?”
Second, even if Sandmann had started drama, where’s the story? Who cares? In what world is “High School Student is a Jerk” worthy of saturation media coverage in outlets like the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, and others?
Third, where are the disinformation reporters? The Covington hoax was massive. Yet there haven’t been any attempt to ask, Where did the media go wrong, and How can the media improve?
Fourth, without social media, the CNN/WAPO/NYT hoax would never have been busted.
Mike Cernovich was the first person to expose the hoax, as the Washington Post reported:
- “As is typical in such breaking-news situations, initial news accounts — which drew howls from partisans on both sides — were unable to provide all the context and facts. It took close to 48 hours for reporters, and a divided America, to fully grasp what had occurred, and to whom.”
- “Like many viral outrage stories, the narrative became more complicated as more facts emerged, and more people stepped forward to talk about what they saw and experienced in that moment.”
- “Now, a new viral outrage emerged. This time the villain of the story was the news media. That outrage came from a parallel universe online, one that has been waiting for a moment like this. The pro-Trump Internet has, for years, worked to create a media environment that is designed to destroy the traditional news media and replace it. Mike Cernovich, a popular figure in this world….”
- “Cernovich has since rebranded himself as an anti-mainstream media source of real news — one who on some days tries to tie mass shootings to anti-fascist activists without credible evidence and on other days manages to get a Hollywood director fired from a major movie by using his popular Twitter account to amplify old, offensive tweets from the director about children and sexual misconduct.”
- “The Covington story is the sort of thing the pro-Trump Internet and figures like Cernovich are made for. As videos emerged, showing Phillips slowly approaching the teens during an altercation with a third group nearby, they went to work.”
As mainstream media outlets push to have people banned from social media for “disinformation,” they themselves use their massive power and legacy prestige to smear innocent teenagers.
Today’s lawsuit settlement might give the next would-be hoaxer pause.
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