Insight from Joe Concha, media reporter for The Hill.
Nick Sandmann, an 18-year-old graduate from Covington Catholic High School who was at the center of a nationwide viral video controversy, is “getting the last laugh now,” but the left is still attacking him, The Hill’s media reporter Joe Concha told “Fox & Friends First” on Wednesday.
“I wouldn’t be canceled. I fought back hard to expose the media for what they did to me and won a personal victory. While much more must be done, I look forward to the day that the media returns to providing balanced, responsible and accountable news coverage,” he said. “I know President Trump hopes for that too.”
In 2019, a video of Sandmann, wearing a red Make America Great Again Hat, went viral, showing the teenager standing directly in front of Native American elder Nathan Phillips on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Sandmann had been on a trip from his Kentucky school to Washington, D.C. for the March for Life on Jan. 18, 2019.
When the video was initially released, many perceived Sandmann to have been mocking Phillips by smirking inches from his face, while the Omaha tribe leader sang and played a drum. But full footage showed a more complicated image where the Covington students were not the instigators. Phillips had actually walked up to the Covington school kids after another group began taunting the teenagers.
Still, Sandmann was labeled a “racist;” actress Alyssa Milano tweeted in response to the incident that the “red MAGA hat is the new white hood.”
During his speech on Tuesday night, Sandmann railed against the backlash that he encountered.
“I learned that what was happening to me had a name. It was called being cancelled. As in annulled. As in revoked. As in made void,” he said. “Canceled is what’s happening to people around this country who refuse to be silenced by the far left. Many are being fired, humiliated or even threatened. Often, the media is a willing participant.”
Sandmann sued The Washington Post for $250 million and CNN for $275 million for defamation and on Wednesday, Concha noted that the teenager had “settled with both of those news organizations because the coverage of him was so blatantly dishonest saying that he had attacked a Native American elder.”
“He was simply trying to defuse the situation, he didn’t say a word, but because he was wearing a MAGA hat, that was his crime and the media was going to take him down,” Concha said.
He then pointed out that Sandmann is still facing criticism from the left. Concha pointed to CNN political analyst Joe Lockhart, who attacked him on Twitter.
“I’m watching tonight because it’s important. But i [sic] don’t have to watch this snot nose entitled kid from Kentucky,” Lockhart tweeted.
“In other words as if the network has learned nothing, that you just can’t attack a teenager for no apparent reason,” Concha said reacting to Lockhart’s tweet.
Critics blasted the CNN commentator, suggesting his tweet attacking the Covington teen lacked any self-awareness.
“It seems like CNN still hasn’t learned their lesson about smearing and slandering an innocent teen,” NewsBusters news analyst Nicholas Fondacaro reacted.
“Your bosses at CNN defamed this kid. The entitled snot nose idiots were from CNN … not the other way around,” National Review contributor Pradheep Shanker told the former Clinton press secretary.
Concha also pointed to wording in a New York Times article previewing the second night of the Republican National Convention writing that the night will include a speech from Sandmann, “the teenager involved in a confrontation with a Native American man at a protest last year.”
“That’s all they say about him, not that he was victimized that obviously he sued those particular news organizations,” Concha said.
Concha said Sandmann is “getting the last laugh now and the fact that you have former press secretaries that are now national political analysts still attacking him shows that they just don’t get it.”
“I’m proud to say that throughout my media nightmare I have had President Trump’s unwavering support,” Sandmann said during his speech on Tuesday.
Echoing Trump’s long-standing attacks on news outlets, he added, “I know you’ll agree with me when I say no one in this country has been a victim of unfair media coverage more than President Donald Trump.”
At the end of his video, Sandmann put the MAGA hat back on and said, “And one more thing: Let’s make America great again.”
Fox News’ Megan Henney and Joseph Wulfsohn contributed to this report.