The Covington Kids, Part 2

The homophobic taunts shouted at the Convington boys received scant coverage. Andrew Sullivan writes:

Once the [Black Hebrew] Israelites figured out the kids were Catholic, they offered this about what appeared to be a picture of the Pope: “This is a faggot child-molester.” And this about Donald Trump: “He’s a product of sodomy and he’s proud. Your president is a homosexual. … It says on the back of the dollar bill that ‘In God We Trust,’ and you give faggots rights.” At that homophobic outburst, the kids from the Catholic school spontaneously booed […]

To put it bluntly: They were 16-year-olds subjected to verbal racist assault by grown men; and then the kids were accused of being bigots. It just beggars belief that the same liberals who fret about “micro-aggressions” for 20-somethings were able to see 16-year-olds absorbing the worst racist garbage from religious bigots … and then express the desire to punch the kids in the face.


The press failure on this and other “advance the narrative” stories has been monumental and driven by political bias:

24 Comments for “The Covington Kids, Part 2”

  1. posted by Tom Scharbach on

    To put it bluntly: They were 16-year-olds subjected to verbal racist assault by grown men; and then the kids were accused of being bigots.

    Let me see if I have this right.

    Black Hebrew Israelites heeped verbal abuse on the Covington MAGA kids, who then turned on the Native group, mocking the Native’s songs and dancing, and, in the case of one kid, impeding progress of the procession while the others egged him on.

    Conservative apologists for the MAGA kids seem to think that the former justifies the latter. That doesn’t make sense to me.

    Reply
    • posted by Jorge on

      Let me see if I have this right.

      Impossible. The near-senior gentleman changed his story too many times. You are simply selecting one of them.

      That doesn’t make sense to me.

      I don’t believe you. I thought you studied law. Are you seriously arguing that it is not sensible that emotional distress and youth diminish culpability? Or does the presence of racial gestures change everything?

      Reply
    • posted by Tom Scharbach on

      Tom: Conservative apologists for the MAGA kids seem to think that the former justifies the latter. That doesn’t make sense to me.That doesn’t make sense to me.

      Jorge: Are you seriously arguing that it is not sensible that emotional distress and youth diminish culpability? Or does the presence of racial gestures change everything?

      No, I am not arguing that at all. I am saying that the argument that “A mocking B justifies B mocking C” doesn’t make sense to me.

      Maybe it does to you. But to me it doesn’t.

      Remember back a few weeks when Matthew posted close to 100 virulently anti-Semitic comments in my name over a period of 3-4 days? Would that have justified my posting virulently anti-Hispanic comments in your name? To me, it would not have done.

      Reply
    • posted by Tom Scharbach on

      Are you seriously arguing that it is not sensible that emotional distress and youth diminish culpability?

      I am not making that argument.

      Sully’s statement, unpacked, says this: “A (the Black Hebrew Israelites) abused B (the MAGA kids). That justifies B (the MAGA kids) mocking C (the Natives). Therefore, it is unfair to call out B (the MAGA kids) for mocking C (the Natives).”

      That argument is the rough equivalent of saying “A hits B, then B hits C, and it is unfair to hold B accountable for hitting C”. Whatever A did to B stands alone, as does whatever B did to C, and whatever A did to B cannot be used for justification for whatever B did to C. At least that’s how I see it.

      That’s the argument I’m making, and I don’t think that Sully is making sense when he suggests otherwise.

      Or does the presence of racial gestures change everything?

      Race is not relevant to the core analysis.

      The “A abuses B, B abuses C” analysis in the Covington case is no different than what would have been the case, November last, if, in response to Matthew’s posting scores of virulently anti-Semitic posts in my name, I had then turned on you and posted virulently anti-[select your ethnic or religious group] posts in your name. Would my actions against you have been justified because Matthew tried to harm me?

      If we are of the same race, would that make a difference? If we are of different races, would that make a difference? I think not. Ditto for our religions. The bottom line is that I don’t become entitled to abuse you because someone else has abused me, at least the way I was raised.

      Nor does it make any difference (as Sully’s most recent attempt at exculpation suggests) that the Black Hebrew Israelites treated the MAGA kids to “homophobic taunts”. Are you kidding me? Any kid who hasn’t been subjected to “homophobic taunts” somewhere along the line has lived a very sheltered life, indeed.

      The conservative argument comes down to this: “The Black Hebrew Israelites were very bad people acting very badly. That exculpates/justifies whatever the MAGA kids did to the Natives.” That’s nonsense.

      Reply
      • posted by Jorge on

        I am not making that argument.

        Good. That’s all I need to know. I don’t think racist and anti-gay behavior justifies mocking people in the crossfire, either.

        (What about mocking people who are act in an alliance with those who engage in racist and anti-gay behavior?)

        To attack the weaker, less aggressive party is an act of cowardice. But it is also true that a interposing wall can be effective in blocking the attack. In such a situation there is significant risk and it is not unreasonable to seek to regain the initiative. In this case fewer students attacked the wall, but those who did attacked more aggressively. The main event was a wall vs. wall staring contest.

        Considering all these factors, I believe the students were completely justified and acted appropriately because their actions and gestures reflected an intimidating attitude and manner, which was the correct action to take in that situation. I would think differently if their face had said even one word differently to the drummer.

        Reply
    • posted by Tom Scharbach on

      (What about mocking people who are act in an alliance with those who engage in racist and anti-gay behavior?)

      The “A abuses B, then B abuses C and is justified in doing so because A abused B” argument works if and only if there is an equivalence between A and C. That “A = C” is one of the two main arguments that the Trump Nation commentariat is trying to make to justify/defend the students (the other is that the MAGA kids did nothing wrong, as in the Reason article’s contention that the MAGA kids “tentatively joined (Phillips’) chanting” instead of hopping around mocking the dancing, which is what the videos show).

      The “A = C” argument is made in a number of variations, among them:

      (1) The Black Hebrew Israelites and the Natives acted in concert to intimidate the MAGA kids.
      (2) The Black Hebrew Israelites and the Natives did not act in concert, but both shouted racist/homophobic taunts to intimidate the MAGA kids, creating an equivalence.
      (3) The Black Hebrew Israelites alone shouted racist/homophobic taunts, but the Natives “joined the confrontation by shouting insults at the kids and, in the case of the drummer, getting aggressively in their faces” to intimidate the MAGA kids, creating an equivalence.
      (4) The Black Hebrew Israelites alone shouted racist/homophobic taunts, but the Natives refused to defer to and go around the MAGA kids as they should have done, intimidating the MAGA kids, creating an equivalence.
      (5) The Black Hebrew Israelites and the Natives each represent causes and/or points of view that are at odds with and/or abhorent to MAGA principles, creating an equivalence.
      (5) No actual equivalence exists between the Black Hebrew Israelites and the Natives, but the MAGA kids are from small-town, rural (ignorant) Kentucky and didn’t have the smarts/experience to tell the difference between the two groups or to recognize that dancing/singing wasn’t a violent threat, creating a perceived equivalence in the minds of the MAGA kids.

      And so on. Read the Trump Nation commentariat and you’ll see arguments like these in spades (we’ve seen most of them in the two IGF posts to date), along with plenty of other attempts to create an equivalence.

      As the various attempts at creating an equivalence fail because the arguments are demolished by the videos and other objective evidence, Trump Nation has resorted to “arguments”, like Sully’s, that don’t bother to articulate an equivalence, but instead treat the equivalence as a given and and count on the reader not to look closely at the logical sleight-of-hand: “To put it bluntly: They were 16-year-olds subjected to verbal racist assault by grown men; and then the kids were accused of being bigots.”

      Sully just slides right over the need for equivalence in order to make “A abuses B, B abuses C and is justified in doing so because A abused B” work, because that’s the only way he can get the necessary “equivalence” to work.

      Reply
      • posted by Jason123 on

        You really think that Andrew Sullivan and, separately, Reason magazine, are part of the “Trump Nation commentariat”? Or is that just a term you apply to discredit anyone not firmly on the progressive left (and even here, not sure Obama-supporter Sullivan meets that criteria)?

        Reply
      • posted by Tom Scharbach on

        You really think that Andrew Sullivan and, separately, Reason magazine …

        Sully is of late, or very close thereto, Reason probably is not but can’t seem to resist any opportunity to deride the left.

        Do you think that this relatively minor example of adolescent bad behavior would have blown up if the kids weren’t wearing MAGA hats? I don’t.

        I think that the driving force transforming this rather minor example of teenage misbehavior into a national debate were the MAGA hats. Without the hats, I don’t think that the picture/video would have gone viral (although the kid’s smirk in the picture is classic), and without the hats I don’t think that the right would have wasted time and energy on these snots.

        Reply
        • posted by Jason123 on

          Sully is of late, or very close thereto [part of the Trump Nation commentariat]

          Sullivan makes it clear, in column after column, that he considers Trump to be a vile fascist. It’s hard to take your seriously, Tom, when you simply make up your own facts.

          As for the MAGA hats, it’s correct that this might not have been a story if the kids hadn’t been wearing them, but it was the left media that blew it into major coverage because it advanced the narrative that MAGA hat-earing kids are bigots. To suggest that the pro-Trump media created the story because of the hats is ludicrous.

          Reply
      • posted by Tom Scharbach on

        Jason, I’m well aware that Sully “considers Trump to be a vile fascist”. I read what he writes. The reason that I say that Sully is “close to” Trump Nation is because Sully aids, abets and supports much of the Trump Nation message (white victimization, male victimization and so on), and in doing so, he plays fast and loose with both facts and logic. His writing about the MAGA kids is a good example — his logical sleight-of-hand on Covington (“To put it bluntly: They were 16-year-olds subjected to verbal racist assault by grown men; and then the kids were accused of being bigots.”) is as good an example as any, and, unfortunately typical.

        But for his disdain for and dislike of President Trump personally, he would be in with both feet. It is not enough, in my opinion, to change the fact that his positions line up, for the most part, with Trump Nation messaging and the Trump Nation agenda.

        You may not agree with the conclusion I’ve reached, but don’t try to tell me that I’m “mak[ing] up [my] own facts”. The evidence to the contrary is right in front of your face.

        Reply
  2. posted by JohnInCA on

    Who’s been defending the Black Israelites?

    Reply
  3. posted by Tom Scharbach on

    “I did not go to journalism school, but I find it hard to believe that even the least prestigious among those institutions teaches that the correct way to respond to explosive, unsourced reports that just happen to match your political priors is to shout “Boom” or “Bombshell” or “Big if true” and then to set about spreading those reports around the world without so much as a cursory investigation into the details. And yet, in the Trump era, this has become the modus operandi of all but the hardest-nosed scribblers.”

    It was the modus operandi long before the Trump Era, and a lot of thoughtful people have written about the devolution of news reporting and packaging in this country and around the world.

    Just about every screen is dominated by a “BREAKING NEWS” or “NEWS ALERT” banner running across the bottom on CNN, MSNBC and FOX — hype piled upon hype, usually meaningless in any ordinary sense of the words “Alert!” or “Breaking News”, as in “NEWS ALERT: 2+2=4” or “BREAKING NEWS: COLD IN NORTH DAKOTA!”

    Compounding the hype are the pressures created by endless 24×7 coverage. National news media constantly pushes the new and the sensational, much like local news channels used to feature murders — the more gruesome the better — during “ratings week”. Molehills are turned into mountains in order to up ratings, and the combination of time pressure and low budgets mean that news staffers don’t have the time or the resources to check out stories before they are run, leading to a lot more “If true …” reports that cluster like a pack of wolves in heat.

    I have no idea who Charles C.W. Cooke might be, but if he thinks that the devolution of news reporting and packaging began when The Greatest President took office, then either he hasn’t been paying attention or he believes that all the similar crap dominating cable news during earlier administrations (“NEWS ALERT: OBAMACARE DEATH PANELS!”) is, well, “fair and balanced” reporting.

    Reply
    • posted by Kosh III on

      Regarding the overuse of “Breaking News” etc

      I remember early in 2016, on a Sunday morining show Jake Tapper(CNN) breathlessly started the program hyping the breaking news that Carly Fiorina was surging in the polls.
      SMH

      Reply
  4. posted by MR Bill on

    ““A Kentucky Catholic bishop is admonishing the Covington Catholic High School students who confronted a Native American man in Washington, D.C., in a video that went viral last week ― insisting that the teens can’t claim to be “pro-life” while wearing President Donald Trump’s “Make America great again” hats.

    The Rev. John Stowe, the bishop of the Diocese of Lexington, said that being “pro-life” also means valuing the lives of immigrants and refugees ― something he said he strongly believes Trump has failed to do.

    Another Catholic voice:“It astonishes me that any students participating in a pro-life activity on behalf of their school and their Catholic faith could be wearing apparel sporting the slogans of a president who denigrates the lives of immigrants, refugees and people from countries that he describes with indecent words and haphazardly endangers with life-threatening policies,” Stowe wrote in an op-ed for the Lexington Herald-Leader on Wednesday.

    He said he is “ashamed” that the students’ actions have contradicted the goals of the March for Life, the massive annual anti-abortion rally the teens were in D.C. to attend.”-https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/bishop-john-stowe-covington-kentucky-maga-hats-abortion_us_5c4b5ae7e4b06ba6d3bcbd87?ncid=engmodushpmg00000003

    Reply
    • posted by Jorge on

      I do not think a Bishop can afford to engage in reverse cafeteria Catholicism, picking and choosing who to call pro-life because of minor differences in conscience.

      Reply
      • posted by JohnInCA on

        Can you name one period of history, since the founding of Christianity, where Christians weren’t willing to throw other Christians under the bus and denounce them as insufficiently Christian over minor matters?

        Reply
        • posted by Jorge on

          Perhaps if you could name one period in history when the number of different Christian religions consolidated rather than fractured. The steady dissolution of Christianity throughout history is more than sufficient justification to condemn its penchant for heresy-hunting in the present time.

          Reply
          • posted by Kosh on

            In the early part of the 20th century there were movements to consolidate which led to the creation of the National Council of Churches and the World Council of Churches.
            Several versions of Methodism merged to create the United Methodist church. ditto for the mergers that led to the Presbyterian Church USA, the Evangelical Lutheran Church, the United Church of Christ and The American Baptist Church.
            Several denominations now are in communion with each other and accept clerics from the other denominations; e.g. The Episcopal and Evangelical Lutheran churches.

          • posted by JohnInCA on

            So then your claim is not that this is unusual behavior, but that it is improper behavior.

            That’s more reasonable, but you’re still left with admitting that while you think it’s improper, it’s certainly traditional. And as I recall, you’re the one that’s in favor of supporting tradition for it’s own sake, no?

  5. posted by Tom Scharbach on

    Sandmann is a teenage boy who attends high school in small-town Kentucky …

    Give me a break.

    Covington is a city of about 45,000 people, the fifth largest city in Kentucky, directly across the river from Cincinnati and part of the Cincinnati-Middletown Metropolitan Statistical Area, population roughly 2.5 million. Covington is statistically similar to national demographics — 80% white, 12% black, 4% Hispanic, median income somewhat lower than state and national averages, but no poverty area — and is not exactly Hicksville. Covington Catholic sits on a 30-acre campus and is well known for the number of state championships that it has garnered over the years.

    Hicksville, indeed. Doesn’t anyone do any checking before making stupid statements like this, or circulating them?

    And what would it matter if Covington was actually a small town? Does living in a small town exempt people from behaving themselves?

    Reply
    • posted by JohnInCA on

      Does living in a small town exempt people from behaving themselves?

      I think it’s supposed to be that seeing as small-towns folk are all “quaint” and “backwards”, we’re supposed to give them more leeway on proper behavior because “they don’t know better”.

      It’s a condescending and patronizing view, but does give such folks more leeway on bad behavior.

      Sort of like forgiving grandpa for being racist because “that’s just how things was”.

      That said, I’ve lived in actual small towns (for example, currently living in a “city” of about a thousand. And no, we aren’t right next door to a metropolis), and no one from an actual small town would be happy with such a tone.

      Reply
    • posted by Tom Scharbach on

      I think it’s supposed to be that seeing as small-towns folk are all “quaint” and “backwards”, we’re supposed to give them more leeway on proper behavior because “they don’t know better”.

      It’s a condescending and patronizing view, but does give such folks more leeway on bad behavior.

      That’s how I read it, too. And is is definitely condescending and patronizing.

      That said, I’ve lived in actual small towns (for example, currently living in a “city” of about a thousand. And no, we aren’t right next door to a metropolis), and no one from an actual small town would be happy with such a tone.

      Dead on.

      I lived, until very recently, in a rural Wisconsin township, population about 2,000. I was born there, grew up there, returned there when I retired and lived there with my husband for a dozen years after I retired. I know just about everyone who lives in the town, and they know me. It is home, and unlike Manhattan conservatives’ fantasies about Covington, my town actually is a small, rural town.

      The nearest city of any size is Baraboo, population just over 10,000, about 15 miles away. Baraboo is the county seat, a solid and friendly small town, and that’s where Michael and I did our shopping. I have a lot of friends there, some recent, some going back to high school and earlier.

      Baraboo went through a similar situation last November, and it was wrenching, just as the Covington situation is wrenching for the people in that city.

      In Baraboo, a bunch of high school boys threw the Nazi salute in a pre-prom photo-opportunity. Just being jerks.

      The photo went viral and the frenzy started. National news picked up the story, the blogosphere exploded, and it wasn’t long before the white identity fringe of the right wing whipped itself up into a mini-stroke, similar in tone to the mini-stroke that Trump Nation is having over Covington. Because almost everyone understands that giving the Nazi salute is a third rail issue for most Americans, Baraboo didn’t explode into Covington with Trump Nation coming in gangbusters, but it was bad enough.

      Baraboo (and the surrounding areas served by the high school) responded appropriately, I think, scheduling mandatory education sessions about the Nazis, World War II and anti-Semitism in the school, and hosting community gatherings to hear from distressed parents, grandparents and residents, including a number of remaining WWII veterans and Jews living in the area. Baraboo treated the matter seriously, as it should have.

      I don’t know any of the Baraboo boys personally, but I do know the grandparents and parents of several, some well enough to talk to them about it. In a word, they were pissed all around and didn’t have any compunction about letting the boys know that in no uncertain terms.

      As I write this, I think that most of the boys have had time for sober reflection and a bit of growing up. As for Baraboo, the city seems to have settled down, although I suspect that the boys are being very careful to lay low for a while.

      Boys will be boys, and that means, as Kosh pointed out in an earlier comment, that boys will be smirking jerks doing really stupid things from time to time. Anyone who has been a teenage boy (or, as in my case, has raised a bunch of them) knows that for a fact.

      The Covington MAGAs acted out, and acted out in ways that do them no credit at all. As one of the Covington coaches was quoted as saying, “We are trying to raise good kids. This was not our finest hour.”

      When boys act like jerks, adults step in and correct them, educate them, and grow them up. That’s how it is supposed to work, anyway. Parents don’t hire right-wing public relations firms to sell the kids as innocent lambs on NBC, and the kids don’t get a hero’s welcome at the White House. They get sat on , and rightly so, because they were acting like jerks.

      So what have we in Covington? We have the entire Trump Nation media, commentariat and blogosphere (including IGF) defending kids, claiming that they are victims because a few black crazies shouted abuse at them. The President plans to have them to the White House. Why? A victory lap?

      I suspect that this blew up because the kids were wearing MAGA hats, the incident played to white identity politics, the base loves what the MAGA kids did, and Trump is too dumb, too ignorant, or too spineless to stand up to them. The frenzy should never have happened, but it did, and the “defense” being offered is just nuts.

      I think it is crazy. It is certainly crazy-making.

      Reply
  6. posted by MR Bill on

    Well, my 93 year old dad said “if you’d have ever acted like that kid, I’d have jerked a knot in your tail.”

    Reply

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