Fox News primetime host Tucker Carlson devoted his opening monologue Monday evening to the viral video of Covington Catholic students at the March for Life, arguing that the initial misrepresentations of the story were a product of cultural elites’ prejudices against certain values and parts of the United States.
The initial video showed the man, Nathan Phillips, beating a drum and singing while students in Trump’s iconic red “Make America Great Again” hats laughed and hollered around him, with student Nick Sandmann apparently grinning inches from the man’s face. Denunciations of the students’ behavior were swift and fierce, with Covington Catholic, the Diocese of Covington, and even March for Life President Jeanne Mancini and an editor of the conservative National Review joining left-leaning media in lambasting the the students.
But additional video and firsthand accounts soon revealed Phillips was the one who waded into the group waiting for its bus and decided to beat a drump inches from Sandmann, and other adults who accompanied Phillips shouted taunts like “white people, go back to Europe” at the kids. Critics also noted that Phillips had changed his story across multiple interviews.
Many subsequently retracted their initial reactions, though several including the Diocese of Covington and the high school have yet to apologize. Despite the retractions, the original characterization of the story continues to feed a liberal fervor that has included death threats. Covington Catholic High School is currently closeduntil local law enforcement determines it’s safe to reopen.
“What we know for certain at this point is that our cultural leaders are, in fact, bigots” who understand reality on the basis of stereotypes,” Carlson said in his monologue. “When the facts don’t conform to what they think they know, they ignore the facts. They see America not as a group of people or of citizens, but as a collection of groups. Some of these groups, they are convinced, are morally inferior to other groups.”
“It’s not surprising, then, that when a group of pro-life Catholic kids who look like lacrosse players and live in Kentucky are accused of wrongdoing, the media don’t pause for a moment before casting judgment,” Carlson continued, citing prominent figures at CNN and the New York Times who called the teens racist, called for their expulsion, mocked Sandmann’s “punchable face,” and even solicited information to identify them.
“But in case you think the response was entirely from the left, you should know that the abuse was bipartisan,” Carlson went on. “This wasn’t just left versus right. It was the people in power attacking those below them as a group.”
He cited the examples of former Weekly Standard chief Bill Kristol tweeting then deleting a comment on the “contrast between the calm dignity and quiet strength of Mr. Phillips and the behavior of MAGA brats who have absorbed the spirit of Trumpism” (one of at least two on the subject); and National Review deputy managing editor Nicholas Frankovich writing that the “evil” Covington students “Might as Well Have Just Spit on the Cross,” The piece has been pulled and Frankovich has apologized for “overheated” rhetoric – but not for misrepresenting the details of the original video.
“So what’s actually going on here?” Carlson asked. “Well, it’s not really about race. In fact, most of the stories about race really aren’t about race. And this is no different. This story is about the people in power protecting their power, and justifying their power, by destroying and mocking those weaker than they are.
“Why? It’s simple. Our leaders haven’t improved the lives of most people in America. They can’t admit that because it would discredit them. So, instead, they attack the very people they’ve failed,” the conservative commentator concluded.
“The problem, they’ll tell us, with Kentucky, isn’t that bad policies have hurt the people who live there. It’s that the people who live there are immoral because they’re bigots […] That’s what our leaders tell themselves. And now, that’s what they’re telling us. Just remember: they’re lying.”