Nicholas Sandmann, the pro-life Kentucky teenager who was smeared by the mainstream media in 2019, gave a powerful speech urging news outlets to return to fair and unbiased coverage Tuesday at the Republican National Convention.
The Covington Catholic High School student was thrust into the national spotlight in 2019 after attending the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C. Sandmann became the target of negative, misleading media attention that portrayed him as racist based on a short video clip of his interaction with a Native American protester.
During his speech Tuesday in front of the Lincoln Memorial, Sandmann criticized mainstream news outlets for being driven by an “anti-Christian, anti-conservative, anti-Donald Trump” bias, the AP reports.
“My life changed forever in that one moment. The full war machine of the mainstream media revved up into attack mode,” Sandmann said, according to The Federalist. “They did so without ever researching the full video of the incident; without ever investigating [Native American protester Nathan] Philips’ motives; or without ever asking me for my side of the story.”
“And do you know why? Because the truth wasn’t important. Advancing their anti-Christian, anti-Conservative, anti-Donald Trump narrative was all that mattered,” he continued. “And if advancing their narrative ruined the reputation and future of a teenager from Covington, Kentucky, well, so be it. That will teach him not to wear a MAGA hat!”
The teen said he wore the Make America Great Again hat because he believes Trump “has distinguished himself as the most pro-life president in the history of our country.” He said he believes the MAGA hat is what made him the target of biased reporting.
Sandmann said he is not the only victim of the “cancel culture”; others have been fired from their jobs, humiliated or threatened for voicing their beliefs. He blamed the liberal media for contributing to the problem and unfairly targeting Trump. He also praised the Republican president for exposing this bias and urging news outlets to return to fair and balanced reporting.
“I would not be canceled,” Sandmann said. “I fought back hard to expose the media for what they did to me, and I won a personal victory.”
He recently won two settlements in defamation lawsuits against the Washington Post and CNN. Lawsuits against other news outlets are on-going.
Many news outlets implied Sandmann and other Covington students were racist based on a short video showing a brief confrontation between them and Native American protester Nathan Phillips near the Lincoln Memorial after the 2019 March for Life. The negative publicity led to death threats and the temporary closure of his Catholic high school due to security concerns.
Later, however, longer video footage of the incident disproved the claims against Sandmann and his peers.
Mollie Hemingway, a senior editor at The Federalist, pointed out that the teen still has not received a notable apology from liberal news outlets, despite being called a “snot-nosed” kid and other nasty names.
Commenting on his speech, she wrote: “If any media apologized for the role they played in trying to destroy the child’s life, it’s not well known. … It was a reminder of how powerful and unaccountable major media are, particularly when they join mobs to attack their conservative political opponents.”