The mishandling of the MAGA teens story shows why I gave up on mainstream media

It took a couple of days after the Covington Catholic High School video went viral for journalists to lose their backbones. Instead of taking seriously the blatant racism exhibited in the footage from the incident at the Lincoln Memorial last Friday, reporters are working overtime to grant absolution to Covington students.

They have pointed to the Black Hebrew Israelites, a group also clearly engaging in vile, racist behavior in footage, and they have questioned the intentions of Nathan Phillips, a citizen of the Omaha Tribe who stood face to face with one of the teenagers while singing the Raymond Yellow Thunder song.

The footage clearly shows white teenagers taunting Phillips with “tomahawk chops” while hooting, hollering and laughing, but reporters are asking viewers not to believe what they see. In their effort to absolve the boys of any responsibility for the anti-Indian racism they displayed, journalists have abdicated their responsibility to seek truth and report it, instead choosing to center white voices that attack people of color.

Read the rest here at the Washington Post.

Tristan Ahtone

Tristan Ahtone is a member of the Kiowa Tribe and serves as associate editor for tribal affairs at High Country News. He has reported for PBS NewsHour, National Native News, Wyoming Public Radio, NPR, Al Jazeera America, Indian Country Today, and National Geographic, and more. Tristan’s stories have won multiple honors, including investigative awards from Public Radio News Directors Incorporated and the Gannett Foundation. He additionally was awarded a Nieman Fellowship to study at Harvard University in 2017. He is president of the Native American Journalists Association.

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