US

National Review Unpublishes Article Attacking Covington Students

By Zachary Stieber

Conservative outlet National Review unpublished an article attacking Covington Catholic High School students in which the author said the students “Might as Well Have Just Spit on the Cross.”

Nicholas Frankovich wrote, “it appears” that the students “mock a serious frail-looking older man and gloat in their momentary role as Roman soldiers to his Christ.”

He was referring to a Jan. 18 incident in Washington near the Lincoln Memorial.

In the full video footage, a group of Native Americans led by anti-President Donald Trump activist Nathan Phillips approaches the students, who were waiting for their buses.

Phillips approaches one student while banging loudly on a drum and chanting. The student stands still and smiles as Phillips invades his personal space. Other students sing with the activist while a member of the Native American’s group told the students that they “stole our land” and should “go back to Europe.”

The student, Nick Sandmann, said in a statement that Phillips seemed to single him out.

“The protester everyone has seen in the video began playing his drum as he waded into the crowd, which parted for him. I did not see anyone try to block his path. He locked eyes with me and approached me, coming within inches of my face. He played his drum the entire time he was in my face,” Sandmann wrote.

“I never interacted with this protester. I did not speak to him. I did not make any hand gestures or other aggressive moves. To be honest, I was startled and confused as to why he had approached me.”

He added, “I believed that by remaining motionless and calm, I was helping to diffuse the situation. I realized everyone had cameras and that perhaps a group of adults was trying to provoke a group of teenagers into a larger conflict. I said a silent prayer that the situation would not get out of hand.”

But Frankovich, the National Review Online deputy managing editor, accused the Catholic high school students as acting anti-Christian, blaming their alleged bad conduct in part on their support for President Donald Trump.

The article was published early on Jan. 20 and unpublished early Jan. 21. Frankovich hasn’t addressed why it was pulled down nor has National Review.

police car in front of Covington Catholic High School
Covington Catholic High School in Park Hills, Ky., on Jan 19, 2019. (Bryan Woolston/AP Photo)

National Review editor-in-chief Rich Lowry didn’t say why the article was pulled down but said on Twitter that he was among those reacting too swiftly to the incident.

“Deleted my initial tweet on Lincoln Memorial incident. Even the video I watched last night that suggested some ambiguity didn’t fully capture what really happened. This was not what it was portrayed as *at all,*” Lowry wrote.

Later on Sunday, the outlet published an article saying that Phillips lied and “the media bought it.” Another article said that there was a clear bias against the students from mainstream media outlets, which rushed to judgment based on a short clip from a longer video.

Neither article mentioned the article that attacked the students and was published on its own website and later removed.