- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 26, 2019

The Kentucky diocese which immediately condemned Covington Catholic students for supposedly taunting Native American Nathan Phillips has admitted it overreacted and issued an apology, as have numerous conservative pundits who jumped the gun. But that hasn’t stopped liberals like Bill Maher from pouring contempt on the teenagers caught up in the maelstrom.

In a letter Friday to Covington Catholic parents, Bishop Roger J. Foys said he was “bullied” into the Jan. 19 written reprimand when he said, “We extend our deepest apologies to Mr. Phillips. This behavior is opposed to the Church’s teachings on the dignity and respect of the human person.”

Even so, liberal pundits continue to attack the teenagers on the basis of a now-discredited narrative.

HBO’s Bill Maher Friday night tore into the most prominent student, Nick Sandmann, as a “prick.”

When initial video surfaced of the encounter at the Lincoln Memorial during the Right To Life March, journalists and liberal social media sites quickly condemned the students. The bull’s-eye was Mr. Sandmann, a 16-year-old junior who like several other students wore a President Trump-supporting “Make American Great Again” red cap.

But conservative reporters then entered the fray by examining more footage and concluding Mr. Phillips, not the students, initiated the face-to-face. Mr. Phillips beat a drum and chanted at close range as Mr. Sandmann stood silently.

“We apologize to anyone who has been offended in any way by either of our statements which were made with good will based on the information we had,” Bishop Foys said. “We shouldn’t have allowed ourselves to be bullied and pressured into making a statement prematurely, and we take full responsibility for it. I especially apologize to Nicholas Sandmann and his family as well as to all CovCath families who have felt abandoned during this ordeal. Nicholas unfortunately has become the face of these allegations based on video clips. This is not fair. It is not just.”

Mr. Phillips, 63, a long time Native American activist who frames his life around military service during the Vietnam war, told the media he had been blocked by the students who shouted “Build the wall!”

But video taken at the time of the incident shows he initiated the encounter and references to a wall are not heard in the footage.

As Mr. Phillips arrived, a radical group, Black Hebrew Israelites — which the liberal Southern Poverty Law Center classifies as a hate group — had been peppering the students with vile insults.

“They called us ‘racists,’ ‘bigots,’ ‘white crackers,’ ‘faggots,’ and ‘incest kids,’” Mr. Sandmann said in a statement. “They also taunted an African American student from my school by telling him that we would ‘harvest his organs.’ I have no idea what that insult means, but it was startling to hear. Because we were being loudly attacked and taunted in public, a student in our group asked one of our teacher chaperones for permission to begin our school spirit chants to counter the hateful things that were being shouted at our group. The chants are commonly used at sporting events.”

Mr. Phillips has implied he served in Vietnam in the 1970s as a Marine Corps “recon ranger.”

His service record shows he served state-side for about 2-1/2 years as an electrician and went AWOL three times. He entered as a private and was discharged as a private.

Twitter liberal accounts called for violence against the students. One account urged the burning of the school with the students inside.

Comedian Maher, a proud atheist, kept up the attack.

The conservative media watchdog NewsBusters reported:

“On Friday’s Real Time show on HBO, host Bill Maher tore into Covington Catholic High School student Nick Sandmann, deriding him as a ‘prick’ and a ‘smirk-face’ who has a ‘s***-eating grin.’ He ended up making a pedophilia joke as he cracked that he doesn’t know ‘what Catholic priests see in these kids.’”

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