Nick Sandmann, a recent graduate of Covington Catholic High School in Kentucky, called out the harassment of corporate media and the online, left-wing cancel mobs in a show-stopping speech on Tuesday night at the Republican National Convention. Sandmann, 18, recounted the whirlwind events of January 2019 when several media outlets grossly misrepresented a video encounter between Sandmann and a left-wing activist at the March for Life in Washington, D.C.
"I’m the teenager who was defamed by the media after an encounter with a group of protestors on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial last year," he said. "In January 2019, I attended the March for Life in Washington D.C. where I demonstrated in defense of the unborn. Later that day, I bought a 'Make America Great Again' hat because our President, Donald Trump, has distinguished himself as the most pro-life President in the history of our country and I wanted to express my support for him too. Looking back now, how could I possibly have imagined that the simple act of putting on that red hat would unleash the hate from the left and make myself the target of network and cable news networks, nationwide?"
Sandmann went on to describe the event in question, which led to months of harassment from thousands of people he had never met, who were only responding to a political smear against his choice to wear a 'MAGA' hat.
"I found myself face-to-face with Nathan Phillips and other professional protestors looking to turn me into the latest poster child showing why Trump is bad. While the media portrayed me as the aggressor with a 'relentless smirk' on my face, in reality, the video confirms I was standing with my hands behind my back and an awkward smile on my face that hid two thoughts. One, don’t do anything that might further agitate the man banging a drum in my face and two, trying to follow a family friend’s advice never to do anything to embarrass your family, your school, or your community."
Sandmann knew immediately that something was off when one of the protesters shouted, "We got him! ... It's all right here on video” and "We won Grandpa”.
That video and the image of then-16-year-old Sandmann spread across the pages of the Washington Post and other newspapers as well as national news outlets like CNN. The biased media had only one side of the story, the side they wanted to see.
"My life changed forever in that one moment," Sandmann said. "The full war machine of the mainstream media revved up into attack mode. They did so without ever researching the full video of the incident, without ever investigating Mr. Philips’s 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," Sandmann continued. "And if advancing their narrative ruined the reputation and future of a teenager from Covington, Kentucky, so be it. That will teach him not to wear a MAGA hat!"
Following the widespread coverage of the encounter, Sandmann and his family were harassed by celebrities, politicians, and strangers. The harassment was not limited to the internet either, as Sandmann told Fox News in April, he is often recognized in person and confrontations with unstable people is a constant concern.
Sandmann sued CNN and the Washington Post for defamation shortly after the incident for amounts closing in on half a billion dollars. On his 18th birthday this summer, Sandmann announced that he had settled with the media outlets for an undisclosed amount.
Despite the embarrassing lawsuit and utter lack of integrity in covering Sandmann in 2019, CNN political analyst Joe Lockhart continued to attempt defamation against the teenager during his speech on Tuesday.
CNN, which employs Lockhart for some reason, was recently forced to pay a settlement to Sandmann for maliciously and deliberately defaming him. https://t.co/adyA3nWgkp— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) August 26, 2020
Other leftist media outlets also couldn't help themselves, it seemed.
The only reason anybody even knows Sandmann's name is because a complete twitter freakout impelled the major media outlets, including CNN, WaPo, NYTimes, Gannett, and, oh, yeah, Huffpost.— Gabriel Malor (@gabrielmalor) August 26, 2020
Quite simply, if you had been better journalists, no one would ever have heard of him. https://t.co/oTYgDSNgoV
Canceled is what’s happening to people around this country who refuse to be silenced by the far left," Sandmann said. "Many are being fired, humiliated, or even threatened. Often, the media is a willing participant. But I wouldn’t be canceled."
Sandmann expressed hope that his experience would be a lesson to media that could inspire them to return to "providing balanced, responsible, and accountable news coverage." Sandmann then pointed out the biggest, most obvious target of biased, aggravated media: the president.
"I’m proud to say that throughout my media nightmare I have had President Trump’s unwavering support. And I know you’ll agree with me when I say no one in this county has been a victim of unfair media coverage more than President Donald Trump," he said.
"I believe we must all embrace our 1st Amendment rights and not hide in fear of the media, or from the tech companies or the outrage mob either," Sandmann said, before reaching for his famous red hat. "And one more thing, let’s Make America Great Again!"