Another week, another opportunity for the corporate media to send the Internet into a frenzy and divide the nation over a fake controversy based on sloppy news reporting.
For the last week the “mainstream media” and their loyal followers have been freaking out over a video purporting to show a conflict between a group of Catholic boys attending the anti-abortion March for Life and a group of Indigenous people celebrating Indigenous People’s Day in Washington D.C. The situation became even more toxic due to the fact that the boys were wearing Make America Great Again (MAGA) hats and allegedly shouting “Build The Wall!”. Meanwhile, Nathan Phillips, one of the indigenous marchers, walked into the crowd of high school teenagers and eventually stood face to face with a student named Nick Sandman. Phillips played his drum and sang his prayers while staring in the face of the smirking teenager.
Like clockwork, the pundits obsessed over whether the boys smirk was racist and whether he should be crucified. On the other side of the fence we saw Internet sleuths tracking the movements of Phillips to see if it was him who initiated the conflict by forcing his way into the group of innocent Catholic boys. And within days the whole narrative fell apart. As typical, we now know that the situation was more complex. In fact, it appears a third party – the Black Hebrews or Israelites – caused the most trouble by hurling bigoted epithets at the boys and the Indigenous marchers.
And, once again, the corporate media proves they are not to be trusted (and neither are some of your Facebook friends, apparently). But, rather than simply complain about the lack of accountability and quality of the corporate journalist hacks, I choose to focus on individual personal responsibility. I want to encourage all consumers of news to hold yourself to a higher standard. Rather than simply reacting to new information and immediately posting on social media, take a few moments to breathe, reflect, and research.
One last point: It seems the true reason the two groups were in Washington D.C. has been lost in the drama surrounding the interaction between Sandman and Phillips. The Catholic boys were there with their school in support of the March for Life, an annual rally that protests the legality of abortion. Nathan Phillips and the Indigenous marchers were in D.C. to raise awareness on environmental issues facing Indigenous communities, as well as the thousands of Indigenous women who have gone missing in the U.S. and Canada.
The boys and other supporters attending the March for Life likely felt the same sense of urgency the supporters of the Indigenous People’s Day expressed. Both groups feel strongly about their causes; but instead of talking about those issues, the media has been focusing on whether a smirk was racist. Turn off the television and take control of your own mind.
Here are 7 stories you might have missed while the media obsessed on the MAGA kid:
1 – Federal Court Rules Police May Not Compel Passenger ID During Traffic Stop – The Ninth Circuit has ruled that the police violated the Fourth Amendment when they asked a passenger to provide identification. The Court found that “a demand for a passenger’s identification is not part of the mission of a traffic stop.” As the court explained, “The identity of a passenger…will ordinarily have no relation to a driver’s safe operation of a vehicle.”
2 – ACLU Sues Seven Federal Agencies After Failure to Disclose Social Media Monitoring Data – The American Civil Liberties sued the agencies to get some answers, hoping to reveal the exact nature of social media surveillance — especially whether agencies are monitoring and retaining social media posts, or using surveillance products that label activists and people of color as threats to public safety based on their First Amendment-protected activities.
3 – Court Rules ‘Ag-Gag’ Law Criminalizing Undercover Reporting Violates the First Amendment – In a win for freedom of the press, a federal court this month struck down an Iowa law making it a crime to lie about your intentions when accessing an agricultural production facility. The “ag-gag” law, which was aimed at undercover journalists and activists, essentially prevented undercover investigations of the agricultural industry. In a lawsuit brought by the ACLU of Iowa, the court rightly found that the law violates the First Amendment.
4 – DOJ exploring ways to more easily spy on journalists – “For months now, the Department of Justice (DOJ) quietly has been working on a revision to its guidelines governing how, when and why prosecutors can obtain the records of journalists, particularly in leak cases.” ACLU says, “The Justice Department Shouldn’t Be Snooping on Journalists”. Bonus: Declassified Documents Expose DOJ Rules for Spying on Journalists with Secret Court
5 – Yellow Vest Movement Has Officially Gone Global – Is a global revolution really brewing? Time will tell, but for the moment, it does seem that more countries are joining France in protesting against government and corporate corruption while wearing yellow vests. Hopefully, the people stay in control of this burgeoning movement and allow spontaneous order and decentralization to take hold.
6 – “Below 1%”: The Monarch Butterfly Is Approaching Total and Irreversible Extinction – According to a new survey conducted by the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, the iconic North American butterfly, which migrates thousands of miles across the continent on an annual basis, is now hovering inches away from extinction.
7 – The Brazen Detention of Marzieh Hashemi, America’s Newest Political Prisoner – “Today Marzieh Hashemi sits alone. Isolated and entombed deep in a government catacomb, she stands charged with no offense but in the eyes of this administration guilty as charged . . . a Muslim, a journalist, and a US ex-pat who has found shelter from its storm in Iran.”