The Washington Post has added an editor’s note to its article on the Covington Catholic-Lincoln Memorial incident from January that went viral online.
Last month, Covington student Nicholas Sandmann’s parents filed a $250 million lawsuit on his behalf against the Post for defamation.
Sandmann’s attorney Lin Wood told iMediaEthics by email Sunday night “We plan to issue a statement tomorrow.”
The Washington Post‘s spokesperson told iMediaEthics, “While we do not accept the characterizations and contentions regarding our reporting of the incident at the Lincoln Memorial, we have taken steps to address the concerns expressed to us. The full story did not emerge all at once and throughout our coverage, we sought to produce accurate reports. Even the comments of the school and church officials changed, and The Post provided ongoing coverage of the conflicting versions of this event and its aftermath, giving prominent attention to the student’s account and the investigative findings supporting it. We thus have provided a fair and accurate historical record of how this incident unfolded.”
The Post‘s editor’s note reads:
A Washington Post article first posted online on Jan. 19 reported on a Jan. 18 incident at the Lincoln Memorial. Subsequent reporting, a student’s statement and additional video allow for a more complete assessment of what occurred, either contradicting or failing to confirm accounts provided in that story — including that Native American activist Nathan Phillips was prevented by one student from moving on, that his group had been taunted by the students in the lead-up to the encounter, and that the students were trying to instigate a conflict. The high school student facing Phillips issued a statement contradicting his account; the bishop in Covington, Ky., apologized for the statement condemning the students; and an investigation conducted for the Diocese of Covington and Covington Catholic High School found the students’ accounts consistent with videos. Subsequent Post coverage, including video, reported these developments: “Viral standoff between a tribal elder and a high schooler is more complicated than it first seemed”; “Kentucky bishop apologizes to Covington Catholic students, says he expects their exoneration”; “Investigation finds no evidence of ‘racist or offensive statements’ in Mall incident.”
Hat Tip: Washington Times
Update 3/4/2019 3:55 PM EST: The Sandmann lawyers’ March 4 statement is here; it reads in part, “With its unlimited financial resources, the Post likely spent tens of thousands of dollars on media defense lawyers to publicly parse and spin its false coverage in an effort to avoid accountability and limit its legal responsibility for its wrongdoing. The Post’s efforts were too little and too late.” The statement continued, “The Post has now double downed on its lies. As Nicholas’s lawyers, we will now double down on truth and aggressively continue our legal efforts to hold the Post accountable and obtain justice for Nicholas in a court of law.”