Last weekend the media did exactly what it’s not supposed to do: Jumped on a viral story without first checking the facts.
And in so doing, helped destroy the reputations of innocent teenagers who had simply been on a school trip to D.C. to attend the annual March for Life.
As new information came out, and it was clear the original narrative was no longer supportable, the media began walking back its original reporting.
But it was too late. The anger against these students — who were being accused of harassing and taunting a Native American man — had already boiled over. Their school has since been canceled over security concerns.
NewsBusters’ grades of the coverage are below, followed by the rating criteria employed by the analysis.
Covington Coverage Grades:
- CBS: Good
- ABC: Bad
- NBC: Ugly
- MSNBC: Ugly
- CNN: Bad
- USA Today: Ugly
- New York Times: Ugly
- The Washington Post: Ugly
- “Good”: News organizations either held off reporting the story until the facts were known, or offered full retractions/apologies after the initial version fell apart.
- “Bad”: News organizations tried to salvage their initial coverage by presenting the true version as a mere complication to an-already established narrative.
- “Ugly”: News organizations used the false story to smear underage kids as evil, racist, Nazis – when the truth was the exact opposite.
Watch a montage of the media's horrible coverage of the protest below.