The only people who can any longer deny with a straight face the reality and pervasiveness of Fake News are fake journalists and their fellow travelers in the Democratic Party.
Actually, there’s in addition a third group of people whose members will, when the opportunity to virtue-signal to leftist elites presents itself, indignantly deny that much of the contemporary world of journalism is Fake News. In fact, this group of “conservatives” will even go so far as to indulge and promote the fakery.
The recent case of the Covington Catholic school boys is illustrative in a number of ways.
As everyone now knows, over a week ago a highly edited video surfaced that was doctored in such a way as to suggest that a group of MAGA hat-wearing teenage white boys, who came to the nation’s capital for the March for Life, went out of their way to harass an elderly American Indian and Vietnam War veteran.
The online mob formed quickly. Its readiness to issue categorical denunciations of the teens was matched only by its readiness to call for violence, including homicidal violence, against them.
And the mob was bipartisan.
That’s correct: The usual suspects among Big Conservatism, or “the Big Con,” for short—those who spare no occasion to exhibit to the etc. their outrage over President Trump’s tweets—were sure to let the world know that their outrage over this matter was second to none.
Obviously, so-called “Never Trumpers,” the Kristols and Podhoretzes, were all too anxious to relegate themselves even further to the nether reaches of irrelevance by showcasing their moral righteousness to their allies on the left. Yet other “conservatives,” those like Ben Shapiro and Salem Broadcasting’s Hugh Hewitt, who selectively support President Trump, depending on the day, also spared not a moment in piling upon the Covington kids.
So too did such prominent “conservative” Roman Catholic public intellectuals, such as Princeton University’s Robert P. George, pounce.
The most disgraceful, the most sickening, display of moral exhibitionism, however, came from The latter’s deputy managing editor, Nick Frankovich, likened the American Indian activist who aspired—and failed—to antagonize the Covington boys to while equating their conduct toward him with that of the Roman soldiers who executed Him.
The boys may as well have , Frankovich insisted.
You read this correctly.
My friend, the writer Christopher DeGroot, recently coined the term “moral prostitutes”while characterizing the Big Con. This is an apt description: The men and women of Big Conservatism have gone beyond virtue-signaling in the case of the Covington Catholic boys.
They engaged virtue-.
The virtue-whores of the Big Con began whistling a different tune, though, not long after they turned tricks for their leftist pimps. Had they only waited the additional so many hours before the version of events was released—the version that they should’ve known would be released—they wouldn’t have had to be seen for the caricatures of themselves that they’ve become (or have always been?).
Unsurprisingly, as it turns out, the Covington Catholic students aggressed against no one. It is who were accosted by Nathan Phillips, the left-wing Indian activist who, along with the Democrats in the media, sought to convey the impression that he was a Vietnam War veteran.
It was the white, MAGA hat-wearing Catholic who traveled from Kentucky to Washington D.C. to affirm the cause of the unborn who were made to suffer verbal abuse both by Phillips’ fellow American Indians the “Black Hebrew Israelite” who approached them.
The unedited video of these encounters reveals to all with eyes to see that of these three groups assembled not far from the Lincoln Memorial, it was the white, pro-life, Christian, Trump-supporting who acted like the adults in the room. Conversely, the grown of color who they were accused of having harassed were the ones who conducted themselves like teenage punks.
This was the proverbial textbook illustration of Fake News at its absolute best (or worst). Rich Lowry and his colleagues at were subsequently quick to do an about face in deleting their condemnatory tweets and Frankovich’s article likening the Covington kids to Christ-killers. Neither did the current custodians of Bill Buckley’s magazine waste any time in calling out “the media” for having “bought” Nathan Phillips’ dishonesty.
They were not, though, in much of a rush to acknowledge the ease with which bought both Phillips’ lies and those of the media.
The Covington students, both those who were involved in this incident as well as their peers who didn’t attend the March for Life, have had their lives irrevocably changed. They have been on the receiving end of a relentless barrage of vitriol, including threats of murderous violence against them and their families. Nick Sandman’s is now a national household name of notoriety, thanks to the Fake News industry.
But the virtue-whores of the Big Con contributed to the plight of these poor kids as well.
Everyone makes mistakes, of course. Yet the idea that those “conservatives” who joined the feeding frenzy made an mistake strains credibility to the snapping point. Given that they are pundits who have been around, in many cases, for decades, they are either lying when they purport to have been misled by the leftist press or they are incompetent with respect to their craft.
How can anyone who is so much as remotely familiar with the standard operating procedure of the “mainstream” media ever have been even tempted to believe the Covington story, to say nothing of actually believing it?!
As soon as I heard about it (through a leftist colleague), I was convinced that it was Fake News, a media concoction that was tailor-made to advance the left’s current ideology of choice, an ideology that is anti-white, specifically anti-white male, anti-Christian, and anti-Trump. Given the left’s perpetual quest to find the great White Oppressor, and the endless number of hoax “hate-crimes” that it has invented to that end, how can anyone, or at least any self-proclaimed conservative pundit, not be skeptical when informed that students sought to start trouble with a bunch of black and Indian adults? Among other tips that this was Fake News is the fact that adolescents who attend pro-life rallies tend not to go roaming the streets of the nation’s capital looking to start fights with racial minorities (or anyone).
Whether this most embarrassing of episodes of virtue-whoring will prove to be a watershed moment of sorts for the Big Con is left to be seen. Peoples’ lives, children’s lives, have been made significantly worse in part because certain self-styled conservatives couldn’t resist their impulse to prove to the folks at and that they aren’t “racists.”
Peoples’ lives, children’s lives, children’s lives, are now in jeopardy because self-proclaimed conservatives wanted to showcase to the left just how good they are.
In truth, their efforts to join the vicious mob that targeted the Covington kids reveal that they aren’t very good at all.
Jack Kerwick [send him mail] received his doctoral degree in philosophy from Temple University. His area of specialization is ethics and political philosophy. He is a professor of philosophy at several colleges and universities in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Jack blogs at Beliefnet.com: At the Intersection of Faith & Culture.