Every year, on or near the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, hundreds of thousands of Americans go to Washington, D. C., to join the March for Life and protest that infamous decision. The March for Life is peaceful and orderly, and every year the major media outlets contrive to pretend it doesn't exist.
Until this year. The same media outlets that have studiously ignored the March for Life for decades ran breathless stories about how white teens wearing Trump hats and hailing from an all-boys Catholic high school, Covington Catholic, surrounded and intimidated a Native American elder, veritably oozing "white privilege" and "toxic masculinity." The center of all this toxic privilege was one particular teen, who said not a word as the Native American elder chanted and drummed right in the teen's face. Although the teen was silent, many observers detected a smirk indicative of Thought Crime on his face. Social media rapidly filled up with denunciations of the teens and craven apologies from a number of prominent Catholics who couldn't wait to hear the teens' side of the story before tossing them to the wolves. And wolves they were. One person put this on Facebook: "The kid who is being a racist idiot is Michael _____. He plans to go to Cincinnati State next year. Contact their admissions office and let them know what you think about his behavior." Another member of the Twitter mob wrote this: "Honest question. Have you ever seen a more punchable face than the kid's?"
The only problem is that the facts did not fit the narrative. A nine-minute video surfaced showing that the smirking teen had restrained a fellow student when another American Indian activist began attacking the students for being white, telling them to go back to Europe, and swearing at them. No comparable language was used by any of the students from Covington Catholic. Other video footage showed indisputably that the American Indian activists approached the teens, not the other way around. And the leader of the Indians, the man invariably described as an "elder" in the mainstream press, told the Detroit Free Press that
There was the moment when I realized I've put myself between beast and prey....These young men were beastly and these old black individuals [were] their prey, and I stood between them and so they needed their pound of flesh and they were looking at me for that.
There is no evidence that anyone from Covington Catholic called the Indians "beasts" or anything like that. Nor did they do anything to "these old black individuals," a group of Black Hebrew Israelites who had been yelling a variety of invectives, including anti-white slurs, for nearly an hour before the leader of the Indians decided to walk up to the students from Covington Catholic and begin banging his drum right in the one student's face, without ever explaining what he was doing and why. All things considered, the teen showed admirable restraint, far more than most other teenaged boys would have and far more than the adult members of the Twitter mob were able to summon even though they were tweeting from their easy chairs and without a stranger getting in their face.
The teens from Covington Catholic represent everything too many on the left love to hate; and hate them they did, and hate them they do. As for me, I am white. I am a male. I am a Catholic. I went to an all-boys Catholic high school. I've been to the March for Life. I own a MAGA hat. Judging by the hysterical (and often) hateful reaction to the story about the teens from Covington Catholic at the March for Life, I might as well declare myself Public Enemy Number One.
Thomas Piatak is a contributing editor to Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture. He writes from Cleveland, Ohio.