Tuesday, February 12, 2019

"The Truth in 15 Minutes": how easily group behaviors at a pubic gathering are misread in a social media storm

Nick Sandmann: The Truth in 15 Minutes”, from Linwood, is a documentary that shows what really happened on January 18, 2019 at the Lincoln Memorial, in the three way confrontation among the Covington Catholic Boys, Nathan Phillipps from the Indigenous People’s March, and the “Black Israelites”.

I put this report here because the way the media ran away with the social media and seriously harmed the reputations of various persons, especially some of the boys, brings up a serious threat of future Internet and user-generated content regulation – even for conceivable national security rationales – at a time when the Trump considers such a declaration over an almost unrelated border issue.

It is true that Nathan Phillips's initial statements seemed way off base, but he tempered them in time.  However, a very recent USA Today story says that Phillips stands by his original claim that the students were disrespectful, and some people discount the Covington school investigation that clears the boys because "white people don't get to decide what is disrespectful".

The documentary shows how easily the intentions of all the groups, but especially the boys, can be misread by seeing only part of the video material.  There is also a serious question about how much the boys and Phillips could actually see.

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