Sunday 20 January 2019

Singing the Indian Song

Why has the term 'Native American' been trending so massively on social media today?

Well, a video went viral appearing to show a Native American veteran being surrounded and taunted by anti-abortion Catholic schoolboys wearing MAGA caps in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC.

Twitter went mad, and there was a mega-tsunami of outrage at the 'blatant hate, disrespect and intolerance' shown towards the drum-banging Native American by the (mainly white) children. And righteous hate duly flowed towards the Trump-supporting 'racist' kids. 

The mainstream media - from CNN and The Washington Post - then took up the story with a vengeance and reported it from the same angle.

And, inevitably, the BBC followed suit, swallowing and then regurgitating this very angle hook, line and sinker.

(Indeed, the story has been one of the main headlines on the BBC News Website throughout the day.)

Via our old friend DB's Twitter feed, however, I then saw comments saying that their were other videos out there that showed what happened in a very different light, giving context to the viral video and disproving the account given by the outraged battalions on Twitter and the massed ranks of the mainstream media.

One comment came from 'alt-right commentator' Mike Cernovich, who called it "an outright lie".

Now, BBC Trending isn't a fan of Mr Cernovich, and having perhaps read too many BBC Trending pieces myself, I was wary. But, trusting DB, I read on and following further links I found those other videos.

They suggested that, contrary to how it had been presented, the Native American protestor went up to the boys, banging his drum, and deliberately stood in front of them. There was no surrounding of him by the boys. 


At this point I'll pass you over to a fair-minded, left-wing American vlogger and strongly urge you to watch his video in full.

(WARNING: He uses lots of strong language & voices some left-wing opinions you might not like in a way you may not like - though it's none the worse for that).

I spotted his video because a fair-minded Radio 4 semi-regular, Timandra Harkness, retweeted a comment about it which said, "This story seemed too convenient from the outset". 

So what happened? Well, a small group of black nationalists were heckling the MAGA-hat-wearing, anti-abortion schoolboys, calling them "faggots" and saying that Donald Trump is a homosexual. Those loud black nationalist charmers, who also told off the Native American protestors for worshipping animals, also targeted black Catholic schoolboys at the rally, telling them that their white friends would be selling their body parts sooner or later and, very rudely, even deploying the n-word against them. The (mainly white) schoolboys weren't rude back, were aghast at the racism being flung at them, and stood by their black friends. (This was missing from the BBC's reporting).

Then we see the same Catholic boys chanting their school chant. (And it definitely is their school chant they were chanting). 

Next, the Native American protestor begins walking towards the boys, banging his drum. He walks into the crowd of schoolboys, beating his drum and is soon drumming in the face of one boy, who looks away. The other boys just look at him. Then the Native American veteran moves to beat his drum in another boy's face, who just stands there, awkwardly smiling back. And, for whatever reason, keeps on just standing there, smiling and staring back. 

Were the kids making fun of the Native American guy? It doesn't seem so. They seem confused, and danced along, and filmed him, and clapped along with his drum-beats, and sang along too. 

And the lad at the centre of events just kept starring at him. 

Thus, the narrative that the boys surrounded the Native American man and started harassing him appears to be the fakest of fake news.

And the Native American man's account to The Washington Post that the main boy blocked his way isn't true either. The other videos, beyond the viral (edited) video show that.


As the chap in that YouTube video says, this matters. The kid's name has been made public, "and people are out for blood", wanting to stop him getting into the college he wants. And the other kids in the video must be feeling frightened too. "The amount of hatred they're getting right now is rather insane"m he says. And he blames his left-wing allies for "playing into conservatives' hands" by "freaking out over things before we have all the facts".


Now, the relevance of all of this to us is that the BBC, which boasts of being the world's most trusted source of news, seems to have spectacularly misfired over this, misreporting the story in the worst way possible.

They really do seem to have "freaked out over things" too before they had all the facts. 

As far as I can see, the BBC simply didn't bother to check the story out before recycling it. I'm guessing they just read Twitter and cut-and-pasted their story from reports in like-minded media outlets....and then chose to make it front-page BBC news.

This was the headline that introduced the story this morning:

Well, the evidence suggests that the boys weren't "taunting" him at all, so that's already poor reporting. (Note the lack of quotation marks around 'taunting' in that headline).

The report then began: 
Footage of a group of teenagers - many wearing Make America Great Again caps - taunting a Native American man in Washington DC has drawn criticism.
The teenagers, students at Kentucky's Covington Catholic High School, are seen mocking Omaha elder Nathan Phillips as he sings and drums.
The students were taking part in an anti-abortion rally on Friday, while Mr Phillips, a Vietnam War veteran, came for an Indigenous Peoples' March.
The school apologised to Mr Phillips.
The footage of the incident went viral on social media.
A number of users said the youths' behaviour was "appalling" and their parents and school "should be ashamed".
The evidence suggests that the boys weren't "mocking" him at all. 

The BBC report continued in that vein for a while, quoting various tweets from people criticising the boys, before saying:
What did the footage show?
The teens are seen surrounding and mocking Mr Phillips and his companion, as the two men sing the American Indian Movement song.
One boy, in particular, is captured staring at Mr Phillips, appearing to be blocking the Native Indian.
Many of the students are also heard mockingly singing the Indian song. 
Well, if there's one thing that is clear here it's that the teens most definitely did not surround Mr Phillips. That's simply factually untrue from the BBC.

They dropped the word "surrounding" from later versions of the report, as News Sniffer shows

And News Sniffer also shows that they had to remove the line "singing the Indian song" from their report too, as 'Indian song' isn't PC. They changed it to "singing the song".

The BBC then quotes the 'aggrieved' Native American protestor, as it he were telling the gospel truth - which it very much appears that he wasn't. 


Sorry for the long post, but this kind of biased BBC churnalism is absolutely disgraceful. The whole piece absolutely reeks of tawdry journalism. (Thank goodness for social media!)

Yes, it may be in a faraway country about which we know nothing - the United States - but it's still shocking stuff from the BBC.

One for Mike Wendling & Co. at BBC Trending to 'fess up over on behalf of the BBC?


  1. Thanks Craig very interesting - from the video Id question that it’s more the right that jump on the faux outrage bus? Maybe it’s the position from where I start but the faux outrage does seem to be generated more by the “other” side.

  2. Fake News from a leading Fake News agency that consistently ignores real stories from the USA e.g. the interference in the American Presidential elections by the ex MI5 agent Christopher Steele, or the political corruption in the DoJ and FBI under Obama or the violence of Antifa to its political opponents.

  3. The BBC report is, quite frankly, libellous.

    It's hard to sue for libel in the US because of the protections provided by the First Amendment, but there would be nothing to stop these schoolboys suing the BBC here in the UK.

    I hope they do.

    I have watched the extended video footage and, clearly, the schoolboys are the victims here.

  4. I thought this was fake news as soon as I read it. Unfortunately, although I trust my instinct that it's lies and can't really be bothered to check the facts, I'm glad I was correct in this instance.
    Meanwhile in Paris and all around France, another quiet, uneventful and peaceful weekend it seems..

  5. It's good to see that the truth is spreading into the mainstream tonight.

    My Twitter feed is swelling with well-known journalists and commentators making similar points to what we've made hear (or at least re-tweeting others making such points).

    Will we see any BBC journalists doing so? (Probably not).

    And The Spectator is now on the case:

    1. Hugh Sykes and Nish Kumar are fully committed to spreading the Fake News on their Twitter accounts. I doubt either will issue an apology.

    2. @Craig, I hope you took screenshots of the blueticks joining in the pile-in,
      .. before they delete the evidence.

      However we know that bizarrely almost every member of the libmob rushes to be hatey against people labelled as non-PC, just like a racist lynchmob.

      Melanie Phillips commented last week on new “Thought Police” and the nastiness of the libmob
      In the way their sport is to find someone who maybe innocently has said something un-PC .. and then lay in with buckets of nastiness~

      She gave the example of James Watson DNA expert’s opinions on race.
      “Behaving so unpleasantly to James Watson on the basis that his unpleasant attitudes are unacceptable adds a layer of hypocrisy to the vindictive and intolerant self-righteousness that is now progressively shutting down rational debate."

  6. As a person with no knowledge at all and not having seen any videos or read up about it, my immediate reaction to that report or made-up story, was that it makes no sense. Why would some boys who are anti-abortion be singing and taunting an American Indian? There's no connection. Would it not occur to a journalist that it makes no sense and say to themselves 'Hang on a minute...I'd better look into it and ask a few questions'.

  7. 3 days ago Jon Ronson was on the R4 Beyond Today podcast
    Mostly click bait cos it was about his new work on the porn industry.
    But at the end he references his previous book about the danger of social media pile-ins "So you have been publicly shamed"
    Try from 14m:30s

    BBC and libmob don't have self awareness

  8. Also via TimandraHarknes

    Red Hat kids Important Twitter thread where the father lays out his story of his family's life being ruined by media lack of quality control

    1. I can see why she only a R4 semi regular, she's not a regular libmob Beeboid
      She voted Leave, I've never seen an actual BBC staffer admit that.
      I bet if she were a white man she'd probably wouldn't get invited onto the BBC.

  9. The sulky, meal-mouthed efforts to slither back under their rocks across the media utterly exposed by this is quite something to behold.

    The BBC's finest cut and outrage mob may not have quite got to calling for Teenicide, but a few got darn close, and are most certainly cumulatively complicit.

    It would be a real shame if the various lawyers over there got wind of libels in the UK that are a bit more court worthy than there.

    Could make Cliff's help moment look like chump change.

  10. Given that protesting and confrontation seems to have become something of a national pastime since, I don't know, 2016 - this story was not even newsworthy let alone accurate. Except there were the ethnicities involved which pandered to a certain narrative.

    Embarrassingly inept journalism from the BBC and others.

  11. What astounds, but really should not any more, is how, after everything right there to see and hear in front of anyone who cares to listen, some are still convinced these boys were the Hitler Jugend re-enacting Little Big Man's cavalry massacre.

    I just had a sit down, keyboard warrior exchange with an acquaintance on Facebook after he echoed the worst demands to threaten these kids, based on a HuffPo hit piece that is around two days behind the curve.

    There was also a troll engaging in straw man whatterboutery claiming a cap with an acronym seeking better things for the wearer's nation was a hate crime and any wearer needs arresting or hitting for incitement.

    Lucky this is a new thing, or Anita Anand might have suffered shaving nicks to the neck for her Obviously Blacks Are More Awesome beanie.


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