First of all, a hat tip to Mollie Hemingway who was the first to notice this, just a few minutes after it was published.
In a Friday night update in the midst of a massive lawsuit, Washington Post tries to quietly acknowledge, and downplay, its layers of false and defamatory reporting on the Covington High School boys who attended the March for Life. pic.twitter.com/acjTbK8FOV
— Mollie (@MZHemingway) March 1, 2019
The full note is here. It reads in part:
A Washington Post article first posted online on Jan. 19 reported on a Jan. 18 incident at the Lincoln Memorial. Subsequent reporting, a student’s statement and additional video allow for a more complete assessment of what occurred, either contradicting or failing to confirm accounts provided in that story — including that Native American activist Nathan Phillips was prevented by one student from moving on, that his group had been taunted by the students in the lead-up to the encounter, and that the students were trying to instigate a conflict.
The dates are interesting. The staredown in front of the Lincoln Memorial happened on Jan. 18 and the Post says its story was published Jan. 19 which was a Saturday. But if you go to the story it is dated January 22, which was actually the date the Post added its first correction to the story, not the date it was published.
In fact, when the Post added the new editor’s note to the story this afternoon, something similar happened. The page briefly showed the story as being published March 1, i.e. the date the editor’s note was added.
It took a few minutes but the story is now back to the January 22 date. Adding to the confusion, the Internet Archive shows the story was published on the 20th:
So it seems the Post is wrong about the 19th and the 22nd. I’m not suggesting there’s some conspiracy behind this, just noting that it seems the Post is still being a bit sloppy even at this late date.
As for the actual content of the editor’s note, the Post had plenty of time to investigate the story more fully than it did. The videos were circulating Saturday and Sunday showing things weren’t as one-sided as they first appeared. Nick Sandmann’s statement was published Sunday the 20th, which is apparently the same day the Post story went up. But the Post had already committed to Nathan Phillips’ version of events and, according to the story itself, had interviewed him Saturday. It sort of looks to me like they weren’t too interested in investigating much beyond confirming the biases of every left-wing hack shouting about this over that weekend.
The Post could have added this editor’s note more than a month ago. Certainly, by January 23rd it was very clear that the initial story as told by Nathan Phillips was badly slanted and substantially wrong. So why did it take until today, on a Friday evening, for this semi-correction/news dump?
Because a week and a half ago, Nick Sandmann’s attorney filed a $250 million lawsuit against the Washington Post. I’m not an attorney and I have no idea if Sandmann has a solid legal case but it certainly seems as if he has succeeded in getting the Post to belatedly admit it botched this story out of the gate. It’s a shame the facts weren’t enough to do that.
Finally, the Post also announced this afternoon that it was deleting a tweet (h/t Jeryl Bier). This was literally the topic of the first correction it added to the story on Jan. 22nd. So, again, this could have been corrected anytime in the past 5 weeks.
The Post has issued an Editor’s Note about updates to its initial coverage of the Jan. 18 incident at the Lincoln Memorial: https://t.co/rhzKZ1715K
We’ve also deleted this Jan. 19 tweet in light of later developments. For more, see the Editor’s Note. pic.twitter.com/O7qCSnBMPO
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) March 1, 2019