Rachel Bowling

Northern Kentucky is finally on the map... in the worst way possible. Covington Catholic High School made headlines this past week after students clashed with indigenous activist Nathan Phillips in the nation's capital. It has come to no surprise that since then, the school has come under scrutiny.

Like many others, I was quick to judge when the first snippet of footage was released. Being from Northern Kentucky myself, it wasn’t at all shocking that the school's reputation preceded them in this situation. I clung to my previous notions and thought “of course, it’s Cov Cath.” Jokes at the school’s expense, along with cries for justice for indigenous people flooded my timeline. I couldn’t get on any social media platform without seeing everyone’s opinion on the matter.

But then, new footage leaked and other narratives were told. Conservative media outlets quickly publicized new videos depicting the indigenous activists intruding on the students’ space, as well as a group called the Black Hebrew Israelites spouting hateful comments towards the young men. When I watched the extended video, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. This religious group called the Cov Cath boys “school shooters,” among a variety of other terms I can’t repeat.

It’s hard for me to take a truly definitive side when I don’t actually believe either party is completely innocent. It is clear from certain claims and clips that each narrative has been warped to fit a particular point of view. Depending on if you watch CNN or FOX, both networks are telling the same story vastly different ways. The same goes for print news as well. What used to be unbiased journalism, for the most part, has turned into headlines seeking to tell a story that fits a certain agenda. CNN reports, “America mocks and dehumanizes natives at every turn,” while FOX runs “Online savagery of Covington teens shows how desperate the left is in the age of Trump.” This is what America has come to.

In a video posted to instagram posted by user ka_ya11,  Philips claimed that the students were repeatedly chanting “build that wall” while others dispute that they were doing school cheers to drown out the comments from other groups present. While the standoff between Nathan Phillips and student Nicholas Sandmann is vastly the most popular footage, there are also clips showing other students and members from the Indigenous Peoples March being mutually disrespectful.

Media today is all about taking sides. There. I said it. People cling to those who are like-minded in their values to the point where the true story can be easily overlooked. It is up to us as the general public to take a second and assess all of the details before passing judgement and up to the media for waiting until all the facts surface.

This entire incident is a rude awakening about not only how quick news spreads thanks to social media, but how easy it is to sacrifice the whole story in favor of your personal beliefs. Even being a conservative person myself, I was too quick to judge and instead of taking sides, I’ve chosen to take a stand.

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