Mainstream media outlets gave Native-American activist Nathan Phillips the “benefit of the doubt” in the controversy after a video went viral showing his confrontation with student supporters of President Donald Trump because of his “minority privilege,” Fox News host Laura Ingraham said Thursday night on “The Ingraham Angle.”
A video went viral several days ago showing an encounter between Native-American activist Nathan Phillips (shown above left) and MAGA hat-wearing teens from Covington Catholic High School in Kentucky — specifically, Nick Sandmann (above right) — near the Lincoln Memorial. The encounter occurred after the March for Life rally in Washington, D.C.
People on social media at first targeted Sandmann and the other kids, accusing them of racism and assuming they’d approached and surrounded Phillips to mock him.
But far more complete videos showed otherwise. Instead, it was Phillips, 64, who approached the teenagers while beating a drum and chanting. He got right up in Sandmann’s face and remained there for some time.
Yet the damage was done — and as a result of messages spread by many in the media and others, the Covington teens have received death threats and torrents of verbal abuse on social media targeting their faith, their political affiliation, and their families.
“Did Nick Sandmann and the rest of the Covington Catholic students get the benefit of the doubt last weekend?” Ingraham said, noting that liberals often accuse all white men and women of harboring “white privilege” that gives them — and not minorities — the benefit of the doubt.
Ingraham pointed to the two interviews NBC News anchor Savannah Guthrie conducted, one with Sandmann and one with Phillips.
While interviewing high school junior Sandmann, Guthrie asked the boy these questions and made these comments:
- “Do you feel from this experience that you owe anybody an apology?”
- “Do you see your own fault in any way?”
- “Why didn’t you walk away?”
- “There’s something aggressive about standing there — standing your ground.”
- “Do you think if you weren’t wearing that hat, this might not have happened?”
But when Guthrie interviewed Phillips, she was much more sympathetic. Her questions to the 64-year-old included:
- “How are you doing? This has been a whirlwind few days for you.”
- “Do you think [Sandmann] should have apologized?”
- “How did you feel in that moment? Did you yourself feel threatened?”
- “Have you feared for your own safety?”
- “Finally, I wonder what you feel now?”
“[Guthrie] treats Mr. Phillips with kid gloves even after her earlier report disproved many of the charges that Phillips had made against the Covington kids,” Ingraham noted. “Why on earth is Phillips being treated like a delicate flower while a kid who did nothing is grilled?”
“Why haven’t the media actually examined the background of Mr. Phillips as well?” she also wondered. “Why didn’t Savannah ask him, for instance, why he passed himself off as a Vietnam combat vet, when in fact he was a reserve serving at home  who was, incidentally, also arrested for assault and even at one point caped prison?”
Ingraham suggested that “perhaps Mr. Phillips gets the benefit of the doubt in this case and others because among the media elites, he enjoys something you might call minority privilege.”
“In other words, his heritage and his grievances — both real and imagined — entitle him to special treatment and consideration,” Ingraham continued. “And by the way, if you dare question his motives or his opinions, then you’re a racist. Period. That’s patently unjust. It’s ridiculous.”
The Fox News host argued that “no one should be profiled as a thug or gunned down for wearing a hoodie at night” — and “no one should be profiled as a racist and threatened for wearing a MAGA hat.”
“With 2020 around the corner, I’m afraid this is all just going to get a lot worse,” Ingraham said.
Conservative commentator Michelle Malkin, who is Philippine-American, said the reason Guthrie and other mainstream media members aren’t asking questions about Phillips’ past and motivations is because “they didn’t want to know.”
“Because anything that would undermine this guy’s credibility would undermine their own narrative, which is that everyone who wears a MAGA hat, everyone who is from Kentucky, everyone who goes to a Catholic school is somehow an unrepentant bigot,” Malkin said.
Malkin also rebuked the “different strain of racism” that liberals exhibit against conservative minorities such as herself.
“We never talk about the fact that minority conservatives have gotten the worst, most vile attacks — at least over the last 25 years that I have been a minority of color who happens to be a conservative in public life — of being accused of race traitorism, of being accused of … selling out our community when so many minority Democrats are the ones that are selling out their people,” Malkin argued.
As for “minority privilege,” Malkin agreed that “it exists.”
But when Ingraham asked Democratic lawyer Scott Bolden if it was “beyond obvious that Mr. Phillips was given the benefit of the doubt over these kids principally due to his Native American heritage” — Bolden disagreed.
“I think not, Laura. You’ve got to be the first commentator to suggest that there’s a black privilege or an Indian privilege based on how he was treated,” Bolden replied.
Check out more in the video below: