Three Globe Columns on Covington Catholic, and One of Them Has Something To Say

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Renee Graham’s disastrous column on the Covington Catholic incident in Wednesday’s issue of The Boston Globe shows no evidence that Graham has seen a long-version video of the event or has any interest in what actually happened.

What was Graham doing on Tuesday, the day she was presumably working on the column? Whatever it was, it doesn’t qualify as research.

She condemns the Covington Catholic kids as racists, and their parents as racists, and “swathes of white America” as racists … without one piece of evidence.

The column makes up in rhetoric what it lacks in fact. At one point she calls the Covington Catholic kids “MAGA hat hyenas.”

The Black Israelites’ video of the incident disproves the assertion that the Covington Catholic kids did anything racist or otherwise wrong. But Graham doesn’t seem to care.

There’s one telling sentence in the column:

“Those poring over video clips of the disputed confrontation as if they’re missing frames from the Zapruder film want to overlook what’s already clear.”


I haven’t bothered looking at YouTube to find out what actually happened. I don’t care what actually happened. I call people racists for a living. It’s what I do.

Admittedly, that sentence from the column requires a little analysis. There’s another one that doesn’t require any, and by itself it disqualifies the column from being taken seriously:

“And, yes, I do equate MAGA gear with traditional Klan attire.”


Margery Eagan has a column about how wearing a Make America Great Again hat is anti-Catholic behavior so the Covington Catholic kids who wore them acted in anti-Catholic fashion.

Why is it anti-Catholic?

Donald Trump’s past immoral behavior and his “animus toward Muslims, African-Americans, desperate refugees, and uppity women everywhere.”

Does this mean if you disagree with Margery Eagan you’re anti-Catholic?

The column equates support for open borders, a prudential judgment, with opposition to abortion, a moral matter settled in Church teaching thousands of years ago.

Eagan, it hardly needs adding, supports open borders and supports legal abortion.

If you want a one-sentence summation of the column, check out the lede:

“I don’t know what actually happened last weekend in Washington between Covington Catholic High School students and Native American Nathan Phillips.”

Another Globe columnist who writes about the Covington Catholic incident without watching the video.

Still, Margery Eagan has one up on Renee Graham:  At least Eagan doesn’t lie about what it shows.


Michael Cohen’s column on the Covington Catholic incident in Wednesday’s issue of The Boston Globe shows interest in the truth and reasonable analysis.

There are some missteps:  He suggests that Covington Catholic shouldn’t send students to the March for Life, apparently not understanding what the purpose of a Catholic school is. He also appears to advise parents not to let kids wear Make America Great Again gear “in public.” (Good advice for teen-age Hillary supporters, too?)

But the column’s strength is its humility. Cohen is willing to admit he jumped the gun in initially condemning the Covington Catholic kids because it fit his preconceived political narrative. He also shows that he has since watched enough video to learn that the Black Israelites had called the Covington Catholic kids “incest babies,” provoking the school chants, which show no evidence of racism. He also acknowledges that some on the Left can’t bear to let go of a talking point even when it has dissolved in a caustic solution of truth:  “Even after new video evidence emerged, many simply moved the goalposts or came up with new reasons for criticizing these kids.”

A good column has at least one observation that makes the reader think. Here’s one from Cohen:

“The problem, however, is that we’re living in a political moment where facts and truth have taken a back seat to emotion and outrage. Our politics are so hyperpolarized and the distrust is so great that reasoned discourse and contemplation has become nearly impossible. Honest disagreement is no longer possible. There can be no middle ground. Either you are with us or against us.”

This is an important point for all Americans. Disagreements on public policy and social behavior should begin with an agreement that the truth matters and should be pursued rigorously, whatever implications it may have for ideology. We should also begin with the assumption that even when we agree on the same facts we won’t all agree on what they mean or what we should do – and that that’s all right.

A healthy society allows for honest disagreement. An unhealthy society accuses people of things they didn’t do, even after it’s proven that they didn’t.

There’s another good line, about the perils of instant analysis:  “Maybe the ultimate lesson from all this is that perhaps we should do a bit more listening . . . and a bit less tweeting.”