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Columns

Andrew Gillum Just Showed Us the Leadership We Missed Out On (Not!)

January 25, 2019 - 6:00am
Nathan Phillips and high schooler Nick Sandmann
Nathan Phillips and high schooler Nick Sandmann

This weekend the national media managed to embarrass themselves on a wide scale by over-dramatizing the confrontation between an Indian elder and a group of Kentucky high school students in Washington D.C. The episode was blown up to hysterical proportions, and a number of politicians, pundits, and professional harpies joined in. And who joined the fray but former Florida gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum.

The story, as it was first reported and repeated, detailed how a group of students from the Covington Catholic High School aggressively surrounded a native American Vietnam veteran named Nathan Phillips, and loudly chanted “Build The Wall” in an overtly aggressive fashion, as he was peacefully protesting. Numerous news outlets forwarded this narrative, and as they did, Gillum weighed in

The Problem? Well, there are many, in fact. First, it is unclear exactly what's to be gained by the mayor of Tallahassee commenting on an episode concerning students from Kentucky in an incident that took place in the nation’s capital. There is little political traction to be gained but as we see, there are more pitfalls in play.

As the story evolved throughout the weekend, more video of the incident began to surface, and the facts of the story -- which were un-facts -- began to rise to the fore. Our collective media titans used to be interested in collecting facts for their reports. Remember facts? 

It turns out, so much of what transpired was inaccurately detailed in the press.

The first noticeable difference was the absence of the “Build The Wall” chant. Then a longer video showed the students did not “surround” Phillips, he approached their group willingly and proceeded to bang on his drum just inches away from the teens. This then set off the kids to chant and dance around mockingly. But it was apparent they never would have done so without Phillips' provocation. But the visuals were too much for reporters, and Gillum to resist.

The students had been in D.C. for the March For Life, which was held on Friday. Also, a number of them were wearing the red "Make America Great Again" hats. Given they were pro-lifers and supported the president, the press saw a juicy, ready-made story and decided to run with it -- without verification. They turned Phillips into a martyr, and he appeared on numerous interviews.

However, others began digging into the details. What they found is, the new media hero was in fact not what he claimed. His testimony to the events kept changing as more videos surfaced. They did not approach and block him, as he claimed. The students did not hurl insults at Phillips and, in fact, others who walked up with him were insulting the students. 

He also was not protecting a group of blacks from the taunts of the students, which was another claim he made. “These young men were beastly and these old black individuals was their prey,” he said in dramatic fashion. Wrong. Those blacks were from the Black Hebrew Israelites, and these members were hurling invectives at the students. This also means Phillips was taking an aggressor role in the confrontation, not trying to quell an incident.

This means that the videos have shown, when it came to “those who spew hatred and ignorance,” it emanated from Nathan Phillips' side, the very man Andrew Gillum was venerating.

Said Nick Sandmann, the Covington Catholic junior in the red hat, “I did smile at one point because I wanted him to know that I was not going to become angry, intimidated or be provoked into a larger confrontation. I am a faithful Christian and practicing Catholic, and I always try to live up to the ideals my faith teaches me -- to remain respectful of others, and to take no action that would lead to conflict or violence."

 And there's more.

The press seems to have been very incurious, granting Nathan all their airtime. Their adored Vietnam War vet needed media vetting, but that was left to others, who peppered social media with the truth, particularly in reply to Gillum's tweet. Soon after the TV interviews, it was discovered from his military records, Phillips never saw active duty. He served four years in the states, was caught going AWOL on THREE occasions, and was discharged as a private. So, the press is heralding a man guilty of stolen valor, while demonizing high school kids.

And Andrew Gillum jumped at the opportunity to score who-knows-what kind of political points. His tweet -- which has been resent more than 14,000 times -- remains up on his feed. Gillum uses the word “honor” for a man who tries to claim active-duty status when he in fact was busted numerous times for abandoning his duties.

Call it a lack of introspection, or the desire to present a good-guy, leader-like image of himself, but Andrew Gillum does not seem all that interested in getting the facts straight. I'd like to think he's learned a lesson from this, but as I say, his tweet is still up.

Brad Slager, a Fort Lauderdale freelance writer, wrote this story exclusively for Sunshine State News. He writes on politics and the entertainment industry and his stories appear in such publications as RedState and The Federalist.

Comments

Picture yourself in the kid's place. They were waiting to be picked up to go home when this "prince charming" walks up to the children banging on his drum up to the boys' face. He begins to use profanity at him, mocking the church and the priests calling them faggots and Catholics are a bunch of child molesters, The boy calmly said nothing, but just smiled and let him spew hate filled messages, The AWOL Vietnam veteran's friends who are Black Hebrew Isralites added to this spewing of hate filled rhetoric, Instead of the news checking the many videos, they went on to report the story of the boys doing the things the men did. Is this fair and balanced reporting? No , the liberal news seized the opportunity to vllify the boys. To make matters worse, hate filled people sent messages through facebook, twitter & you name it, threatening to kill them and even getting their parents to lose their job. What kind of hate are they proving? Media is also fanning these flames of hate. Shame on all of them.

Gillum is now the spokesperson for the African Hebrew Israelites. He will be touring the U.S. as black Jesus, keep an eye out for ticket sales.

This is why we elected Governor Ron DeSantis, and rejected the dishonesty of Andrew Gollum.

So, Slager, you've become the self-annointed 'God of All National Media' directing the media and its consumers what's acceptable and permissiable? Gillum is absolutely correct in his assessment ... and the old Indian should have smacked the punk, twit kid upside his head! Your excuse for an article here is just anti-Democratic, anti-Gillum and purely partisan crapola!

Phillips was never a Vietnam vet. Phillips went dishonorably AWOL 3 times. Those spewing the hatred were on the side of Phillips. But, Gillum is "absolutely correct". Okaay then...

And your comments are anti-facts. The article does not say what is "permissable", it shows what the actual story was, and how the press screwed the pooch on the facts. Did you miss the portion on the "Indian" changing his story repeatedly, or the video showing his comments were completely wrong, or that he lied about his Vietnam service? No, you didn't miss those - you ignore them to make empty political points.

Gillum defines the words Ignorant and uncritical thinking. POS!

Gullum is on the hot seat today with the FL Commission on Ethics hearing in Tallahassee for accepting gifts from an undercover FBI sting operation. I hope that hot seat burns his buns. Anyway when is Gillum going to realize he's no longer relevant and stop "weighing in" on anything. Hey they dont have Twitter access in Federal Prisons!

same could be said for your reality TV superhero Spanky the 45...

On the other hand, we sure are pleased that Adolph Rodham Hitlary does not have access to our White House.

The accidental candidate spewed his hate and ignorance with that .

We "dodged a BIG bullet" when we shunned Andrew Gillum at the polling booths and cast our votes; Gillum was (and still is) "as empty suit" pretending "celebrity statis" and special minority preference over and above his apparent inability.... And as we can, he's STILL doing exactly that, to this very day ! ( CITIZENS: "Let's CONTINUE to Make America Great !" GO PRESIDENT TRUMP...YOU'VE "GOT IT EXACTLY RIGHT ! ! ! )

you couldn't dodge a bullet if you had to tiny, haul it back up to NY and get a job poser...

As always, there is always 2 sides to every story. The elder was not as he seemed, but neither were the students. If you looked at all the information and videos, these young men were hardly the choir boys you are making them out to be. There was clearly fault on both sides of this issue. As a side note, this school has some interesting historical negativity at some of their sporting events as well. This is just a microcosm of the division in this country currently. It is not a proud moment by any stretch...

I did not make anyone out to be "choir boys", I reported what the actual facts were. The media tried to saint a man who is a clear provocateur, and rests on stolen valor. That few, including Andrew Gillum, are more bothered by the disturbing antics of high schoolers than the clear fiction being told by adults (Phillips and the media) is a sign of the clear division.

not actually going to Vietnam does not mean stolen valor, he is still a veteran. Where did you get those facts from?

He claimed to be a Vietnam vet, the press reported it, and Gillum repeated that in his tweet.

what about the facts involving the young men? They did and said some hateful things as well, and have a history of doing that, including "black face" at sporting events. I guess those facts don't matter much, huh?

Absolutely. But Slager is trying to become expert in just one side of the story ... the inveterate rightwingnut side!

The press told "just one side of the story" all last weekend, and it was a false narrative. That you are not bothered by that prevarication says plenty.

Well Mr Gollum, can you refute the views expressed in this article? Or, are you only interested in throwing claims against the news room wall to see what sticks, perhaps playing the odds thinking most news fact finders/viewers won’t dig any deeper. Welcome to the big boy world outside of your little mayorship. Lets hear your documented facts! Got any? The only thing better than the last adventure....., is the next one. Just saying.

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