The Corner

U.S.

Some Learned from Their Mistakes, Others Continued with Calumny

Copies of the New York Daily News appear on a newsstand in Times Square, N.Y., March 31, 2015. (Brendan McDermid/REUTERS)

People get stuff wrong, including journalists. It has been ever thus and shall remain that way until we are replaced by border collies with opposable thumbs or killer bees.

So while mistakes are often deserving of criticism, they are not necessarily vices like the vanity, pride, or wrath which cause so many to tighten their grips on their errors. We’ve all been guilty of this kind of thing personally or professionally, I know I have. Admitting you were wrong about something is just too painful a concession, because it implies someone you dislike was right. Letting the bastards profit with coins deducted from the treasury of your own pride is just too difficult sometimes.

But it is so much worse in the political and social-media landscape when people get things wrong about innocent people and not only refuse to apologize but set about to destroy the innocent with some fresh calumny. Once the herd is convinced that someone is The Enemy, they also become convinced that further proof must be out there and that there is nothing wrong with looking for fresh evidence to prove your initial hatred was justified. For instance, this morning the Daily News reported on a viral video purporting to show that the Covington boys were seen in “blackface” taunting African–American basketball players from an opposing team. But Insider, the NY Post and Snopes have offered the correct context. It was part of a tradition of wearing all black in solidarity with the teams colors. The Daily News didn’t bother to look for the context.

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