Washington Post In Hot Water

Grind for February 24th, 2019
“Man does not control his own fate. The women in his life do that for him.”

– Groucho Marx.


The Headline

Kentucky student sues Washington Post for defamation; seeks $250 million for “permanent damage to his life and reputation”

The Grind

Nick Sandmann, 16, is suing The Washington Post for $250 million over its coverage of a controversial incident between a Native American elder and a group of students wearing MAGA hats.

The Native American – Omaha tribe elder Nathan Philips – was at the Lincoln Memorial performing an American Indian Movement song as part of the Indigenous Peoples Rally.

Nick and his friends were in DC attending the annual March for Life rally as part of a school field trip. They were instructed to meet at the Lincoln Memorial before heading back to Kentucky.

Video footage of the event appears to show the students mocking Phillips during his performance. In the video, Nick is smiling and standing directly in front of Philips.

The video went viral and the incident was covered by several media sources.

The Details

In a lawsuit filed Tuesday, Nick’s attorneys claim The Washington Post “wrongfully targeted and bullied” Nick “because he was the white, Catholic student wearing a red MAGA souvenir cap.”

Additional footage of the incident shows a group of black men shouting racist slurs at the students and mocking the Native American activists. The men identified themselves as “Hebrew Israelites,” a movement that believes some black Americans are the descendants of an ancient Israelite tribe.

The Israelites described the students as “young Klansmen” and “future school shooters” and laughed at their MAGA hats. They also shamed black students for associating with their “oppressors.”

Nick told reporters he was trying to help diffuse the situation and explained how the students raised their voices to drown out the Israelites.

“A student in our group asked one of our chaperones for permission to begin our school spirit chants to counter the hateful things that were being shouted at our group,” said Nick. “The chants are commonly used at sporting events. They are all positive in nature and sound like what you would hear at any high school.”

From Philips’s point of view, Nick was blocking his escape.

“It was getting ugly, and I was thinking: ‘I’ve got to find myself an exit out of this situation and finish my song,'” said Philips. “I started going that way, and that guy in the hat stood in my way, and we were at an impasse.”

In comments to reporters, Philips said he had forgiven Nick but believes there are “intentional falsehoods in his testimony.” Nick told reporters he wished he could have “walked away and avoided the whole thing.”

President Trump expressed support for the students and suggested they visit the White House.

First Steps

The Headline

Japan uses robot to explore Fukushima detritus

The Grind

The Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) this month sent a robot to explore one of the reactors inside the Fukushima nuclear power plant.

It was the first time a robot has physically been able to examine the radioactive gunk inside the facility.

The robot made contact with melted fuel at six locations within the reactor to determine whether the fuel was solid enough to be removed and disposed of during future missions.

Full cleanup is expected to take another 30-40 years.

The Details

The Fukushima nuclear power plant has been closed off since March 2011, when it exploded during a tsunami.

The nuclear event, which ranks second only to the Chernobyl disaster in 1986, fueled widespread concern about radiation.

A frozen soil barrier was constructed to prevent the contamination of groundwater, but TEPCO in 2016 reported the barrier had failed to stop groundwater from mixing with highly radioactive water inside the facility.

Follow-up investigations also revealed that TEPCO failed to meet basic safety requirements including risk assessment and evacuation plans.

Did you know… Women blink nearly twice as much as men.