Andrew Sullivan on Covington: How can one man be so right and so wrong at the same time?

The first half of Andrew Sullivan’s new article at New York magazine — “The Abyss of Hate Versus Hate” — is as good an indictment of the left for their rush to judgment over the Covington Catholic kids as you will likely read anywhere.

In particular, he shines a light on the true villains of the affair:

What I saw was extraordinary bigotry, threats of violence, hideous misogyny, disgusting racism, foul homophobia, and anti-Catholicism — not by the demonized schoolboys, but by grown men with a bullhorn, a small group of self-styled Black Hebrew Israelites…. They were the instigators of the entire affair.

And yet the elite media seemed eager to downplay their role, referring to them only in passing, noting briefly that they were known to be anti-Semitic and anti-gay.

Sullivan goes into great detail about both the verbal assault against the Covington boys and the patience and dignity shown by the boys in response. Then he gets to the core of the issue:

To put it bluntly: They were 16-year-olds subjected to verbal racist assault by grown men; and then the kids were accused of being bigots. It just beggars belief that the same liberals who fret about “micro-aggressions” for 20-somethings were able to see 16-year-olds absorbing the worst racist garbage from religious bigots … and then express the desire to punch the kids in the face.

How did this grotesque inversion of the truth become the central narrative for what seemed to be the entire class of elite journalists on Twitter? That’s the somewhat terrifying question.

Sullivan runs through some of the most egregious slanders against the Covington kids by members of the media, and then says this:

There’s a reason why, in the crucial battle for the legitimacy of a free press, Trump is still on the offensive. Our mainstream press has been poisoned by tribalism. My own trust in it is eroding. I’m far from the only one.

So far so good, right? But then inexplicably Sullivan goes off the rails and becomes just another Never Trumper, blaming President Trump for the evil thoughts and actions of his enemies as if Trump were Satan himself.

From my perspective, the Trump threat to liberal democracy is deepening, largely because its racial animus and rank tribalism are evoking a response that is increasingly imbued with racial animus and rank tribalism, in an ever-tightening spiral of mutual hostility.

… Charles Blow insists that “We have to stop thinking of the symbology of Trump’s presidency — the MAGA hats, the wall, etc — as merely physical objects. They have long since lost their original meaning and purpose. They are now emblems. They are now the new iconography of white supremacy … In much the same way that the confederate flag became a white supremacy signalling device, the MAGA hat now serves the same purpose. It is tangentially connected to Trump, but is transcends him also. It’s a way of cloaking racial hostility in the presentable form of politics.” A campaign slogan for a candidate who won the votes of 46 percent of the country in 2016 is to be seen as indistinguishable from the Confederate flag. This is not the language of politics. It is a language of civil war.

True conservatives could agree with that assessment, but then Sullivan turns personal and joins the liberal left in viewing Trump as evil despite all evidence to the contrary. When he makes the following statement about the exaggerated rhetoric of the left, he is engaging in exactly the same fake labeling that he condemns in others:

I can understand this impulse emotionally as a response to Trump’s hatefulness.

In other words, it is OK to call Trump voters Deplorables because Trump himself is in the OPINION of the left “hateful.” It is OK “emotionally” to use vile rhetoric against the Covington Catholics because Trump said something INTERPRETED as hateful. But these leftists have repeatedly proven themselves incapable of righteous interpretation. Their false witness against the Covington teens is exactly the same as their false witness against Trump. I wish Andrew Sullivan, who is obviously intelligent and well-meaning, could see this. But the fact that he can’t just makes me fear even more for the future. Here is Sullivan’s conclusion about what he calls “the Covington incident”:

What was so depressing to me about the Covington incident was how so many liberals felt comfortable taking a random teenager and, purely because of his race and gender, projected onto him all their resentments and hatred of “white men” in general.

What is so depressing to the rest of us conservatives is how “so many liberals [and RINOs have] felt comfortable taking a [Republican president] and, purely because of his race and gender, projected onto him all their resentments and hatred of “white men” in general.

Come on, Andrew Sullivan, you are better than this! You are right that this vile rhetoric is an “extinction level event” for what you call “liberal democracy,” but what you don’t realize is you are enabling that extinction to happen by piling on the only true conservative president of the last 30 years.

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Frank Miele writes from Kalispell, Montana, at and is a columnist at Real Clear Politics. To see more of my columns about the Dishonest Media, the Deep Swamp, the failed presidencies of George W. Bush and Barack Obama, and Trump’s war to restore American greatness, read my “Why We Needed Trump” trilogy. The books are available at Amazon in paperback or Kindle editions. Also please considering leaving a review in support of my conservative commentary on one or all of my book pages at Amazon! Thanks!

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3 Replies to “Andrew Sullivan on Covington: How can one man be so right and so wrong at the same time?”

  1. The Covington fiasco is classic liberal bait and switch. If you hurl enough venom at “privileged whites,’ you might get lucky and provoke one of them into biting back (or in this case, not), in front of the camera. Remember poor old Judge Kavanaugh–50 years of making all the right career moves, pillar of his church and community, only to be told he “lacked judicial temperament,” after he threw a rather measured tantrum, in the face of day upon day of lies and innuendo. Tsk, tsk.

    Actually, the biggest letdown with Covington was not so much liberals acting like liberals, but the betrayal by those who might have risen to the occasion. Case in point was the despicable article by Mr. Frankovich of the supposedly conservative, pseudo-Catholic National Review. But no one was more disappointing than the Diocesan Bishop, who, in no uncertain terms, “condemned” the boys’ behavior, and further intimated that expulsion from school would be forthcoming. His subsequent “apology” for bearing false witness was the old “I’m responsible even though it was someone else’s fault” line, coupled with the standard “I’m sorry if I offended anyone.” (Try either of those excuses next time you get a traffic ticket, and see if you don’t still have to pay the fine.) If the guy doesn’t want to resign, the least he could do is volunteer to lead the boys on their next March. And yeah, don’t tell them they can’t wear their hats…

    1. Haha! Nicely argued! National Review should just get it over with and change their name to National Disgrace.

  2. Sounds like another example of the RC = rationalized cesspool. A real person stands up and admits being wrong; not many Democrats or Republicans do that.

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