Nick Sandmann speaks out against the media during the second night of the RNC

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Nick Sandmann speaks about his time during the March for Life march in January last year on the second night of the RNC. Screenshot from RNC livestream.

Nick Sandmann called for a leader willing to challenge the media in order to “return to objective journalism” this Tuesday on the second night of the Republican National Convention.

Sandmann made headlines last January after a confrontation with a Native American elder during the Indigenous People March on a trip to the March for Life march in Washington D.C. with his high school.

Sandmann, who was a junior at Covington Catholic High School at the time, recalled during his speech demonstrating at the March for Life and later buying a “Make America Great Again” hat to show support for President Trump, who he said is “one of the most pro-life presidents in the history of our country.”

Sandmann said that putting on this hat was met with hate from the left and made him the target of news outlets nationwide.

He said he and his classmates visited the Lincoln Memorial, where he encountered Nathan Phillips, an elder of the Omaha Tribe. Sandmann said that along with Phillips, he was met with other protestors who were looking to use him as another argument against President Trump.

Sandmann went on to critique news coverage of the event. He said he was defamed by the media, which showed him as an aggressor.

“In reality, the video confirms that I was standing with my hands behind my back and an awkward smile on my face that hid two thoughts,” Sandmann said. “One: Don’t do anything to further agitate the man banging a drum in my face. And two: I was trying to follow a family friend’s advice: Never to do anything to embarrass your family, your school or your community.”

Sandmann said that what he felt was a strange encounter became a major news story that changed his life.

Videos taken of the encounter show a group of boys standing behind Sandmann, who was face-t0-face with Phillips. Many people on social media, as well as news reports, interpreted this encounter as the boys mocking Phillips. Phillips has said he felt the boys were being hateful, while Sandmann made a statement saying he was trying to defuse the situation.

“The full war machine of the mainstream media revved up into attack mode,” said Sandmann. He added that news outlets did not properly look into Phillips’s motives or ask himself for his side of the story. The truth was not important to the media, but rather its anti-Christian, anti-conservative and anti-Donald Trump narrative, said Sandmann.

“And if advancing their narrative ruined the reputation and future of a teenager from Covington, Kentucky, well so be it,” said Sandmann. “That would teach him not to wear a MAGA hat.”

Sandmann has since sued ABC News, CBS News, the New York Times, Gannett, Rolling Stone, NBC, Washington Post and CNN with claims of defamation and libel. Settlements have been reached with Washington Post and CNN.

Sandmann said that situation such as this are referred to as “being cancelled,” which he said is happening to many who do not agree with the far left. He added that the media is often a participant and that there is a lot to be done to bring balance, responsibility and accountability back to news coverage. President Trump, said Sandmann, has been the biggest victim of unfair news coverage.

Sandmann said that he believes the country needs to unite around a president willing to call out and challenge the media in order to bring back objective reporting and avoid creating a narrative rather than reporting the facts.

“And together, I believe we must all embrace our 1stAmendment rights and not hide in fear of the media, or from the tech companies or from the outraged mob either,” said Sandmann. “This is worth fighting for. This is worth voting for. And this is what Donald Trump stands for.”

This story was written by Amanda Parrish. She can be reached at amanda.parrish@marqutte.edu.