Nicholas sandmann was an ordinary 16-year-old student at Covington Catholic High School, a school for boys in northern Kentucky, when he found himself standing at the foot of the Lincoln Memorial on January 18. He was wearing a red make america great again hat that he’d purchased as a souvenir, and standing face to face with a Native American protester named Nathan Phillips. Sandmann smiled at Phillips, who was beating a drum.

Sandmann is now suing The Washington Post for $250 million in damages in the wake of a furious national debate over alleged anti–Donald Trump media bias that quickly became an object lesson in the perils of social media and the limits of objective truth without independent, on-the-ground reporting.

Sandmann’s suit claims that the Post’s linking to a viral video of him and Phillips, and its focus on his maga hat and a “relentless smirk,” were “negligent, reckless, and malicious attacks … which caused permanent damage to [Sandmann’s] life and reputation.”

To win his lawsuit, Sandmann must demonstrate that what was written about him was false. He will face what Kristine Coratti Kelly, a spokesperson for the Post, told me would be “a vigorous defense.” The newspaper has not yet filed a response to the suit, but it published an editor’s note on March 1 saying that its first story has been contradicted by subsequent reporting.

Read more at The Atlantic. 

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