Media

WaPo Backtracks On Nathan Phillips’ Vietnam Service

REUTERS/Terray Sylvester

Virginia Kruta Associate Editor

The Washington Post issued a correction Tuesday to the ongoing narrative regarding Friday’s confrontation between Native American Elder Nathan Phillips and a group of Catholic high school students.

At the bottom of a story published Sunday, the Post added the following note:

Correction: Earlier versions of this story incorrectly said that Native American activist Nathan Phillips fought in the Vietnam War. Phillips served in the U.S. Marines from 1972 to 1976 but was never deployed to Vietnam.

Phillips himself does not appear to have ever made the claim that he deployed to Vietnam. In several interviews, he has referred to himself as a “Vietnam times veteran” and said in an interview with Indian Country Today that he was called a “baby-killer.” He also indicated that a woman — whom he described only as “a hippie” — spat on him in one such encounter.

Since the story went viral over the weekend, numerous video and eyewitness accounts have reshaped the narrative from what was first framed as a racist incident — and a fuller context of the confrontation suggests that the Covington students did not intend to attack or insult Phillips and his companions at all. (RELATED: Patricia Heaton Takes Media To Task Over Treatment Of Catholic Boys)

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Phillips has since refused a meeting with the boys and suggested that expulsion would be a fair punishment for their actions.

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