Showing Moral Courage: Nick Sandmann

By | March 13, 2019

[March 13, 2018] Showing moral courage in the face of great adversity is a much more difficult act than showing physical courage in combat. Many combat leaders are known for their bravery in the face of a deadly enemy but wilt when their nerves fail under the spotlight that threatens what they believe. Today, I’m highlighting Nick Sandmann – a young student at Covington Catholic High School in Kentucky – for his moral courage.

Nick Sandmann was a 16-year old when he and his school classmates visited the Lincoln Memorial earlier this year. The news media portrayed an “incident” that happened between Sandmann and an older man, Nathan Phillips. Sandmann is white, Catholic, and wore a “Make American Great Again” hat. Phillips is a native American, self-proclaimed leftist activist, and reported to be a Vietnam combat veteran (he is not a combat veteran).

A highly edited video surfaced that appeared to show Phillips beating his drum and being stared down by Sandmann. Some interpretations moved quickly through the news media and on social media as well. Within a few hours, some major news outlets, lawmakers, celebrities, and Covington’s Roman Catholic Diocese condemned Sandmann on what seemed to be a racist act.

The facts were slow to appear. What we now know is that the narrative generated by the news media was false. By the time the facts got out, the damage to Sandmann and his High School was done. However, the news media failed to distance themselves from the controversy by admitting their initial reporting was wrong, issuing an apology, and retraction. Legal action by Sandmann’s attorney L. Lin Wood is on-going.

What I like about Nick Sandmann is that he stuck to the truth (verified by several videos) and decided he would set the record straight. That takes courage, especially if your name and picture are splashed across the world and associated with racism and bigotry. His life will never be the same.

The news media fail spectacularly. And they continue to fail by not admitting their complacency and malfeasance. Leaders are sometimes cowards and in this case we have a basket full of them. A successful news media helps keep a democracy free but in this case their moral cowardice will have reverberations for generations.

Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article every day on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

45 thoughts on “Showing Moral Courage: Nick Sandmann

  1. Kenny Foster

    Wow, really great comments today, my friends. But it will take more than sitting back and watching the self-destruction of the media. They still buy ink by the barrel. Thus a more aggressive approach to shining a light into their dark corners must be done to ensure more honesty in the future.

    1. José Luis Rodriguez

      Indeed, sad. Pres Obama did some good but he allowed the FBI and DOJ to become politicized. He provided zero oversight and Congress abdicated their responsibilities too.

  2. Sadako Red

    … but but but CNN has several articles on why the “free press” is so important. In their opinion pages, of course. None of them talk about the importance of the truth which underpins everything they say about freedom of the press. In other words, its all about what they want and screw everyone else. If you don’t follow their current dogma rigidly, then you are a racist, homophobe, sexist, etc. etc. etc. This is why freedom comes with responsibility; something completely forgotten.

      1. Tomas C. Clooney

        Spot-on, Gen. Satterfield. Comments today have been very educational. But sadly, it points to a serious problem with the news media in this country.

    1. Mr. T.J. Asper

      Another home run from Sadako Red. We all appreciate your articles and want more.

  3. Fred Weber

    The photo of Nick Sandmann and political activist Phillips will forever bring fear into the hearts of leftist journalists.

  4. Jonathan B.

    Today is a great day for freedom. Now that those who stand against freedom are being exposed, the entertainment is about to be really exciting to watch. There will be lessons for leaders that develop. Let’s hope Gen. Satterfield gives us a summary later on.

    1. Darryl Sitterly

      CNN lead today was the scandal about the rich buying their kids way into college. The real scandal, however, is about CNN itself. Why aren’t they covering this?

      1. Bill Sanders, Jr.

        Smart. The reason is simple; they are afraid. Again they show themselves as cowards.

    2. Billy Kenningston

      Well said, Jonathan B. This is the type of commentary we should be having every day here at Gen. Satterfield’s leadership forum. Thanks for your insights.

  5. Army Captain

    Good leaders are never quick to jump into a volatile situation. They never lead with their biases. To do so guarantees bad things will happen. The proof is in the WaPo/CNN lawsuits as noted here.

  6. Nick Lighthouse

    The US news media has proven, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that their leadership has failed and failed spectacularly.

  7. Tracey Brockman

    It should be no surprise to anyone here reading Gen. Satterfield’s articles that bias is a factor in the downfall of leaders. That is why good leadership is necessary. It keeps organizations on track and away from ideological influences that put them at risk of failure. Personally, I hope Nick Sandmann wins all his lawsuits against the media, politicians, and Hollywood twerps that tried to destroy him. This homecoming is overdue.

    1. Len Jakosky

      Tracey, I liked your analysis and point that this is long overdue. The Washington Post and CNN are just the beginning. Let’s hope the legal action spreads methodically to those same purveyors of hate and envy.

    2. Andrew Dooley

      All leaders, even those who have no aspiration to leadership, should be reading this.

  8. Eric Coda

    Flash! I just went on the CNN news site and there is NOTHING about them being sued by Sandmann for $275 million. Is this BIG NEWS? Yes, of course, it is. Their fear is staggering.

    1. Forrest Gump

      POW! CNN gets slammed again.
      Stupid is as stupid does. Or, in this case, cowardice is as cowardice does!

    2. Bryan Lee

      I’m not surprised. Anything they write will be used against them. But, it continues to show how selective they are in their coverage of what is important. As far as journalist ethics are concerned, this is probably the biggest event in more than 50 years. Yes, CNN ignores it. This is telling about their lack of good leadership.

    3. Jonnie the Bart

      CNN is all on board the liberal, anti-American, anti-Catholic train. Go to their website any day and read their articles. Their bias is so blatant, a blind man could see it from 100 miles away.

  9. Max Foster

    It cannot be overestimated the value of trust that people must have in the processes that govern our lives. These ‘processes’ have been developed over a long period of time, tested, and re-tested to ensure they work. When we give them up and replace them with an ideology, things will go to hell pretty quickly. That is what is happening with the West’s news media. They are still traveling down the path of their own destruction and are bling to what they’re doing.

  10. Jake Tapper, Jr.

    What I’m waiting for is the first Hollywood celebrity and Congressperson to be sued. That will really make my day. They deserve to be pulled over the fire of truth and we can all watch them burn when their own words are used against them.

  11. Otto Z. Zuckermann

    This is what happens when there is no check and balances in an organization. Journalism has deteriorated in the USA now for more than 50 years. Beginning with the communist Walter Cronkite, they think they can ride on the coattails of the greats before them. But the news media is puny compared to what they used to be. The word “trust” is no longer associated with their vile, viciousness against America or the West.

  12. Greg Heyman

    Over two years ago, Gen. Satterfield wrote an article that described the extreme bias in the US news media over the Iraq War. I recommend that readers go back and re-read this article (posted link to it here). This bias (now called ‘fake news’ is nothing new). Will they learn from it? The final word on this has yet to be fulfilled.
    “The U.S. War in Iraq: My View (the Media)”

    1. Dennis Mathes

      Having trust and confidence in your leader and organization is important. The press vilified US Pres Trump for his lack of popularity (around 45-50%) but ignore their own lack of popularity (less than 15%). I wonder why?

    2. Doug Smith

      Good memory, Greg. Thanks for the reminder. I went back and read his article again. Wow, how great it is to be on target. The skill to recognize problems before they really manifest themselves is the highlight of a great leader.

  13. Janna Faulkner

    This story will be forever seared into the minds of all journalists around the world for decades to come. They did their everyday thing and got caught with their pants down around their ankles with their heads up their butts. Just one more event that puts them below politicians and used-car salesmen on a scale of trustworthiness.

      1. Dale Paul Fox

        ” CNN ignored the facts and put its anti-Trump agenda first in waging a 7-day media campaign of false, vicious attacks against Nicholas, a young boy who was guilty of little more than wearing a souvenir Make America Great Again cap.”

      2. JT Patterson

        I’m loving the fact that the news media is scrambling to hand onto their once vaulted reputation.

    1. Big Al

      Janna, you’re my kind of girl. Quick-witted and sharp-tongued.


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