EXCLUSIVE: Turmoil Inside National Review Over Covington Catholic Story, Rich Lowry Losing Control

According to a source inside of #NeverTrump stalwart National Review, who spoke to Big League Politics on the condition of anonymity, the magazine is in turmoil after publishing a now-deleted piece bashing the Covington Catholic High School students.

Deputy managing editor Nicholas Frankovich penned a piece called “The Covington Students Might as Well Have Just Spit on the Cross,” which was published at 3 a.m. on Sunday.

“The guy who posted that did it at 3am without running it by anyone,” an employee familiar with the situation told Big League Politics. 

The source said that editor Rich Lowry is “deeply chagrined” by incident.

“Rich feels bad about this,” the source added.

“It appears that most of the teenagers in this video are from a Catholic high school near Covington, Kentucky, across the Ohio River from Cincinnati. They mock a serious, frail-looking older man and gloat in their momentary role as Roman soldiers to his Christ. ‘Bullying’ is a worn-out word and doesn’t convey the full extent of the evil on display here,” the piece, archived here, said.

Many high-profile members of the #NeverTrump crowd immediately took to Twitter to bash the teenaged boys from Covington Catholic after the leftist mainstream press accused them of racist hatred towards Nathan Phillips, a Native American man. Apologizing and begging for forgiveness is one of the few strengths of Conservative Inc.

But after several hours of running with that narrative, Big League Politics, among other independent news outlets, published stories showing the full context of the incident. As it turned out, the Native man approached the boys, beating his drum in the face of the boy at the center of the incident. It is clear that the Native man was the cause of the confrontation.

Since the real story came to light, the magazine has reversed course. It published a Sunday piece telling the actual story, but did not apologize for, or mention its deleted hit piece on the  boys.

The heavy hitters at National Review took to Twitter to clarify that, after actually researching the incident, that they were wrong and the Covington Catholic boys were wrongly accused. None of them, though, mentioned the hastily deleted story at issue.

“Deleted my initial tweet on Lincoln Memorial incident. Even the video I watched last night that suggested some ambiguity didn’t fully capture what really happened. This was not what it was portrayed as *at all*” said Lowry.

“Agreed. The mobbing and threatening of these kids has been disgraceful. And now we’re on the phase of the controversy where it’s apparently important to tell the world that their school is some sort of hellhole,” said Trump-hater and Senior Writer David French, who spends most of his time apologizing to liberals for Trump’s actions.

“One other thing I’d note in all the hate against the Covington kid: We have an adult banging his drum inches from a kid’s face. Putting aside political biases and just focusing on decency — who is more responsible for defusing a tense situation, the adult or the kid?” French said in a later Tweet.

National Review is now keen to latch onto the popular narrative and hope that the public simply forgets its mistake. But internally, the magazine appears to be riding out turbulence in the wake of its embarrassing flub.

Follow Peter D’Abrosca on Twitter: @pdabrosca

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