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The encounter at the Lincoln Memorial. Photo: Survival Media Agency via AP

"A fuller and more complicated picture emerged ... of the videotaped encounter between a Native American man and a throng of high school boys wearing 'Make America Great Again' gear outside the Lincoln Memorial," the New York Times' Sarah Mervosh and Emily Rueb write.

Backdrop: The Catholic students were accused of taunting the Native Americans, and their school and diocese issued a statement threatening the boys with expulsion. However, interviews and more video suggest the explosive encounter between race, religion and ideological beliefs was too good to be true.

This was the scene, per The Times:

  • "[A] rally for Native Americans and other Indigenous people was wrapping up. Dozens of students from Covington Catholic High School in Kentucky, who had been in Washington for the anti-abortion March for Life rally, were standing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial."
  • "There were also black men who identified themselves as Hebrew Israelites, preaching their beliefs and shouting racially combative comments at the Native Americans and the students."

Covington junior Nick Sandmann said in a statement yesterday that students were waiting for buses when protesters began insulting them, per AP:

  • "Sandmann says the students began yelling 'school spirit chants' to drown out the protesters and he did not hear students chant anything 'hateful or racist at any time.'"
  • Sandmann said he and his parents have received death threats: "I am being called every name in the book, including a racist, and I will not stand for this mob-like character assassination of my family's name."

Yes, but: As more evidence emerged yesterday, N.Y. Times columnist David Brooks tweeted:

  • "[A]fter seeing more videos I have a different more complicated impression. Makes all the hot takes seem silly."'
  • "All of you who judged too quickly apologize!"

Go deeper

Fringe right plots new attacks out of sight

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Domestic extremists are using obscure and private corners of the internet to plot new attacks ahead of Inauguration Day. Their plans are also hidden in plain sight, buried in podcasts and online video platforms.

Why it matters: Because law enforcement was caught flat-footed during last week's Capitol siege, researchers and intelligence agencies are paying more attention to online threats that could turn into real-world violence.

Kids’ screen time up 50% during pandemic

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

When the coronavirus lockdowns started in March, kidstech firm SuperAwesome found that screen time was up 50%. Nearly a year later, that percentage hasn't budged, according to new figures from the firm.

Why it matters: For most parents, pre-pandemic expectations around screen time are no longer realistic. The concern now has shifted from the number of hours in front of screens to the quality of screen time.

In photos: D.C. and U.S. states on alert for pre-inauguration violence

National Guard troops stand behind security fencing with the dome of the U.S. Capitol Building behind them, on Jan. 16. Photo: Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Security has been stepped up in Washington, D.C., and state capitols across the U.S. as authorities brace for potential violence this weekend.

Driving the news: Following the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by some supporters of President Trump, the FBI has said there could be armed protests in D.C. and in all 50 state capitols in the run-up to President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration Wednesday.