Courtesy of Creative commons

Symbolism runs deep in the MAGA hat. It’s so strong that a picture of someone wearing it gets plenty of attention. Celebrities and common people who wear the hat to represent their support are silently stating their position.

On Feb. 20, The Washington Post Co. published an article regarding 16-year-old Nicholas Sandmann accusing The Post of bullying. Sandmann believes that he was victimized by The Post in order to belittle Trump’s presidency. Sandmann is seeking $250 million in damages from The Washington Post for an action he imposed on himself. Ethics play a big role in journalism and The Post was clearly unbiased about their coverage of the initial incident.

Sandmann’s legal team claims he was villainized by The Post and was exposed to bullying through social media and in school. This event has indeed ruined his reputation but should it really cost The Post $250 million? The kid may want to get some free college money and more, but who doesn’t? What makes me stand against Sandmann’s case is that he became a political symbol for the Republican Party. Just like the MAGA hat, Sandmann brought attention to the Republican party, as well as to Trump and his plans. From an event that should’ve embarrassed Republicans, Trump supporters and social media commentators have publically supported Sandmann’s lawsuit and have stood up for Sandmann due to their political beliefs. Not only was he victimized, he was also glorified by Trump. If Sandmann wins the case, he will be a symbol of the broken relationship between the political world and journalism. The Post was publishing a story of an event that went south; they didn’t push the idea of Sandmann being a villain. Sandmann did that to himself.

If he were to win, the amount of money Sandmann would receive is ridiculous. It’s the same amount of money The Post was sold for in 2013. Imagine paying for a small, insignificant incident that is the same price as your entire company. That’s borderline crazy. The Post clearly believes they were reporting a story. Maybe the objective representation of the actual event reached a bigger audience and sparked a movement of hate towards Sandmann. Still, it doesn’t justify Sandmann’s case. Sandmann is trying to pinpoint The Post as a scapegoat for his recent public hate.

It would be extremely embarrassing for a company to pay for something like this. The Post covered the event like ethical journalists do. Sandmann could hire the best lawyer out there, but who is really in the wrong? A white-privileged teenager with a MAGA hat or a newspaper reporting the news? Sandmann’s MAGA hat is a symbol that is affiliated with President Trump and his ideas, so it’s not The Post’s fault if Sandmann’s event was associated with other stories that criticize MAGA culture. Either way, Trump supports Sandmann so maybe he can help fight his bullies, just like Trump fights to keep his hair.

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