Last Saturday, an estimated 1.2 million people participated in the March For Our Lives in Washington, D.C. and in sister marches across the United States. During the Washington, D.C. Rally, two of the key speeches were given by Emma González and David Hogg, two students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, which was made famous after the Valentine’s Day massacre that left 17 students and faculty members dead. Since that shooting, Gonzalez and Hogg have emerged as leaders of the student movement, but not without controversy.
Hogg in particular has been singled out for mockery and conspiracy theories. Early on, he was alleged to be a crisis actor, but even though that charge was swiftly smacked down, he was still looked upon as a propaganda tool and target of derision.
This week, Hogg was taunted by Fox News host Laura Ingraham, who tweeted a link to a story from The Daily Wire.
Hogg then responded with a call for other social media users to contract Ingraham’s 129 sponsors.
Shortly after, 11 companies announced that they were pulling ads from Ingraham’s program, which prompted her to make a quick apology:
Sometime afterward, Ingraham announced that she was going on a vacation.
In response to this controversy, some of Ingraham’s fans decided to support her on Twitter. The started the hashtag #IStandWithLaura and called for a boycott of the companies that pulled their ads.
Also, there was one opinion piece of note that was written in defense of Ingraham, which I would like to highlight.
Joe Concha Comes to Laura Ingraham’s Defense
In an Op-Ed, Joe Concha defended Laura Ingraham, whom he said “had no choice but to apologize” to David Hogg after she shared an article from The Daily Wire which taunted Hogg for being rejected by four colleges he applied to. Concha was arguing that Hogg’s push to get people to boycott Ingraham set “a dangerous precedent” because it will lead to other people leading boycotts against other people who said things they didn’t like.
Concha compared the situation Ingraham is going through now to the situation former Fox New host Bill O’Reilly went through shortly before he was fired. O’Reilly also went on a little vacation when advertisers for his program left in droves. (However, it remains to be seen what happens to Ingraham from this point.)
Concha basically ignored that what Laura Ingraham did was bullying. He also argued that Hogg should be treated like an adult because he is acting like one (by protesting and standing out front on an issue). Concha also argued that Hogg should be challenged when fudging the facts but he wasn’t because the adults were afraid to.
In short, Concha was telling kids to shut up. Never mind how people have been going after Parkland students from the beginning.
Here’s What I Think
Concha is definitely wrong for a few reasons, among them being his push to drum up sympathy for Ingraham (and by extension, her employer).
1. Ingraham Used Her Bully Pulpit to … Be a Bully.
Once again, Ingraham and The Daily Wire were taunting a 17-year-old. Look at the title of The Daily Wire Post:
Although though the article used information provided by David Hogg, The writer of the piece referred to him as a “gun rights provocateur.” Those words are loaded and they were used just to illicit a response from readers.
I ask: What was the point of that article and Ingraham’s decision to share it via a tweet? They were both thumbing their nose at someone they viewed as an enemy to their cause.
Ingraham is the same person who told LeBron James to shut up and play basketball. She was then swiftly sonned by James, who took the high road.
2. Concha Was Trying to Get People to Feel Sorry for Fox News.
I feel no sympathy for Fox News. It has served as a mouthpiece for Republicans who have occupied 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. and as a race-baiting network for years. When Bill O’Reilly was the network’s top host, he was the #1 offender.
Also, Bill O’Reilly and the late Roger Ailes were let go because it was long overdue. Tens of millions of dollars were paid in settlements because those two were huge sexual harassers. Even before the story with Gretchen Carlson exploded and revealed the horrible company culture at News Corp, people had a glimpse into how bad O’Reilly was. One woman shared recordings of a drunken O’Reilly talking dirty to her over the phone and he went through an ugly divorce when it was revealed how abusive he was to his own family.
Additionally, News Corp. is a horrible entity that has spied on numerous people, including lawyers, their families, celebrities, and Prince William. If anything, more advertisers should pull their ads from that company for that crap.
3. Concha Purposely Fails to Make Key Connections.
Concha sidesteps the fact that this controversial story was really started by The Daily Wire, which was founded by Ben Shapiro. Even though Shapiro was mentioned in the Op-Ed, Concha never made the connection between the taunting and The Daily Wire.
Now, I’m not saying that the founder of the outlet (Shapiro) would push to publish the piece taunting David Hogg, but I doubt Shapiro has a problem with it. That’s because Shapiro has also speaking out against Hogg and the other Parkland students.
4. Concha’s Contention That Hogg Is ‘Untouchable’ Is Fallacious.
Anyone can and should be corrected, even if they’re kids who are making a political point. It should just be done with tact.
That said, I feel that kids should be given a platform, even though they’re not adults. When they’re adolescents, they should be listened to because they have unique experiences and this is the time to get them interested in civics and the wellbeing of their country. They should especially be given a platform if their cause is just and they have a substantive message.
I might not agree with the adolescents who are speaking, but I’m willing to listen to people with opposing viewpoints, especially when they’re respectful. if I choose to debate them, I will try to do so respectfully.
Now, I would say that Concha had a point about treating Hogg as an adult, but Concha meant that Hogg should be mocked and derided like any adult (who said things that conservatives didn’t like). That’s wrong. I’m even against adults being mocked for just expressing dissenting opinions — as long as those opinions aren’t in support of discrimination or other anything that denies people their rights.
5. Concha Stepped On His Own Message.
Concha undermined the point he had in his second-to-last sentence with his last sentence:
If someone is offended by her program or her as a person, don’t watch or listen and allow the free market eventually to decide if she’s worth keeping on.
But the effort to silence a voice, to essentially end a career, based on something like this sets not only a dangerous but completely un-American precedent.
Yes, if people don’t like what Ingraham has to say, they can refuse to watch her program. And if enough people stop watching her, advertisers can then decide that she is not worth the advertising revenue. The boycott of her sponsors is more direct, but they should act at their own discretion based on the facts.
As I’ve stated before, people have the right to boycott any business they want for any reason. That’s the right of people who don’t like her taunting David Hogg, as well as her viewers who don’t like seeing advertisers flee. No one should have to patronize a business because …
David Sirota put it best:
Also, I would like to ask where Concha was when Sam Seder was being targeted by Mike Cernovich and his ilk. Those people purposely took an old tweet from Seder out of context and got him fired from MSNBC. The same people went after The Young Turks founder Cenk Uygur and his partner for all blog posts they made. Is that not a slippery slope?
Adults should refrain from acting like bullies, especially towards kids. And if those kids say something we disagree with, we can still say so, but tactfully. Next time, Ingraham should carefully choose her battles.