While students shoot off their mouths the media remains tight-lipped.
As the “historic” March For Our Lives unspooled on Saturday we were treated to all manner of conflicting messaging from the event. There were calls to come together while signs and words were delivered that demonized those from one side of the political divide. In a day demonizing weapons the speakers were fully protected by those bearing weapons for their benefit.
And I do not think I need to say more about student Emily Gonzalez speaking about truncating our Constitutional rights while wearing a Castro-era olive jacket emblazoned with a Cuban flag. (It turns out there is at least one person in South Florida of Cuban descent who does not possess a virulent hatred of the expired dictator.)
Revealingly, when it comes to the paradoxical thought, there were also numerous members of the media who were insistent on couching the event in words and terms which defied the words and terms delivered from the stages. This follows weeks of the press working in concert with these teenage activists to forward an agenda of which they approve. We cannot be shocked our journalists would frame events for a positive impression.
A great place to start is with Ben White, from Politico. White took the moment to serve double duty. He wanted to attack Marco Rubio over the March (something Sarah Rumpf illustrated is a folly on the subject) and he hoped to reclassify the proceedings at the event.
Weird I didn’t hear anybody talk about a “gun ban.” Interesting way to seek common ground. https://t.co/UBasTAjomX
— Ben White (@morningmoneyben) March 24, 2018
This was a common refrain from media players. Many were desperate to both downplay the rhetoric from the podiums while at the same time countering the message from anyone who dared criticize the speeches. One problem: many more in the media were in fact declaring what this event was in fact about.
Bad as that is however Amber Jamieson, at BuzzFeed took this obliviousness to a new level. First she made the similar bold declaration concerning what this event was about.
Seriously @Twitter and @Snapchat why are you guys calling #MarchForOurLives a "gun control rally." It's a march against gun violence. Get it together @jack and @evanspiegel (h/t @janetphd) pic.twitter.com/lVaAQQBpsY
— Amber Jamieson (@ambiej) March 24, 2018
The lecturing tone is notable here. She seems to deliver this with a voice of confidence, and authority. What is telling though is she never had the same level of invective for…her own outlet.
Next we go over to CNN, where Brian Stelter had an interview with the Editor of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas newspaper, Rebecca Schneid. The student was explaining the work she saw fit to be made at her paper, and the experts on the media did not seem to have a problem with her assessment of their profession.
"Journalism is a form of activism," says Rebecca Schneid, co-editor in chief of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School newspaper https://t.co/oYDZGyzlTq
— Reliable Sources (@ReliableSources) March 25, 2018
This clip may be perfectly emblematic of what we have witnessed for the past month, as media outlets have turned themselves over to these teen activists to promote an agenda. An agenda the media clearly supports.
Note as Schneid says “Journalism is a form of activism,” and “For me as a journalist, and also as someone that wants to demand change, but I think the partnership of the two is the only reason that we are able to make a change.” These comments are heard by Stelter, and absorbed — and they are simply met with a nod.
No distinction is made by the journalist with a show concerning the media. No challenge to the comment, no follow up questions to imply that there should be objectivity from their profession. Stelter hears a high school editor declare their vocational description is in fact “activism”, and he is perfectly at ease with that assessment.
The media has been just as complacent, just as unchallenging, for most of the interviews with these students. All manner of anti-gun dogma and demonizing of opponents is left to stand. When the students are factually wrong they are not corrected, and when they display ignorance of legal or Constitutional standards they are not educated on the inaccuracies.
So if the professional journalists, the proverbial adults in the room, will not act like the leaders on the issue we need to tune out their lectures. The criticism needs to be leveled at these talking heads, more so than those students who do not know any better — because this debate will no get any better.