To Criticize or Not to Criticize? Media Tries to Have It Both Ways When It Comes to Teen Activists

Greta Thunberg

Environmental activist Greta Thunberg, of Sweden, addresses the Climate Action Summit in the United Nations General Assembly, at U.N. headquarters, Monday, Sept. 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)


With all that has been said by liberals and the media about teenage climate change activist Greta Thunberg, arguably the most deliberately disingenuous and dishonest thing that has been suggested is that her ideas should be insulated from criticism because she’s 16 and suffers from autism.

ABC News journalist Julia Macfarlane was among those taking Thunberg’s critics to task for “cyberbullying” an autistic teenager:

Macfarlane’s take is quite an interesting and perplexing one, considering the media collectively weren’t interested in holding back on the Covington teenagers earlier this year after they were falsely accused of trying to racially intimidate a Native American protester during a pro-life rally. Though none of the high school students suffers from autism, they were teen activists, too, and wholly undeserving of the doxxing and threats on their lives they were forced to endure in the aftermath of the media feeding frenzy.

Democrats and the mainstream media usually sing a different tune when it comes to young teen activists who run in left wing circles (usually at the prodding of their activist parents or guardians). When these activists take the stage, their words are off limits to criticism, no matter how they badly they insult or impugn the motives of those who disagree with them.


In other words, it’s the kiddie human shield defense all over again.

Parkland students Davig Hogg and Emma Gonzalez were supposed to be allowed to accuse gun rights supporters of being murderers with blood on their hands – without any pushback. Greta Thunberg is supposed to be allowed to say, without being questioned, that those who disagree with her on climate change are ruining her life and destroying the futures of teenagers all over the world.

But don’t you dare respond back to any of them. Not even if it’s merely to express disagreement with their message. Because they are brave warriors, you know. Brave warriors who also should be shielded from criticism because they’re young.

In a piece titled “Greta Thunberg cannot be both a shield and a sword”, Charles C.W. Cooke calls out this shameful tactic for what it is:

What is being attempted with Thunberg is one of the oldest tricks in the book. First, you find a young person who shares your politics and cast them as the uncorrupted prophet of a new generation. Second, you have them argue their case as often and as loudly as possible. Third, you cast all pushback as “inappropriate” or “bullying” or “punching down.” “Why,” you ask, “are you criticizing this sweet little girl who is just trying to help us in our quest to reorder the entire world?”

This process is not only transparent; it is grotesque. There exists no universe in which one can simultaneously cast a person as a brave truth-teller whose words must be heeded, and as an innocent, fragile child who is beneath the notice of any well-rounded adult. A sword is not a shield and a shield is not a sword. One must pick one.


There are ways to constructively tackle the arguments of teenage activists without engaging in “cyberbullying” and “doxxing” and all the other negative things unfortunately associated with being a political activist. Unfortunately, the left has consistently refused to play by any type of Marquess of Queensberry Rules on these matters, so it’s not exactly a surprise that some on the right will return the favor when the opportunity presents itself.

Here’s a suggestion for Democrats and leftists going forward: If your arguments really do hold all the water you want people to think they do, send an adult to make them. Sending a child to do an adult’s job is beneath contempt, and is a good indicator that your arguments weren’t on solid footing to begin with.

Related –>> Thread offers devastating insight into why the Left’s weaponization of Greta Thunberg is particularly egregious

— Based in North Carolina, Sister Toldjah is a former liberal and a 15+ year veteran of blogging with an emphasis on media bias, social issues, and the culture wars. Read her Red State archives here. Connect with her on Twitter. –


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