Making fun of Parkland survivors is in bad taste. Turns out, it's also bad for business.
Conservative media commentators are getting a crash course in decency from the Parkland shooting survivors. The latest example is Fox News host Laura Ingraham, who mocked survivor David Hogg on her Twitter account for not getting into the colleges of his choice, writing:
"David Hogg Rejected By Four Colleges To Which He Applied and whines about it. (Dinged by UCLA with a 4.1 GPA...totally predictable given acceptance rates.)"
David Hogg Rejected By Four Colleges To Which He Applied and whines about it. (Dinged by UCLA with a 4.1 GPA...tota… https://t.co/HB7tMNEbEb— Laura Ingraham (@Laura Ingraham)1522251922.0
People quickly took notice and many of them weren't happy.
Overwhelmed with feelings of rage🤬.Where Did Laura Ingraham misplace her ❤️,🧠,& RATINGS INSTINCTS ⁉️How could A MOT… https://t.co/BsdJOrt5lC— Cher (@Cher)1522356805.0
Hogg responded by asking people to contact the advertisers who pay for Ingraham's show, another example of how much better the Parkland teens understand social media than their critics.
Pick a number 1-12 contact the company next to that # Top Laura Ingraham Advertisers 1. @sleepnumber 2. @ATT 3.… https://t.co/Jg1zblwxWc— David Hogg (@David Hogg)1522287046.0
The Parkland students are showing adults there's a new level of accountability in 2018.
No doubt Hogg and his supporters were angry. But instead of lowering themselves to Ingraham's level, he went for direct action. Ironically, he also used a guiding principle of conservative thought against Ingraham by "letting the market speak."
And speak it did.
This isn't new ground for the Parkland teens. As Hogg's own pinned tweet from March 11 explains:
Can we please not debate this as Democrats and Republicans but discuss this as Americans? In the comments if you see someone you dissagree with do not attack each other talk to one another, this applies to me too. WE MUST WORK TOGETHER TO SAVE OUR FUTURE.
Can we please not debate this as Democrats and Republicans but discuss this as Americans? In the comments if you se… https://t.co/MrJMfpUf7E— David Hogg (@David Hogg)1520828497.0
Advertisers quickly began announcing they were pulling their dollars from her show. As the story went viral, Ingraham finally published an apology to her over 2 million Twitter followers, writing:
"Any student should be proud of a 4.2 GPA —incl. @DavidHogg111. On reflection, in the spirit of Holy Week, I apologize for any upset or hurt my tweet caused him or any of the brave victims of Parkland. For the record, I believe my show was the first to feature David immediately after that horrific shooting and even noted how "poised" he was given the tragedy. As always, he’s welcome to return to the show anytime for a productive discussion."
Any student should be proud of a 4.2 GPA —incl. @DavidHogg111. On reflection, in the spirit of Holy Week, I apolog… https://t.co/vxKXPwKJ3o— Laura Ingraham (@Laura Ingraham)1522343174.0
... immediately after that horrific shooting and even noted how "poised" he was given the tragedy. As always, he’s… https://t.co/Oge63OW0Sf— Laura Ingraham (@Laura Ingraham)1522343213.0
Ingraham's apology didn't sound sincere. But she had to do it anyway.
It's hard to take Ingraham's apology at face value. Like so many other half-baked apologies from celebrities and politicians, she expressed remorse not on principle but "for any upset or hurt." She then quickly pivoted to taking credit for having previously interviewed him, and offered to have him back on her show — something that would undoubtably be good for her ratings and advertisers.
Hogg himself doesn't buy it, writing:
I 100% agree an apology in an effort just to save your advertisers is not enough. I will only accept your apology only if you denounce the way your network has treated my friends and I in this fight. It’s time to love thy neighbor, not mudsling at children.
Focus less on fear and more on facts. Then we can save lives in this country together.— David Hogg (@David Hogg)1522350407.0
Holding Ingraham and others accountable is the right thing to do and shows a better way forward.
It's totally fine to disagree with Parkland survivors and their ideas. It's not fine to make personal attacks that have nothing to do with the issue at hand.
It should be the standard for anyone in any debate.
That Hogg and his fellow students are leading the way here is yet another way they're showing all of us that there's a different way to do things.