When Laura Ingraham set off on a tweet rampage to demean young David Hogg she unwittingly took on the wrong person. She criticized David, who incidentally has a 4.2 grade average, for having failed to be admitted to four different colleges. David is one of the leading voices emerging from the Stoneman Douglas shootings, so how is her tweet relevant to the issues surrounding gun control? Her inference is that he is not a good enough student to have a meaningful opinion. It’s the lowest kind of smear, a cowardly personal attack on a young high school student, one that she obviously thought would be easy for her to pull off. After all, she’s a powerful host on a Fox News show with a significant audience and influence and he’s just a young kid new to the public eye. She could not have been more wrong because she stepped into a pile of her own doo and slipped. In an instant, Goliath had fallen to the young David.
How did this happen? It’s significant to realize that she chose Twitter as the battlefield for her hate campaign, not her news program. This was a calculated move. I’m sure she thought this gave Fox News cover while allowing them to attack young David off-air through her, personally on Twitter. Ah, but if you think Fox was not behind it, then you are surely wrong. How else did she learn that David had been rejected by four colleges if not through Fox. Don’t be fooled into believing that she took it upon herself to seek damaging information on young David. No, this was done by Fox researchers and cleverly calculated to avoid negative public reaction by focusing Fox’s message to her devoted followers on Twitter. It reads like this, “David is too stupid to know what he is talking about.”
So, young David set about on a campaign of his own, shaming no less than eight sponsors to her show to drop their advertising. Ouch. Backtracking under the cover of being in a generous mood during Holy Week, Ingraham apologized, but her efforts to repair the financial damage were in vain as David had the last word: “She’s only apologizing after a third of her advertisers pulled out…I think it’s great that corporate America is standing with me and the rest of my friends because when you come against any one of us, whether it be me or anybody else, you’re coming against all of us. And I think it’s important that we stand together as both corporate and civic America to take action against these people and show them that they cannot push us around, especially when all we’re trying to do here is save lives.”
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Ingraham apologized again to David after his rebuke. In a second Tweet, she commended him for his 4.2 GPA and reminded him that her show was the first to feature him, making him a recognizable figure in the aftermath of the shootings at his school.
Hogg responded on CNN, “I think it’s really disgusting, the fact that she basically tried promoting her show after apologizing to me.”
Ingraham’s misplaced effort is but one of several examples of just how callous and insensitive GOP and NRA cheerleaders can be. Earlier in the week, Rick Santorum had this to say on CNN’s State of the Union: “How about kids instead of looking to someone else to solve their problem, do something about maybe taking CPR classes or trying to deal with situations that when there is a violent shooter that you can actually respond to that.”
He went on to say that “if the rallies are about more than politics, then the country needs to have a broader discussion that doesn’t revolve around phony gun laws that don’t work” adding, “They took action to ask someone to pass a law. They didn’t take action to say, ‘How do I, as an individual, deal with this problem?’ ”
Just how did Santorum wander into this wasteland of ideas? He followed his convictions rather than any wisdom. There’s an old adage shared by carpenters. It goes like this, “Measure twice. Cut once.” Santorum and Ingraham need to heed this advice and think twice before uttering such ridiculous and hateful comments. Unfortunately, we now live in the age of Trump and these types of expressions have been given permission to form our new normal. We don’t have to accept it. Think twice. For now, they are aiming at you and only shooting themselves in the foot. Tomorrow may be different.