The millennials strike again.
The Parkland, Fla., students have not let up since their awe-inspiring March for Our Lives on March 24. This past week, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting survivor David Hogg responded to Fox News host Laura Ingraham’s gratuitous and mean-spirited tweet mocking the 4.2 GPA student for not being accepted into some California schools. (What is wrong with those schools? Perhaps an Ivy League school would be smart to offer him a spot.) This came after she told two African American professional basketball players, LeBron James and Kevin Durant, to “shut up and dribble.”
Rather than return her juvenile taunt in kind, the 17-year-old Hogg rose above it — and then used his new-found fame to summon an advertiser boycott of her show, “The Ingraham Angle.” She apologized, grudgingly and weirdly. “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,” she began the first of two tweets.
If not for Holy Week, would she not have apologized? Hogg didn’t think much of her apology, tweeting: “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.” At any rate, Ingraham’s apology was not only tone-deaf, but too late. Companies including Hulu, Expedia, Johnson & Johnson, Wayfair, TripAdvisor and Nestle have pulled their advertising from her show.
Perhaps Media Matters — Fox’s longtime, progressive nemesis — should hire Hogg. Seriously, Fox News continues to market itself as a legitimate news operation, but legitimate news operations don’t spew conspiracy theories, attack African American athletes, mimic President Trump’s fake facts and malicious attacks, ignore actual news when it is not favorable to Trump or fan the flames of xenophobia. It is increasingly difficult to understand why advertisers want their products associated with an outlet that does more to polarize Americans and wage war on objective reality than Fox.
Tragic circumstances made Hogg a public figure, but young Americans from all walks of life continue to display qualities too many older Americans do not — tolerance, technological sophistication, political engagement, concern for the environment, etc. The Associated Press reports:
A majority of young people believe President Donald Trump is racist, dishonest and “mentally unfit” for office, according to a new survey that finds the nation’s youngest potential voters are more concerned about the Republican’s performance in the White House than older Americans.
The poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and MTV found that just 33 percent of Americans between the ages of 15 and 34 approve of Trump’s job performance. . . . Nearly half of younger Americans, 47 percent, say they’re personally paying closer attention to politics since Trump’s election; 2 in 10 say they’re engaging in political activism more than before.
In an age of cynicism, when the president and many Republicans show contempt for science, women and minorities, the poll discovered that “young people overwhelmingly support watching out for minorities: 69 percent favor a pathway to legal status for immigrants brought to the country illegally as children, 59 percent favor protecting the rights of LGBT citizens, and 58 percent say the same for Muslims.” Sixty-seven percent said they want a health-care system in which ‘the government provides health insurance to all Americans,’ and 60 percent say they want the government to address climate change.
There is no shortage of issues that require the engagement of voters who believe in science as well as the American creed (“All men are created equal . . .”). To Hogg and others in his generation, we can say, well done, and keep it up. Most importantly, vote in November.