Reminder from Don Lemon: You're a bad guy if you criticize the Parkland students

Via Newsbusters. In Lemon’s defense, you need to remember that CNN is little more than a gun-control Super PAC now. He’s just doing his job.

Some CNN hosts, in fact, have admittedly declined to do their journalism duties when a sympathetic anti-gun guest was on air.

[Brian] Stelter just blurted out that he let the gun control advocate get away with lying to CNN’s viewers. “A disservice is a strong word, but when I was interviewing David Hogg only ten days after the massacre, there were a few times I wanted to jump in and say let’s correct that fact,” he said.

Cupp immediately wanted to know if Stelter ever corrected the record. According to Stelter, he let most of the lies stand as truth and just tried to make excuses. “And at one of the times I did and other times I did not. There’s always that balance, how many times you’re going to interrupt,” he argued. A blatant double standard that would not fly if Hogg was from the right or someone on Fox News.

Why interrupt when you have a VIP in the new gun-control movement on your show spouting comforting falsehoods for CNN viewers? Do you want to get national gun policies changed or don’t you?

A Twitter pal told me today that the media’s treatment of the Parkland kids reminds him in a way of the “clown nose off, clown nose on” game played by politically minded comics like Jon Stewart and Jimmy Kimmel. When Stewart and Kimmel are opining, the clown nose comes off. They’re making trenchant points about the right-wing enemy and their arguments should be taken seriously by voters. When the right takes them seriously and counterattacks, the clown nose goes back on: They’re just comedians, man. Lighten up. You’re embarrassing yourself by trying to joust with a court jester.

The Parkland students also have a dual identity that can be switched out as political circumstances require. When they’re attacking, they’re the inspiring young leaders of a policy push that’s going to succeed where so many adult-led efforts have failed. Don’t dismiss them because of their age. They know what they’re talking about and they deserve to be heard. Then, when they’re heard and criticized for their arguments or their rhetoric, they’re the apolitical child victims of a horrendous tragedy. You want to bicker about policy with … a kid? Whose friends were just murdered? What is wrong with you?

You’re a bad guy, as Don Lemon would, and did, say.

I think David Hogg’s become the lightning rod for most right-wing criticism, both measured and conspiratorial, partly because he’s been the canniest about exploiting that dual identity. Case in point:

“The goal of dividing America.” No Parkland student has been as divisive and inflammatory as Hogg has. “They’re pathetic f***ers that want to keep killing our children,” he said recently of the NRA, adding, “they could have blood from children spattered all over their faces and they wouldn’t take action because they will still see those dollar signs.” Anyone who takes money from the NRA, like Marco Rubio, is likewise abhorrent. Presumably so is anyone who’s joined or donated to the organization. And if you support its goals whether or not you’ve joined or donated, there’s no logical reason why you shouldn’t be accused of “killing our children” too. Hogg isn’t stupid; he must realize how divisive his own rhetoric is. But he also knows his dual identity means he has an endless line of political credit from the likes of CNN to say this without serious challenge. His moral authority, to the political class, is absolute.

No matter how ridiculous the situation gets:

Of course innocent apolitical children won’t endorse candidates. Politics is a grimy business for fallen adults. But if you decide to vote against child-killing bloodsuckers like Marco Rubio and the GOP, who could blame you?

Here’s a truthbomb for you. Hogg, precisely because he’s so inflammatory and ubiquitous on cable news, has become a political liability to his classmates and his cause. You’re not going to see that show up in polls because people don’t want to be considered “bad guys” for saying so. Everyone does (or should) have sympathy for him and the other student gun-grabbers for what they’ve been through; Lemon’s not wrong to suggest that some of the rhetorical bombthrowing is just catharsis to blow off the stress of trauma. But there are adults at CNN and elsewhere who are happy to exploit that for political reasons and the law-abiding gun owners who are being called child-killers by their teenaged proxy naturally resent it. If Hogg’s adult allies were smart they’d ask him to rein it in, if only as a tactical matter, in the interests of the cause. But this is mostly about catharsis for them too. That’s why he’s on TV 24/7 now.