Right-wing activists and media figures went all-out in their attacks on the March for Our Lives gun reform rallies on Saturday, including attacking the rallies’ funding and organization, blaming “political correctness” and comparing Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school shooting survivor David Hogg to Adolf Hitler.
Hundreds of thousands of people gathered in Washington, D.C., and in cities across the country to call for stricter gun laws and call out politicians who have received funding and support from the National Rifle Association. Polling shows that most Americans support the march’s calls for gun reform.
Predictably, right-wing pundits went after billionaire George Soros—conservative activists’ favorite bogeyman—in an effort to minimize the legitimacy of the protests. Breitbart radio host Joel Pollak said it was “no surprise” that the march was a “Soros production.” The site’s sports editor Dylan Gwinn said that “we all know that these kids are being coached.”
Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones said that teenager-led March for Our Lives marches were “scripted and funded by the Democrats” and said that the “welfare queens” attending the rallies “all look mentally ill.” Infowars editor-at-large Paul Joseph Watson wrote that the “real agenda” behind the March for Our Lives rallies was “the end of the Second Amendment, by force if necessary.”
Feeding into the claims that the march had been orchestrated by liberal mega-donors, Pro-Trump media troll Jack Posobiec live-streamed video of the buses that some activists had used to travel to D.C., reporting on the shocking detail that organizers had coordinated with security staff to park the buses in a secure area. He encouraged viewers to call the companies that owned the buses to find out who had hired them.
“Who paid for the buses? Where did they come from? What’s their funding?” Posobiec asked on the stream.
Right-wing cartoonist Ben Garrison made a bizarre comic in reaction to the march that features CNN firing “Marxism” bullets out of a gun with Hogg’s head on it:
The ASSault Weapon #BenGarrison #Cartoon #DavidHogg #MarchForOurLives =March for Tyranny #GunControlNever #MolonLabe
read post at https://t.co/xtYTxm5yEW #2ndAmendmentRights Extra Strong Triple shot of Freedom- https://t.co/zG0N2hshjw pic.twitter.com/LPLOs094jC
— BenGarrison Cartoons (@GrrrGraphics) March 25, 2018
The Daily Wire founder and conservative speaker Ben Shapiro faulted the media for “using these kids to push their preferred message” and complained about the criticism that conservatives who have attacked the student organizers had faced. From Shapiro’s column:
The kids are entitled to their opinion, of course. But we’re entitled to criticize those opinions as shallow and uninformed, as well as nasty and non-evidence-based.
Here’s the truth: the media have been using these kids to push their preferred message. It is that simple. That’s not the fault of the kids, who get to make their case to whomever will hear it. It is the fault of the adults who claim to be objective, but covered the March for Our Lives in blanket fashion, even though it was attended by approximately 200,000 people — a number that has been repeatedly surpassed by the media-ignored March for Life.
The gun control debate is a serious one. Everyone should take part. And every opinion should be taken with precisely the same amount of attention to evidence and logic. It’s a pathetic form of identity politics to say that arguments made by victims are unimpeachable.
Other writers at The Daily Wire attempted to minimize the march by saying that it drew fewer people than predicted; pointing to the time rapper Vic Mensa—who performed at the march—was arrested for carrying a concealed weapon in his car’s glovebox with the incorrect permit; and promoting a video edited to depict liberal protesters to be naïve.
The National Review went after Hogg specifically, with columnist Joe Bissonnette calling him a “useful idiot” in his March 26 column:
David Hogg is a 17-year-old student from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, the scene of the most recent tragic school shooting. Hogg is basking in his 15 minutes of fame at an embarrassingly early age, and so we might avert our eyes from his much-viewed display of ingratitude, sanctimony, and profanity, except that we can’t, because manipulative adults in the media are deploying him as a useful idiot. Older useful idiots are also in attendance: George Clooney, Dennis Rodman, and of course Kim Kardashian. But people who cherry-pick the tragic, the emotional, and the strange to form a national narrative have cast their klieg light on David Hogg, and so in predictably sophomoric fashion he believes himself to be an oracle.
Turning Point USA president Charlie Kirk told Fox News that he believed it was ironic that there was armed security at the gun reform march.
Townhall senior columnist Kurt Schlichter told his followers on Twitter that “the left wants to stop you from daring to criticize the lies their puppets are telling,” referring to the teenage Parkland shooting survivors, and urged his fans to “say exactly what you think about these lying ventriloquist dummies.”
In response to March for Our Lives, Advocates for Victims of Illegal Alien Crime, a group that was launched last year with the help of Rep. Steve King that attempts to highlight cases of crimes by documented immigrants, posted on its Facebook page that “Illegal Aliens” were “more dangerous than assault rifles and should be BANNED from our country.”
Far-right podcast host Stefan Molyneux said that “what killed those kids was political correctness,” before claiming that liberals invented the idea of “white racism” to avoid confronting racial differences in arrest records. He claimed that the shooter responsible for the high school shooting in Parkland, Florida, would have been arrested before he committed mass murder if police officers hadn’t been reluctant to arrest students of color because of concern about the “school-to-prison pipeline.” (Conservative firebrand Ann Coulter also blamed “political correctness” in a column last month.)
Right-wing trolls also went after Parkland survivor Emma González, digitally altering footage of a photoshoot she did for Teen Vogue to make it appear as if she was tearing a copy of the Constitution. The real footage features González ripping up a shooting target.
Justy a sample of what NRA supporters are doing to teenagers who survived a massacre (real picture on the right). pic.twitter.com/czX7IHD8ur
— Don Moynihan (@donmoyn) March 25, 2018
Rebel Media talk radio host John Cardillo also swiped at González for wearing a jacket at the march that had a Cuban flag patch on it—González’s father fled Fidel Castro’s regime in Cuba—and claimed that it displayed her “support of an oppressive communist regime.” Many others also criticized the Cuban flag patch, including Rep. Steve King, who attempted to mock González on Facebook.
Some right-wing media even went so far as to compare teenage marchers to “Hitler Youth” and liken Hogg to Nazi Party leaders like Adolf Hitler. Yesterday, Breitbart gun columnist AWR Hawkins penned a piece dedicated to the bogus idea that Hogg had thrown up a “Nazi Salute” at the end of his speech. Conspiracy theory outlet Infowars uploaded a video attacking Hogg that featured an image of Hogg alongside Adolf Hitler.
Mike Flynn Jr., son of former national security adviser Michael Flynn, posted a digitally altered photo that depicts Hogg as Hitler:
Sometimes showing something extreme helps get the point across…
As long as Americans are armed en masse, there will never be an Adolph Hitler here. Nor will there ever be a Mao Zedong or a Joseph Stalin. pic.twitter.com/95LtaxnCkF
— 🇺🇸MFLYNNJR🇺🇸 (@mflynnJR) March 25, 2018
Glenn Beck wrote an article criticizing the march organizers, who he said “weaponized a bunch of kids to do their dirty work.” Beck wrote:
Anyway, I digress. Hogg continued, “WE CAN and WE WILL change the world!” With that, he thrust his clenched fist into the air in triumph. Wait… What’s up with the clenched fist? That’s never been a symbol for ANY of the #NeverAgain activities, but — there he was — brandishing the call sign for the anti-Trump resist movement.
His classmate, Emma Gonzales, gave her speech rocking a Cuban flag patch on her army green jacket. So, we’ve got two kids advocating against the second amendment, while at the same time repping the Resist movement and Communism.
I think it’s time to point out the obvious here… There’s more going on here than just guns, and Leftists all over the country — ADULT LEFTISTS — have weaponized a bunch of kids to do their dirty work.
Right-wing conspiracy theorist and Infowars “reporter” Laura Loomer posted a selfie in response to the march, in which she wore a jacked with a patch that reads: “I don’t need feminism. I carry a 9mm.” Loomer also chided activists who ran a voter registration booth at a benefit concert held the night before the march.
Fox News contributor Tomi Lahren also joined in with her own response selfie picturing her posing with a handgun tucked into her yoga pants.