Some of the most vocal student activists from Parkland have learned the hard way that once when you enter the public arena, disgusting things can and will be said about you. David Hogg was no exception.
Just days after the shooting, an ugly conspiracy theory went viral among the fringe that Hogg was some sort of “crisis actor.” Another story circulated that alleged that he wasn’t even at the high school when it happened. Between the anonymous trolls and the vile remarks made by folks like Ted Nugent and Frank Stallone, Hogg has been unfairly maligned.
He and the other students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School went through a horrific event and the entire Parkland community has a lot of healing ahead of them. And it is truly inspiring to see several students and parents engage in a national discussion on how to prevent a tragedy like this from happening again.
But if we’re speaking honestly, Hogg is no longer just a victim of bullying.
For weeks, he has been smearing those who oppose his views on gun control. He referred to the National Rifle Association as “child murderers” and accused Dana Loesch of not caring about children’s lives. He targeted Republican Sen. Marco Rubio by claiming he’s bribed by the NRA in exchange for the lives of Florida students and slammed Republicans as “sick f–kers” for not aligning with his gun reform stance. At the March For Our Lives, Hogg furthered his attacks on Rubio by bringing with him an NRA price tag as a form of political theater, which he later argued wasn’t “provocative enough.”
Then came his feud with Fox News host Laura Ingraham.
Ingraham mocked Hogg on Twitter for not getting into several colleges despite his high GPA. Her tweet was petty, mean-spirited, and wrong but in no way was it an “attack” on Hogg as many of his defenders have described it. In return, Hogg launched an ad boycott campaign that was quickly backed by the leftwing group Media Matters. More than a dozen companies have already pulled their ads. Ingraham offered an apology, which he swiftly rejected, adding that he’d only accept it if she denounced Fox News’ coverage of him and his pro-gun control friends.
Most people can acknowledge that Ingraham’s tweet was in poor taste and that made Hogg look like the bigger person, but despite already winning the court of public opinion, he has truly gotten carried away with his victory.
For starters, he said on CNN that Ingraham needed to “stand down,” an admission of what his true goal was with his ad boycott campaign, which was to not only cancel her show but to silence her as a prominent conservative voice. And now, he’s demanding she apologize to LeBron James for telling him to “shut up and dribble,” a remark she has similarly made in the past to other celebrities and entertainers she doesn’t agree with whenever they opine on politics, and to others he thinks she has “bullied.”
Ingraham is a lot of things, but she isn’t a bully, at least in regards to her tweets and commentary. Oddly enough, the only bully here is David Hogg.
Between the celebrity status he has garnered these past several weeks and the media allowing him to say anything he wants without any pushback, Hogg now feels entitled to besmirch his political opponents with unyielding power. Aided by his borderline cult following, Hogg is leading the charge to destroy Ingraham because of a stupid, mildly-offensive tweet. And the punishment she’s receiving was the exact one used on Bill O’Reilly after he was exposed for harassment. Was Ingraham’s wrongdoing on par with a sexual predator? Of course not. Yet, she’s currently receiving the exact same career death sentence.
Hogg has been skillfully playing two roles interchangeably these past several weeks. The first is a fierce gun control activist. The second is a teen survivor of a mass shooting. With one, he’s allowed to viciously attack those who don’t bow down to him on gun policy. With the other, he weaponizes his victimhood status whenever someone dares to question, criticize, or mock him. So the rest of us must figure out if we should treat him like the child he actually is or like the adult he pretends to be.
When you choose to enter the public arena, no one is above criticism, not even these outspoken Parkland students. If someone is wrong or has stepped out of bounds, they should be called out. Hogg has every right to share his beliefs and if he thinks Ingraham’s apology was insufficient, so be it. That being said, it is a falsehood to believe his campaign to end her career is on behalf of all Parkland students and their movement. This is simply about him and how a mean lady hurt his feelings. Nothing more, nothing less.
If David Hogg is the victim of unfair attacks, he deserves defending. But if he is the one making unfair attacks like he has been, we should acknowledge that he has become a bully.