In the days leading up to Good Friday, my Twitter and Facebook feeds erupted over the riff between Laura Ingraham, the best-selling author and conservative talk show host, and David Hogg.
Hogg is the 17-year old student “journalist,” senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., and now a prominent gun control activist.
What was the cause of the spat that had garnered wall-to-wall, play-by-play coverage by the national news media?
Improbably, it was about some of Hogg’s college admission applications. In an interview with the celebrity gossip website TMZ.com, Hogg stated he had been declined admission by UCLA and some other colleges.
David Hogg Rejected By Four Colleges To Which He Applied and whines about it. (Dinged by UCLA with a 4.1 GPA…totally predictable given acceptance rates.) https://t.co/wflA4hWHXY
— Laura Ingraham (@IngrahamAngle) March 28, 2018
Although hardly newsworthy, Hogg’s response was telling.
He minimized his rejection by lauding the fact that he’s, “changing the world.” He explained there are a lot of other “amazing” people “that do things like I do,” “that [sic] don’t get into college.”
Naturally, the reporter didn’t ask Hogg how he’s “amazing” and how he’s “changing the world.”
Would Hogg, who had survived a mass shooting in which several of his classmates were murdered, allow himself to be wounded by a simple tweet?
Apparently, yes. Forget sticks and stones; words hurt Hogg.
In response to her tweet, Hogg called for an advertiser boycott of Ingraham’s show on Fox News Channel. There, she advocates against his signature issue: gun-control.
Fifteen advertisers bailed on Ingraham’s program, including Bayer; Ruby Tuesday; Liberty Mutual Insurance; The Atlantis Paradise Island resort; Office Depot; Jenny Craig; Hulu; Nutrish; TripAdvisor; Expedia; Wayfair; Stitch Fix; Nestle; Johnson & Johnson and Miracle-Ear, CBS News reported.
Ingraham Tweeted an apology:
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. For the record, I believe my show was the first to feature David…(1/2)
— Laura Ingraham (@IngrahamAngle) March 29, 2018
Nonetheless, Hogg kept up the pressure and rejected Ingraham’s apology, saying “a bully is a bully and it’s important you stand up to them.”
But is Ingraham a bully? A bully is someone who uses one’s strength or power to intimidate or harm a weaker person typically to get the weaker person to do what the bully wants.
How is tweeting that another is “whining” intimidating or harming that person? Ingraham had even invited Hogg onto her her show, allowing him to tell his story and make a pitch for his case. She referred to him as “incredibly poised.”
That doesn’t sound like a bully. So, who’s the bully?
That would be Hogg, who’s using his notoriety as a rhetorical club to shut down Ingraham’s speech. She gave as good as she got, lampooning Hogg’s remarks at the March for Our Lives.
Still, Ingraham is only as strong as each combined advertiser and a boycott hits Fox where it hurts. Hogg, meanwhile, gets to be an adult when he attacks. But he’s a child when he defends.
And, Ingraham isn’t Hogg’s only target of criticism.
Hogg criticized U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, R-Fla., of taking money from the National Rifle Association. Rubio has taken more than $1 million from the lobbying group over the course of his career, records show.
Hogg excoriated politicians supported by the NRA for, “allow[ing] the continued slaughter of our children.”
In a profanity-laced interview with MarketWatch, Hogg complained that “Our parents don’t know how to use a f-king democracy, so we have to.”
All of this childish vitriol and vulgarity and yet Hogg graced the cover of Time Magazine with the other Parkland survivots.
Flush with power from his new celebrity, Hogg is acting like most children do when given power for the first time. They wield it like a dictator and move to quash any dissent.
The mainstream media, who are supposed to be defenders of free speech, have not dared to stand up to Hogg’s bullying of Ingraham.
The self-described “child,” David Hogg, needs a rhetorical spanking. Who is brave and principled enough in the mainstream media to give it to him?
Marc A. Scaringi, an attorney, is a PennLive Opinion contributor, whose work appears biweekly. He writes from Camp Hill.