The Slatest

Today in Conservative Media: The Parkland Students Are Now Officially Activists and Fair Game

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student David Hogg speaking at a rally for gun control at the Broward County Federal Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student David Hogg speaking at a rally for gun control at the Broward County Federal Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Rhona Wise/Getty Images

Today in Conservative Media is a daily roundup of the biggest stories in the right-wing press.

Conservative media’s antipathy for Broward County Sherriff Scott Israel continues unabated, with Rich Lowry authoring a piece at National Review declaring: “The Broward County Sheriff Is Everything That’s Wrong with American Authority.” Yikes, that’s bad. How bad? “It’s hard to imagine a more comprehensive and catastrophic failure from beginning to end than that of the sheriff’s office in the Parkland massacre,” Lowry writes. “The Broward County sheriff, whose disgraceful performance in the Stoneman Douglas shooting has been a master class in evasion of responsibility, is the latest entry in why we don’t trust our public institutions.”

The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students’ turn toward gun control activism has caused those on the right to bristle. Most conservative publications have gone to great lengths to separate the students’ suffering from their newfound assertiveness in the national gun debate. National Review’s Charles C. W. Cooke says it is now fair for the gloves to come off, specifically when it comes to one student turned teenage activist: David Hogg.

“For ten days now, Hogg has been as permanent a fixture on the nation’s TV screens as anyone bar the president. In each appearance, he has been invited without reply to share his ideas on our public policy. This he has done, emphatically,” Cooke writes. “At no point has anyone hosting him suggested that his relevance is limited to his capacity to describe his experience; rather, he has in every instance been asked to join a public political fight—a fight, remember, that relates to nothing less foundational than the American Bill of Rights.”

David Hogg is an American, and he should speak as often and as loudly as he wishes. Moreover, if CNN believes that its present monomania will serve it well in the long run, it should continue to give him a platform. But there must be no inoculation for either party, nor must those who agree with the gun-control agenda attempt to shield its purveyors from rebuttal. Hogg did not choose to be involved in a school shooting; that, sadly, was beyond his control. But he has now chosen to play pundit on a topic of import to millions. And, in a free and robust nation, once that line is crossed, all bets are bound to be off.

Ryan Saavedra at the Daily Wire picks up on a Washington Times story that, despite what the media is feeding you, “Schools Are Significantly Safer Today Than In 1990s,” citing a new study from Northeastern University. “Despite the recent tragic shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, a new academic study reports that U.S. schools are safer today than in the 1990s and that there is not an epidemic of school mass shootings as the media suggest,” Saavedra writes. The Washington Times piece he refers to reports that “[the study] shows that mass school shootings are extremely rare, that shootings involving students have been declining since the 1990s, and four times as many children were killed in schools in the early 1990s than today.”

In other news

Speaking of guns in America, Charlie Nash at Breitbart picks up on a story that’s been circulating in far-right Twitter circles that Google has been suppressing gun-sales search results following the Parkland shooting. “Google has removed search results for any product that contains the word ‘gun’ in it, including water guns, toy guns, the band ‘Guns and Roses,’ and even ‘burgundy’ from its shopping section,” Nash writes. “Searches for ‘gun,’ ‘guns,’ ‘pistol,’ ‘pistols,’ ‘AR-15,’ ‘rifle,’ and ‘revolver,’ in the shopping section of Google’s search engine will now fail to return any results, while other searches which have nothing to do with firearms but include the keywords similarly provide no results, including ‘toy guns,’ ‘water guns,’ ‘glue gun,’ ‘Guns and Roses,’ ‘Gundam,’ ‘Top Gun,’ ‘Naked Gun,’ ‘the Man With the Golden Gun,’ ‘Shogun,’ ‘Sex Pistols,’ and even ‘burgundy.’ ”

Reports about President Trump’s son-in-law—and adversary of former Breitbart guru Steve Bannon—Jared Kushner were met with the Breitbart headline: “DOWNGRADE: Kelly Clips Jared’s Security Clearance … No More Top Secret Intel.”

Hayley Byrd covers the upcoming House special election in Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District for the Weekly Standard, profiling moderate Democratic candidate Conor Lamb’s stance on abortion. “[The] moderate Democrat vying to win the special election for Pennsylvania’s 18th District, told The Weekly Standard on Monday that he does not support proposals to ban abortions after 20 weeks, the point at which fetuses can feel pain,” Byrd writes. “Lamb is running in a Republican-dominated district, which Tim Murphy had served since 2003 and which Donald Trump won by 20 points. But this race is close with just more than two weeks to go: A recent Monmouth University poll showed Republican Rick Saccone leading Lamb by just three points.”

Former President Barack Obama spoke at a bizarrely off-the-record MIT sports analytics conference, but Reason got hold of an audio recording and rounded up the pretty anodyne hits from the talk. Charlie Spiering of Breitbart, however, picked up on Obama’s comment that his administration was scandal-free. “We didn’t have a scandal that embarrassed us,” Obama said. “I know that seems like a low bar … generally speaking, you didn’t hear about a lot of drama inside our White House.”

“Conservatives remember the Obama years differently, citing the Fast and Furious scandal, the IRS scandal, wiretapping journalists, the terror attacks in Benghazi, delivering pallets of cash to Iran, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s illegal use of a private email server for government emails,” Spiering writes. “It is unclear why Obama clarified that there were no scandals ‘that embarrassed us.’ ”

Elliot Hannon is a writer in New York City.