An attorney friend of mine reminded me of this legal axiom:
“If the facts are against you, argue the law. If the law is against you, argue the facts. If the law and the facts are against you, pound the table and yell like hell.”
That seems to be the case with the Orcosphere and their response to the student leaders from Marjory Stoneman Douglas such as David Hogg and Emma Gonzalez. They can’t counter their powerful pleas for commonsense gun control legislation and taking action against politicians who are on the take from the NRA, so they go for the personal attack.
Six months ago, the conservative radio host and blogger Erick Erickson wrote an opinion piece in the New York Times, inspiringly titled “How to Find Common Ground.”
“We owe it to one another to disagree agreeably, without anger or intimidation,” he wrote, noting that social media has put us all in polarized bubbles.
“A little more grace among us would go a long way toward healing the nation.”
Erickson is one of many who hasn’t done a great job of taking that advice since the massacre of 17 students and school staffers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last month in Parkland, Fla.
“David Hogg Is A High School Bully,” was the headline of a blog post Erickson wrote soon after the shooting, referring to one of the student survivors who has become a leader in pushing for gun-control legislation. He didn’t mean Hogg was looting the lockers of his schoolmates, but, as the sub-headline claimed, “He is using his status as victim to inappropriately and ridiculously attack people while going unchallenged.”
This week, Erickson made it worse: He tweeted to his mass following what turned out to be an utter falsehood, based on an article on the RedState website speculating that Hogg may not have even been at school the day of the shooting.
He urged his audience to believe it, writing this “isn’t a fake news Gateway Pundit story.”
“I spread misinformation from someone that was credible,” Erickson told me by phone, praising the reporting of RedState writer Sarah Rumpf.
“But I didn’t double down on it, and that’s the difference between someone responsible and someone who’s not responsible.”
Erickson stands by his harsh criticism of Hogg and others.
“I do think David Hogg has been a bully,” he told me, particularly in claiming that the National Rifle Association’s leadership has “blood splattered all over their faces” and in criticizing in strong language the NRA’s spokeswoman, “my friend Dana Loesch.”
Being called a bully by the denizens of the right-wing media signals yet another death rattle of irony in this great land. Erick Erickson is Steve Bannon with a better wardrobe, and his inability to retract or apologize for publishing proven falsehoods shows that he’s got the bully act down pat and lacks the maturity to act more like an adult than the teenagers he’s denigrating.