Shortly before the March For Our Lives rally in Washington, D.C., Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student-turned-activist Emma Gonzalez clearly explained the goal of the more than 800 marches and rallies around the world.
Dismissing the notion that she and her fellow survivors were heroes, Gonzalez said that “all we did was keep the door open for everybody else to speak, and it’s something that should have been done long ago.”
Asked what she wanted to come out of the march, she said:
I want and incredibly large voter registration turnout to happen here. I want people who don’t understand what we’re feeling to come away with this thinking, ‘I might understand this.’ … It’s incredibly important to us that we have really really strong voter education and registration, and that we have a lot of people who empathize, rather than feel apathy.
Meanwhile, throughout their morning of coverage, Fox News’ talking heads appeared to be confused as to why the march was happening at all.
The anchors from Fox and Friends kicked off their day by asking Independent Women’s Forum’s Julie Gunlock if the students, while meaning well, weren’t actually “misguided” on gun control. Gunlock agreed with that premise, adding, “I do think to some degree all these marches and Hollywood stars and networks pushing this leads to a little bit of protest fatigue.” Co-host Pete Hegseth ended the interview by sarcastically saying “I take my gun guidance from Miley Cyrus.”
In fact, over the course of the morning, Fox and Friends somehow managed to find a way to devote more of its time to the coverage of co-host Abby Huntsman’s return from maternity leave — complete with montages, video messages from Ambassador to Russia (and father) Jon Huntsman, and live shots of her husband with her new baby — than they did covering of the March for Our Lives.
On Friday night, Lou Dobbs’ program on Fox Business featured a panel which briefly touched on the March For Our Lives. Guest Dom Giordano scolded “I see these kids, the Parkland kids, a couple of them are out of control.”
Dobbs derisively replied: “Isn’t that disgusting? I mean, we’re tuning in to high school assemblies, to get the aggregated wisdom of 18 year olds.”
There was, in general, no small amount of confusion from the network’s presenters as to whether the student activists were just generally angry and directionless, or actually targeting the NRA or Republican politicians.
Fox News anchor Leland Vittert said that while the march is supposed to be a “unified demonstration against gun violence,” it actually “appears based on the signs they’re against other things as well. Student organizers hope that will force Congress into passing comprehensive gun control and improving school safety.”
He then asked a Fox News reporter on the scene “we get that these folks are against a lot of things, NRA signs and the like — is there one unified message that they’re for or they’re just angry?”
Many on Fox tried to position Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions as the ones who were actually taking action on gun control.
Peter Doocey, walking along the Mall in D.C., noted that “a lot of the signs are anti-NRA, anti-Republican lawmakers.”
He said that while the rally seemed very professionally done from a planning perspective, “we have not seen very much about what Congress did yesterday in that omnibus, put in the fix NICS, background check up. But everybody is here and they’re protesting and again, it’s a mixture of homemade signs like this one end gun violence, and then we’ll have professional signs like this one from the Manhattan district attorney’s office.”
In another Fox interview, high school students from Kentucky who said they drove to D.C. because a shooting happened in a neighboring school and they wanted politicians to take meaningful action, no matter what the NRA said.
Fox reporter Griff Jenkins asked why one of the students were carrying a sign that said “No NRA Money” and if she had a message for the NRA. She did.
“I think that a lot of people are using their power for things that are unjust when it comes down to it. Lives mean a lot more than money and sometimes you need to sacrifice your money in order to do what’s right and I think that they need to realize if they want to be on the right side of history then they need to help us out a little bit and save lives of students and teachers.”
The goal of registering voters and encouraging people to make their voices heard at the ballot boxes in November was not limited to Gonzalez’ interview before the rally in D.C.
At the rally in Parkland, Florida Saturday, according to Fox News, organizers were asking people to register to vote, and register 17 other people to vote. The Parkland shooting claimed 17 victims.