It was not a easy day for right-wing TV.
The streets of Washington, D.C. were filled with ten of thousands of protesters, young and old, who packed the Mall to demonstrate against gun violence. According to organizers at the March For Our Lives there were more than 840 protests taking place across the world — the vast majority within the U.S. but some as far away as Ghana and South Korea.
For the pundits of the right-wing ecosystem, the march presented a particular headache in terms of how to cover it, particularly as they were the target of the protesters anger on at least one occasion, when a highlight clip played of them lambasting calls for gun control.
So reactions ranged. On Friday evening, Fox News host Tucker Carlson decided to go on the offensive by labeling Marjory Stonemen Douglas High School students David Hogg and Emma Gonzalez “extremists.” “If you honestly don’t care what the people who disagree with you think, if you believe they want to ‘murder more children’ who are you?” Carlson asked. “You’re definitely not fit to be making policy for the rest of us. You are by definition an extremist.”
On Saturday morning, Fox & Friends tried to ignore the issue as much as they could — focusing instead on welcoming back co-host Abby Huntsman. What coverage they did devoted to March for Our Lives was mainly to emphasize the idea that these teenagers had been led to protest by the liberal bias of Hollywood and MTV.
“We know that most networks, most Hollywood stars, certainly MTV, has a liberal bias so I’m not at all surprised by this,” guest Julie Gunlock told Fox & Friends. “I do think to some degree all these marches, all this agitation, these Hollywood stars, leads to a little bit of protest fatigue. People get a little tired of hearing about this after a while.”
Other pundits adopted for a more earnest, you-don’t-know-what-you’re-talking-about routine. “Simply being anti-NRA is not a solution,” Tomi Lahren tweeted. “March FOR something, not just against everything.” Lahren doesn’t seem able to comprehend the fact that protestors today were marching for something pretty straightforward — sensible gun control legislation.
Meanwhile, new data showed that the NRA drastically increased its online advertising just four days after the Parkland shooting. According to data company Pathmatics, the NRA spent six times its usual amount on digital advertising in the wake of Parkland — primarily on Facebook. Average daily spending jumped from $11,300 to $47,300.