As anticipated, on Saturday CNN provided wall-to-wall coverage of the highly promoted March for Our Lives in Washington, DC. The march was portrayed as a revolutionary grassroots movement by left-leaning journalists, who coincidentally happened to share the views of the march’s organizers and speakers.
Before the march officially began, newscasters were already fawning over the teenage participants. CNN’s Fredricka Whitfield interviewed Stoneman Douglas High School student Alfonso Calderon in the lead-up to the event, praising him for helping found the pro-gun control Never Again movement. “As a co-founder of never again, there have been some comparisons made between you and your fellow student body and iconic civil rights icons,” she remarked, evidently oblivious to the irony of describing as a “civil rights” movement an organization which seeks to restrict Americans’ rights.
Parkland survivor David Hogg, another CNN favorite, received some kind words as well. Hogg gave a speech just after 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, in which he lambasted “those politicians supported by the NRA that allow the continued slaughter of our children and our future.” This rhetoric was in line with previous statements he’d made about the NRA, such as his allegation in February that they were “child murderers.”
Understandably, Hogg is not very popular among gun owners. However, following his speech on Saturday, CNN’s Alisyn Camerota attributed the controversy around him to his being “outspoken”:
Okay, you've been listening there to David Hogg. A student, a senior, at Stoneman Douglas high school. We met him in just the hours after the massacre. He was one of the very first students that we interviewed. And since they, he has become one of the loudest and most vocal voices. Because he has been so outspoken, he has taken a lot of criticism from lots of people.
Camerota went on to conflate Hogg’s critics with conspiracy theorists. “In fact,” she lamented, “he's even been the subject of some crazy conspiracy theories. But that's not stopping him.” Hogg has indeed been the central figure in conspiracy theories about the Parkland shooting — the most common one being that he and his classmates were “crisis actors.” CNN’s Anderson Cooper even dedicated a segment to dispelling this rumor, as its prevalence was hurting Hogg’s effectiveness as a gun control advocate.
However, Camerota’s comments left little daylight between pushers of the “crisis actor” story and those with valid criticisms of Hogg’s message.