- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Survivors of the Florida student shooting continue to be a presence in the news media, and their outreach has swiftly increased in size, scope and sophistication — now rife with strategic social media, crafted slogans and complex organization.

On Wednesday, some journeyed to the capital, Tallahassee, for an appearance before state legislature; others attended a White House listening session with President Trump. Many more will head for several major marches and rallies next month calling for increased gun control. Meanwhile, critics have faulted some news organizations, accusing them of “exploiting” the young people in via emotionally charged coverage.

Some point beyond the news, however, and into pure politics.

“What has happened here is that the American left and the Democrat Party pounced — and then seized on this event immediately for the purposes of using it to advance their agenda. The kids are still in shock. None of them would want to go through this again. Nobody will want to see a gun again after this. They are and remain in full-grief mode,” Rush Limbaugh pointed out to his 10 million listeners, pondering what appears to be the near instant large scale organization in the aftermath.

“The kids didn’t rent these buses. The kids haven’t paid their own money to hire the drivers. And I don’t think the kids are buying enough food to feed everybody. They don’t have the ability. Somebody organized all of this for them, and somebody is assisting this. And that’s where I think the Democrats are involved. That’s where I think the American left and its activist community-organizing organizations are,” Mr. Limbaugh observed.

Progressives have their own take.

“Has the NRA finally met its match? After Parkland, a generation is rising up, giving hope for a bold new gun-control movement,” writes Katha Pollitt, a columnist for The Nation, who adds that “too many of us well-meaning liberal/progressive adults have been cowed by the gun lobby” — and that the young protesters “have changed the conversation.”


New fundraising numbers from the Federal Election Commission reveal that the Republican National Committee is in fine fettle. The Democratic National Committee, not so much.

“If hemorrhaging money were an Olympic sport, the DNC would easily win the gold after filing yet another terrible FEC report,” says Michael Ahrens, communication director for the RNC. “Accounting for debt, the DNC has only $1.8 million in cash — just eight months out from the midterms. The RNC has 23 times that.”

He’s got a point. The Republicans raised $12.4 million in January, and now has $144.9 million in its war chest, with no debt. The Democrats raised $6.1 million last month, have $72.1 million in the till and are now $5.6 million in debt.

“A well-funded RNC means a well-funded ground game and data operation in the states, and the RNC already has field staff in two dozen of them,” notes Mr. Ahrens.


Campus Reform, a project of the non-partisan Leadership Institute, has flagged a new writing and grammar guide just published by Purdue University that cautions against stereotypes and promotes “non-sexist language.” Use of the word “man” is now a no-no.

“Although MAN in its original sense carried the dual meaning of adult human and adult male, its meaning has come to be so closely identified with adult male that the generic use of MAN and other words with masculine markers should be avoided,” the publication advises.

Among terms which are frowned upon: mankind, man-made, the common man, and man hours. The acceptable alternatives are, respectively, humanity or people, human achievements, average person and staff hours.

“Avoid the use of MAN in occupational terms when persons holding the job could be either male or female,” the guide says.

Chairman, businessman, and congressman are now among the no-no words — to be replaced by coordinator or presiding officer, business person and congressional representative.


No wonder the competition is nervous. Fox News Channel continues to dominate the entire cable realm according to Nielsen Media Research — drawing larger audiences than CNN and MSNBC, as well as NBC Sports and TNT — including coverage of the Olympics and NBA.

Fox News coverage of the Florida student shootings also made up five of the top 10 telecasts overall, according to Nielsen.

Good news also for Fox Business Network, which continues to dominate CNBC, with a 22 percent ratings advantage over its rival. In the online world, NewsWhip — an industry source — says that the Fox News Facebook page was the “most engaged” of any English-language Facebook site in the world last month, garnering 25 million user visits in January, ahead of such competition as NBC and The New York Times.


The International Olympic Committee added four new events to the 2018 Winter Olympic sports this year: big air snowboarding, “mass starting” speedskating, mixed doubles curling, and mixed team Alpine skiing

The public, however, has suggestions on a few more winter events. Yes, there’s a survey.

“What other Olympic sporting events should be added to the Winter Games?” asked a Harris Poll just as the games got underway.

The results: 23 percent want dog sled racing, 16 percent snowmobiling, 15 percent speed skiing, 13 percent ice climbing and 11 percent downhill ice skating.

“There was no polling of America’s dogs to get their opinion,” the pollster adds.


68 percent of Americans favor funding the study of mental health and gun violence; 65 percent of Republicans, 63 percent of independents and 77 percent of Democrats agree.

65 percent of Americans overall favor spending $50 million to increase emergency planning and hire officers and counselors in schools; 68 percent of Republicans, 60 percent of independents and 68 percent of Democrats agree.

57 percent overall favor stationing armed guards at all schools; 77 percent of Republicans, 54 percent of independents and 45 percent of Democrats agree.

48 percent say the Florida school shooting was “a mental health problem not a guns situation”; 77 percent of Republicans, 50 percent of independents and 25 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: An Economist/YouGov poll of 1,478 U.S. adults conducted Feb. 18-29.

Follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin

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