Tuesday, February 27, 2018

WSJ Piece Easily Explains The Confidence, Media Savvy Of Parkland FL Students

Image result for delaney tarr photos
"We are coming after every single one of you and demanding that you take action, demanding that you make a change!"  The words of Delaney Tarr, a senior at Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland FL.

Let's admit that the Right's screechy knotheads  - twisting themselves into knots at the media savvy of the Parkland  FL students,  still convinced they're all "paid crisis actors"-  need to get a life, or learn more.  I am convinced their cockeyed "theories"  arise because: a) they don't know enough about what they're criticizing, and b) they too often sell fellow humans too short, or at least give them no more credit for brains or talent than they themselves possess.  They pretty well did the same thing a year or so ago when protesters appeared at numerous town halls in Red states to protest the GOP plan to overturn Obamacare  The Right's troglodytes blamed the  massive assemblies and outspokenness on "paid protesters."   As if anyone seriously had to be  paid to protest in Trump's Amerikka.

So it was really no surprise to see these clueless yahoos come out again to accuse the articulate students of Stoneman Douglas, including the brilliant Delaney Tarr (who really IS Mensa member material), David Hogg, Cameron Kasky and Emma Gonzalez (another Mensan in waiting) of being paid crisis actors.  Collectively the posts questioned the honesty and credibility of the grieving students as they spoke out against gun violence.  For example, online media sites including Gateway Pundit, Reddit, 4chan and YouTube swelled with false ­allegations that Hogg was ­secretly a “crisis actor” playing the part of a grieving student in local and national television news reports.

Another troll  (Kelley Campbell) responded sarcastically to one of Delaney's appearances, bellowing: "FAKE NEWS!  You can't just walk into a building with $130 and walk out with an AR -15".   But if this turd had thought a bit more, assuming he had the brains, he'd have perceived that Delaney couldn't possibly have been an actor.  This is because any professional actor (actress) would not have made the error of citing the too low cost of an AR purchase as $130, when it actually runs upward of $1200.  My point? It showed these kids really are....just kids...they have media savvy but when they're passionately speaking out their hearts tend to lead their heads and  they don't always have all the friggin' facts in tow. Give 'em a break, for god's sake.

Same thing with senior Sam Zeif when - in the midst of a passionate speech at the Trump "listen in"  last week  -  misspoke, i.e. saying that the Australians changed their gun laws after a "school shooting" in 1999. It was after a tourist massacre in 1996.  But again, these are errors of fact  a kid would make, but I'd argue not a professional "crisis actor" who'd have his or her script well prepared and double checked.  (Of course, there is a species of hyper cynical skeptic who'd assert a kid woud deliberately include erroneous claims ,...to present themselves as an unknowing....student.)

But anyway, we can thank two beat writers (Arian Campo-Flores and Nicole Hong)  on the staff of The Wall Street Journal for scuttling these stupid memes with a piece that gives a prosaic account ('From Shooting To Gun Control Movement')  of why these Stoneman  Douglas students are so good in their media exchanges.   As we learn from the piece- and this ought to be required reading for all the loopy naysayers at Reddit, 4chan, Gateway Pundit and other blogs:

"The students at Stoneman aren't like those who witnessed previous mass shootings at Columbine High School in 1999, or Virginia Tech in 2007. They are digital natives, at one with the language and power of smartphones and social media.  That is one reason why the movement they started, dubbed #NeverAgain, has become a nationwide phenomenon in barely a few days, and shows signs of becoming the kind of campaign success that a company or politician can only dream of."


"In particular they have used Twitter to build a grass-roots network of activity leading to school walkouts around the country by students protesting violence."

The kids know no fear, i.e. they are also "tweeting directly at Donald Trump".  You can also thank the Stoneman Douglas kids for mounting a successful boycott social media campaign - under the hashtag #BoycottNRA - for already getting 17 companies to no longer honor NRA member discounts. These include:  United Airlines, Delta, Best  Western Hotels,  and assorted car rentals (Hertz, Avis), MetLife as well as computer security company Symantec.(WSJ, Feb. 23-24, p. B4) 

 As the piece put it, companies "are reacting to the social media pressure ....energized by the emotional calls for gun control from the survivors of the shooting rampage at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida."

And why not? If Diaper Donnie Dotard can tweet profusely with so much balderdash content and stir up division and upheaval in our nation, why can't intelligent kids create their own social media firestorms? Including slapping the imp down and getting companies to abandon the NRA.

Another key aspect showing these are not professional actors as the Right's trolls seem to think:

"The messages are expressed in genuine teenage voices   alternating between lighthearted selfies and posts about how they are coping with the trauma."

Even more impressive, in four days these kids have raised $2.2 million in an online fundraiser for a rally next month (March 24th).  Much of this action was mounted by the students themselves meeting at one of their homes with personal computers, smartphones etc. at the ready. `

What makes these Stoneman Douglas kids so damned smart? Delaney Tarr explained it in a nutshell in one answer to a VOX interview (see link at bottom):

"So many of us are in politics clubs. So many of us are in AP government. We dedicate ourselves to this. We dedicate ourselves to learning about this. So we are in a place where we are lucky enough to know what to say, to know what to talk about, and to know what changes need to be made."

So - to the consternation of the Right's trolls - it's not like any of these youngsters need coaching from us liberals. They already have the academic and other wherewithal to succeed on their own  - and the social media aptitude to organize huge marches (like on Mar 24th) as well as to get large companies to boycott the NRA.

Still, their optimism and actions have opened up even darker forces on the net to pump in more fake news than ever. As reported in The Sunday Denver Post ('Incidents Show Dark Online Battle', p. 10A):, trolls have now taken to using software tools to create Twitter posts and a phony Miami Herald story  - including copying the paper's font and masthead - to scare the bejeezus out of already fretful citizens.

In one incident the software was used to create two fake twitter posts - from a Miami Herald reporter (Alex Harris) asking "Where are the photos of the dead bodies?" Again hearkening back to the Sandy Hook episode, in which  Reich trolls deemed "no one really died", the victims were just actors playing a role in a gov't false flag operation..

In the second incident, a full Herald story was created under the byline of Herald columnist Monique O. Madan, claiming that a "Miami-Dade middle school faced threats of potentially catastrophic events on upcoming dates."- indicating a new mass shooting was imminent.  Screenshots of the fake story were then passed along Twitter and Snapchat.

Aminda Marques, executive Herald reporter quoted in the piece, said:

"This is hampering our ability to cover this terrible story in our own backyard because we're having to deal with the backlash"

But WHY is there a backlash to genuine  news accounts of human tragedy on the scale of this school massacre? What manner of human swine or reptile resorts to such perfidy? Author Susan Jacoby has provided many answers in her book, 'The Age Of American Unreason In A Culture of Lies',  forcefully arguing that too many are responsible for their own ignorance  and have also fostered - by their anti-intellectual attitudes and bias ignorance at the highest levels of government. In other words the ascension to power of a dangerous, degenerate ignoramus like Trump reflects on that segment of the electorate responsible.  Much of this due to "junk thought" that makes no effort to separate fact from opinion or deliberately faked news such as circulated by trolls that generated the  mock Miami Herald stories.

Yes, the trolls and fake news generators definitely merit a measure of blame for attempting to distract and mislead people. But, citizens also share part of the blame if they lack the critical thinking skills to separate trash from truth and reach a stage (as the Post article describes) where "they are unsure what to believe.". That development of critical thinking - and specifically a "nose"  for truth - necessitates reading widely and critically,  from diverse sources - especially to cross check stories purported to be true but which are fake to the core.

To see the transcript of a recent interview with Delaney Tarr go to:


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