Media outlets and individuals across the U.S. have noticed that something is different in the aftermath of last week's school shooting in Florida.
The children are speaking, and they are speaking loudly.
Survivors of the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School have not gone quietly to mourn but are voicing their grief and anger that lives continue to be lost in the United States with no meaningful effort to change the country's gun laws.
But as the students stand their ground, the right wing media is actively working to smear them.
David Hogg, a senior at the school, was one of the first to appear on national television and demand action. “We’re children. You guys are the adults. You need to take some action and play a role. Work together. Come over your politics and get something done,” Hogg said, looking directly into the camera.
Hogg is now being targeted by Gateway Pundit, a far-right blog that has press credentials from the Trump White House. A post published on Monday by the site’s White House correspondent, Lucian Wintrich, features Hogg’s photo with the word “EXPOSED” stamped in red.
Wintrich points to the fact that Hogg's father formerly worked at the FBI as evidence of a conspiracy, among other 'facts':
Wintrich also uses an edited YouTube video of Hogg having some difficulty answering questions for a taped interview as evidence that Hogg is “heavily coached on lines and is merely reciting a script.” There is no evidence, in the video or elsewhere in the article, supporting this claim.
And the motive, according to Wintrich?
"Why would the child of an FBI agent be used as a pawn for anti-Trump rhetoric and anti-gun legislation? Because the FBI is only looking to curb YOUR Constitutional rights and INCREASE their power. We’ve seen similar moves by them many times over. This is just another disgusting example of it."
Another Gateway Pundit article attacks several students for smiling in a photo:
The article is entitled “Student School Massacre Survivors and CBS Reporter Party Like Rock Stars.” But there is no evidence of any partying. Rather, at one point, the group, which was being interviewed for CBS’ morning show, smiled for a photo.
Taylor says this photo shows them “laughing uproariously and posing for the photos like they are partying rock stars.” She also describes the photos as “promo stills for Glee: The High School Massacre.”
Such stories have been picked up by other publications and are spreading across social media as well.
Think Progress reported that Hogg himself commented on the issue in remarks left under a Buzzfeed News article:
"I just think it’s a testament to the sick immaturity and broken state of our government when these people feel the need to pedal conspiracy theories about people that were in a school shooting where 17 people died and it just makes me sick. It’s immature, rude, and inhuman for these people to destroy the people trying to prevent the death of the future of America because they won’t."