Why Did It Take Two Weeks to Discover Parkland Students’ Astroturfing?

“Can you believe these kids?” It’s been a recurring theme of the coverage of the Parkland school shooting: the remarkable effectiveness of the high school students who created a gun control organization in the wake of the massacre. In seemingly no time, the magical kids had organized events ranging from a national march to a mass school walkout, and they’d brought in a million dollars in donations from Oprah Winfrey and George Clooney. . .

In other words, the response was professionalized. That’s not surprising, because this is what organization that gets results actually looks like. It’s not a bunch of magical kids in somebody’s living room. Nor is it surprising that the professionalization happened right off the bat. Broward County’s teacher’s union is militant, and Rep. Ted Lieu stated on Twitter that his family knows Parkland student activist David Hogg’s family, so there were plenty of opportunities for grown-ups with resources and skills to connect the kids.

On Twitter, I lost track of the number of bluechecks rhapsodizing over how effective the kids’ organizational instincts were. But organizing isn’t instinctive. It’s skilled work; you have to learn how to do it, and it takes really a lot of people. You don’t just get a few magical kids who’re amazing and naturally good at it.

The real tip-off should have been the $500,000 donations from Winfrey and Clooney. Big celebrities don’t give huge money to strangers on a whim. Somebody who knows Winfrey and Clooney called them and asked. But the press’s response was to be ever more impressed with the kids.

For two weeks, journalists abjectly failed in their jobs, which is to tell the public what’s going on. And any of them who had any familiarity with organizing campaigns absolutely knew. Matt Pearce, of the Los Angeles Times, would have been ideally placed to write an excellent article: not only is he an organizer for the Times’s union, he moderated a panel on leftist activism for the LA Times Book Festival and has the appropriate connections in organizing. Instead, he wrote about a school walkout, not what was behind it. (Read more from “Why Did It Take Two Weeks to Discover Parkland Students’ Astroturfing?” HERE)

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