If you’ve been watching CNN or have been monitoring its Twitter feed since the recent Parkland, Florida school shootings, you likely noticed they’ve been rather busy transforming a few high school students into sudden experts on the Second Amendment and gun politics.
For example, watch how anchor Alisyn Camerota leads Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students Emma González and David Hogg in this clip from yesterday:
Florida school shooting survivor Emma Gonzalez on politicians who take money from the NRA: “If they accept this blood money, they are against the children… you’re either funding the killers, or you’re standing with the children…” https://t.co/UPVFELwTyP pic.twitter.com/zt8s7TQpLJ
— CNN (@CNN) February 19, 2018
“Look, I don’t have to tell you guys they [the NRA] give millions of dollars to politicians,” Camerota tells the students. “They have a very powerful tool. So, I mean, how do you expect politicians — who need money to keep running for office — to say ‘no’ to the NRA?”
González responds: “Because we keep telling them, that if they accept this blood money, they are against the children. They are against the people who are dying. And that — there’s no other way to put it at this point — you’re either funding the killers, or you are standing with the children … children who have no money.”
She adds that she hopes pols have the “decent morality” to support kids.
Hogg then joins the fray by stating “If you can’t get elected without taking money from child murderers, why are you running?”
González and Hogg were not challenged at all, even gently, by the supposedly intelligent Camerota.
So, let’s go to Vox.com (yes, them!) for a reality check:
[…] when you talk to experts who study the way money influences our political system, they say this account [González’s, Hogg’s] is wrong — or, at least, often badly oversimplified. The NRA may exert a massive and real influence on Washington, DC, but its campaign contributions can’t possibly be the corrupting agent singlehandedly thwarting meaningful action on gun control, as many of the analyses above suggest. …
[…] in terms of breaking Republican senators’ opposition to gun control, the organization’s influx of countervailing money just hasn’t made the difference. “There’s not much to show for it,” [Michigan State University’s Matt] Grossmann says. …
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the NRA gave close to $1 million to Republican senators’ PACs in 2014 — or about 1 percent of the $67 million they raised that year.
“In the broader scheme of things, it’s not that much money,” [New America’s Lee] Drutman says.
Vox also notes that what the NRA has given Texas Republican Senator John Cornyn, one of the biggest recipients of the group’s money, in one decade is the equivalent to about one percent of what he spends in a single election cycle.
According to the Washington Examiner, the NRA’s political contributions are smaller than Planned Parenthood’s, and those of the environmentalist groups Sierra Club and League of Conservation Voters.
Has CNN’s Camerota — or anyone else at the network — featured high school students berating Planned Parenthood as “child murderers” and blasting its “blood money”?
I didn’t think so.