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The Mainstream Media Should Let Parkland Kids Heal

The Mainstream Media Should Let Parkland Kids Heal

Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, speak on CBS News' "Face The Nation" on February 18, 2018. | (Screenshot: CBS News 'Face The Nation')

If anyone needed proof of the moral and intellectual depravity alive and well in mainstream media newsrooms across America, you're getting all the evidence you could need coming out of Parkland, Florida.

There, without any apparent moral dignity, ethical guideposts or mature judgment, major media anchors are shoving microphones in front of the faces of grieving, scarred and emotional teenagers, exploiting them for one reason: they are saying what media progressives want said.

By and large, our nation's obsession with worshipping at the fountain of youth is unfortunate. It speaks to the decrepit state of sagacity and wise discernment amongst adults how often we confuse youthful passion for sound reasoning. And that error is but one factor in what is happening now in Parkland. The other is that news outlets have already so sold their credibility, revealing their stacked deck on the issue of guns that no one takes their preening seriously.

Scared and emotional young people, victims of a horrific massacre, become the perfect tools for these media activists – unwitting, passionate and desperate to make a difference. CNN, MSNBC, NBC, CBS, ABC and a hundred other online and print publications in between, make sport of their fear and pain. And it's all to do their political bidding.

CNN put two students, Emma Gonzales and David Hogg in front of their cameras and started probing them about President Trump and gun laws. These are teenagers who just saw their classmates and teachers murdered. What is wrong with the adults that do this? Who thinks this is a good idea? Actually, we know the answer to that – people for whom politics comes before humanity.

Gonzales and Hogg offered precisely what CNN wanted. Emma derided Trump and Hogg called out the NRA as "child murderers." Disgustingly, CNN's Brian Stelter seemed to revel in it, bragging that Emma, "is now one of the top trending topics in the United States."

And for those who would wrongly argue that the media is simply allowing those most directly affected to have access to the airwaves to share their thoughts, that is easy to disprove. First, these emotional interviews are rarely afforded to victims of say, violent crime perpetrated by illegal immigrants.

Even with the Parkland shooting, when one heroic student named Colton Haab – a 17-year-old JROTC cadet who was actually intimately involved in protecting fellow classmates under fire – voiced his wish that football coach-turned-hero Aaron Feis had been armed to confront the killer, these same mass media networks largely ignored him. Worse, a journalist from Pennsylvania started dredging him on social media, pointing out Confederate flags and a "Nobama" sticker on his Facebook page. To his credit, CNN's Jake Tapper called the journalist out for lacking humanity.

And that's the problem with all of this. Everyone knows that when you're attempting to make sound, reasoned judgments, the biggest enemy of doing so is emotion. It's why juries have to be unfamiliar with the crimes or identities of those accused. Any emotional investment makes it much harder to think clearly and render sound judgments.

These highly trained media personnel surely know that, but yet they proceed to engage in a high-tech child abuse by thrusting teenagers in front of cameras to opine on gun policy only because it feeds their desired narrative. That's using traumatized kids for your own purpose without any regard for the importance of their anonymity, fragile emotional and mental state, and their healing.

Let these kids bury their classmates. Let them mourn their lost friends and teachers. Let them seek and find comfort, privately and personally. Let them heal. And let them do all that out from under the bright lights of the media's exploitative designs.

Peter Heck is a speaker, author and teacher. Follow him @peterheck, email peter@peterheck.com  or visit www.peterheck.com.

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