Leftist CNN contributor Joan Walsh has dragged her network into the widening net of competing boycott campaigns after she “liked” a tweet from one Parkland, Florida shooting victim’s father criticizing a survivor.
Sixteen-year-old conservative survivor Kyle Kashuv slammed Walsh Sunday for having “liked” a tweet from Frank Guttenberg, whose daughter Jamie was murdered in last month’s deadly mass shooting at Majory Stoneman Douglas High School, calling Kashuv “handled” and “pushed” to take the stances he has.
— Kyle Kashuv (@KyleKashuv) April 1, 2018
In response, Walsh engaged with Kashuv, accusing him of “policing” Guttenberg’s tweets.
— Joan Walsh (@joanwalsh) April 1, 2018
The remarks potentially pull CNN into the controversy over criticizing Parkland’s politically active teenage survivors that kicked off when Fox News’s Laura Ingraham retweeted an article claiming Parkland shooting survivor and now-liberal activist David Hogg was “whining” about not getting into college. Hogg launched an as-of-writing broadly successful boycott campaign against Ingraham’s advertisers for the tweet, supported by left-wing activist groups like Media Matters for America and Sleeping Giants.
The scandal grew when a Vanity Fair editor was caught making a series of tweets attacking Kashuv. In response, conservatives on Twitter launched a counter-boycott of Vanity Fair and MSNBC, for whom Eichenwald recently served as a commentator. At least one company, skin-care firm Proactiv, pulled ads over the uproar.
Conservatives on Twitter quickly drew comparisons to these earlier incidents, with some calling for CNN advertiser boycotts.
CNN reporter @JoanWalsh has attacked teen Parkland survivor @KyleKashuv and @anisamhusain has blocked him after cancelling his scheduled appearance. Time to get a list of CNN sponsors and do it David Hogg style.
— Carmine Sabia (@CarmineSabia) April 1, 2018
Time for your advertisers to be pulled.
— Kambree Kawahine Koa (@KamVTV) April 1, 2018
Like Ingraham, Walsh is a network pundit, positioned on the “opinion” or “punditry” side of programming. She has a long history in leftist journalism, writing for the arch-liberal newsweekly The Nation, serving as editor-in-chief of pioneering left-wing site Salon, and authoring books such as What’s the Matter with White People? She joined CNN after losing a long-time contributorship with MSNBC.
Some Twitter users latched onto Walsh’s status as a pundit to defend her move.
agreed, actually. except a pundit is a journalist. a reporter is a journalist. a pundit is not a reporter. those nightly gabfests on cable news are like editorial pages in newspapers, except more yelling.
— (@wildmoon) April 2, 2018
Hi. Anyone with “reporter,” “producer,” or “correspondent” in their title is offering reporting or analysis. Anyone with “contributor” or “commentator” is offering opinion or perspective.
— Gabe Fleisher (@WakeUp2Politics) April 2, 2018
No advertisers as of yet have indicated they will break with CNN over Walsh’s remarks, but the new calls for boycotts were presaged by CNN host Brian Stetler when he expressed his misgivings Sunday about the raft of boycott campaigns justified by perceived social media slights.
The network is no stranger to these type of social media outrage campaigns. Last year, CNN itself devoted hours of airtime to a meme President Donald Trump tweeted with the liberal news channel’s logo superimposed over a defeated WWE wrestler. CNN claimed the meme raised “questions” about “racism, bigotry, and violence … [and] antisemitism” and one CNN reporter, Andrew Kaczynski, went so far as to threaten to publicly expose or “dox” the man who created the image Trump used if he did not stick to his promise to not “repeat his ugly behavior again on social media.”