Friday, March 2, 2018

Why Did Oprah and George Clooney Each Donate $500k to Parkland, FL Students?

By David Hines

“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.
On February 28, BuzzFeed came out with the actual story: Rep. Debbie Wassermann Schultz aiding in the lobbying in Tallahassee, a teacher’s union organizing the buses that got the kids there, Michael Bloomberg’s groups and the Women’s March working on the upcoming March For Our Lives, doing social media promotion and (potentially) march logistics, and training for student activists provided by federally funded Planned Parenthood.

The president of the American Federation of Teachers told BuzzFeed they’re also behind the national school walkout, which journalists had previously assured the public was the sole work of a teenager. (I’d thought teachers were supposed to get kids into school, but maybe that’s just me.)
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.
THIS CONSPIRACY THEORY IS INSANE. Our kids know David Hogg. My wife and I know his mom, who taught at our kids' elementary school before they moved to Florida. Although David is very articulate, he is not a crisis actor.

He is a student who lost 17 of his classmates to bullets. 

That’s before you get to whether any of them had been involved in the Women’s March. According to BuzzFeed, Wassermann Schultz was running on day two.
What’s striking about all this isn’t the organization. If you start reading books about organizing, it’s clear how it all works. But no journalist covering the story wrote about this stuff for two weeks. Instead, every story was about the Parkland kids being magically effective.
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.
Read the rest here.

(ht Jay Stephenson


  1. So what else is new? The gun control movement is always been AstroTurf.

  2. Every day these kids don't attend a public school is a net benefit for us and them in terms of their education.

  3. David Hines is saying the Right is a joke at activism. That they don’t even know the basics. That Righy’s don’t see what Lefty’s are doing when the Left organize protests.

    Libertarians are probably the most clueless about activism. Libertarians are not interested in activism. We see the logic of the philosophy to be enough. Maybe we need to read the Lefty books on organizing for activism that Hines mentioned. I suspect that some of the tactics will not fit with our principles. But even if we do not use the information to organize activism, knowledge of their tactics can be helpful to identify and counter the tyrants.

    1. If you read Alinsky's Rules for Radicals, you might find that the rules are not ideological (in all respects, maybe some, though) and are rather tactical.