Senator Marco Rubio just can’t win. 

Last Saturday, during the March For Our Lives in support of tighter gun control, USA Today blared the homepage headline “Rubio adult-splains how change is made to marchers.”  The unflattering term adult-splain, an obvious spinoff of mansplain and whitesplain, cleverly paints Rubio as a condescending Republican provocateur toward an aggrieved Democrat group of young student marchers.  Clearly, USA Today hopes the politically charged language will act as clickbait for a certain audience into reading its material.

Since USA Today offers opinion commentary in addition to news reports, one might assume that the trolling headline would link to an opinion piece.  After all, as recently as July 2016, Media Bias Fact Check declared USA Today an unbiased media source with a high factual reporting rate.  Alas, the homepage headline links to a news article by digital editor William Cummings, who describes his job as “part of the night crew that makes sure we bring readers all the latest breaking news.”

And what news did Cummings break about the adult-splaining Rubio?  The senator released a statement commending the marchers, respecting their views on gun control, not agreeing with all their proposals, and urging both sides to find common ground to improve the status quo. 

That’s it.  No patronization.  No condescension.  No adult-splaining.

Granted, Cummings’s article does not mention adult-splaining at all, and he may not be responsible for editing the goading homepage headline.  However, his news report is still inaccurate and unkind to Rubio.  After describing the gist of Rubio’s statement, which seemed the sole point of the report, Cummings inexplicably ends with this:

On Saturday, students wore orange $1.05 price tags – the amount Rubio has received from the gun lobby divided by the number of students in Florida – to suggest that’s how much their lives were worth to him.  Rubio was savaged during a Feb. 21 CNN town hall where students demanded Rubio refuse to accept future contributions from the gun lobby.  Rubio, who declined to meet that demand, was called “pathetically weak” by the father of one girl who was murdered in the shooting.

First of all, some students did wear price tags to knock Rubio, but what does that have to do with his adult-splaining statement?  Such cherry-picking reporting is worthy of unabashed leftist organizations like Huffington Post and ThinkProgress, but not the mainstream media.  If an unbiased news report absolutely required partisan imagery of the march, providing a second example more sympathetic to Rubio would have been fair and balanced.  For instance, a marcher’s sign of Rubio’s forehead smeared with a “blood cross,” clearly mocking his Catholic faith, is certainly as newsworthy.

Secondly, at the CNN town hall, Fred Guttenberg opened the questioning to Rubio by calling his response to the shooting “pathetically weak.”  However, the memorable six-minute exchange included banning semi-automatic weapons and never once covered taking money from the NRA.  While obviously a grieving father, Guttenberg is now also a gun control activist and should be described as such by the media.  Later in the town hall, a single student (not multiple students), March for Our Lives key organizer Cameron Kasky, did ask Rubio to stop accepting contributions from the NRA. 

Interestingly, Kasky gave the Florida State Legislature “C” and “C-minus” grades for passing the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act.  The new law bans bump stocks, raises the minimum age to purchase a firearm from 18 to 21, requires a three-day waiting period, and better allows law enforcement to seize firearms from those deemed mentally unfit.  Though imperfect, Kasky praised the bill as “great steps in the right direction.”  Most of Kasky’s colleagues agree to varying degrees.  You know who else thought the bill was imperfect but supported it?   The nefarious adult-splainer himself, Marco Rubio.   

And who deemed the Florida bill too imperfect to support?  Most Democrats of the Florida State Legislature.  The bill, signed into law by the Republican governor, was supported by just three of 15 Democrats in the Florida Senate and ten of 41 Democrats in the Florida House.  Put simply, most Democrats voted to keep the “F” status quo instead of accepting a “C” compromise. 

Sadly, this trend is commonplace for most progressive politicians: clamor for progress; be offered the path for progress; and purposely reject that opportunity to maintain maximum divisiveness, stoke the political fires, and satiate a voting bloc to get re-elected.  To be fair, far-right politicians sometimes play this game as well. 

Incredibly, both stricter gun controls and the NRA have mostly polled favorably for decades, a distinctly American dichotomy.  Even with the recent bombardment of bad press toward the gun lobby, CNN polled NRA approval at 46 percent after the Parkland shooting.  By comparison, the same CNN poll had President Trump’s approval at 35 percent.  Last month, Morning Consult asked if Americans were more inclined to do business with a company affiliated with the NRA: 33 percent said yes, 32 percent said no, and 34 percent did not care either way.  The favorability of some companies that cut ties with the NRA has declined steeply. 

The country is truly divided on the gun control debate, and Rubio is one of the few adults in the room urging compromise.  If that is spun as adult-splaining by the left, that is a sad but predictable symbol of the political times we live in.  But when spun as adult-splaining by a supposedly unbiased news source, that is outrageous and unacceptable.  For such a divisive and important topic as gun control, the mainstream media must do better.  All Americans are owed as much.

Read carefully, folks.

Evan Boudreau is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in The Daily Caller.  Evan detests social media but can be reached at evanboudreaufeedback@gmail.com.

Senator Marco Rubio just can’t win. 

Last Saturday, during the March For Our Lives in support of tighter gun control, USA Today blared the homepage headline “Rubio adult-splains how change is made to marchers.”  The unflattering term adult-splain, an obvious spinoff of mansplain and whitesplain, cleverly paints Rubio as a condescending Republican provocateur toward an aggrieved Democrat group of young student marchers.  Clearly, USA Today hopes the politically charged language will act as clickbait for a certain audience into reading its material.

Since USA Today offers opinion commentary in addition to news reports, one might assume that the trolling headline would link to an opinion piece.  After all, as recently as July 2016, Media Bias Fact Check declared USA Today an unbiased media source with a high factual reporting rate.  Alas, the homepage headline links to a news article by digital editor William Cummings, who describes his job as “part of the night crew that makes sure we bring readers all the latest breaking news.”

And what news did Cummings break about the adult-splaining Rubio?  The senator released a statement commending the marchers, respecting their views on gun control, not agreeing with all their proposals, and urging both sides to find common ground to improve the status quo. 

That’s it.  No patronization.  No condescension.  No adult-splaining.

Granted, Cummings’s article does not mention adult-splaining at all, and he may not be responsible for editing the goading homepage headline.  However, his news report is still inaccurate and unkind to Rubio.  After describing the gist of Rubio’s statement, which seemed the sole point of the report, Cummings inexplicably ends with this:

On Saturday, students wore orange $1.05 price tags – the amount Rubio has received from the gun lobby divided by the number of students in Florida – to suggest that’s how much their lives were worth to him.  Rubio was savaged during a Feb. 21 CNN town hall where students demanded Rubio refuse to accept future contributions from the gun lobby.  Rubio, who declined to meet that demand, was called “pathetically weak” by the father of one girl who was murdered in the shooting.

First of all, some students did wear price tags to knock Rubio, but what does that have to do with his adult-splaining statement?  Such cherry-picking reporting is worthy of unabashed leftist organizations like Huffington Post and ThinkProgress, but not the mainstream media.  If an unbiased news report absolutely required partisan imagery of the march, providing a second example more sympathetic to Rubio would have been fair and balanced.  For instance, a marcher’s sign of Rubio’s forehead smeared with a “blood cross,” clearly mocking his Catholic faith, is certainly as newsworthy.

Secondly, at the CNN town hall, Fred Guttenberg opened the questioning to Rubio by calling his response to the shooting “pathetically weak.”  However, the memorable six-minute exchange included banning semi-automatic weapons and never once covered taking money from the NRA.  While obviously a grieving father, Guttenberg is now also a gun control activist and should be described as such by the media.  Later in the town hall, a single student (not multiple students), March for Our Lives key organizer Cameron Kasky, did ask Rubio to stop accepting contributions from the NRA. 

Interestingly, Kasky gave the Florida State Legislature “C” and “C-minus” grades for passing the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act.  The new law bans bump stocks, raises the minimum age to purchase a firearm from 18 to 21, requires a three-day waiting period, and better allows law enforcement to seize firearms from those deemed mentally unfit.  Though imperfect, Kasky praised the bill as “great steps in the right direction.”  Most of Kasky’s colleagues agree to varying degrees.  You know who else thought the bill was imperfect but supported it?   The nefarious adult-splainer himself, Marco Rubio.   

And who deemed the Florida bill too imperfect to support?  Most Democrats of the Florida State Legislature.  The bill, signed into law by the Republican governor, was supported by just three of 15 Democrats in the Florida Senate and ten of 41 Democrats in the Florida House.  Put simply, most Democrats voted to keep the “F” status quo instead of accepting a “C” compromise. 

Sadly, this trend is commonplace for most progressive politicians: clamor for progress; be offered the path for progress; and purposely reject that opportunity to maintain maximum divisiveness, stoke the political fires, and satiate a voting bloc to get re-elected.  To be fair, far-right politicians sometimes play this game as well. 

Incredibly, both stricter gun controls and the NRA have mostly polled favorably for decades, a distinctly American dichotomy.  Even with the recent bombardment of bad press toward the gun lobby, CNN polled NRA approval at 46 percent after the Parkland shooting.  By comparison, the same CNN poll had President Trump’s approval at 35 percent.  Last month, Morning Consult asked if Americans were more inclined to do business with a company affiliated with the NRA: 33 percent said yes, 32 percent said no, and 34 percent did not care either way.  The favorability of some companies that cut ties with the NRA has declined steeply. 

The country is truly divided on the gun control debate, and Rubio is one of the few adults in the room urging compromise.  If that is spun as adult-splaining by the left, that is a sad but predictable symbol of the political times we live in.  But when spun as adult-splaining by a supposedly unbiased news source, that is outrageous and unacceptable.  For such a divisive and important topic as gun control, the mainstream media must do better.  All Americans are owed as much.

Read carefully, folks.

Evan Boudreau is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in The Daily Caller.  Evan detests social media but can be reached at evanboudreaufeedback@gmail.com.



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