Fortunes seem to rise and fall on Twitter with alarming regularity. But the platform may not be an equal opportunity soapbox, with some opinions reportedly getting more exposure than others and some speakers seemingly operating with greater impunity. That’s why it was refreshing this week to see the people of Waterville, Maine, stand behind their Republican mayor, Nick Isgro, after an effort was launched to recall him from office. Mayor Isgro’s supposed offense? Calling gun control activist David Hogg to task in a tweet.
The story began last March when Fox News personality Laura Ingraham tweeted about Hogg’s rejection by several California universities, adding perhaps to lessen the sting that that it was “totally predictable given acceptance rates.”
Hogg responded by tweeting a list of the top advertisers on Ingraham’s show, encouraging his own hundreds of thousands of Twitter followers to contact them and threaten a boycott if the advertisers did not pull their support for the show.
Many of the advertisers reportedly did just that, and Ingraham later apologized to Hogg for her comments. Hogg, not accustomed to being the bigger man, did not accept the apology and continued his attempt to ruin Ingraham’s career.
Fox, however, stood by Ingraham, and she weathered the type of tempest in a teapot that has destroyed the careers of other, usually right-leaning, media personalities. “We cannot and will not allow voices to be censored by agenda-driven intimidation efforts,” a Fox executive stated.
Mayor Isgro took note of this by retweeting a message that stated, “Fox News president backs Laura Ingraham despite advertiser boycott over Parkland controversy.” He also added some editorializing of his own: “Eat it, Hogg.”
This sparked the predictable backlash from Democrats already opposed to Isgro’s administration, as well as from supporters of David Hogg, who apparently believe that the teenage gun control activist should be able to dish out critical or biting commentary but not have to take it. Needless to say, the effort was buoyed by their supporters in the left-leaning media, who characterized the mayor as “attacking” a young survivor of gun violence.
Democrat Karen Heck, a former mayor of Waterville, took things a step further by launching a recall effort against Isgro in April
To put Mayor Isgo’s comments in context, it’s important to understand that David Hogg is well known for calling out the targets of his activism in the most insulting terms possible, while wielding a very tenuous view of the law and facts underlying gun control and political activism. This has, of course, earned him accolades and fawning media coverage from people and entities predisposed to his point of view but somewhat constrained in their own rhetoric by the requirements of their professions and general (though continually declining) norms of adult behavior.
Hogg, needless to say, is entitled to exercise his First Amendment rights.
And we’re entitled to point out that he just got stuffed in yet another attempt by Democrat activists to torpedo the life and career of a person who dared to give one of their own a taste (albeit significantly watered-down) of his own medicine.
It should be noted that Mayor Isgro did not escape from the situation totally unscathed. He did apparently lose his banking job in the fray.
Nevertheless the people of Waterville were not swayed by what Mayor Isgro characterized as an effort that “well-connected and wealthy political elites” started “with their friends in the media and dark money funded outsiders who do not live in our city … .” Waterville sided with their democratically elected mayor, rather than the selectively self-righteous, Internet-fueled mob.
Whether this augurs a decline in David Hogg’s ability to influence outcomes in the non-virtual world remains to be seen. But it certainly gives him something to chew on in the meantime.