It was an amazing turn of events. Once again those of us living on our computers witnessed a remarkable feat - conservatives expressed outrage over an intentionally malicious and vicious blog post attacking a mentally handicapped three year old son of a lightening rod politician. Sarah Palin's son, Trig, was virtually savaged and it was wrong. Knowing better than to expect any decency at all from the mainstream media, conservatives took to social media with a plan. The outrage turned to action. Demanding advertisers to stop sponsoring the website brought immediate results.
Then liberal sites began to begrudge the success of conservatives demanding that the children of politicians not be used as fodder for really poor political satire. And, the websites wrote of finding folks willing to speak to them about the fact that well, really, what else could they do but agree to stop sponsoring ads on that website? It had nothing to do with decency or supporting outraged parents who buy their products. It was purely because they couldn't risk appearing to support attacks on "retarded" child.
“The thing is we don't want to be involved in anything political,” the retailer says, explaining the company’s standard practice of steering clear of mudslinging. The campaign was over a politician’s child—with special needs, nonetheless—and that made it a fairly easy decision for the retailer. “You can't respond with anything but total support because, well, it’s literally a retarded baby. No brand wants to be labeled pro-making fun of retarded children,” the retailer said.
“I am sure the #TrigsCrew people would like to think it’s a big political or moral win for them,” they added. “But it’s not. I doubt it would have impacted our bottom line either way.
What nonsense. Of course it would have impacted their bottom line, why else nip tn in the bud so quickly? Those advertisers knew the bad publicity associated with their names would easily steer parents to other brands of products.
It's called a buycott.
And then there were the adjectives used in describing the people - ordinary people who became online activists - such as "mob" and fretting that free speech is in danger.
I feel as queasy about this flexing of Palinite muscle as I do about the original, disgusting, asinine story. In some ways, I see a legitimate come-uppance for a tacky site that published a simply inexcusable piece of mean-spirited dreck using a child who cannot defend himself, treating him as if he were subhuman, which he most definitely isn't. But I also recoil from mob action like this, for the impact it has on fearless free speech and the chilling effect it will have on an already cowed and defensive MSM when covering the truly tough stuff about Palin.
Here's the thing about social media, Twitter in particular. Why is Twitter proving to be such a powerful tool for online activism, especially for conservatives? It is powerful because once conservatives come together with a mission - like a buycott - there is no predicting the speed and effectiveness until it all plays out. As long as the dinosaur network media and the liberal cable networks continue to skew their agendas towards liberal politics then we aren't going anywhere. We are aware that if it doesn't fit their agenda, they ignore the story. Every time a story is ignored it is easy to turn it around and ask, what would have happened if a conservative did that? So, what would have happened if a conservative cruelly and viciously mocked a liberal's handicapped child? We all know.
There is no blurring of the lines. The liberals can relax about that. Conservatives do not condone personal attacks on the children of politicians. It is wrong from either side of the aisle and decent people everywhere know that.
We are all Mama Grizzlies now.