At 10 a.m. local time across the country, thousands of students walked out of their schools for 17 minutes to observe the one-month anniversary of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida ― one minute for each person killed. Young people linked arms, held signs, led chants, sang songs and shared all of it on social media to protest gun violence.
And if you watched Fox News on Wednesday morning, you’d barely have known it was going on.
The network that has repeatedly given a platform to gun-rights advocates devoted little time to the massive protest effort trending online, prompting mobile push notifications and earning wall-to-wall coverage on rival networks CNN and MSNBC.
Instead, Fox News bounced between a number of other national stories, spending much of its time on the Pennsylvania special election as the margin between Democrat Conor Lamb and Republican state Rep. Rick Saccone remained razor-thin, leaning ever so slightly in Lamb’s favor.
Reporters on the conservative network’s “America’s Newsroom” program discussed President Donald Trump’s Tuesday announcement that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson would be replaced by CIA Director Mike Pompeo and pondered other shake-ups that could be on the way. They showed footage of Trump visiting border wall prototypes, which he also did Tuesday. They covered the House Russia probe that ended Monday and paused to check in on Austin’s deadly package bombs.
Bizarrely, Fox News also took time to report on an armed home invasion in Milwaukee.
Meanwhile, students called on legislators to enact change on gun policy that has stagnated in the U.S. over recent decades. Powerful imagery circulated on social media and other news networks showing young people holding signs with #NeverAgain, the hashtag started by Marjory Stoneman Douglas student activists in response to the tragedy at their school.
When Fox News devoted time to the protests, it focused on students gathered in Washington, D.C., who spent their 17 minutes sitting with backs to the White House before marching on to Capitol Hill. One Fox field reporter checked in from a high school in Georgia.
Earlier on Wednesday, “Fox & Friends” reported on a Pennsylvania Catholic school that planned to pray for the Stoneman Douglas victims instead of stage a walkout like their secular counterparts.
“By praying for the victims, we could bring a great focus to the victims in this situation,” said a priest interviewed on the air.
According to Fox News, “upwards of 600 demonstrations” were expected across the country. However, Youth EMPOWER, the branch of the Women’s March that organized Wednesday’s National School Walkout movement, expected thousands of events.
The walkouts will be followed by March for Our Lives, a March 24 anti-gun protest spearheaded by Stoneman Douglas activists that will be based in Washington, D.C., with sister marches planned nationwide. Another school walkout is scheduled April 20, on the anniversary of the 1999 Columbine High School shooting.