Fox News contributors on Sunday scoffed at the “Bring Back Our Girls” hashtag recently created in support of finding the nearly 300 missing schoolgirls in Nigeria.
The international community has taken to Twitter using #BringBackOurGirls to encourage the release of the teenage girls. Boko Haram, a group of Islamist militants, attacked a school in Chibok nearly one month ago and kidnapped 276 individuals. Since, they took eight additional girls and threatened to “sell” them all on the market.
But the social media following is simply an exercise in self-esteem, Fox contributor George Will said.
“I do not know how adults stand there facing a camera and say, ‘Bring Back Our Girls.’ Are these barbarians in the wilds of Nigeria supposed to check their Twitter accounts and say, ‘Uh-oh Michelle Obama is very cross with us, we better change our behavior?’” Will said on Fox News Sunday.
“This is not intended to have any effect on the real world,” he added.
But the Nigerian government has been influenced by the following on social media, Associated Press White House correspondent Julie Pace said.
“Standing there, holding a sign does not bring the girls back, but it could ratchet up the pressure that could lead to some more international assistance,” Pace said as part of the panel.
Also on Sunday, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers said the White House can’t base policy “on what’s trending on Twitter.”
“It has to be more than hashtags and selfies. This is a huge and growing problem that’s really been relatively ignored,” said Rogers, who is also a U.S. representative for Michigan.
Additionally, last Thursday Will Cain of TheBlaze said on CNN’s Legal View that the campaign was “cheap hashtag activism.” His comment was met with outrage by CNN contributor Mel Robbins.
“Whoa, whoa, whoa. I don’t think you want to connect the activism that actually got the world to start to pay attention to the girls with what happened with Monica Lewinsky,” Robbins said, referencing a previous conversation about the former White House intern.
Even conservative pundit Ann Coulter added her voice to the chorus of #BringBackOurGirls critics with a sarcastic Twitter post:A U.S. team of advisers arrived in Africa’s most populous state last Friday to begin assisting the government in preparing for their search. World leaders, including President Barack Obama, every female U.S. senator and UK Prime Minister David Cameron have either offered assistance or called on the international community to impose further sanctions on Boko Haram.
First lady Michelle Obama also joined the global outcry last week by posting a photograph featuring the hashtag.
Other politicians and industry leaders published similar images, including comedian Ellen DeGeneres, musician Leona Lewis, Arianna Huffington and education activist Malala Yousafzai.