As the old joke goes, like school on Saturday, she has no class.
It’s fair to regard the self-destruction of Fox News host and wingnut-radio personality Laura Ingraham as the most morbidly funny story of the year. Ingraham’s self-righteous rhetorical assault on Parkland survivor David Hogg, and her subsequent fake apology to Hogg in the wake of advertisers abandoning her TV show, is the biggest embarrassment to befall America’s right-wing media infrastructure since the aftermath of Rush Limbaugh’s attack on Sandra Fluke six years ago.
It was arrogance that motivated Ingraham’s snide remarks about David Hogg, and it is arrogance that will continue to define Ingraham when (if?) she finally returns from her vacation. Ingraham was, in all likelihood, legitimately shocked that her comments about Hogg generated so much blowback; after all, Ingraham once clerked for Justice Clarence Thomas, and she probably figured that if Thomas could get away with making outrageous statements, she could too.
Hogg deserves credit for his innovative response to Ingraham’s slurs. He knew that Ingraham’s advertisers were unlikely to stand behind her nasty rhetoric, and he put those advertisers on the spot via Twitter. Notwithstanding the question of why those advertisers chose to sponsor Ingraham’s insanity in the first place, they ultimately did the right thing by walking away from her.
Ingraham is obviously living in the past. She thought that right-wing pundits could still silence ideological adversaries. She thought she could ruin David Hogg. She never, for a moment, considered the prospect that David Hogg could ruin her.
It’s about damn time that those targeted by right-wing media figures struck back and struck back hard. Think about all the climate scientists that have been smeared by right-wing figures on radio and television over the years, falsely accused of distorting science to advance the supposed “hoax” of climate change. The next time some right-wing pundit falsely accuses a climate scientist of fudging data, perhaps that scientist should take a page out of Hogg’s playbook.
Speaking of folks long associated with right-wing media who don’t get it, thumbs down to former Fox personality Alisyn Camerota, now with CNN, for asking Hogg if he’d be willing to “consider sitting down with someone like Laura Ingraham and reaching across the aisle just for the sake of common ground and trying to find the solutions that you’re talking about.” Ingraham wants “common ground” the way I want a heart attack. She and her colleagues in American right-wing media regard Hogg and other teenagers who support strong federal firearms legislation as subversive, radical, un-American opponents of the Constitution. How are you supposed to “reach across the aisle just for the sake of common ground” with someone who views you that way?
New York Daily News columnist Linda Stasi reminds us that Ingraham has always been a profoundly obnoxious figure:
[W]hat kind of journalist are you to use a national forum to attempt to humiliate a kid who is trying to work through something this horrific?
Oh, right. You are the type of journalist, who, when you were in college and editor of the unofficial newspaper, The Dartmouth Review, your staff reporter went undercover to a campus gay support group meeting — and you then published excerpts of from that private meeting. OK, so we know now what kind of journalist does that kind of thing, but what kind of person does that kind of thing — especially when her own sibling is gay?
Clearly you are the kind of journalist who inevitably ends up at Fox News — but this is a new day, sister. The kid you mocked has your advertisers fleeing in a wild stampede.
If David Hogg and his allies in the #NeverAgain movement weaken the political and cultural influence of the right-wing media infrastructure, they will have done this country a tremendous service even if they are ultimately unable to bring about strong federal firearms legislation. Ingraham for years promoted her radio program as a “healthy radio addiction.” That was a lie, of course. Ingraham and her colleagues in right-wing media have been peddling the heroin of hate, the fentanyl of fear and the meth of mendacity for decades–and Hogg would do the community of America a favor by getting at least one of these pushers off the streets.