Speaking with conservative activist Candace Owens, Ingraham likened the altered video to a work of satire. Clinton’s and Pelosi’s complaints, she said, were simply a coordinated effort from the left to “silence conservative voices” ahead of next year’s election, a common accusation by conservatives, including President Trump.
“Facebook now, what do they monitor, hate?” Ingraham asked. “That sounds good until you realize hate — and these are some of the people that they’ve shunned.”
Fox then displayed a graphic featuring Owens and seven other “prominent voices censored on social media.” Among those silenced, Ingraham said, were “people who believe in border enforcement, people who believe in national sovereignty.”
But for many, the inclusion of Nehlen — who was banned from Twitter in February 2018 for a racist tweet about Meghan Markle, actress and wife of Britain’s Prince Harry, and is known for espousing anti-Semitic rhetoric — was indefensible. Once a fringe candidate in the Republican congressional primaries in Wisconsin, Nehlen has described himself as “pro-White” and has a documented affiliation with the alt-right movement. He once tweeted a list of his critics on Twitter, writing that of those 81 people, “74 are Jews while only 7 are non-Jews.”
Nehlen was denounced by Breitbart, and soon afterward, his own party.
Paul Nehlen is a white supremacist, hates Blacks, Jews, & non whites, wore a tshirt with face of #TreeOfLifeSynagogue murderer & says he’s a hero. He wants a race war. Nazis say he’s extreme.@IngrahamAngle & @FoxNews defend him as a “conservative voice.”https://t.co/zjV5HfBTiZ— Bishop Talbert Swan (@TalbertSwan) May 31, 2019
.@IngrahamAngle, Paul Nehlen is not being censored because he's a conservative. He was kicked off social media for repeatedly spewing anti-Semitism & racism, and for targeting Jewish journalists. Do better, @FoxNews. https://t.co/loLhQ9F6Oh— Jonathan Greenblatt (@JGreenblattADL) May 31, 2019
Here's more on Paul Nehlen, who's so extreme that Steve Bannon and Breitbart disowned him years ago. He's even been kicked off of Gab! And now Laura Ingraham is positioning him as just another conservative victim of social media bias. https://t.co/sPcuc0fVu9— Will Sommer (@willsommer) May 31, 2019
CNN news anchor Jake Tapper also criticized Ingraham on Friday, tweeting: “Just a reminder that Paul Nehlen is a racist and if you’re defending him that’s what you’re defending.”
Included in the backlash were numerous calls to Ingraham’s advertisers to boycott her show. By Friday evening, at least one had taken notice: photo-printing company Fracture.
“Last night one of our ads aired during an episode of The Ingraham Angle during which Laura Ingraham expressed alarming views that run entirely counter to the values that we hold as a company,” Fracture wrote in a statement. “Effective immediately, we are no longer advertising on The Ingraham Angle.”
In a statement, Fox News vehemently denied assertions that Ingraham was defending Nehlen.
“It is obscene to suggest that Laura Ingraham was defending Paul Nehlen’s despicable actions, especially when some of the names in our graphic were pulled from an Associated Press report on best known political extremists banned from Facebook,” the statement read. “Anyone who watches Laura’s show knows that she is a fierce protector of freedom of speech and the intent of the segment was to highlight the growing trend of unilateral censorship in America.”
Ingraham appeared to respond to those who had condemned her show in a Friday morning tweet, writing, “Retweeting screenshots of despicable old tweets by racists and/or anti-Semites must make those racist & anti-Semites very happy.”
Retweeting screenshots of despicable old tweets by racists and/or anti-semites must make those racists & anti-semites very happy. Unfortunately it does zero to elevate the debate in America. cc. @CNN— Laura Ingraham (@IngrahamAngle) May 31, 2019
Fracture, which promised to update its media-buying criteria following Thursday’s episode, is one of several companies that have pulled out of "The Ingraham Angle” in recent years. In March 2018, she lost more than a dozen advertisers after accusing Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting survivor David Hogg of whining when he was rejected from four California colleges.
Among those to pull out: Johnson & Johnson, Nestlé, Hulu, Jenny Craig, Ruby Tuesday and Miracle-Ear. Ingraham later apologized. However, Hogg — who was eventually accepted into Harvard — alleged the mea culpa was a front to “save your advertisers.”
The Washington Post’s media reporter Paul Farhi wrote in December these advertiser decisions tend not to affect Fox’s bottom line. That month, at least 18 companies had pulled their ads from Tucker Carlson’s prime-time show after he claimed immigrants make America “poorer and dirtier and more divided.”
But these upset advertisers can be moved to other programs throughout the day, Farhi noted, leaving Fox with no loss of revenue.
Kristine Phillips and David Weigel contributed to this report.
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