Fox News host Laura Ingraham defiantly returned to the airwaves Monday, lashing out at “left-wing retaliatory hit squads” that aim to silence conservative voices and vowing to fight for the First Amendment.
It was Ingraham’s first show back following a week-long Easter vacation. Before taking the time off, Ingraham came under fire for tweeting about David Hogg, a Parkland, Fla., shooting survivor and gun-control activist, not getting into colleges to which he applied.
Hogg responded to the tweet, calling on people to boycott the top advertisers of Ingraham’s show, “The Ingraham Angle.” Within 24 hours, several companies announced they would pull their advertisements. Although Ingraham tweeted an apology, it did little to quell the flight. About 19 advertisers have since stopped sponsoring the show, CBS News has reported.
However, during Monday’s show Ingraham made no explicit reference to the advertisers that had abandoned her show, the tweet that led to the boycott or her apology to Hogg. Instead, Ingraham announced she would be focusing on “bullies on the left aiming to silence conservatives.”
In her opening monologue, she opted for a doom and gloom tone, saying that both liberals and conservatives should recognize they are on a “perilous road.” The country, she said, is “reaching a crisis point” and the current climate has left the First Amendment “as a shell of its former self.”
“Many of you have become accustomed to editing yourselves,” she said. “Let’s face it, expressing views that just five or 10 years ago were considered mainstream can now get you fired. It can cause you to lose a promotion, or you can be branded a hater, or yes, you can get boycotted.”
Throughout the show, Ingraham referenced instances in which conservative voices have been squashed, sometimes with violence.
She showed video footage of people she called “left-wing nut cases” attacking Trump supporters in San Jose at a rally in 2016.
“This is the intolerant left in action,” she said as the video of the attack played.
Ingraham said tactics such as violence, “striking voices from social media” or “organizing boycotts for perceived unforgivable offenses” come from a “desperate desire to stop debate by branding your opponent unacceptable and driving him or her from the public square.”
The host also used guests to drive home her point that the free speech of conservatives is being stifled.
During the show, she spoke with vloggers Diamond and Silk, two black female Trump supporters whose real names are Lynette Hardaway and Rochelle Richardson. The pair say they were recently told by Facebook their content and brand were “unsafe to the community” and have spoken out against the company, accusing the social media giant of suppressing the reach of their online videos.
Ingraham told the women they are scaring liberals.
“They do not want you to reach people,” she said. “They don’t want your views out.”
Throughout her hour-long broadcast, Ingraham continued to rail against the left, calling their efforts “Stalinist.”
Ingraham did not use the term Stalinist with reference to the Parkland students. But some chose to interpret her remarks otherwise.
On Twitter, journalist John Aravosis said Ingraham’s reference to Stalin “should help get the few remaining advertisers off the fence.”
Parkland survivor and activist Ryan Deitsch also reacted, asking Ingraham on Twitter to “not call the Parkland Students Stalinist for trying to stand up for themselves when attacked.”
Ingraham also announced on her Monday show that she plans to use her platform to “expose the enemies of the First Amendment” on a new recurring segment called “Defending the First.”
“What the speech czars don’t seem to appreciate is that there are as many, or if not more of us, than there are of them, and we will never relent and we will never give in, never,” she said.
Clarification. This article has been updated to point out that Ingraham did not use the term “Stalinist” to describe the Parkland students.
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