Less than a year ago, Laura Ingraham was in the running to become President-elect Donald Trump's spokeswoman.

“I am honored to be considered for that job and other jobs,” she said on “Fox & Friends,” shortly after Election Day. “So, we'll see what happens.”

What happened is that Ingraham's name came up again when Sean Spicer's stint as White House press secretary came to an end, but the conservative talk radio host and founder of Lifezette ultimately landed a prime-time show on Fox News, which premiered this week with an all-star guest lineup: White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly on Monday, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas on Wednesday and President Trump on Thursday.

At times in her sit-down with Trump, Ingraham was as obliging as would be expected of someone who previously contemplated a role as the president's official mouthpiece. Take this exchange, for example:

INGRAHAM: Hillary Clinton said [Wednesday] night that paying for the dossier — she defended it, basically. That it's different from meeting with Russians, like meeting with Russians. She's trying to make a comparison to say, oh, no. She totally defended it.
TRUMP: Well, she talked about oppo research is wonderful, oppo research and it's — but not when it comes to us, okay? Oppo research for us, of course, is no good. No, that dossier, which is totally fake and made up — it's like a novel — but that dossier is a disgrace. And it should not have been allowed to be used. And then I hear the kind of money they spent.
INGRAHAM: Nine million.
TRUMP: I mean, it's inconceivable. It's absolutely inconceivable. It's horrible.

Ingraham wasn't so much questioning Trump here as teeing him up to attack Clinton. And the dollar figure she quoted was a misleading way of helping the president create the false impression that his opponents spent millions to gin up a “fake” dossier of alleged connections to Russia.

Here's what actually happened: The Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee paid $9.2 million to the law firm Perkins Coie for various services. That's where Ingraham got her number. But Perkins Coie paid only $1.02 million to a firm called Fusion GPS for opposition research. And Fusion GPS, in turn, paid $168,000 to Orbis Business Intelligence, the firm run by a former British spy who produced the dossier.

The dossier's real price tag was far smaller than Ingraham suggested.

Yet, in other moments, Ingraham pressed Trump on his commitment to securing funding for a southern border wall and an end to “chain migration” as part of any deal that would allow DACA recipients to remain in the United States long term. Witness this exchange in which Ingraham tried over and over to pin down the president:

INGRAHAM: Is that going to be part of any DACA deal? So if the Democrats —
TRUMP: Yes.
INGRAHAM: — want “dreamer” help, they're going to have to do —
TRUMP: Yes, we're going —
INGRAHAM: — they're going to have to do E-Verify, chain migration?
TRUMP: Sure. Sure, chain migration is one of the most important things and most people frankly —
INGRAHAM: Is that a requirement for you?
TRUMP: — until yesterday, most people never heard of chain migration. I gave a form of a news conference, and I started talking about chain migration. And this horrible animal — he's an animal, as far as I'm concerned — 23 people have touched him. Maybe came in because he was — and he was only in with a green card, supposedly. But chain migration, where his whole family comes in, his mother can come in, his father, his grandmother. Everybody comes in.
Chain migration is a disaster for this country. And it's going to end. Now, I've been talking about it for a while, but I think the public until yesterday probably never heard about chain migration.
INGRAHAM: Oh, the Republicans, they didn't want to touch it for a long time.
(CROSSTALK)
TRUMP: It's become a very, very strong point right now.
INGRAHAM: Will it be part of a “dreamer” deal in the DACA deal?
TRUMP: Yes, it'll be part of a DACA deal. DACA is a lot different than “dreamer.”
INGRAHAM: Yes, I think it's for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.
TRUMP: Right, yes.
INGRAHAM: Will you require that if any amnesty talks —  will require chain migration to end?
TRUMP: I don't think any Republican would vote for anything having to do with leaving chain migration. Chain migration is a disaster for this country, and it's horrible.

Ingraham's approach to Trump highlights a line in conservative media. For outlets and commentators who generally support the president, there is a clear, categorical division between acceptable criticism and unacceptable criticism.

The acceptable category includes criticisms aimed at holding Trump accountable for the promises he made to his base. Even Breitbart News is willing to hammer Trump when he deviates or falls short in areas such as health care, immigration and foreign policy.

Virtually all other criticisms are in the unacceptable category. Trump's rhetoric is fine, and the whole “Russia thing” is “fake news.”

The early indication is that Ingraham's show will adhere to these guidelines. She will be an advocate for Trump's voters and check the president's progress on the to-do list he made as a candidate. On most other points, she will defend him.