Embattled Fox News host Laura Ingraham slammed the American left for “bullying” conservatives into silence and clamping down on free speech, in her first show back on the network in almost two weeks.
Ingraham had taken a vacation after a boycott campaign saw 16 companies drop their advertisements from her show, following a tweet she made attacking Parkland shooting survivor turned gun-control activist David Hogg. Bayer pharmaceuticals, Hulu, and Johnson & Johnson were among the companies that pulled their ads.
On Monday’s show, Ingraham described how a form of ultra-liberal thought that began in college campuses as a reaction to Reagan-era conservatism has spread throughout society. She said its concepts and words, once unheard of outside social studies faculties, are now common speech: white privilege, safe spaces, and microaggressions.
The spread of this leftist ideology, and the zealotry of its supporters, Ingraham argued, has had a chilling effect on free speech. In a poll cited by the presenter, over half of college students agreed that it is acceptable to shut down a controversial speaker on campus. Among Democrats, this percentage was even higher.
“There is a desperate desire to stop debate by branding your opponent unacceptable and driving him or her from the public square,” she said.
"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… this is the intolerant left in action.”
Ingraham felt the wrath of the left after she posted a tweet mocking the grades of Parkland shooting survivor David Hogg. In the aftermath of the tragedy, Hogg had taken to the national stage as a vocal gun control advocate.
Hogg responded by tweeting out a list of Ingraham’s advertisers, and calling for a boycott. As advertisers began to drop her show, Ingraham tweeted an apology to Hogg. The 17-year-old refused to accept it, and called on Ingraham to publicly denounce Fox News’ coverage of the Parkland students’ gun control campaign.
Fox News defended Ingraham, announcing that her show would return after a week’s break.
“We cannot and will not allow voices to be censored by agenda-driven intimidation efforts,” network co-president Jack Abernathy told the LA Times.
Abernathy is not alone in defending Ingraham. Conservatives took to Twitter to show their support, and Ingraham announced that she would use her platform to “expose the enemies of free expression.”