A week after apologizing for mocking Parkland shooting survivor David Hogg, Laura Ingraham is back on the air with the red-meat rhetoric that’s made her a fan favorite, claiming in her return monologue that she’s the victim of a supposed “plot to silence conservatives.”
Ingraham went on in the commentary to say that “the left” was engaged in a concerted “Stalinist” attempt to silence her personally. The primetime TV host continued, saying she planned to resist and “never give in.”
The reason for Ingraham’s ire lies in the proposed advertorial boycott of her program, “The Ingraham Angle.” Noticeably absent in her comments was any mention of why the news and opinion-based talk show had been the sight of a boycot. Nor did Ingraham offer that she had, in fact, apologized for her denigration of the activist student.
It’s an interesting window into a situation for which not many facts are actually known. The public is aware of Ingraham’s comments, of Hogg’s suggested boycott and of the public statements made by a few advertisers. Some have promised to boycott. Others have publicly backed Ingraham. Given the host’s reaction, it appears obvious which group is the larger of the two.
According to several media watchdogs, the commercial breaks in some of Ingraham’s recent broadcasts were “noticeably shorter” than they had been in the past, leading many to surmise that she indeed had fewer advertisers. This summation might be music to the ears of sites like Media Matters, which posted a list of “Ingraham Angle” advertisers, allowing the site's readers to let those advertisers know how they felt about the issue.
Others are calling this a dangerous precedent. Given the often-outsized importance given to social media outrage, is this the new normal? Every time a public figure says or does something one group dislikes, is it fair game to go after that brand’s cash cow? And if that’s the case, how long will it be before both sides are doing it constantly? And at that point, is it effective?
These are question many media strategists are already asking. Meanwhile, Ingraham’s fans are celebrating her first week back after taking time off to put some distance between herself and the controversy. It seems most remain onboard, condemning any calls for a boycott and promising to reward companies that stick with their favorite host.
That begs the question: will the opposition be as animated and active as they are now? Will they keep dialing up the heat as Ingraham begins her counter-punching campaign?
Ronn Torossian is a public relations executive.