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Laura Ingraham’s first nine months as a Fox News primetime host have garnered both big ratings and frequent controversy. Over the last day and a half, her detractors have seized on comments she made about immigration Wednesday night, which some have decried as racist.
“In some parts of the country, it does seem like the America that we know and love doesn’t exist anymore,” Ingraham said on Wednesday’s Ingraham Angle. “Massive demographic changes have been foisted upon the American people, and they’re changes that none of us ever voted for and most of us don’t like.” She said that “much of this is related to both illegal, and in some cases, legal immigration.”
Her comments were torn apart on Twitter and amplified by left-leaning, anti-Fox News groups like Media Matters for America. As has become commonplace, Ingraham was forced to defend her comments on her Thursday-night show, and she used a defense that was remarkably similar to the one she deployed back in mid-February, when critics called her racist for saying that basketball star LeBron James should “shut up and dribble” instead of criticizing the president.
Defending herself Thursday, Ingraham said, “Despite what some may be contending, I made explicitly clear that my commentary had nothing to do with race or ethnicity, but rather a shared goal of keeping America safe and her citizens safe and prosperous.”
When explaining her James comments in February, Ingraham said that “race has nothing to do with it.”
Under attack for criticizing the basketball star, the host released — through Fox News — a long statement presenting essentially the same defense, that her comments were not racist and instead were simply using the same framing she has used throughout her career to criticize nonpoliticians for opining on politics.
This time, Ingraham did not release a statement defending herself, likely hoping that her opening monologue Thursday night’s show would settle the issue.
Ingraham is a conservative radio star, a successful primetime ratings-getter (she averages 2.6 million total viewers), and an informal adviser to President Donald Trump. All of that makes her valuable to Fox News. But she’s also overindexed for controversy during her short stint at the network, and has paid the price for her past comments by losing advertisers.
Fox News responded ferociously when Ingraham was attacked in June for likening border detention facilities to “essentially summer camps,” a comment that drew criticism but did not cost her show any advertisers (at least not publicly). “Fox News will never tolerate or give in to attempts to silence diverse viewpoints by agenda-driven intimidation efforts,” the network said in a statement at the time.
Ingraham’s biggest blow-up came in late March, when she drew widespread scorn and lost advertisers for mocking Parkland, Florida, shooting survivor David Hogg on Twitter, a comment she apologized for.
Watch Ingraham’s defense and original comments in the videos below.
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