by Craig Shirley
Laura Ingraham might just be the most principled and assertive woman I have ever met. When she believes in her heart that the cause is just, she doesn’t back down come hell or highwater. In a field dominated by two-faced charlatans who rattle sabers at each other on television by day and drink cocktails together by night, Laura is the real deal. That passionate and opinionated voice on the radio isn’t some façade or “personality:” That’s Laura Ingraham. With all that verve and brashness, it’s easy to dismiss the individual, but her humbleness as a Catholic, her kindness as a mother of three adopted children, and her resilience as a breast cancer survivor affirms the words of St. Francis De Sales; “Nothing is so strong as gentleness. Nothing is so gentle as real strength.”
If we lived in a world where the culture didn’t punish women for being conservative, Laura’s career would have earned critical acclaim long ago. While at Dartmouth College, she became the first woman to serve as Editor-in-Chief of The Dartmouth Review. She then earned her law degree from UVA, wrote speeches for the Reagan Administration, clerked for the Supreme Court, and has become one of the most listened to women in America. Now this lifetime Reaganite who has done so much for the conservative cause through decades of work in radio and television and speaking and writing is fighting for her career. And therein lies the rub.
Reagan once said of Barry Goldwater that he’d “never known a man in my life I believe so incapable of doing a dishonest or dishonorable thing.” I know Laura Ingraham, and, beyond my own wife and blood, I know of no woman so incapable of doing a dishonest or dishonorable thing. So, what was her unpardonable sin that deserves her to be an anathema to the left? What has she done that has some calling for her head? That has caused personal threats to her and her children? Other than being an effective and dedicated articulator of the cause of freedom?
When 17-year-old David Hogg, appeared on national television on February 14th, respected media columnist Joe Concha stated:
“David Hogg is a high school journalist with a professionalism and lucidity that is beyond impressive based on his on-scene reports from #Parkland on Wednesday. The highest kudos to David amidst chaos and death and afterward in national interviews. Beyond impressive.”
Indeed he was. The high schooler spoke with such passionate reason that he was rightfully celebrated in the wake of a horrific tragedy.
Then “The Resistance” got ahold of him.
Hogg went from stating that, “99.9 percent of the people that are in the NRA are responsible, safe gun owners and I respect them,” to calling Republicans “sick F*&*#$#.” He went from respectfully challenging elected Senators to implying Senator Marco Rubio trades campaign funds for children lives and now has attacking Senator John McCain for accepting NRA donations, despite the fact that McCain has supported bipartisan gun control that has been criticized by the right. So much for the Age of Innocence. To be fair, Hogg has also been the target of vicious and laughably absurd disinformation and lies. All of which are as disgusting as they are counterproductive. Hogg is a victim, but not the way he thinks.
This is where Laura entered the fray.
Laura has always been a tough talker for conservatism, and ultimately for truth. What liberals take as hate, Laura tells the simple truth, no pandering. She sees Hogg as someone who is being used by the left for anti-gun rhetoric. He is being used, and he’s well aware of that. When Hogg tweeted his disappointment with not being accepted by several colleges, I imagine this struck a nerve with Laura whose aging mother waited tables to give her a future after her father tragically passed away. She wrote a tweet that was wrong by today’s standards. There’s no question that getting that personal was beneath her personal journalistic standards and entirely unacceptable. She immediately apologized and admitted as much, but it was too late. The media saw a wounded gazelle.
And with a simple command, the media pounced.
They mounted their soapboxes to proselytize about how could this evil vile creature of sin attack a poor innocent child. He went from being considered an activist and opinion leader to an infantilized babe from whose mouth spoke the truth.
Few of the unwritten rules of media are still observed but two of them are as follows (about the Left, anyways):
1 Don’t go after children and;
2. When someone is the victim of a tragedy, out of respect and humanity they are given a wide berth to tell their truth.
This is where the problem lies. Hogg is still a teenager and the victim of a tragedy, but he is also an activist. An activist who has said reprehensible things about Republicans and gun owners. He has also often cited statistics that are at best over inflated and, at worst, deeply flawed. As the ancient Greeks admonished, “Never give a child a sword.”
In another time, his generation might have been a great one, storming the beaches of Normandy. But now millions of millennials stare into their Iphones, transfixed with their own image, like Narcissus.
Yet Hogg is given the superposition of being both the platform of a progressive activist combined with the cover of an innocent child. Networks have given him a stage that stretches far beyond that of any of the shooting survivors who remain pro-Second Amendment.
CNN’s Alyson Camerotta asked him incredulously (and vulgarly), “What dumbass schools rejected you?” apoplectic at the thought that this liberal media darling could be held to any standard other than what she measured – his liberal activism. As for Laura, almost every liberal commentator has gleefully derided her entire existence, salivating at the thought of her being thrown off the air.
To have her career ruined, to have her blacklisted, to have her entire reputation, by one tweet – by the command of one person – this is dangerous. It sets a precedent that everyone must always watch what they say, lest advertisers and the media jump down your throat, pummeled time and time again because there is truth to your statement.
Fighting back on behalf of Ingraham is not just about a supremely accomplished woman versus a 17-year old and the entire liberal commentariat enabling him. It’s about truth, facts and decency.
We all want to be given comfortable lies. If we’re told uncomfortable truths, we’ll natural squirm away from them. But now, in the near future, any uncomfortable truth will be determined to be hateful, deserving of a ruined life.
We can’t have that.
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Craig Shirley, the author of seven books, is a Reagan biographer and presidential historian. He lectures frequently at the Reagan Library, is the visiting Reagan Scholar at Eureka College, and is the Chairman of Shirley & Banister Public Affairs.