Laura Ingraham claims that her “advice” to LeBron James, Kevin Durant and other athletes who dare to exercise their free speech rights (“Shut up and dribble”) was not racist. But Ingraham does have quite a history of race baiting. What’s new is that folks are pushing back. Poor Laura!
In 2010, Ingraham was indignant because, as she told Fox & Friends, the NAACP falsely called out racist elements in the predominately white Tea Party beloved by Fox News. In a brilliant example of reality reversing she claimed, “the NAACP has become a push organization for racist sentiments in many ways.”
Back in 2013, she provided some, er, insight into the Trayvon Martin case. During her radio show (which featured Donald Trump as one of her guests), she insulted trial witness Rachel Jeantel whom she described as “ignorant.” In foreshadowing her recent criticisms of the speech habits of NBA stars, she accused Jeantel of not speaking “correctly.” In castigating the mainstream media for not engaging in the same character assassination, she accused the media of having “white guilt.”
Her problems with protesting athletes seem to go back to when she whined about members of the St. Louis Rams who came onto the fields with their hands up in homage to Michael Brown, the victim of a police shooting in Ferguson, MO. She acknowledged that they have a right to protest but that they should “shut up and play.” Not surprisingly, she referred to the knee-taking NFL players as “punks.”
And as we saw with her most recent poutrage against LeBron James, she is very unhappy when African-Americans dare to accuse her pal Trump of racism. In December she was indignant with her guest, A. Scott Bolden, who didn’t agree that Trump has been fabulous for black folks. She suggested that the black urban agenda is “handouts" which, of course, is an old racist trope.
And her claims of not being racist seem to fall flat with her defense of Confederate monuments – a defense that she articulated on her show as well as during a speech to the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry’s annual meeting.
During her speech, the Glastonbury, Connecticut born-and-raised Ingraham attacked New Orleans mayor Mitch Landrieu for removing Confederate monuments while she praised Gen. Robert E. Lee as an honorable man, according to The Times-Picayune.
Even worse was Ingraham’s comment that “a rope shouldn’t have been put around the neck” of the Lee statue – a metaphor that, in defending a Confederate statue, makes use of the noose, a Jim Crow cause of death for thousands of African-Americans.
Suffice it to say that her speech was not well received. The business group issued a statement which noted that she “expressed her views on several national social and political issues, some of which are not reflective of the opinions held by the diverse membership of the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry.” (Don't think she'll be invited back!)
Since her recent attack on James and Durant, others have pushed back on Ingraham’s racially-tinged rhetoric. On her Sunday morning show, MSNBC’s Joy Reid hosted a number of guests who spoke about Ingraham’s invective and Fox News’ role in advancing it.
Reid noted that “There is this extent to which Fox News has decided that the grist for the ratings mill is black people, black NFL players, black NBA players.”
Today, conservative ESPN host, Stephen A. Smith spoke about how Ingraham’s comments underscore the white privilege which results in a double-standard applied to black athletes. Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Chris Long points out Fox News’ hypocrisy in hosting non-politicians and former athletes (such as Curt Schilling) who make partisan comments.
If Laura Ingraham isn’t a racist, she sure is blowing a racist dog-whistle which, at this point, sounds like a big, brass band. And as she has found out, it’s being heard loud and clear!!
Crossposted at News Hounds.
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