Laura Ingraham has long been a vocal opponent of the First Amendment, particularly as it applies to entertainers and other creative or famous people. Fifteen years ago she wrote the book “Shut Up and Sing“ purporting to reveal “How Elites from Hollywood, Politics, and the Media are Subverting America.” In reality it was an extended diatribe against the free expression rights of anyone with whom she disagrees. It was a transparent attempt to silence some of the most effective and passionate communicators our society produces. And it is no coincidence that these complaints from Ingraham and other right-wingers is only directed at liberals. They frequently, and hypocritically, embrace conservative “celebrities” like Scott Baio, Ted Nugent, and ballplayer Tim Tebow.
On Thursday Ingraham expanded the scope of her anti-speech mission to include blatant racism. On her primetime Fox News program she ventured into a loopy tirade that attacked basketball greats LeBron James and Kevin Durant (video below). The spittle inflected rant displayed her overt racism and disrespect for important voices of successful contributors to American society and culture.
The segment featured badly edited clips from an interview of James and Durant by Cari Champion. Ingraham began the piece with a demeaning tone by misrepresenting the interview as an ESPN podcast. In fact, it was produced by James’ own media company, Uninterrupted. It was not on ESPN, and it was not a podcast. Following those journalistic failures, Ingraham continued with her trademarked assault on personalities who dare to speak out. Ironically, the part of the video she highlighted (which is well worth watching in full) was actually talking about the responsibility of role models in politics, entertainment, and sports. The featured exchange began with Champion asking “How do you describe the climate for an athlete with a platform nowadays that wants to talk about what’s happening in our world?”
What surely rattled Ingraham was the part of James’ response that portrayed Donald Trump as “someone who doesn’t understand the people and really don’t give a f*ck about the people.” That’s a characterization that perfectly fits this president, and he proves it every day. He is a narcissist who was born into wealth and spent a lifetime avoiding and insulting the “little people” for whom he had nothing but disdain. His background of exploitation and prejudice is well documented.
Nevertheless, Ingraham lashed out against James and Durant with ugly slurs intended to belittle them. She described them as “barely intelligible, not to mention ungrammatical.” James discussed Trump’s racism noting that it was predictable to the point of being laughable. But he also agreed that it was “frightening” and that people shouldn’t become “numb” to it. Whereupon Ingraham mocked James with a Valley Girl “like” expression and asked “Must they run their mouths like that?”
Yes, they must. Especially because of people like Ingraham whose ignorance and bigotry actually affirms the criticisms that James and Durant put forward. She couldn’t possibly be a better example of the bias that permeates society at large and Fox News in particular. And her summation at the end of her screed closed the case on her contemptuousness:
“This is what happens when you attempt to leave high school a year early to join the NBA. And it’s always unwise to seek political advice from someone who gets paid $100 million a year to bounce a ball. Oh and LeBron, Kevin, you’re great players but no one voted for you. Millions elected Trump to be their coach. So keep the political commentary to yourself or, as someone once said, shut up and dribble.”
First of all, James graduated from high school. And his decision to join the NBA after that resulted in a remarkably successful career in sports and business. You have to wonder, has Ingraham ever criticized Bill Gates for dropping out of college? Secondly, James gets paid for winning. He gets paid for mastering both the physical and strategic aspects of a complex athletic enterprise. Ingraham is ignorantly diminishing the achievements of someone who has become a historic figure in his field.
Finally, if Ingraham wants to tout the millions of votes Trump got, she might also mention that Hillary Clinton got millions more. And also that he holds the distinct dishonor of having the lowest approval rating of any president on record. There’s good evidence that James knows more about the lives of average Americans than Trump ever will. And Ingraham’s repulsive and oppressive demand that he “shut up” is nothing more than a plantation master’s approach to uppity lessers who don’t know their place.
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.
Laura Ingraham did an entire segment tonight about how LeBron James is dumb.
LeBron is brilliant. pic.twitter.com/xSZF9HImBJ
— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) February 16, 2018