AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite
- Fox News defended network host Laura Ingraham after outrage over her feature on a white supremacist in a sympathetic segment.
- The network defended Ingraham, saying the segment was pulled from an Associated Press report on "known political extremists," but Ingraham failed to categorize the figures as extremists.
- Ingraham had listed white supremacist Paul Nehlen alongside figures like conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and others she said were "silenced" on social media.
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Fox News host Laura Ingraham came under fire after she featured a white supremacist during a segment in the Thursday night episode of her show.
Ingraham featured a number of figures during "The Ingraham Angle" that she claimed were victimized by complaints from Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton over the spread of doctored videos depicting altered speech on Facebook. Ingraham claimed the response was part of a plan by liberals to "silence conservative voices" ahead of the 2020 election.
Among the "prominent voices censored on social media," were conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, alt-right provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos, far-right activist Laura Loomer, far-right media figure Candace Owens, and Paul Nehlen.
Ingraham’s inclusion of Nehlen was notable because of his especially alarming background which includes, among other things, fringe conspiracy theories and voicing open support for the white supremacists who marched at the 2017 "Unite The Right" rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Nehlen’s online presence has a well-documented track record of racist and anti-Semitic posts on social media, including an April post on the best way to start a race war.
The statement hit back at CNN’s report on the segment, which it said was "obscene to suggest [Ingraham] was defending [Nehlen]," even pointing to his past "despicable" actions.
"It is obscene to suggest that Laura Ingraham was defending Paul Nehlen’s despicable actions especially when some of the names on the graphic were pulled from an Associated Press report on best known political extremists banned from Facebook," the statement said. "Anyone who watches Laura’s show knows that she is a fierce protector of freedom of speech and the intent of the segment was to highlight the growing trend of unilateral censorship in America."
The statement does not point out that Ingraham’s segment failed to categorize the figures as extremists.
Beyond being what the network called a "fierce protector of freedom of speech," Ingraham has run into controversy before, losing advertisers after her comments aired mocking David Hogg, a gun-control activist who survived the shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida.
Ingraham has also said detention centers at the US-Mexico border used to hold immigrant children separated from their parents under the Trump administration’s "zero tolerance" policy as being like "summer camps," and that the "America that we know and love doesn’t exist anymore" because of "demographic changes."
Though Ingraham has lost advertising, she’s had consistently massive viewership that has kept the show in one of cable’s top spots.
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