Laura Ingraham brought a new swirl of controversy around her Fox News Channel program Thursday night after a graphic on her show, “The Ingraham Angle,” highlighted a range of controversial figures she described as “prominent voices censored on social media.”
Among the people featured in the graphic were digital provocateur Alex Jones; actor and Republican supporter James Woods; right-wing protester Laura Loomer; and Paul Nehelen, a former candidate for Congress in Wisconsin whose views have been described as supporting white supremacy and antisemitism.
“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,” Fox News said in a statement. “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.”
Ingraham, who has sparked protest from advocacy organizations on several occasions in the past two years with remarks made on her 10 p.m. show, on Friday posted a quote from Christopher Hitchens, the cultural critic, that said: “The only thing that should be upheld at all costs and without qualification is the right of free expression, because if that goes, then so do all other claims of right as well.”
Ingraham generated backlash several times in 2018 with commentary about America’s shifting cultural demographics, though she has also pushed back against nationalists lending her support. A selection of advertisers have moved their commercials out of her program and into other parts of the Fox News schedule.
The network has tried to rehabilitate her with Madison Avenue. The host appeared during a March presentation to advertisers by the Fox Corp.-owned news outlet, telling media buyers there that viewers “trust the brands that advertise on Fox,” and “they are grateful to the companies that advertise.”