Laura Ingraham is taking a vacation next week. Now the question is whether a controversy swirling around the host will go on hiatus as well.
The popular Fox News Channel host – her “Ingraham Angle” was the fourth most-watched cable-news program in February – told viewers Friday night she would not appear on air next week as she took what she described as a pre-planned break around the Easter holiday with her children. Substitute hosts are expected to fill in for her on the program.
She leaves in the midst of heightened scrutiny. Ingraham set off an imbroglio Wednesday with a Twitter post mocking Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student David Hogg, one of the students who has spoken out about gun control prominently since a February 14th shooting incident at the Parkland, Florida school left 17 people dead. Her tweet linked to a report noting Hogg had been rejected from four California colleges. Her tweet also said Hogg “whines about” the rejections. In response, Hogg posted on social media a list of recent advertisers in her program culled from Media Matters, a left-leaning watchdog group, and urged followers to pressure them to remove their commercials from Ingraham’s show. Nestle, Johnson & Johnson, TripAdvisor, Nutrish, Expedia and Hulu – a video-streaming company partly owned by Fox News parent 21st Century Fox – are among the advertisers who have said they would no longer advertise in her program.
Ingraham apologized Thursday via Twitter, noting that she was sorry “for any upset or hurt my tweet caused him or any of the brave victims of Parkland.” She invited the student to appear on her program. Hogg said he would not accept her apology.
Many advertisers appeared to keep their distance from the program on Friday. The only blue-chip advertiser to appear over the course of the hour-long broadcast was IBM. Otherwise, many of the sponsors were direct-response advertisers like MyPillow.com, or lesser-known entities such as the American Petroleum Institute, Interstate Batteries and KT Tape. Fox News also filled commercial breaks with promos for hosts like Bret Baier, or the mid-morning team of Bill Hemmer and Sandra Smith.