Former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly entered the controversy surrounding his conservative colleague, Laura Ingraham, on Monday, tweeting that “powerful, shadowy, radical groups” that want Ingraham off the air are directing the boycott., Newsweek is reporting.
For those not familiar with the story, Ingraham and her Fox News show, The Ingraham Angle, were cast into the national spotlight last week following a tweet about Parkland school shooting survivor David Hogg. As reported by the Inquisitr, the 17-year-old gun-control activist had revealed to TMZ that his college applications to four prominent California schools had been denied. Ingraham took that opportunity to take a dig at the teen.
“David Hogg Rejected By Four Colleges To Which He Applied and whines about it. (Dinged by UCLA with a 4.1 GPA…totally predictable given acceptance rates.)”
Shortly afterward, Hogg responded with a tweet of his own, providing his over half a million Twitter follows with a list of Ingraham’s major sponsors. Not long afterward, advertisers started fleeing the show.
O’Reilly is convinced that the advertiser exodus is bigger than David Hogg.
O’Reilly didn’t offer up any evidence to support his claim that the Ingraham advertiser boycott is happening anything other than organically in response to Hogg naming sponsors by name after Laura had mentioned him.
The tweet from @IngrahamAngle was ill-advised and Laura has apologized. But know this: the sponsor boycott is not some spontaneous uprising by companies. It is being directed by powerful, shadowy radical groups who want Laura Ingraham off the air.
— Bill O'Reilly (@BillOReilly) April 2, 2018
There is no question that if you are a conservative commentator in America, elements on the far left will try to harm you. The Laura Ingraham situation clearly illustrates what is going on. https://t.co/kSY1mUSEFE
— Bill O’Reilly (@BillOReilly) April 2, 2018
Ingraham later apologized and then announced that she was taking a vacation. She and her network both insisted that the vacation was pre-planned and had nothing to do with the advertiser boycott.
The Wrap writer Jon Levine notes that Hogg’s boycott of Ingraham’s show has been taken up by something larger than himself, and it’s not the collective action of his Twitter followers. Rather, the cause has been taken up by media watchdog group Media Matters for America, which has since gone on to publish the names of nearly a hundred other companies that have bought advertising on Ingraham’s show.
Media Matters president Angelo Carusone made it clear that Ingraham’s advertiser troubles are far from over.
“You can expect more advertisers to leave. The real question from a business perspective is: Why are they there in the first place? Fox News is reckless propaganda machine. It’s bad for business. This has been well established by now.”
If anyone is familiar with how Media Matters can derail a talk show, it’s Bill O’Reilly. Last year, the watchdog group called for a boycott of O’Reilly’s Fox News show The O’Reilly Factor, as Rolling Stone reported at the time, following allegations of sexual assault against the conservative host. The boycott seems to have worked, as O’Reilly’s show was later cancelled by the network.