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Fox’s Laura Ingraham takes a week break amid fallout from Parkland tweet, ad boycott

Laura Ingraham speaks during the Republican National Convention at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland on July 20, 2016. (David Swanson/Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS)

The war of words between Fox News talk show host Laura Ingraham and Parkland survivor David Hogg has taken one combatant out of the ring — albeit for just one week.

Amid backlash after publicly ridiculing 17-year-old Marjory Stoneman Douglas senior Hogg on his college rejections, Ingraham announced Friday that she was taking a pre-planned break from her TV show for a week following Easter.

A dozen advertisers already pulled ads from “The Ingraham Angle” this week after she taunted the student activist on Twitter. Among them: Liberty Mutual Insurance, Office Depot, Nestle, Joseph A. Banks, Expedia, Hulu, Johnson & Johnson, Nutrish pet foods, TripAdvisor, Wayfair, Jenny Craig and the Atlantis Paradise Island resort, USA Today reports.

On Friday evening’s telecast, Ingraham told her viewers, “I’ll be off next week for Easter break with my kids. Fear not, we’ve got a great lineup of guest hosts to fill in for me.”

A Fox News spokesperson confirmed the vacation was preplanned. (Ex-Fox Host Bill O’Reilly also said last year he would take a preplanned vacation as he faced scrutiny over sexual harassment claims. He was fired a week later.)

The move is the latest blow to the conservative TV host after Ingraham on Wednesday morning tweeted that Hogg “whines about” being rejected by four universities in California, linking to an article from The Daily Wire calling him a “Gun Rights Provocateur.’’

Hogg said he was accepted at Florida Atlantic University, California Polytechnic University and California State, San Marcos but hasn’t said if he would attend college immediately after high school.

TMZ, which had contacted Hogg to ask him about his university rejections — before the controversy — said Hogg “did the OPPOSITE of whining” when talking about his college choices.

Hogg survived the Feb. 14 massacre at his Parkland school in which 14 students and three faculty members were killed by a former student who came on campus armed with a semiautomatic weapon.

Hogg brands himself a #NeverAgain activist and calls for gun reform laws. He took a shot at Ingraham on Twitter, where he has amassed nearly 700,000 followers. “Have some healthy reflections this Holy Week,” he tweeted.

Ingraham, who had used the platform and her nearly 2.2 million Twitter followers to bait Hogg, issued an apology more than a day later after the student urged the show’s advertisers to pull out and they began responding in kind.

Ingraham’s apology began, “Any student should be proud of a 4.2 GPA.” She then said, “On reflection, in the spirit of Holy Week, I apologize for any upset or hurt my tweet caused him or any of the brave victims of Parkland.”

“Any student should be proud of a 4.2 GPA —incl. @DavidHogg111. On reflection, in the spirit of Holy Week, I apologize for any upset or hurt my tweet caused him or any of the brave victims of Parkland. For the record, I believe my show was the first to feature David …”

But Hogg wasn’t swayed. “From a journalistic standpoint, I’d say she needs to be more objective and needs to stand down because I’m not the issue here.”

In an interview on CNN’s New Day, he elaborated: “She’s only apologizing after a third of her advertisers pulled out, and I think it’s really disgusting that she basically tried promoting her show after ‘apologizing’ to me.”

Ingraham has her supporters. A Twitter user responded to Hogg and told him to move on. “She apologized and to me that’s when you have to let it go. All people make mistakes, granted hers was stupid and ridiculous but she did say she was sorry.”

Ted Nugent, the 1970s rock star who is on the board of the National Rifle Association, had one hit make the Billboard Top 40 singles chart — way back in 1977. But he’s extended his stay in popular culture over the years through controversial statements that blast, among them, gun control advocates, former President Barack Obama and immigrant groups. Parkland students are his latest targets. On Friday, Nugent called the Parkland students “pathetic,” “ignorant” and liars.”

“To attack the good law-abiding families of America when well-known predictable murderers commit these horrors is deep in the category of soulless. These poor children, I’m afraid to say this and it hurts me to say this, but the evidence is irrefutable, they have no soul,” Nugent said.

Conversely, Pope Francis used his Palm Sunday sermon to support the Parkland student activists and the March for Our Lives rallies, without specifically naming them.

“The temptation to silence young people has always existed. There are many ways to silence young people and make them invisible. Many ways to anesthetize them, to make them keep quiet, ask nothing, question nothing. There are many ways to sedate them, to keep them from getting involved, to make their dreams flat and dreary, petty and plaintive,” the pontiff said. “Dear young people, you have it in you to shout.”


© 2018 Miami Herald

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