Ingraham (pronounced IN-gram) is on her third or fourth career by now. First female editor of the Dartmouth Review. Reagan administration speechwriter. Clerk for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Criminal defense lawyer for Skadden, Arps. In the late ’90s she became a CBS commentator, hosted the program “Watch It!” on MSNBC and wrote books (including “The Hillary Trap”) before getting behind the radio mike.
What’s striking about Ingraham’s 9 a.m. program is how she seamlessly mixes politics and pop culture, talks about her dog and her search for a husband, and leavens it with what she admits is “sophomoric humor.” She does a “Lie of the Day” and “Guess the Guest” (by playing Larry King’s questions), chats up Darrell Hammond of “Saturday Night Live” and once interviewed a man who invented bird diapers.
“I don’t want to hear about politics three hours straight from anyone, let alone me,” Ingraham says. “It gets monotonous for the listener. It wouldn’t wind my clock.”
Well, once you’ve talked to the man who invented bird diapers I imagine it would be pretty hard to wind your clock.
Being one of the few nationally syndicated women in a male-dominated medium is irrelevant to her success, says Ingraham, but she must be doing something right. Her spring ratings were up from the previous winter by 143 percent in Washington, 114 percent in Los Angeles, 325 percent in San Diego and 39 percent in New York.
Jesus, Kurtz, was it good for you? Read your own effin’ paper, wouldja?
Laura Ingraham, the CBS and MSNBC analyst, is as hard as a diamond. Her killer views against gays, feminists, gun-control advocates and welfare stand out even in that booming segment of the instant-pundit industry: right-wing women commentators. That’s why her recent essay in the Washington Post apologizing for her rabid intolerance of gays dropped like a bombshell. Notorious in her student days for vilifying “sodomites” in the Dartmouth Review–and for sending a reporter to tape a Gay Students Association meeting, then naming names–she wrote that she changed her views after witnessing “the dignity, fidelity and courage” with which her brother and his late companion coped with AIDS. She now understands why gays need protection and regrets her “callous rhetoric.”
That might have been the end of that, except that when you shoot to the top of the pundit food chain just a year after shedding your lawyer’s pinstripes without any tedious apprenticeships, no good deed goes unchallenged. Jeffrey Hart, the Review’s faculty adviser, sent a memo to the Weekly Standard saying that Ingraham had some nerve dragging the Review into her “phony political confession” given that no one else there held, as she did, “the most extreme antihomosexual views imaginable.” He says she went so far as to avoid a local eatery where she feared the waiters were homosexual and might touch her silverware or spit on her food, exposing her to AIDS.
Too bad Howard couldn’t find a spot for that little anecdote in his column. Sometimes I wonder if these columnists have that interweb thingie installed on their computers.