- The Washington Times - Monday, April 2, 2018

Unrelenting calls for advertisers to drop Fox News host Laura Ingraham has network competitor Brian Stelter worried.

The host of “Reliable Sources” told viewers over the weekend that a “dangerous” mindset appears to have taken root in America in which boycotts are the primary means of settling contentious issues. His comments came after Parkland shooting survivor David Hogg refused to accept her apology for mocking his college application rejections.

Mr. Hogg, 17, used Twitter and subsequent interviews to pressure advertisers into leaving “The Ingraham Angle.” Multiple companies, including pharmaceutical giant Bayer AG, acquiesced to Mr. Hogg’s calls.

“Are ad-boycotts the right answer here?” Mr. Stelter asked a panel of guests on Sunday. “I’m personally pretty wary of this. I think it’s dangerous to see these ad boycott attempts happening more and more often in this country. My view is let’s not shut down anyone’s right to speak. Let’s meet their comments with more speech. Lets try to respond that way.”

Comedian Anthony Atamanuik of Comedy Central’s “The President Show” and Baltimore Sun media critic David Zurawik both agreed that Ms. Ingraham should have foreseen the consequences of her actions.

“I think the most amazing thing to me is that these young kids have more maturity and purpose than most of the folks who are trying to cover the stories,” Mr. Atamanuik, a President Trump impersonator, said.

“[These students] have a great moral authority that most people in the media don’t have, and they have it because of what they went through — seeing classmates killed and then having to mourn and bury their classmates and go on with their life,” Mr. Zurawik told the host. “That’s a great moral authority. “They’re also, especially David Hogg and some of the others, incredibly media savvy in a good, good way. So why you would go after someone like that and not expect the fiercest kind of push-back that he or she can generate doesn’t make sense?”

Not noted in the exchange was Mr. Hogg’s established history of calling political opponents “f—ers” and “pathetic f—ers” who “want to keep killing our children.”

“Stelter is, of course, exactly right: two can play at this game,” The Daily Wire editor in chief Ben Shapiro responded Monday. “And if advertisers, who merely want to reach viewers, are boycotted every time someone says anything remotely controversial — even after an apology — then advertisers will stop supporting networks including CNN. “The Left is too ensconced in its own vision of its supposed moral rectitude to acknowledge this obvious fact.”

• Douglas Ernst can be reached at dernst@washingtontimes.com.

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