Free speech controversy over boycott of Fox commentator

Eleven advertisers dropped sponsorship for Laura Ingraham’s Fox News program after she taunted the Parkland, Florida shooting survivor David Hogg for failing to get into some colleges he applied to. Hogg reacted by calling for advertisers to boycott her program. Hogg has been an outspoken critic of the National Rifle Association. Many Ingraham supporters announced their intention to boycott the advertisers in defense of her free speech rights. (CBS Los Angeles, March 30, 2018)

Carmine Sabia in Citizen Truth, March 31, 2018, regrets Ingraham’s post as ill-advised but also thinks Hogg’s response was regrettable for potentially ending “a conservative career that Ingraham spent decades building.” He continues, “You can argue that this is how the free market and free speech work, and you would be correct. But the precedent being set by this is terrifying.”

Fruzsina Eordogh in Forbes, March 31, 2018, writes that Ingraham’s supporters are wrong in their opposition to Hogg’s boycott. The First Amendment protects the right to boycott and that since Fox is a private company, it could fire anyone whose statements hurt its bottom line. The boycott has been called “bullying” but there was no call for personal attacks or a barrage of tweets. The withdrawal of ads is purely a business decision taken with regard to protecting the advertiser’s standing with the public.

Conservatives see the Ingraham boycott as part of  effort of “powerful, shadowy radical groups” to remove prominent conservative media stars with Breitbart likening it to a McCathy witch-hunt. The conservatives ignore the context of the Ingraham’s taunt of Hogg, a campaign of ad hominem attacks of the Parkland survivors who have taken up the cause of sensible gun control.  (The Guardian, April 2, 2018, by Jason Wilson)

For other FAC coverage of the Florida school shootings, click here.