The Laura Ingraham Show Podcast | Media Matters for America

The Laura Ingraham Show Podcast

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  • Laura Ingraham dedicated a podcast episode to extreme anti-trans rhetoric and misinformation

    Ingraham said teaching about gender identity "is about lowering the age of consent," and her guests called LGBTQ people "mentally ill" and compared Drag Queen Story Hour to NAMBLA

    Blog ››› ››› BRIANNA JANUARY


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    Correction (6/14/19): The graphic accompanying this piece originally had an image of Phil Donahue rather than Bill Donohue. Phil Donahue was not featured in this podcast.

    Fox News’ Laura Ingraham dedicated an entire podcast to transgender issues and gender identity, and in it she and several guests used extreme anti-LGBTQ rhetoric -- including saying advocates are trying to lower the age of consent for children -- and misinformed her audience about trans people.

    Ingraham has pushed anti-trans misinformation and opposed trans folks for years on her podcast, radio show, and her Fox News show The Ingraham Angle. For example, she has suggested people would wear diapers rather than share bathrooms with transgender people and said she wouldn’t let her daughter use trans-inclusive restrooms by herself.

    Here are some of the worst anti-LGBTQ lies and comments that Ingraham and her guests pushed on the June 12 edition of The Laura Ingraham Show Podcast:

    Ingraham’s guest Bill Donohue of the Catholic League compared “Drag Queen Story Hour” to NAMBLA and said it’s an attempt to sexualize children. In discussing “Drag Queen Story Hour” events at public libraries, Donohue brought up the North American Man Boy Love Association, claiming that NAMBLA -- which he said “believes ‘if he’s 8, he’s too late’” -- organizes at public libraries, so it’s is “not a great leap” from the Drag Queen Story Hour events. He also referred to trans youth -- and teaching young people about gender identity -- as “an assault on nature and on nature’s God.” Oponents of LGBTQ inclusion have worked for years to smear LGBTQ people by associating them with pedophiles. In fact, right-wing media and anti-LGBTQ groups have regularly circulated the myth that the LGBTQ community is accepting pedophilia into the community and expanding the acronym to “LGBTP.”

    LAURA INGRAHAM (HOST): There's a piece in National Review by Madeleine Kearns about this little boy, and the title is “‘Desmond Is Amazing’ Needs Saving,” about this little boy and what's happened to our youth, their innocence -- before puberty, even, trying to change kids’ understanding of just -- or, you know, basic concepts, or sexualize them and destroy their innocence. What's happening here?

    BILL DONOHUE (PRESIDENT, CATHOLIC LEAGUE): Well, this is child abuse. Let's call it for what it is, and the people behind this -- I want to make it clear -- the average gay person is probably no more interested in this than the average straight person.

    And you know, I haven't got enough gays in this country, if they lined up single file, to pull this kind of eroticization of our society together. No, you couldn't do it without the help of an awful lot of straight people.

    Almost all of them are straight people. They may be guided by gay activists, and there’s a difference between a gay activist and a person who’s not an activist, obviously, and those are the ones that I'm talking about. But this is an attempt, basically it’s an assault on nature and on nature’s God.

    ...

    INGRAHAM: Well, I think when you look at this new, you know, again -- contrived controversy, and it started as a group of activists in San Francisco in 2015, who decided “How do we sell this gender fluidity concept, and get publicity, and grow this movement?” They grow it by starting this Drag Queen Story Hour organization in San Francisco in 2015, happens to coincide with the rise of Donald Trump.

    They start this organization, and then they export it across the United States, and get all these liberal reporters to write pieces about these intolerant Christian conservatives and Catholic groups who are expressing outrage that even the public libraries are turning into these little political and social transformation instruments.

    DONOHUE: Well, a number of years ago, I wrote about the public libraries hosting NAMBLA -- that's right, the North American Man Boy Love Association, which believes “If he's 8, he's too late.”

    And they're organized with one purpose, to sexually molest little boys and girls, mostly boys. And they are -- they organize and meet for the purpose of molesting kids in public libraries, at public expense, and defended by the American Civil Liberties Union. So, it's not -- it's not a great leap.

    Ingraham echoed Donohue and claimed that teaching kids about gender identity “is about lowering the age of consent” and preventing people from saying that “children can’t have sexual intercourse.”

    LAURA INGRAHAM (HOST): They need the kids, though, don’t they? They need the kids. Without indoctrinating children on a whole variety of issues, whether it’s abortion, or any of these other issues. Without that, the movement kind of dies out. So, they need the kids. They need to turn the kids into their own little community organizers, activists, across the board on a whole host of issues, and this is just one of the more, I think, potentially destructive issues, which is trying to get little children sexualized. So, they become sexual beings, and I think a lot of this is geared toward lowering the age of consent for children, too.

    In other words, if you can change your gender and say, I’m changing my gender at age 7, why couldn’t you say -- well, who are you to say children can’t have sexual intercourse? You see what I’m saying? Like, if you can as a child make a decision that would lead to perhaps permanently altering your existence as, you know, as someone who can reproduce or your body, or -- if that’s the case, then why can’t you do what you want with your body? Including have sex.

    Ingraham and Donohue said that being gay and being transgender are no longer classified as mental illnesses because of “pressure politics.” Donohue also claimed being transgender is a mental illness and called trans issues a “perverse understanding of sexuality.” Ingraham has previously said that "the Hollywood deal" is why "transgenderism" is no longer "called a mental condition." Major medical organizations such as the World Health Association, American Psychiatric Association, and American Psychological Association do not consider being gay or trans a mental illness and support full equality for LGBTQ people.

    BILL DONOHUE (PRESIDENT, CATHOLIC LEAGUE): They’re trying to teach these kids that a boy can become a girl. And so Sally can become Sam, and Sam can become Sally. As Dr. [Paul] McHugh’s pointed out, as you mentioned him before, these people are mentally ill. That is his considered judgement after dealing with this for decades. And we ought to treat these people, treat them as human beings for the maladies that they suffer from and not try to proselytize on this. And then when people rightly object as parents -- that I don’t want my kid subjected to this indoctrination, this kind of perverse understanding of sexuality -- then we’re called intolerant. Yet they’re the ones trying to shove their radical secular agenda down the throats of people.

    LAURA INGRAHAM (HOST): Yeah, I’m looking at the American Psychiatric Diagnostic Manual -- the DSM, it’s called -- and they have the diagnostic criteria for gender dysphoria and transexualism, gender identity disorder, and so forth. There’s been a lot of political pressure put on the psychiatric community to destigmatize these, you know, these what they called maladies. And to say this is not -- no, this is not a condition. This is not a psychiatric condition. This is just a state of being. So they’re under pressure and have been.

    ...

    DONOHUE: This actually began around 1970. It was 1973, the American Psychological Association decided that homosexuality was not a mental illness. And that's fine if they want to come to that conclusion based on scientific evidence. But starting three years before that around 1970, gay activists showed up at the convention, the American Psychological Association, every year to indimidate, and call them Nazis, and got the home phone numbers and addresses. This was all pressure politics coming from the left. There was no scientific evidence to suggest that they should change the diagnostic statistical manual whatsoever. And they did so. They caved in out of intimidation. This has pretty well been recounted. And now of course you’ve got the psychiatric community on board as well.

    Another of Ingraham's guests, Walt Heyer, lied that “between three and 15 years after they transition, sometimes 20 years,” transgender people “regret it deeply.” In fact, while a small number of trans folks detransition, widespread “transition regret” is an exaggeration, and the vast majority of trans people remain trans. Additionally, the steps that trans or gender-nonconforming youth take to transition are largely reversable in the rare event that the child determines they are not trans, and the mental health benefits of gender-affirming interventions “usually outweigh the risks.” Narratives about detransitioning are often pushed by right-wing and evangelical media to undermine the affirmation and inclusion of trans folks. Right-wing media and extreme anti-LGBTQ groups have also pushed the myth that trans identity is a social contagion, influenced by peer groups and media.

    Heyer identifies as “a former transgender” and holds extreme, discredited views about LGBTQ people. He is frequently featured in right-wing media to undermine the existence of trans people and oppose affirming care for them. Furthermore, extreme anti-LGBTQ groups often highlight Heyer as part of their anti-trans advocacy, using his existence to suggest that transgender people can simply quit being trans.

    LAURA INGRAHAM (HOST): There really seems to be a building consensus solidified in the popular culture and the mainstream media that these types of quote “reassignment surgeries and gender blockers” for children, that they’re fine, no problem, and it’s just a logical choice for kids who are, who, you know, feel like they’re not in the right bodies. What is your experience, and how can you inform us with it?

    WALT HEYER (GUEST): Yeah. Working with the people, Laura -- thanks for having me on. Working with the people who have been through this of all ages, what we find is that somewhere between three and 15 years after they transition, sometimes 20 years, they find that it’s not what they thought it was going to be. They regret it deeply. They found that their body has been transformed beyond repair. They become even more deeply depressed after than they were before.

    And, so what we’re really dealing with, Laura, is what we call a social contagion. This is exploding, as you pointed out, only because other people are doing it.

    Ingraham invoked right-wing psychiatrist Paul McHugh and cited his quote calling trans people “counterfeits or impersonators.” McHugh, a Johns Hopkins University professor, has peddled anti-trans myths and junk science for years after derailing a pioneering gender identity program at his university due to extreme views about LGBTQ people. Additionally, his fellow colleagues at Hopkins have disavowed one of his reports, saying that it “mischaracterizes the current state of the science on sexuality and gender.”

    Nevertheless, evangelical and right-wing media and extreme anti-LGBTQ groups rely heavily on McHugh as a “leading researcher.”

    LAURA INGRAHAM (HOST): Paul McHugh, who is the leading researcher at Johns Hopkins on, and has been for decades, on this gender fluidity movement, the medical research behind it. Sex reassignment, this idea of sex reassignment, it doesn’t work. It’s impossible to reassign someone’s sex physically, and attempting to do so doesn’t produce good outcomes psychosocially.

    But McHugh is the distinguished service professor of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins, and he said, “Transgendered men do not become women, nor do transgendered women become men. All, including people like Bruce Jenner, become feminized men or masculinized women, counterfeits, or impersonators of the sex with which they quote, ‘idenitify.’ In that lies their problematic future.” And that’s where you get the psychological problems.

    DONOHUE: You know, I have a chapter called “Sex Equality” in the new book called Common Sense Catholicism, and I address this issue.

    INGRAHAM: Oh, great.

    DONOHUE: And in fact, I mention Jenner, and I said, “He can’t menstruate.” OK, can people get that through their head? He can’t menstruate. He will never be a woman. He will always be a male. You can’t change your chromosomal makeup. I mean, this is madness on stilts.

    Additional research by Kayla Gogarty

  • The hate, lies, and misinformation of Laura Ingraham

    ››› ››› BRENDAN KARET & REBECCA MARTIN

    Laura Ingraham has a long history of spreading hate speech, from her prime-time Fox News show, former radio show, and, now, new podcast. Ingraham has made scores of racist and anti-immigrant statements, including echoing white supremacists. On numerous occasions, she has propagated the popular white nationalist “replacement theory,” wherein non-white citizens “replace” white citizens. More recently, Ingraham came under fire for defending white nationalist Paul Nehlen. In the past, advertisers have fled from her show after Ingraham mocked a Parkland school shooting survivor and when she attacked the concept of diversity, saying, “Massive demographic changes have been foisted upon the American people, and they are changes that none of us ever voted for, and most of us don't like.”

  • Laura Ingraham announces Trump's reelection campaign is an official sponsor of her podcast

    Blog ››› ››› MADELINE PELTZ

    On the May 28 edition of Podcast One’s The Laura Ingraham Show Podcast, Fox’s Laura Ingraham did a live read of an ad for President Donald Trump’s Make America Great Again Committee, a joint fundraising committee for his 2020 reelection campaign.

    Ingraham’s ad read is just another example of the unethical conflicts of interest posed by the unofficial alliance between the Republican Party and right-wing media, especially Fox News. Media Matters reporting has shown that multiple Fox hosts, including Ingraham, Tucker Carlson, Lou Dobbs, Sean Hannity, Pete Hegseth, and Jeanine Pirro have received over $500,000 combined in speaking fees from Republican groups during their time at the network. Members of Fox’s purported “news” division, including Shannon Bream and Neil Cavuto, have also headlined conservative events and appeared alongside Republican officials. In November 2018, Fox host Hannity even joined Trump onstage at a campaign rally, despite promising his audience that he would not appear. An advertising partnership between a prominent prime-time cable news personality and the incumbent president’s reelection campaign is a glaring conflict of interest.

    Previously: 

    Laura Ingraham: Tax cuts mean nothing if we "lose the country because of this huge demographic shift" 

    Laura Ingraham on undocumented immigrants: "​This is an invasion of the country ... they want to tell you you can't say that anymore. They are invading the country"​

    Laura Ingraham: "The Democrats want to replace many of you" ​

    Correction (5/29/19): The headline of this piece initially described the Make America Great Again Committee as a "PAC." It is in fact a joint fundraising committee, as the body of the piece explains.

  • How Fox has been using racist, nativist, and anti-immigrant rhetoric to talk about border issues

    Blog ››› ››› COURTNEY HAGLE


    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    In recent months, Fox’s rhetoric on immigration and President Donald Trump’s demand for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border has regularly included racism, nativism, and other anti-immigrant commentary. It’s no secret that Trump frequently watches Fox News for advice and information, often consulting Fox personalities like Sean Hannity and Lou Dobbs when making key policy decisions, and that he regularly tweets about Fox segments throughout the day, particularly the morning show Fox & Friends. As a result, Trump frequently takes the advice of Fox personalities over his own advisers -- according to The New Yorker, “White House aides confirm that Trump has repeatedly walked away from compromises at the last moment because Fox hosts and guests opposed the deals.”

    Trump’s tendency to defer to Fox News makes the racist, nativist, and anti-immigration rhetoric that has become a feature of the network particularly problematic. Fox has given airtime in 2019 to toxic narratives that include demonization of immigrants, descriptions of of people seeking asylum as an “invasion,” support for the myth that Democrats want to increase undocumented immigration as a way to secure votes illegally, and concerns that immigrants are replacing America’s white population -- a common and dangerous white supremacist trope.

    And it appears Fox’s rhetoric in general is influencing the president’s decisions on policies related to the border and immigration. Trump’s recent proposals to declare a national emergency to build a border wall, close the southern border, and cut aid to three Central American countries have all been praised at Fox News even though prominent Republicans on Capitol Hill oppose them.

    Here’s what Fox figures and guests have been saying about the border and immigration lately:

    • Prime-time Fox host Tucker Carlson told Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen that “one party has a vested interest in changing the population.” in discussing immigration. Carlson also asked Nielsen if she would “be willing to draft an executive order eliminating birthright citizenship.” White nationalists have celebrated Carlson for bringing their talking points into the mainstream media. [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 4/2/19; Media Matters, 4/1/19, 3/8/19]
    • In a blatant display of fearmongering, Fox Business host Lou Dobbs said immigration could “consign tens of thousands, perhaps millions of Americans to their deaths.” [Fox Business, Lou Dobbs Tonight, 3/29/19]
    • Carlson argued on his show that “more immigration” isn’t “always better for our economy” because “legal or not, immigrants send their earnings abroad” to their families “and they pay nothing when they do it because remittances are untaxed.” [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 3/20/19]
    • On her podcast, prime-time Fox host Laura Ingraham said undocumented immigration amounts to an “invasion of the country.” She also said, “They want to tell you you can’t say that anymore. They are invading this country.” [PodcastOne, The Laura Ingraham Show Podcast, 3/28/19]
    • On her Fox show, Ingraham argued that immigrant schoolchildren have led to a “diminished product” in schools. She complained that “we aren't allowed to talk about the need for immigrants to assimilate into the American culture.” [Fox News, The Ingraham Angle, 2/12/19]
    • On her podcast, Ingraham said immigration is pushing “Western civilization” toward “tipping over a cliff,” which is in line with common white nationalist tropes. [PodcastOne, The Laura Ingraham Show Podcast, 3/28/19; Pharos, 1/25/19]
    • Carlson complained that government-sponsored child care will “no doubt” be used “to justify more immigration.” He added, “The Democratic Party started by outsourcing manufacturing -- you remember that. Then they outsourced farm labor and yard work. And now they decided to outsource parenting." [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 2/20/19]
    • On her podcast, Ingraham repeated the white nationalist trope that undocumented immigrants are coming to “replace kind of the old America with a new America.” She also said, “The Democrats know that that will tip the balance for them in every state where it’s even close and that will just be an electoral lock forever.” [PodcastOne, The Laura Ingraham Show Podcast, 3/7/19]
    • Later in the same podcast episode, Ingraham emphasized that “the Democrats want to replace many of you with new voters who eventually they will give amnesty to -- to new voters who have -- you know, they have no real affinity for the American founding.” [PodcastOne, The Laura Ingraham Show Podcast, 3/7/19]
    • A guest on Carlson’s show warned that migrant caravans full of people with diseases like scabies are headed to the border. Guest Buck Sexton said immigrants with “a whole litany of different communicable, very serious diseases” are seeking out Border Patrol agents so they can surrender themselves and get free treatment, likenling the situation at the border to a “de facto Red Cross.” [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 1/28/19]
    • On her podcast, Ingraham attacked undocumented immigrants for not showing “any sense of gratitude.” She also complained, “The word ‘assimilation’ is itself a dirty word now.” [PodcastOne, The Laura Ingraham Show Podcast, 1/29/19]
    • On her podcast, Ingraham agreed with guest Pat Buchanan that 1950s' “Operation Wetback” should be reenacted to deport immigrants. [PodcastOne, The Laura Ingraham Show Podcast, 2/6/19]
    • On Fox & Friends, guest Betsy McCaughey said Trump should end “this asylum scam” because many migrants crossing the border are “fake asylum seekers.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 3/18/19]
    • Fox’s Tomi Lahren claimed that the phrase “asylum seekers” is “the roses and sunshine term for illegal immigrants.” [Fox Nation, First Thoughts, 3/11/19]
    • On Fox & Friends, Fox regular Mark Steyn claimed without evidence that there are areas of the southern border that don’t observe U.S. laws because of immigration. He also said that “a lot of young people” find “the abolition of citizenship” an appealing idea. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 3/21/19]
    • On Fox & Friends, contributor Mollie Hemingway justified closing the southern border because “sometimes you want to have a little bit of hurt so that people are incentivized to do something.” The comment came after she was told that “almost half of our veggies and about 40 percent of our fruit does come from Mexico.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 4/3/19]
    • On Fox Business’ Varney & Co., frequent Fox guest Brad Blakeman argued that closing the border is worth the economic cost because “it's about time Americans in this generation were subjected to sacrifice." When pressed on whether or not this would hurt Trump politically, Blakeman responded, “Yes, it is, because leaders have to take a chance.” [Fox Business, Varney & Co., 4/2/19]
    • A panel of guests on Fox & Friends urged Trump to close the southern border. Brandon Judd argued that “these are extraordinary times and you have to take extraordinary measures.” Tom Homan said that “it’s going to hurt. But, you know, these types of actions are necessary to secure the border.” Mark Kelly conceded that “closing the border might be a drastic method, but I think we may be at a point where we need to be drastic.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 4/1/19]
    • Fox & Friends Sunday went viral after airing a segment with a chyron that read “Trump cuts U.S. aid to 3 Mexican countries.” The segment was referring to Trump’s decision to cut aid from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. The show ultimately issued an apology. [Fox News, Fox & Friends Sunday, 3/31/19]
    • Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade said that Trump shutting down the southern border “even if it hurts us economically” is “called leadership.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 4/3/19]
    • On Fox & Friends, co-host Ainsley Earhardt asserted that undocumented immigrants are “using these kids” to enter the United States. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 3/7/19]
    • Fox & Friends’ Kilmeade suggested Senate Republicans use “humanitarian perspective” as “cover” to vote for an emergency declaration to fund the border wall. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 3/12/19]
    • On Fox & Friends, former border patrol chief Mark Morgan defended border security agents against accusations that they are caging migrants, saying that there is just “chain link fence” for “safety and security.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 3/7/19]
    • On Fox’s “hard news” program America’s Newsroom, guest Brad Blakeman claimed asylum seekers “exploit the weakness” in U.S. asylum laws. [Fox News, America’s Newsroom, 3/6/19]