Archive for December 2012

Laura Ingraham: First Lady of Conservative Radio

December 1, 2012

This week Laura Ingraham and her distributor, Talk Radio Network, parted ways, leaving Ingraham off the radio airwaves. That’s only a matter of time, as Ingraham is the highest rated female host and one of the overall biggest talkers. Below is an excerpt profiling Ingraham’s career from The Right Frequency. Click here to order a copy of The Right Frequency.

The most listened to woman on talk radio scoffs at the idea of simply doing politics, frequently talking about entertainment, the culture and “pornification” of America, her dog, her adopted children and family in general. Of course all of these things have some connection to politics, or at least to conservative philosophy. She also has one of the funniest programs on air, plays pop music leading into commercial breaks, goes off on irreverent chats with her staff in the studio, making fun of them, and they her. She is heard on more than 350 stations nationwide with 5.5 million listeners per week. She interviews occasional celebrities as well as politicians, and carries segments such as “Lie of the Day.”

“I would shrivel up and die if my show was entirely focused on politics,” she said in 2003 after the publication of her second book “Shut Up and Sing” an indictment of the entertainment industry. “I think you win hearts and minds with facts, passion and humor. And you win young minds by knowing the culture, not just by trashing it. I’m a huge [Bruce] Springsteen, Coldplay and Ryan Adams fan … and they are all hopelessly left-wing. Hence the title, ‘Shut Up and Sing.’”

She led a successful on-air campaign in 2007 that prompted Verizon, the telecom giant, to drop its sponsorship of rap artist Akon, over his obscene on-stage performances. She also lets the pop culture have it, suc critiquing the absurdity on display at the MTV Video Music Awards.

“You have this spectacle of narcissism, materialism, lack of talent and sheer stupidity all coalescing on one stage in one hideous Las Vegas venue and not one of these freak shows mentioned the military.”

Ingraham said. “None of these talentless bubble brains mentioned the sacrifice of these men and women or referenced 9/11. You contrast the image of Britney [Spears] with the lieutenant from Newark with 80 pounds on his back with 120 degree heat walking the desert and that tells you how much we are disconnected from that notion of sacrificial consequences.”

The notoriety has launched her to the top of The New York Times best-seller list numerous times. Her earliest book was in 2000, “The Hillary Trap.” That was followed by “Shut Up & Sing,”; “Power to the People,” a mixture of a call to grassroots action, memoir and commentary; “The Obama Diaries,” a spoof of what Obama would say from Ingraham’s perspective in his diary. Most recently she wrote, “Of Thee I Zing: America’s Cultural Decline form Muffin Tops to Body Shots.”

A native of Glastonbury, Connecticut, Ingraham attended Dartmouth College, where she became editor of the Dartmouth Review, the campus’s conservative newspaper, and interviewed notables such as Education Secretary William Bennett, conservative commentator Pat Buchanan and American Spectator publisher R. Emmett Tyrell.

“The Review took over my life,” Ingraham said. “Here you had all these ‘60s liberals—who used to be storming administration buildings themselves—in power at Dartmouth, and they didn’t know what to do with this conservative independent paper. I was sued a couple of times for libel by professors. We ended up on ’60 Minutes.’ It was a real catalyst for political involvement—and made doing ‘Crossfire’ look like nothing.”

From there, she went to Washington to work for the Department of Education, the Department of Transportation and as a speechwriter for the White House in the last days of the Reagan administration. From there, she headed to the University of Virginia School of Law.

She returned to Washington to clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas. Then, she went to work for the Washington firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom working with Bob Bennett, President Clinton’s attorney in the Paula Jones suit and brother of Bill Bennett, where she stayed from 1993 through 1996.

See the complete biographical profile of Ingraham in The Right Frequency.