For much of Friday and into the weekend, various hosts on both CNN and MSNBC were hard at work smearing Fox News host Laura Ingraham as someone who uses her show to promote "racist" and "white supremacist" views as they reacted to a commentary she gave on The Ingraham Angle show in which she advocated for merit-based immigration and lamented "massive demographic" changes.
After liberal MSNBC Republican Nicolle Wallace kicked off the smearing late Thursday afternoon, by Friday morning CNN and other MSNBC shows were piling on even though, by that point, Ingraham had already made a clarification on Thursday evening as she denied that she was complaining about the racial makeup of immigrants when she referred to "demographic changes."
As the various hosts showed skepticism that she was telling the truth in her clarification, they all neglected to inform viewers that even in her original monologue from Wednesday, August 8, she declared that "it's not about race or ethnicity" and quoted President Donald Trump's assertion that "merit-based legal immigration is fantastic."
Instead, it appeared that none of the hosts who were so eager to weigh in and condemn the FNC host could be bothered to actually watch her 13-minute commentary, instead relying on one 30-second clip in which she referred to demographic changes and "in some cases, legal immigration" being a problem.
Morning Joe led with the clip, and Mika Brzezinski declared Ingraham's commentary to be "very trashy" and "very ugly." She and Joe Scarborough both claimed that it promoted "white supremacy."
On MSNBC Live, MSNBC contributor Jonathan Capehart excoriated Ingraham as "deplorable," and claimed that her viewers are "watching hate on a nightly basis."
On Sunday's AM Joy, panel members suggested that such talk contributes to harassment of blacks and an increase in "white extremist murder." Jess McIntosh of Shareblue Media likened Fox News to Nazis as she declared that she stopped appearing on Fox News because "I wouldn't be going on German state TV in 1933."
Over on CNN, New Day ran with the story, leading CNN commentator and regular panel member John Avlon to proclaim that "That wasn't a dog whistle -- that was a bullhorn," and that it is "as ugly as it gets, naked for everyone to see on primetime TV."
CNN Newsroom host Brooke Baldwin declared that Ingraham "unapologetically and so blatantly cites race for not liking the America that she sees," and, referring to Ingraham's clarification, the CNN host later added: "Sorry, Laura, you can't walk that back. And the language that she used originally, the same kind of language we hear from avowed white supremacists."
Liberal CNN commentator Van Jones, appearing as a guest on Baldwin's show, hyperbolically likened Ingraham to Nazis and claimed that the Fox News host does not like "brown" people as he smeared:
And then she just says, 'No, never mind. Actually, I don't care if they're not terrorists. I don't care if they're not in gangs. If they're brown, I don't like them.'
Referring to a report by Sarah Sidner in which the CNN correspondent spoke with a Nazi, Jones claimed that "a Nazi standing outside his trailer and Laura Ingraham have the same message now," adding that "you've got people who are explicitly saying, no matter who your are -- doesn't matter if you are a doctor, lawyer -- if you are brown and there's too many of you, I have a problem with that."
He then tied in the white supremacist violence in Charlottesville as he concluded: "That is the definition of racism, and it is coming from Fox News hosts in broad daylight in America, and you wonder why people get killed and run over and run out of towns in the rest of the country."
On Cuomo Prime Time, as host Cuomo debated the issue with right-leaning guest, Amy Kremer, of Women for Trump, he claimed that demographics could only refer to race as he declared that "that's the only thing demographic changes can mean."
In fact, the word "demographics" can refer to many attributes, including education level or socio-economic status.
When Kremer pointed out that Ingraham has an adopted daughter from Central America, Cuomo suggested that it was still possible to be racist against Latin-Americans generally even after adopting a Latin-American child.
And on Saturday, as CNN weekend host Ana Cabrera recalled the white supremacist violence in Charlottesville from a year earlier, she tied in Ingraham and suggested that Fox News promotes white nationalism: "We are hearing sentiments that would make white nationalists proud being expressed on a certain cable news network.which gives a platform for some commentators who seem to be nervous about the threat to so-called whiteness in this country."
Some hosts harped on Ingraham referring to "in some cases, legal immigration" being problematic, suggesting it is automatically racist to want reforms to immigration rules. For some time, Ingraham has been advocating for a move toward merit-based immigration and away from chain migration which also brings low-skilled immigrants into the country who have less ability to contribute economically to the country -- a reform measure which polling shows has overwhelming public support.
Ingraham also complained about the fact that half a million legal immigrants overstay visas each year. Additionally, she cited problems with deporting immigrants after they commit serious crimes, noting recent examples of non-citizens who avoided deportation after criminal convictions and went on to attack police officers.
And even liberals like CNN's Fareed Zakaria and MSNBC's Jon Meacham have admitted in recent years that concerns about immigrant assimilation can be legitimate and are not automatically racist.