Yesterday, gchat windows of reporters on all points on the political spectrum united in celebrating the suspension of Tomi Lahren, the platinum id of the American right, from her nightly news show at TheBlaze, your uncle truck nutz’s favorite website.
The suspension came on the heels of remarks Lahren made on The View last week wherein she declared that she is pro-choice, and that to believe otherwise would be hypocritical as a small-government conservative.
This did not make small-government conservatives who have long been a key part of Lahren’s fan base very happy, as many hold their belief that abortion is murder central to their political identity. Conservative Twitter, many of whom had been weary of her schtick for awhile, finally turned on her en masse. Her fans—at least the ones that weren’t in that particular genre of man who operates under the delusional assumption that if he leaves a nice enough comment on a woman’s social media post, she may go out on a date with him—revolted. And it was that layer cake of conservative anger that led to her punishment: a week off her Facebook megahit show, a news cycle of stern headlines. It’s the slap-on-the-wrist special, a punishment just long enough for the public to find a new media playground fight to congeal around but not long enough to reduce her “heat” or put a dent in TheBlaze’s page views.
If Lahren is hoping to find allies on the left, she’s going to have to look for a long time. Apart from scattered slack-jawed Tomi Lahren Sure Tells The Haters-style aggregation, feminist journalists were loathe to step up to defend her, which is no surprise. Mere months ago, Lahren was skewering pro-choice adherents for trampling the rights on the unborn, and has made it a habit during her short but rocket-ship career to skewer feminist as man-hating snowflakes who can’t handle the truth.
Maybe Lahren’s sudden pro-choice pivot means she’s evolving as a person and a thinker, as many 24-year-olds do. Or maybe, when she’s in front of a hostile audience and the gravitas of Joy Behar, Lahren suddenly found the swagger she has when it’s just her and a webcam lacking. She wouldn’t be the first conservative chickenhawk.
“Ladies, you were made to do difficult things. Believe in yourself,” Lahren tweeted today, to another chorus of across-the-aisle boos. Pro-life conservatives are still angry. And the irony of a woman who spent much of the election cycle decrying women who supported Hillary Clinton because of a shared gender now asking for gender-based affirmation was not lost on this writer.
If all of the media was housed in a single apartment building, Lahren would be the neighbor who lives below the three-bedroom the feminists share, constantly blasting loud music or having loud fights or leaving her garbage outside of their door and then, maybe once a month, running crying to them when she locks herself out. Kellyanne Conway and Ivanka Trump have made similar empty appeals to women whose work and legacy they’ve only worked to undo. Much to the chagrin of conservative women who cried sexism only when it served their personal ends, it seems feminists are entering the Don’t Come Crying To Me era.
Everybody loves a good public stoning, especially when they’re bored. The internet has made participating in them less bloody than ever. But if her detractors think this is the end of Lahren, I’ve got a bridge in Arizona to sell you.
That she has generated so much hate, that so much attention is paid to her every misstep, only serves to make Lahren more marketable. Her appearance on The View is evidence that, like it or not, she’s now mainstream, and able to go viral in other formats as an object of mass derision, a cultural lightning rod. The View’s golden age was arguably during the 10 years that Elisabeth Hasselbeck frequently got into incoherent screaming matches with her fellow co-hosts. The edition of Real Time featuring a whinging Milo got the show more attention than any other episode in recent memory. And Lahren’s interview on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah helped the nightly political satire show break briefly through the nightly political satire cacophony. Like it or not, almost everything the woman touches goes viral.
It’s only a matter of time before a show that needs some buzz buys out her contract at TheBlaze and takes her from Facebook to daytime TV, or to nighttime TV, or to another level of ubiquity, as if the Trump era couldn’t become more irritating to more people.
Tomi Lahren told The Daily Beast that she was “not allowed” to comment for this story.