Friday night Laura Ingraham admitted she thinks maybe it's time to stop coddling granny. “If you want to stay at home, stay at home. But for the rest of us, we’ll make our own decisions. Since the so-called experts say it will be around forever, it’s time to move on with our lives. The testing issue is just another Democrat red herring. More impossible hoops.”
So she finally said the quiet part loud—that testing and tracing were too complicated and hard to do, ergo they were a Democratic conspiracy—as opposed to the truth, which is that Donald Trump has broken the federal government so badly that it is incapable of mounting any reasonable response to the pandemic. Sorry grandma, you’ve had a good run.
We should have seen this coming. The president ran his campaign as a sort of anti-science, anti-expertise clusterfuck, and now we are confronted by a problem that can only be solved by science. And so the Trump-branded media has decided the science is actually a Democratic conspiracy.
That said, it’s still sort of shocking to see Ingraham embrace this narrative. After all, here’s a woman from Connecticut, who went to the fanciest conservative Ivy (Dartmouth) and one of the finest law schools (UVa), clerked for a Supreme Court justice (the worst one—Thomas) and worked at one of the fanciest law firms, Skadden Arps.
For someone so rich and powerful, Laura Ingraham is always somewhat aggrieved. It’s sort of ironic because her party controls the presidency, the Senate, and much of the judiciary, and last year she made millions of dollars. But that seems not to have lifted her mood. Laura feels particularly oppressed by the “so-called experts,” or, as they’re known by us normies, scientists.
Yes, doctors, scientists, and health department busybodies have really let Laura down, first by not being supportive of her obsession with hydroxychloroquine, and then by their insistence in testing and tracing. Yes, Laura is convinced all the doctors and scientists are handing the pandemic wrong. Laura Ingraham may be a lawyer, but she thinks she’s a doctor. Nowhere is this more obvious than during her 10 p.m. television program on the Fox “News” Channel, a network that is increasingly looking like it could be the product of a fever dream of a North Korean dictator.
Laura may not be a doctor but she does have a segment called “Laura’s medicine cabinet,” when she dispenses medical advice and during which she has continually pushed hydroxychloroquine. On April 1, Laura had a guest, a certain Dr. Smith, who said, “I think this is the beginning of the end of the pandemic. I’m very serious.”
That was on April 1. Since then tens of thousands have continued to die and various studies have been released questioning the efficacy of the drug. One might think that Laura, who compared the drug to Lazarus, might have some residual sheepishness; or perhaps she might just stop mentioning hydroxychloroquine like the president and many of the other Fox hosts. But Laura continues her push for the drug.
The New York Times’ Michael Grynbaum noted this enormous shift around April 13, when the network started an about-face on the malaria drug. “Hydroxychloroquine has been mentioned about a dozen times on Fox News, compared with more than 100 times in the four previous weeks, according to a review of network transcripts.” But Laura isn’t ready to give up on her miracle drug.
You’d think after her little adventure of having to delete a tweet that was against Twitter’s “rules against misleading health information,” Laura might have gotten more cautious. In March, she “tweeted that "many hospitals" were using the drug and seeing "very promising results," citing a doctor at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York.
Twitter later deleted the tweet—the source Ingraham used didn't work at Lenox Hill. But she is still tweeting about her miracle drug. On May 15, she tweeted out an abstract of a 181-person study in France that took place in March. “None of the 15 patients who received a combination of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin was transferred to intensive care and none died.”
The problem with being a Trumpist is that you are continually asked to sell the notion that the emperor is in fact wearing clothes. This is a herculean task. Trump’s defenders find themselves even more beguiled by how to sell the idea that the president who hates science and more generally doesn’t believe in it will save us all from a pandemic that can only be solved with science.
It’s a sticky wicket if there ever was one, but Laura has figured out how to do to it: Paint the reasonable scientific response to the pandemic as partisan hackery. What’s considered a normal scientific response to the virus in South Korea, New Zealand, Australia, and the rest of the world is considered in Trump-Ingraham America to be a Democratic overreaction.
Ingraham is doing with the coronavirus what the right has done with climate change; she’s decided that science is a liberal conspiracy. The problem is they haven’t quite figured out what the conspiracy is, so they’ve decided it’s that Democrats what to take away your freedom.
It’s funny because I would think that death would take away one’s freedom more permanently, whether it’s grandma’s or yours or mine, but then I’m one of those kooky liberals who believe in science.