Editors' pickPolitics

Kanye West praised by Fox News host who said entertainers should not express political beliefs

Kanye West made headlines this week by praising Donald Trump in a long series of unusual tweets, including one in which he says he and Trump are both “dragon energy.”

Kanye’s support of Trump is not new: He said he supported Trump over Hillary and met with Trump at Trump Tower during the presidential transition. 

Nevertheless, on her show last night, Fox News host Laura Ingraham praised Kanye, calling him a “catalyst for an honest discussion about the coerced conformity of thought the celebrity culture imposed all of us.” 

Ingraham said Kanye was “thinking for himself” and said that “he refused to let the mob shake his love for the president.” 

“Kanye West is right. He’s right about this,” Ingraham said, agreeing with Kanye’s claim that John Legend and others were trying to stifle him.

There is one small issue with Ingraham’s position. She is the author of a book called “Shut Up & Sing,” which argues that entertainers should not express their political beliefs. It includes an entire chapter called Shut Up and Entertain Us.

It now appears that Ingraham holds this view — the entire premise of her book — only if celebrities express beliefs that are not in line with her own.

Ingraham briefly addressed the book on Thursday night. She said the imperative to “Shut Up & Sing” only applies to people “peddling political nonsense while lacking the credentials or experience to do so.” Kanye’s praise of Trump’s “dragon energy” apparently does not fit in that category.

Ingraham was far less charitable to LeBron James and Kevin Durant who recently offered some critical comments about Trump. “The number one job in America, the appointed person, is someone who doesn’t understand the people and really doesn’t give a fuck about the people,” James said in an interview with ESPN’s Cari Champion.

“Look, there might be a cautionary lesson in LeBron for kids: this is what happens when you attempt to leave high school a year early to join the NBA. And it’s always unwise to seek political advice from someone who gets paid $100 million a year to bounce a ball,” Ingraham said of James. He graduated high school, successfully oversees a business empire, and has received critical acclaim as an actor.

“LeBron and Kevin, you’re great players, but but no one voted for you. Millions elected Trump to be their coach,” she said.

Ingraham said LeBron and Durant should “shut up and dribble,” adding “Must they run their mouth like that?”

After a rash of criticism, Ingraham released a statement, citing her book, that she has a principled objection to athletes and entertainers expressing their political views.

“In 2003, I wrote a New York Times bestseller called “Shut Up & Sing,” in which I criticized celebrities like the Dixie Chicks & Barbra Streisand who were trashing then-President George W. Bush. I have used a variation of that title for more than 15 years to respond to performers who sound off on politics,” Ingraham said.

Two months later, Kanye started tweeting about Trump and everything changed.


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