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Digital Subscriptions > Newsweek International > 24 November 2017 > CONVERSION THERAPY

CONVERSION THERAPY

Once a staunch Reagan Republican, Laura Ingraham has become Trump’s top tub-thumper—and Fox’s new star. But is her love for the Donald genuine?

OR SOMETHING MORE CYNICAL?

IT WAS ELECTION NIGHT 1984, and Laura Ingraham, a student at Dartmouth College, was drinking and dancing at a hotel when the returns rolled in. She and her friends, all conservatives, had plenty of reasons to celebrate. President Ronald Reagan was drubbing Minnesota Senator Walter Mondale (Reagan wound up winning all but one state), and Ingraham fondly recalls the “seething leftists” who paraded by, horrified as they watched the young conservatives cheer. “God,” she tells Newsweek, “I loved the ’80s.”

She’s enjoying the Donald Trump era almost as much. Once a true believer in the Reagan gospel of supply-side economics, massive defense spending, a muscular foreign policy and traditional family values, Ingraham has fully embraced Trumpism, adopting all of its anti-establishment fervor. And with the New York real estate mogul in the Oval Office, she has parlayed her national radio show and frequent appearances on Fox News into her own nightly prime-time program (The Ingraham Angle) on the conservative network—the ultimate media perch for a right-of-center pundit.

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OUT-FOXED: DONALD TRUMP IS THE BEST AND WORST THING TO FOX NEWS Fox News isn’t a network; it’s a worldview. That worldview is shared by Donald Trump, who reportedly watches several hours of Fox News each day. There has never been a relationship this close between a sitting president and an American media organization. Trump and Rupert Murdoch, chairman of the network’s parent company, 21st Century Fox, are friends who talk regularly. Murdoch has offered him advice on media strategy; last March, Trump fired the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara, who was conducting a federal investigation into how Fox News handled sexual misconduct claims.
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