January 13, 2018


The Tragedy of Laura Ingraham's LifeZette (Mark Judge, 9/06/17, Splice Today)

As reported by the Daily Beast, LifeZette, the website founded and run by conservative radio host and author Laura Ingraham, is in trouble. Several staffers have complained about sexually inappropriate comments by the site's chief executive Peter Anthony. Traffic is minuscule. There are complaints of not getting paid.

LifeZette's troubles are especially tragic because Ingraham is a brilliant commentator who understands popular culture, and her failure will only reconfirm that conservatives are incapable of providing decent coverage of arts and culture--the things that, as Andrew Breitbart noted, feed politics.

It didn't have to be this way. In the summer of 2015 I was contacted by an editor who'd just been hired by LifeZette, which was about to launch. He wanted to know if I was interested in writing for them. I was. We met in Georgetown for lunch and he showed me the LifeZette offices, which were gorgeously housed in a modern building right off the C & O canal. They were even building a radio studio for Ingraham. You could see there was money behind LifeZette--specifically, the multimillionaire T. Boone Pickens, who, staffers have claimed, is funding Ingraham's venture.

More than once, the editor mentioned The New Yorker as a guide. Of course, LifeZette would be a conservative site and have conservative blogs and articles. But they wanted to produce noteworthy journalism. More and more it seemed like a dream come true. I've long complained about the lousy nature of conservative coverage of the arts, from the obsession with the 1960s and Lena Dunham to the terrible movie reviews of John Podhoretz and Ben Shapiro's tone-deaf dismissal of Kurt Cobain. Here was a chance to blast the Hollywood left when they inevitably did or said something stupid, but present real journalism--to interview actors, screenwriters and directors. Ingraham had gotten a BA from Dartmouth and gone to law school at UVA. Surely she would be receptive to not only trashing Alec Baldwin, but also talking to him.

A couple of weeks after our meeting, I got a call from the friend who had offered me a job. He was leaving LifeZette. Ingraham was a tyrant, and there was no freedom to do any of the things we had talked about. He was out, and I'd be wise to stay away.

Then LifeZette launched. It was awful.

Conservative media should, above all else, be funny (Andrew Ferguson is the archetype).  Existence supplies us with endless material.  Instead, it's mostly just as hysterical and apocalyptic as leftwing media.

Posted by at January 13, 2018 7:56 AM