UPDATE: TheBlaze and Tomi Lahren will officially cut ties. She and the media company are currently in negotiations over her severance.
One point of contention is ownership of her Facebook page, where she has amassed a significant audience - and a huge distribution opportunity for TheBlaze. It remains unclear how, if TheBlaze retains ownership of the Facebook page, the company would brand the page without Lahren.
Our original story appears below.
Fallout from Tomi Lahren's Pro-Choice Reveal: Why Integrity is Critical to a Brand's Success
When President Donald Trump slams media outlets for creating "fake news," it resonates for a reason.
It's reinforced when camera crews stage fake crime scenes with police caution tape for a news report.
We become even more skeptical when we read about a two-man operation churning out false stories to vast audiences on social media to make a buck.
It seems, these days, integrity in the media business is rare. Perhaps it's been that way for a while.
Finding an outlet you can trust takes a willingness to seek truth and develop a filter for fake news. Likewise, media companies have a responsibility to their audiences to be ethical and intellectually honest.
Now, with that frame in mind, let's take a look at the fallout from Tomi Lahren's pro-choice reveal and slam of anti-abortion, limited-government conservatives last week.
In an interview on The View, conservative talk show host Lahren expressed her thoughts on abortion. She said that, as someone who supports limited government, she could not support government intrusion in a woman's body.
Now, Lahren is known for her quick wit and sharp tongue. She first made waves when, during her show segment "Final Thoughts" (which originally aired on the One America News Network), Lahren criticized former President Barack Obama in the wake of the Chattanooga, Tennessee shooting in July 2015 that resulted in the death of four U.S. Marines.
In November that year, Lahren moved to Texas to host her own show, "Tomi," on the internet TV network TheBlaze. "Final Thoughts" has continued as a segment of her show and is shared on social media. These clips often go viral, garnering hundreds of thousands, and sometimes millions, of views.
In the wake of her appearance on The View, backlash ensued. A swarm of Lahren's now-former fans breaking from their idol-like support in response to her seemingly new view on abortion, and for her calling those who support limited government but not abortion choice "hypocrites."
TheBlaze has suspended Lahren's show for at least a week.
On his radio show, TheBlaze founder Glenn Beck made it clear that this action was not because of Lahren's pro-choice views.
Beck did take issue with her claims that those who believe in limited government, specifically pro-life conservatives, are hypocritical in their belief that government can and should intervene in the issue of abortion.
"First of all, we have a whole bunch of different types of people that work here. We started ThBlaze with a show called The Real News. Real News was absolutely fantastic, and it was hosted by Amy Holmes, who was openly pro-choice.
"So if you're pro-choice, you can have a job at TheBlaze. I don't hire people who are sycophants or people who have my opinion. I try to hire people who have a different opinion because I believe in being intellectually rigorous. I don't want straw men. I want people to make a real argument on the other side so we can learn from each other and grow."
He then made a detailed and clear argument against abortion, citing the constitution protecting "ourselves and our posterity," or the unborn.
"... So I would disagree that you’re a hypocrite if you want limited government and yet you want the government to protect life of the unborn. It’s very, very clear. But it takes intellectual honesty, and it takes a willingness to actually think these things through and to do more than just read Twitter or Facebook to get your news and your political opinions.
"You actually have to study things — these things out in your mind. Especially at a time period like today. Bomb throwing is — bomb throwing in today’s world is dangerous. Freedom of speech, it’s not free. Speech isn’t free. It comes with a very high price tag.
"First, being intellectually honest and intellectually curious. Speech is not free. It comes with another cost and usually to the other people at the other end of your argument. The pen is mightier than the sword, and it can destroy people if your aim is clicks, views, and ratings."
Has Lahren been keeping the audience she's grown with TheBlaze in the dark about her pro-choice beliefs? Or was she bending to the liberal audience she was speaking to?
The fact that these questions exist is troubling, given her level of influence and audience.
So let's take a look at Lahren's comments on the subject over the past few months and see if she hasn't been, as Beck inferred, "intellectually honest and intellectually curious."
Here's what Lahren said during her interview with The View:
"I'm pro choice, and here’s why. I am a constitutional, y’know, someone that loves the Constitution. I'm someone that's for limited government. So I can't sit here and be a hypocrite and say I'm for limited government but I think the government should decide what women do with their bodies."
— The View (@TheView) March 17, 2017
That was Friday.
Just last month, Lahren tweeted about the rights of fetuses in a debate about school choice:
You want the choice to abort a fetus but what about school choice? ?https://t.co/lClaV4cTxp
— Tomi Lahren (@TomiLahren) February 8, 2017
We can't quite tell here if she's pro-choice in the sense of both school and aborting a fetus.
Is Lahren being purposefully ambiguous?
Now, on December 22, 2016, Lahren's "Final Thoughts" segment aired with commentary on the controversial liberal film producer and actress Lena Dunham's statements about saying she wished she'd had an abortion.
In that segment, Lahren said (bold added for emphasis):
"...This woman, and I use the term loosely, single-handedly kills legitimacy of the modern-day feminist movement every time she speaks. To be quite honest, I could care less if Lena Dunham had an abortion or wants to have an abortion or talks about abortion. That's on her.
"But does she realize how damaging she is to her own narrative? Think about it: the 'pro-choicers' are supposed to be about rare and safe abortions. That’s how they avoid sounding like straight-up baby killers, by acknowledging abortion is not a positive thing and a difficult choice.
"Then we have Lena freakin’ Dunham out there wishing she could have murdered a fetus. Wishing for the option to kill your child doesn’t exactly say much about the cause, her character, or the pro-choice movement.
"And can we just acknowledge the fact that pro-choice still means a choice? It means there are some who are pro-life who choose not to make abortion choice. Sounds more like Lena is clamoring for anti-choice.
"And here I thought the loving Left, the snowflake martyrs, were all about peace, and love, and life. Except when it comes to the unborn, I suppose. Then it’s a different story, a story they write and rewrite to fit their narrative and legitimize trolls like Lena Dunham.
"But again, let her talk. She's putting herself over the edge, and we're happy to watch her tumble.
"And let me just say, abortion or anti-abortion isn't my top issue. But boy, wouldn't it be nice if taxpayers didn't have to shed out our hard-earned dollars to pay for the wishful abortions of people like Lena Dunham?
Every time Lena Dunham speaks, the modern day feminist movement loses legitimacy.
Posted by Tomi Lahren on Thursday, December 22, 2016
In those statements, Lahren could be hinting that she's pro-choice in that she doesn't like abortion but doesn't care if someone else (Dunham) chooses to have an abortion.
This story isn't about the issue of abortion. It's about the responsibility of being "intellectually honest," as Beck said, to the audience you serve.
When Lahren chose to more concretely state her position as pro choice on abortion during her appearance on The View, instead of to her regular audience, on her conservative talk show, on TheBlaze, uproar ensued.
Matt Walsh, Christian columnist and political incendiary for TheBlaze, wrote a detailed analysis of Lahren's comments about pro-lifers being "hypocrites" and posed several possible reasons for which Lahren decided to come out as pro-choice on The View.
"If she’s had a sincere pro-abortion conversion experience, she has a responsibility to the audience that made her famous to explain it to them directly and respectfully, not to announce it to the hens on The View while insulting the audience that put her there.
"On the other hand, if the conversion was not sincere, or if she was pro-abortion all along and only regurgitated pro-life slogans to manipulate her conservative audience, then that scene on The View was something considerably worse than merely disappointing."
In business, many entrepreneurs benefit from setting a vivid vision for their company that, in addition to overall goals, incorporates ethics and values for the brand, and the team, to uphold.
It seems that, perhaps in his move to suspend Lahren, Beck is looking to reinforce the integrity of TheBlaze.
No official statement has come from Lahren in the wake of this media spectacle, sans some cryptic tweets.
We're watching to what happens next. Share your thoughts in the comments.
"Never ever mistake her silence for weakness. Remember that sometimes the air stills before the onset of a hurricane."
— Tomi Lahren (@TomiLahren) March 21, 2017
This life can be lonely. Thank you to those-on all sides of the political spectrum-for the support. Agree/disagree, it means the world. ❤??
— Tomi Lahren (@TomiLahren) March 21, 2017
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