Monday, September 22, 2008

Ms. Laura Ingraham: You are an intellectual coward

Here is an audio stream of my appearance.

Here is a downloadable MP3.

For allowing me the modest opportunity to present my arguments to her listeners, I give Laura Ingraham her due. But for mischaracterizing my position into a straw man, for constantly interrupting me as I attempted to explain my reasoning, for allowing her staff to turn off my mike in our debate (implying that I sat in silent awe while she pontificated), I give Laura Ingraham nothing but my utter contempt. I judge Laura Ingraham to be an intellectual weakling whose main stunt is to bring in a guest on her show for the sole purpose of abusing them in order to aggrandize herself and her followers.

To add to her outrage, Ingraham had the audacity to talk about "elites" such as me dominating our country. I never clerked for a US Supreme Court Justice like she did. I never wrote speeches for a presidential administration like she did. I joined the Marine Corps out of high school to defend my and my country's freedom and to help pay for college. When that money ran out (little as it was), I did things like wash windows to get by. Laura Ingraham shouldn't lecture me about how I'm some sort of out of touch elitist who doesn't understand the problems of real life. I'm well aware of these problems because I've lived through many of them myself.

I've been a guest on countless radio talk shows and I anticipated a rhetorical slug-fest with someone who disagrees with my every view, yet what I received as guest on the Laura Ingraham Show exceeded even my worst expectations. At root, Laura Ingraham is a discredit to civil discourse in this country. She should be nothing but ashamed and appalled for her obnoxious conduct while I was a guest on her show.


Anonymous said...

Way to go Nick!

Abortion is Pro-Life

Anonymous said...

Here is a link to the show:

Francis Luong (Franco) said...

I suppose her listener constituency doesn't know or care about objective journalism. That's too bad. Very brave of you to try. Bravo.


Ritu said...

She is clearly a disgusting human being who does not know how to interact with others with decency and respect.

Is there any way to listen to your whole interview, Nick? The one that you linked to is just an excerpt, about 7 mins. long.

Nicholas Provenzo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nicholas Provenzo said...

>Is there any way to listen to your whole interview, Nick? The one that you linked to is just an excerpt, about 7 mins. long.

I'm not sure; if someone can find one, I ask that they please post the URL here.

And to honest with you, I'm not particularly interested in hearing that show host again on the grounds that her patronizing tone makes my skin crawl.

Gideon said...

I think you did very well. Frankly, your treatment is unfortunately standard fare at these talk shows which is why I don't usually listen to them. I think this is another example exposing the dishonesty of these anti-abortion individuals.


Jeffrey Derks said...

Nick Provenzo wrote:

>I judge Laura Ingraham to be an intellectual weakling whose main stunt is to bring in a guest on her show for the sole purpose of abusing them in order to aggrandize herself and her followers.

And you have it exactly right: I've seen her more times than I care to admit, on FOX "News", and she conducts herself precisely as you say, whenever she has to face an argument she can't, or doesn't wish to, answer.

I get the distinct impression that she, and nearly all the rest of that FOX crew, are after one and only one immediate end: to see abortion outlawed. Everything else they do and profess seems to be with that purpose in mind. I think they grasp that, if that fundamental and obvious a right can be abrogated, once and for all, it will mean that the country has for all practical purposes collapsed into (or, in their twisted vision, "achieved the status of") a Christian theocracy, or is at least fully ripe for it. Abortion, to them, is both an end and symbolic of a still "greater" end. I only hope that they and their ilk are stopped dead in their current tracks, with the defeat of the McCain/Palin ticket.

Anonymous said...

Greetings from England. Nick, I admire your courage. Laura Ingraham intentionally refused to distinguish between a potential and an actual. She was appalling. Since when does every woman's body belong to Ms. Ingraham? Why is it that American anti-abortionists call themselves "pro-life" and yet they uphold is sacrifice, obedience, duty and service to supernatural dogma as the moral ideal? This is at odds with the founding fathers of America who upheld the Aristotelian/Enlightenment principles of life, liberty, ( property) and the pursuit of happiness.

malcontent said...

Nick, you did an excellent job. I think that anyone who was listening who is open to reason would respond well to what you said. It was clear that she was being emotionalist, anti-intellectual, dishonest and rude, while you were logical, intellectual and decent.

Jane Galt said...

Ingraham was so rude to you, if you were a guest in her house, you would have every right to toss the contents of your cup in her face and leave. Yet sadly, your treatment was far from exceptional for TV or radio these days. As you note, this is not a good sign for civil discourse in our society.

I have to commend for your march though this mire. I've considered myself an Objectivist since I read The Fountainhead in the mid-80's. Outside of when John Lewis spoke at George Mason (which I know you helped organize) I've never seen a fellow Objectivist take so many vicious public hits to defend a personal right to dear to so many of us. This is not a parlor game—this is the real deal.

I'm sending your group a donation today and sincerely I hope that you get ten-thousand times over the little that I can give you. You fight like few others, Mr. Provenzo, and I admire you and your group for it.

Steve Rodgers said...

Way to stand up to that deranged raving woman. I could not have done what you did today.

First to fight for right and freedom? Yes, Sir. You can tell that Nicholas Provenzo was a Marine.

Semper Fi, Nick

Anonymous said...

But she's so hot!!!

Bryan Armentrout said...

Congrats, Nick!

You have my respect and admiration.

Jim said...

Great job Nick.

In contrast to Laura Ingraham, one of the best interviewers in DC is Kojo Nnamdi of WAMU radio and WHUT's Evening Exchange.

He offers a thoughtful discussion, where he asks questions and the guest or panel gets to speak at length.

Isaac said...

Wow, Laura Ingraham is a jerk! I'm genuinely surprised at just how rude and dishonest she was, right from the beginning. Totally unprofessional.

Nick, on the other hand, did an outstanding job of making his position clear, without getting distracted by Ingraham's game-playing. I can't imagine a more successful effort under such circumstances.

Well done!

On a side note, I've seen and heard the name "Nicholas Provenzo" in the media many times over the past few months. What other Objectivist intellectual has gotten more press lately? It seems that even well-funded Objectivists who do this for a living can't compete with Nick.

I'll be keeping this fact in mind when I decide which non-profit organization to donate to this year.

Anonymous said...


Having listened to Laura a while back and being familiar with her tactics, I think you did a marvelous job of staying on message and not letting her get away with misrepresenting your position unchallenged.

Unfortunately, that was all I expected. Laura has a loyal base with a particular agenda and her radio agenda reflects that set of ideas. You were not going to get a true hearing, and she was obviously loaded for bear from the opening. You were there to let her ram her point down her listeners throats. Thanks for not taking the bait.

You know you're getting to her when she has to tell you to "let me talk. You're getting annoying."

Nice job. You said what you came to say. Too bad, LI can't engage in a real discussion.

Kendall J -

RyanTheEgoist said...

Wonderful job, Nick. You did you best the could with as little as you were given by this woman. Quite frankly if I were you, after she referred to you as " annoying ", I'd have said good day and hung up on the phone on that...Well, you know.

Unfortunately I can't imagine anyone who listens to her show is open to free thought, though I certainly could be wrong.
It's a good thing you're doing, Nick. Don't let the bastards of the Christian Right tell you otherwise.

Renee Katz said...

Two words: RUDE WHORE.

Doug said...

Nick, you did a fantastic job. You maintained your composure, your words were clear and you did not concede any false premises. I especially liked how you refused to cooperate with her immature "laundry list" game.

Unfortunately, the fact that Laura Ingraham has a significant, approving audience is a sad commentary on the sense of life in contemporary American culture.

Nevertheless, I still predict that in 50-100 years, individuals are going to be incredulous that honest minds, such as Nick Provenzo, had to endure the nonsense that Laura Ingraham regularly gave you.

Mark Wickens said...

Congratulations, Nick. I admire your ability to maintain your composure and present reasoned arguments in the face of a rude, irrational interviewer.

Daniel Rigby said...

Wow, she didn't even make an argument. I'm shocked.

revereridesagain said...

I'm absolutely infuriated at McCain for picking that holy-roller bimbo as a running mate during the most crucial election in our history, thereby ensuring that we would be repeatedly dragged through this muck and distracted from the issues of Islamism and a looming financial catastrophe.

As for Ms. Ingraham, two words: Sanctimonious Beyatch. She is trying to rack up points with her god to ensure herself a blissed-out afterlife telling Jesus how wonderful he is. Pity she will never know, even for an instant, that it was all a fantasy.

Abortio is Pro-Life. Pro-Women's Lives. Thanks again, Nick.

Tom Stelene said...

I've listened to Laura a few times and I was never impressed. She's a party hack and a windbag. Now she showed her true colors. Good job in exposing her, Nick!

z said...

Oh my Nick! That was ridiculous. You would be wrong if you thought that was a forum for reason. I think you did a great job. I knew she would come out, guns blazing, mischaracterizing your position. You are getting a lot of practice at this. I wonder if there is a way to come out swinging when these people can put you on the defensive out of the gate. "Grass has life, animals have life, but we walk on and slaughter them to our ends. This is not about 'life', it's about RIGHTS." Life may start at conception, but rights start at birth.

Anonymous said...

Nick, you write quite a bit in your blog about being a Marine. Well I have to tell you, as a former Marine, I am truly embarrassed for you. To think another Marine, a brother could be so obdurate.

I think what I'm struggling with the most is what you were you thinking when you took the Oath of Enlistment? Did you truly believe in the Marine Corps? That it was something much bigger than you; did you love it so much that you were willing to die for it?

The Marine Corps is not a bullet on your already weak resume. It's something that you use to get people to respect you.

Maybe these are dumb questions as I understand you are an "objectivist". No one is more important than you right? How could I expect you to understand what it feels like to love something with all you have. Or to be loved that way.

I've never met you personally but I certainly know many people like you. You've been mistreated all your life, often times by the very people that were suppose love and protect you. You feel slighted, disrespected. You’re pissed off at the world and you're going to let everyone know how big you are.

But in reality you're a coward. I'd be willing to bet everyday of your life you've been picked on (certainly in the Marine Corps). So it’s easy for you to lack compassion for the weakest among us. Why should give a damn about anyone else after all no one’s ever care about you right?

If only your Mommy had loved you a little more Nick.

Nicholas Provenzo said...

>But in reality you're a coward.

This from a guy who doesn't sign his name to such a statement. And you know why: because you are yellow, Sir, and because you don't have the guts.

Go beg your SDI for forgiveness for your sorry self, because I'll tell you what Sir: I have no problem looking mine or any other Marine in the eye and tell him or her where I stand on an issue as basic as a woman's right to her own life and her own body.

PC said...

What a wonderful "ability" she has to mischaracterise the position of her guest, ie., you, and to shut you up and talk over you while she does it!

"...yet, you say [these adults] weren't really alive..."

What monstrous distortion of your view, but a perfect demonstration of the inability to distinguish between a potential and the actual.

But it's clear she didn't have you on the show to listen; she didn't want to offer you the respect of even having a moment to make your argument -- which is what a rational host would do -- suggesting, perhaps, she has no way to answer you other than bullying.

Her site boasts that she's the fifth-most syndicated radio host in the U.S. That's just incredible.

PC said...

Sorry, that's "fifth highest-rated radio talk show in America." And to these New Zealand ears, that's still incredible.

softwareNerd said...

Good job, Nick!

Her audience probably isn't sympathetic, but there may be a few who wondered "why is she trying the railroad him, if our side is right".

Joel Stafford said...

>But in reality you're a coward.


My name is Joel Stafford. I'm not sure I follow your comment about Drill Instructors but I am from Northern VA and I would be happy to get together with you and talk about MY cowardice.

Let me know........

Grant said...

I admire your guts in going on America's fifth most listened to talk radio program and defending a very unpopular position. I don't know how well I would have held up. I have a hard enough time dealing with people who argue from intimidation when there isn't an audience. but, i think you missed alot of opportunities to absolutely break Ms. Ingraham in half.

I understand your reason for refusing to indulge her obnoxious, repeated demands that you answer a "laundry list" of illnesses and what you would do to people afflicted with them - but why didn't you use one of them as an opportunity to draw an analogy?

She said: would you euthanize someone with a terminal illness? You could have responded: would you choose to live with a malignant, incurable disease that is going to make every new day of your live a living hell?

After a bit of stuttering on her part, you could explain that that is exactly what Palin sentenced Trig to when she "chose life." That that is what she is being PRAISED for!

charles said...

Nick, I was very impressed with your attempt to bring reason to Ms. Ingraham's show. I enjoyed the MP3. Oh and fuck that guy anonymously talking shit to you on your own website. While his psychological analysis of you was somewhat amusing in its wild inaccuracy, I really do have to tell him to go fuck himself for being so arrogant as to assume he knows a damn thing about your personal integrity based on a 7 minute Laura Ingraham assault. Anyways, cheers to you Nick for a fine job.

Anonymous said...

Based on the excerpt provided on the website, I think Ingraham was relatively fair to Provenzo: I've seen much worse from conservative talk-show hosts.

She didn't represent the full context of his argument, but that's not her job, is it? She let him get his main points in, he was the first to use impolite language (the word "loathsome") in describing her view, and he talked excessively over her towards the end of the excerpt (just before she not unjustifiably described his behavior as "annoying").

Abortion rights are pro-life, but the crucial issue is whether the fetus is a human being. When Ingraham brought up the fact that premature babies sometimes grow up to lead happy lives, it might have been sensible for Provenzo to express sympathy at this point. Even Ayn Rand thought there was room for debate over the latter months of a pregnancy.

"Never mind the vicious nonsense of claiming that an embryo has a 'right to life.' A piece of protoplasm has no rights—and no life in the human sense of the term. One may argue about the later stages of a pregnancy, *but the essential issue concerns only the first three months*. To equate a potential with an actual, is vicious; to advocate the sacrifice of the latter to the former, is unspeakable."

-- “A Last Survey,” The Ayn Rand Letter, IV, 2, 3. (Emphasis mine.)

If Provenzo had kept his cool from the beginning and focused on rejecting the premise behind her comparisons to euthanasia (that a fetus is a life), the interview might have turned out better. As it was, the crucial Objectivist premise came in rather late, rancorously, and imperfectly expressed.

Of course, this is Monday-morning quarterbacking: I'm not an activist, I don't think I could last two minutes on one of these shows. But while I congratulate Provenzo for bringing attention to the issue, and for getting the points in, I have to criticize as well.

Anonymous said...

I freely admit that within the first 30 seconds of being on that infernal woman's show, I would have soiled myself horrifically and been reduced to a catatonic trance for at least a week, but I nevertheless want to share my various opinions regarding how Provenzo could have improved his performance.

First of all, don't expect someone to represent the full context of your argument, because that's not their job, is it? Like when Whitaker Chambers wrote that Ayn Rand advocated death camps, Rand should have been like "hey, it's an easy mistake." If fact, it might have been sensible for Rand to express sympathy at this point, because her speeches are quite long and nobody can really be expected to read all that, (least of all a conservative book reviewer).

If Provenzo would had kept his cool from the beginning he could have listened to Ingraham speak even more and maybe even slipped a nap in, because it wouldn't have been like he would have missed anything if he would have taken one. Maybe Provenzo could have broken out his Lexicon to look up a few points too. As it was, the crucial Objectivist premise came in rather late, rancorously, and imperfectly expressed. Oh, yes. Your mother is ugly too.

Of course, this is Monday-morning quarterbacking: I'm a crackpot and I don't think I could last two minutes on one of these shows. But while I congratulate Provenzo for bringing attention to the issue (and well, the death threats) and for getting at least his name pronounced right (that is, I think), I have to criticize as well.

IchorFigure said...

She sounds like some kind of androgynous Kermit the frog.

Mike Kahn said...

Hey Nick,

How goes it buddy?

I gotta give you your due. My objectivist days are well behind me and I can't say I agree with you on this issue, but Ingram was a complete joke. You more than held your own - responding to her insults with grace, civility & intellectual honesty. Right on!

If you want a tough but fair national radio debate allow me to suggest giving Dennis Prager a shot:

All the best,

- Mike

Jefferson said...


I think you missed Nick's main point, which is: Disabled children present enormous costs to their parents, so women who seek to avoid this cost by aborting such fetuses before they are born are acting in their moral self-interest.

Whether people with terminal illnesses live miserable lives or not is not directly relevant to this main point. Ingraham was trying to distract Nick from the focus of his argument, and he successfully resisted this attempt.

"Anonymous ... 11:15pm":

Ingraham didn't just fail to present Nick's argument in its full context, she grossly misrepresented it. Then when he corrected her, she (amazingly) said she didn't see a difference between his version and hers, then immediately changed the subject.

This isn't an honest mistake, it's a deliberate tactic commonly used by aggressive interviewers. To claim that Ingraham was being fair is to do Nick an injustice.

As for impolite language, you're being concrete-bound here. You don't need to use "impolite words" to be rude. Right out of the gate Ingraham acted rudely by misrepresenting Nick's argument and then dismissing his explanation.

As for Ingraham's example of premature babies, this was a non-sequitir. Both in his articles and in speaking with Ingraham, Nick made clear that he believes that life begins "when you're out the hatch, ma'am." Even the National Review managed to get that straight (mostly). Your quote from Rand is irrelevant to your criticism. This was a Provenzo-Ingraham debate, and in this debate, Ingraham's argument was a non-sequitir. Nick made a consistent decision to stick to the point and not play games with her, which is why she called him "annoying." And it certainly is annoying when someone refuses to condone your irrationality. Kudos to Nick.

The fact is Nick *did* focus on his premise that a fetus is not an independent life. The National Review caught that, why didn't you?

Rick "Doc" MacDonald said...

Hi Nicholas,

Thank you for having the courage to appear on the Laura Ingraham show. I'm not sure how familiar you were with her and her way of treating guests with whom she disagrees, but you surely are now.

It wasn't that long ago that she invited her former lover, Dinesh D'Souza to join her in "debating" Dan Barker, a former priest and the author of "Losing My Faith". She used exactly the same tactics with him as she did with you.

She spoke over him at every opportunity and then accused him of speaking over her. She ensured that her mike volume was much higher than his and cut him off at some point. When Dan was debating with Dinesh, she can be heard in the background shrieking like some sort of harpy banshee howling at the moon to the point where Dan could not be heard at all.

I think you held your own very well. I admired the way you stuck to a rational perspective as opposed to her emotional outburst. I don't think, for listeners with open minds, that there was any doubt about the winner of the debate. You logic and moral certainty outshone her vitriolic and emotional "gotcha" responses.

Unfortunately, I think this discussion demonstrates the huge hill Objectivism has to climb in order to be examined as it deserves. The religious fanatics on the right will cling to their mysticism until the end of time, and the loons on the left will not stop until they've converted the United States into yet another experiment in Totalitarian humanism.

Best wishes in your endeavors. Watch out, though, I think you about to be plagued with squirrels in search of acorns.

Anonymous said...

Steve Rodgers remarked: "Way to stand up to that deranged raving woman."

After reading all the Christian, secular, leftist, often obscene and maniacally homicidal, and "pro-life" rants against Nick -- all of which more or less represented Left and Right in our sorry political spectrum -- I have come to the conclusion (and this may not be an original observation, someone correct me if I'm wrong) that an irrational philosophy is the greatest, most fundamental cause of mental illness. Many are the cuckoos' nests that the rational among us must contend with, and Nick has proven that he not only can contend, but is contentious, as well.

Ed Cline

Russ said...

While I wholeheartedly disagree with just about every point Nick made in the "interview", I have to commend him on being willing and also must conclude that I am not Ingraham's biggest fan. I'm not sure it would have not been easy for either of you not to "talk over" each other as it was demonstrated both ways.

I agree with another poster that if you wanted civil discourse with a host that most likely disagrees with you, Prager is probably a better option.

Anonymous said...

Jefferson wrote: "Ingraham didn't just fail to present Nick's argument in its full context, she grossly misrepresented it."

Oh, come on, Jefferson: you go onto a conservative talk-radio show and you expect the host to care about the difference between a mother's costs and the society's costs? You know that for these guys, subjectivism is the enemy; much of your task is to differentiate your view from subjectivism, instead of stressing "happiness" and "choice," and allowing the conservative to settle into her "pro-life" intrinsicist rationalizations.

Jefferson: "This isn't an honest mistake, it's a deliberate tactic commonly used by aggressive interviewers. To claim that Ingraham was being fair is to do Nick an injustice."

I did not claim that Ingraham was fair. I only claimed that her unfairness was not fatal to Mr. Provenzo's making his point. He was given time to speak, but unfortunately used up some of it in complaining about her misrepresentations, which were not all that significant from her point of view.

Jefferson: "As for impolite language, you're being concrete-bound here. You don't need to use 'impolite words' to be rude. Right out of the gate Ingraham acted rudely by misrepresenting Nick's argument and then dismissing his explanation."

As I pointed out above, the difference would not be significant to an intrinsicist; that's one reason why you should give people the benefit of the doubt in such time-limited situations. She said she couldn't see the difference between what she said and what Provenzo said. If a fetus were a life, would it matter whether it were killed for the mother's happiness, or for the society's happiness?

Jefferson: "As for Ingraham's example of premature babies, this was a non-sequitir..."

No, and no to everything else you say after that in your comment. The premature-baby cases are a good issue for discussing the difference between intrinsicism, subjectivism, and objectivity. In regard to definition, the intrinsicist comes up with an arbitrary dividing line: "at the moment of conception!" that must be accepted by everyone because it is from God. The subjectivist defines it based on his (or society's) arbitrary "choice," or convenience. The advocate of objectivity bases his definition on the relevant facts. In this case, one of the relevant facts is that a fetus at three months is a clump of cells, and not an independent organism. Another is that sometimes a fetus at eight months is capable of existing on its own (and can be born prematurely). This latter fact may lead to a borderline case, which is something that an intrinsicist cannot countenance, but which is quite compatible with objectivity. It would have been ideal if such issues (that the Objectivist bases definitions on facts) had been hinted at in the interview. Ingraham gave Provenzo opportunity to make such points when she questioned his authority in defining life.

Once again, I congratulate Provenzo for putting out some of the relevant facts. But I think there was room for improvement. The people who do not acknowledge this are not thereby helping Objectivism and Mr. Provenzo.

Russ said...

"In this case, one of the relevant facts is that a fetus at three months is a clump of cells, and not an independent organism."

Perhaps another relevant fact is that you are a clump of cells as well. What is it that defines you biologically as *human* being, but does not a fetus? The fetus, as a clump of cells, is clearly not its mother - it therefore must be something else. It is living, and its DNA is human. Its DNA fingerprint is separate and distinct from its mother - it therefore cannot be a part of the mother. It is a clump of cells, just like you and me.

Many claim that that pro-lifers are being arbitrary about when human life begins. Perhaps, but no more so than anyone who picks an event somewhere along the development line to make a demarcation. The relevant fact here is that from the moment the being is a self-organized biological living being, it does nothing other than grow. No other event serves to change it from one kind of being into another. Cutting the cord, traveling through he birth canal, starting a heartbeat, brainwaves...nothing. Every other arbitrary point offered in the pro-choice position in terms of what constitutes being human has to do with location, degree of dependence, or ability. None of those things has any biological relevance as to what kind of being we are talking about.

Anonymous said...

Russ, you clearly misunderstood. I said that the fetus is just a "clump of cells, *and not an independent organism*." I am an *independent organism* composed of cells: I can exist separately from my mother; I can even exist on a desert island.

If you can't tell the difference between a three-month-old fetus and a grown man, then I guess you must either be an advocate of the nanny state, or a rather inconsistent fellow.

Anonymous said...

And by the way, you, anonymous, who wrote: "I freely admit that within the first 30 seconds of being on that infernal woman's show ...," you are a wretched creature that deserves little further comment.

I wasn't commenting for the amusement of the victims of today's educational system, who only perceive disapproval when they hear criticism.

Kudos again to Mr. Provenzo.

Anonymous said...

Russ also wrote: "Many claim that that pro-lifers are being arbitrary about when human life begins. Perhaps, but no more so than anyone who picks an event somewhere along the development line to make a demarcation. The relevant fact here is that from the moment the being is a self-organized biological living being, it does nothing other than grow. No other event serves to change it from one kind of being into another."

Russ, (expanding on my earlier reply) while there *may* be indeed options involved in making these demarcations, there are *fundamental differences* between living entities at the various stages of development that have to be taken into account in delimiting those stages. No one would lower the legal driving age to 5, because 5-year-old kids don't have the mental capacity. Nor can you arbitrarily turn a month-old fetus into a "self-organized" baby.

I base my opinion on Ayn Rand's theory of concepts, summarized in her treatise, "Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology."

Jefferson said...

Anonymous wrote:
"I think Ingraham was relatively fair to Provenzo"

then later Anonymous wrote:
"I did not claim that Ingraham was fair."

I'm not going to waste my time shooting at a moving target.

Anonymous said...

I wrote: "I think Ingraham was relatively fair to Provenzo: I've seen much worse from conservative talk-show hosts."

Ah, Jefferson, having distorted this into an assertion that Ingraham was "fair", how is that high ground of yours doing, the one from which you condemn Miss Ingraham's dropping of the context?

What nonsense.

Tim R said...

Great work Nick!

I listened to the mp3. It was clear Laura had no interest in a rational debate.

It's worrying to think she even has an audience carrying on like that.

softwareNerd said...

A great performance -- very measured and unruffled. Hats off to you.

Refusing to give her a laundry list was right, as was asserting the abstract political principle about a woman's right to choose.

Thinking a bit more about that opening question, I think that next time, one should also try to add in the moral argument. Since the original article was about the morality of Palin's choice, it would be appropriate to take the conversation there.

Richard said...

No one has pointed out in plain language that Ingraham's laundry list was entirely of individual homo sapiens who were already born. She wanted Nick to appear to be an advocate euthanasia, and did so by forcing her view that the fetus in the mother is just another individual.

It is way, way, too abstract to say she refused to recognize "the potential from the actual" on a radio talk show (not that anyone here was advocating that wording). When being berated by someone, as Nick was, it is asking a lot to get such a point out in easily understood terms. I think she knew he wanted to do that, and was not going to allow him to by routing the conversation anywhere else but.

As for Nick keeping his cool, whichever commenter thought Nick introduced the first rudeness is whacked. She was abominably worse from the very start, and describing a particular argument as
"loathsome" is not necessarily rude.

One more thing.... "An Rind"? —shut-up, harpy!

And, well done Nick, I could hardly believe how self-controlled you managed to be. It must have been extraordinarily trying.

Nicholas Provenzo said...

It was extraordinarily trying. I had held the conservatives in higher regard because even in disagreement, they tend to be more sane in managing their arguments then well, others. Ingraham's appalling conduct and the conduct of her many allies reveals to me that my previous regard was underserved. Threaten their pet zygotes and they become as red-faced irrational as any of the worst leftists you have ever seen.

And even more shocking, Ingraham is not just some common thug on the street. She is a University of Virginia-educated lawyer who clerked for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. She should know a sophist's tactics for what they are and she should not be inclined to employ them.

I'm embarrassed for her and her whole benighted cause.

Anonymous said...

I'm pro life but also pro civilization.I believe Ingraham behaved like a social moral barbarian. She came across like a verbally abusive schoolteacher. Life is intellectual independence, the "holy of holies". The penalty in ancient times for violating the holy of holies was death. She showed contempt rather than respect for your independent judgment. And she showed contempt for the fact that the interviewer has the same rights as the interviewed. For example, you have the right not to answer her questions, which she ignored. She is not more equal than other people. As they say, no one kicks a dead dog. Take her abuse as a complement.

Anonymous said...

Now I think about it, it's likely that when Ingraham asked Mr. Provenzo whether Alzheimer's patients should be terminated, she was projecting her own intrinsic-value viewpoint onto him.

She apparently thought, "Provenzo is a moralist, morality involves hard and fast commandments (intrinsicism), Provenzo was troubled by the Down's Syndrome baby; therefore Provenzo's morality must have strictures against Down's Syndrome babies. Now Provenzo is talking about choice; it's a blatant contradiction; he must be just trying to weasel out of what he said earlier."

Looking to the future, it might have helped in that situation if, on being asked whether Alzheimer's patients should be terminated, the interviewee could describe, in an example, how *he* would make the choice, and also hint at why it would be evil to take the choice away from him (since objectivity is based on reality, but reality must be identified by human choice).

Elisheva Hannah Levin said...

Unfortunately, the airwaves are full of people like Ingraham. I did listen to the MP3, but I admit that I turned it off about half-way through.. I find myself becoming simultaneously bored and irritated when I am not able to follow the conversation because there is none. Her strategies are intended to make the person she disagrees with look the fool. Her sycophantic audience believes that she was successful. In reality, she comes across as stupid.

I worry about the state of political discussion in this country, because there is none. It's all about rant and spin.

David Hayes said...

Laura Ingraham seems to have consciously chosen to hone a radio format where she delivers content specifically designed to appeal to a particular large audience that will like their not being challenged, neither on precepts nor behavior. One newspaper profile of her when she just began syndication stated that she previously had an intellectual approach on a show heard exclusively in Washington, it was canceled, then she was without a show for 15 months. The new show, according to the article, would have music bits (satirical songs, I guess) and comedy pieces (e.g., riffs on Howard Dean's scream); Ingraham's lesson from her past show seemed to be that she needed to be more sound-bite-oriented. By itself, this needn't mean superficial, yet Ingraham on-air seems to go with an instant-reaction type of remark; any sign that she had a mind capable of writing legal papers which would bring her to the attention of a Supreme Court justice is completely missing from her on-air persona. I can't take listening to her show.

Nick, the treatment that you received is worse than what should ever be accorded someone whose identity is known by the audience -- yet Ingraham is such a zealot, so driven to win a point for her side, she sunders any credibility she might have to a listener who follows that her responses don't address the other party.

I swore off listening to her years ago, but I just happened to stumble onto her show one time during Fall 2007 when she was just beginning a phone interview with Rudy Giuliani. Ingraham uses a harsh, accusatory tone in delivering a harangue about Giuliani's pro-choice stance on abortion. Of all the things this then-Presidential candidate could be asked about, Ingraham zeroed in on this! To Ingraham's (partial) credit, once Ingraham delivered her (long) question, she shut up and let Giuliani answer at length. (I don't believe Ingraham was necessarily being considerate: she presumably knew that even her emotionalist-conservative audience would be upset by her were she rude to a presidential candidate. Ingraham could even be cringing that she could make an enemy of a potential holder of vast political power. Even now, Giuliani is a potential Attorney General for a Republican administration.)