Tomi Lahren has been on my radar for a while now. I know her best from short videos shared on FB by my more conservative friends. The stylized typewriter intro to her signature segment, “Final Thoughts” is something I’ve seen more times than I care to remember. I don’t remember how, but I started thinking of her content as politically conservative punditry in new media – condemning BLM for being party to riots, refuting 3rd wave feminist talking points like the wage gap, speaking about the need for children to be safe from crossdressing predators. When I saw them, I felt like I knew the arguments already, so I continued scrolling. I didn’t think she added much to the conversation. I honestly thought she was nothing more than a younger, better looking conservative pundit, useful for churning out three minute “mic drop” talks so that barely literate, incredibly partisan people can announce their political conservatism on social media. I thought she was completely polar, and so I kind of put her in that box and didn’t think about it again. Barely literate, incredibly partisan people on the left have their own social media heroes, in case you think I’m saying that conservatives are barely literate by nature.
She appeared on the Daily Show and, according to her fans, completely SHUT DOWN Trevor Noah; MIC DROPs were happening left and right. Hyperbole aside, I have seen clips of it, and it looks rather like she got the better of Noah on many points. From the clips I’ve seen, I also get the feeling there was a bit of the “talking past one another” that I complained about in my last post. From this appearance, if not from the frequency of shares I’d seen, it’s clear that her profile was rising at this point.
Then Bill Maher. Now The View. Network television. She’s a star now. Was Glenn Beck ever on The View? Turns out, yes, he was. Not that The View is anything more than disposable daytime TV, but they have a big audience, and this probably meant exposure to lots of people who aren’t New Media savvy for Tomi.
I was pleasantly surprised to hear that Tomi was pro-choice, because it went against the grain. To go against the majority of the people that you politically identify with takes thought and a fair amount of courage. I recall Dave Rubin bemoaning the tendency of people to simply go along with every position of their chosen party. For example, (with apologies to Dave, I’m paraphrasing) if I know your position on same sex marriage, I should not be able to predict your position on gun control, or abortion, or climate change, but in many cases, you can. Should your position on one issue be a 100% indicator of your position on the other ones? Are you allowed to have a different position than the expected result?
As I’ve found out, her position on reproductive rights isn’t exactly new. To quote the New York Times: “She is pro-choice and does not object to gay marriage.” But I guess most people didn’t read that story either, because her View appearance and the reaction by The Blaze made headlines.
So, now The Blaze is suspending her. For disagreeing with them on an issue? What’s she supposed to do, change her position? I find it odd that this had never come up before on The Blaze during her meteoric rise. A rise which, it should be noted, raises the profile of The Blaze. They must have enjoyed a bump from her popularity. This ideological difference leaves The Blaze in a conundrum: how severely can they afford to punish their new star? Can you name someone else at The Blaze, other than Glenn Beck? I can’t.
Abortion is an issue that people have very strong feelings about. If The Blaze, or Tomi, for that matter, really wants to be ideologically consistent, this might be a dealbreaker between them.
I mentioned Dave Rubin earlier. He used to be part of The Young Turks, but left them because of ideological reasons. Now he’s got a great show of his own on YouTube, based around the idea of people finding areas of agreement and improving your understanding of differing positions. If Tomi Lahren wants to go solo, this might be a good time to do it. She’s a legit star, appearing all over media, this big story about her disagreement with The Blaze’s party line puts her in the spotlight while emphasizing her status as a person who thinks for herself. As of yet I’m not a fan, but this story has given me a reason to reconsider.