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The election year: the time when families divide, friendships are tense, and political stickers and posters appear on cars and mowed lawns. With modern elections, social media and technology have taken over as significant players in the race. On Twitter, Republican nominee Donald Trump called Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton out for her lies. On the left side, Clinton tried to play into the Pokémon Go craze. Although the nominees are making their presence online and beyond, other people are also using social media to voice their opinions on the race. One of the newest and youngest figures in the world of political commentary is 24-year-old Tomi Lahren, an outspoken political pundit for the website The Blaze.
In July 2015, Lahren worked for One America News Network (OAN) where she had her own show, On Point. Through this show, Lahren gained recognition for her controversial opinions on the July 2015 shootings in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Lahren continues to make waves on The Blaze—her stage since November 2015. Following the presidential debate on September 26th, Lahren unsurprisingly had comments about Clinton. Lahren went for a personal attack, saying Hillary is “a whiter, rounder, more annoying Obama.” She often gets heated in her criticisms but never appears to go off-the-cuff; she, or perhaps The Blaze, seems to select each word carefully. In this particular video, she places herself on the same level as Lester Holt, saying that she is going to “pick up the slack” since Holt neglected to “rag on” Clinton. Lahren launches into a series of questions, which eventually turns into a rant. Most questions are followed with a remark like, “Hillary, you don’t like wealthy people, even though you are one.” Lahren tends to make broad generalizations. While she may think Clinton is a “whiter, rounder” Obama, these characteristics seem irrelevant to Clinton’s ability as the leader of our nation. These kinds of comments damage the rest of her argument, making her argument overly emotional and largely unsupported. Instead of analyzing Clinton’s policies, the host chooses elementary insults on the candidate’s appearance. Lahren also has no personal relationship with Clinton, so she appears to be making unsubstantiated ad hominem attacks.
Despite the 61,000+ signatures requesting the firing of Lahren after she tweeted about the Black Lives Matter movement, she remains a talking head and major topic of discussion, appearing on The Huffington Post, Daily Mail, and gaining more than 65 million views on her video about Colin Kaepernick. Esquire’s John Hendrickson commented on this video, calling it “a study in the dark art of bait and switch.” He also talked about Lahren’s lack of focus and switch to generalizations when he said, “Lahren positions her tirade as though it’s directed at Kaepernick, but she is undoubtedly speaking to ‘Black People,’ some imaginary monolithic entity without individual thought or opinion.” The Blaze inadvertently shows their conservative bias by keeping Lahren and her strong opinions. The network seemingly plays into her young and good-looking appearance. Her conservative views contrast the majority of her age group, as Millennials bring a surge of liberal views. Her youth, attractiveness, and extreme generalizations bring in more views, comments, and talk.
The Blaze probably will not fire Lahren; her platform is too prominent now. Lahren has found the perfect opportunity to voice her extreme views on the election and has launched herself into the eyes of media. This method of expression is not exclusive to Lahren; Ann Coulter is known for expressing her conservative views and vouched for herself by saying, “I like to stir up the pot. I don’t pretend to be impartial or balanced, as broadcasters do.” She too makes wide claims, such as when she stated, “It would be a much better country if women did not vote. That is simply a fact.”
She may admit to her impartiality but does not address her vagueness. She fails to mention in what way the country would be better. Would we be more peaceful? How does the women’s right to vote damage our nation? These political pundits fall flat in addressing the foundation of their arguments, and they simply may not have one. The danger lies in these leaders’ blind followers, who may not try to see the faults in their statements. Their decisions to proclaim blanket statements as absolute truths are baffling, and are unfortunately reaching a wide audience, as shown by Lahren’s staggering statistics. Without the background knowledge and substantial information that supports their statements, pundits like Tomi Lahren will continue as sources of eyebrow raising and head-shaking.