Washington DC

Getting to our DC Fox studios was a mad scramble nine times out of 10. No matter what time I left the house, we’d usually end up in some tangle of traffic. Forty-five minutes, an hour later, I’m sitting in hair and makeup, reviewing segments, soundbites and the Angle, the opening monologue that I had written earlier in the day. Breaking news updates from our DC crew. Calls back and forth with the show’s New York producers to finalize the Angle. And quick chitchat with in-studio guests. As a ‘morning person’ who hosted a national radio show for 17 years, I had some trepidation about working at night when we started The Ingraham Angle back in late October 2017. But the new routine worked.

And then came COVID.

It was March 19, 2020 before Fox officially closed its DC bureau to guests and anchors. The show was now almost entirely devoted to the pandemic, not politics, and afterward, I just wanted to get home. As we headed up a totally deserted Constitution Avenue in the back of an SUV, my jaw dropped. The usually bustling and jammed streets that I had navigated late at night for 30 years were completely deserted. Not another car. Not a person. No sign of life. Nothing. It was like a dark curtain had been pulled down on the capital city of the United States. It was chilling.

Since then, when not traveling, I’ve basically been doing the show prep and show from home. With three kids and two dogs, it’s been an interesting — at times frustrating, at times wonderful — experience. Thankfully, Fox had set me up with a nice home studio that had just been successfully tested the month before COVID hit. Through kids bickering, fire alarms, thunderstorms and dogs barking, we have managed to cover a presidential election, the George Floyd protests and riots, the post-election fallout and the beginning of the Biden presidency — and do it well.

But there are challenges. When a lightning storm knocked out my home’s power right as my show was starting, Sean Hannity had to vamp until I got my shot back up. That was fun. One night my 10-year-old son got out of bed just as our show was about to start and wandered near my studio door. He was jabbering on about lacrosse and something else I couldn’t understand. My makeup artist ran up to usher him back upstairs, shouting ‘I think he’s sleepwalking!’

Being home more is a blessing for my family, but I really miss being with my entire DC team or traveling up to our New York headquarters to be with our New York producers. Interviewing guests remotely is never as good as sitting across the desk from them. That interaction and intimacy is missing when you’re stuck with double-box inserts. I realize there are many people who prefer to work from home indefinitely, but it can be very isolating.

Exercise made things livable from the outset — the kids and I biked and hiked a lot. And when my exercise studio reopened, it was a godsend. I took up gardening — how cliché! — and was pretty proud of myself for growing a few tomatoes and zinnias. We had a sunflower-growing contest at my house last summer. We all planted seeds. My sunflower was about 8ft 11in — I won. My kids said the contest was rigged. (I know, very funny.) And as hard as it is to admit, COVID sealed my reputation as a crazy bird lady — I have multiple bird feeders going that always seem to be empty. The cardinals and goldfinches love our backyard now.

Nice as it was to take up hobbies and take long walks in the neighborhood, nothing replaces human contact. Early on, I was one of the first to question the lockdown in the press. The restrictions on movement and capacity, on schools and travel, were, in my view, obscene. Perhaps most startling was how few questioned what the so-called experts were saying.

The first time I saw young, healthy people wearing masks and face shields hiking in the woods near my house, I knew we were in for the long haul with the shutdown. The Ingraham Angle was among the first to call out the government overreach, the scientifically unproven efficacy of social distancing and masks outdoors, even the wiping-down of packages and groceries. Our ‘medicine cabinet’ of great doctors helped our viewers make sense of everything that was happening around them.

Today, more than a year after this madness began, the focus of our show has shifted to pushing back on the notion that America is an inherently racist country. I believe that this country is the greatest country on Earth and that if we don’t start appreciating our blessings, and stop dividing ourselves along racial and ethnic lines, we’ll lose everything most of us love about America — our freedom.

Do we have problems? Yes. We all know the history and evils of slavery, which existed here and around the world. But today’s America? We’ve come too far to destroy ourselves now.

How do you protect your kids from the insidious BLM ideology? You teach them. Teach them the real stories of America, the real stories of heroism, exploration and personal sacrifice, from the Founding to Abraham Lincoln to General MacArthur to Rosa Parks to the present day. And if more kids really understood the Golden Rule — treating others the way you want to be treated — we’d have far fewer problems as a society. It’s hard work, but parents have to be the first educators. I try my best on that score — it’s all any of us can do.

Laura Ingraham is the host of Fox News Channel’s The Ingraham Angle. This article was originally published in The Spectator’s June 2021 World edition.