Blabbering Conservative Mouthpiece Tomi Lahren Is Based In The Dallas Area — But, Let’s Be Clear, We Don’t Want Her Here.

In last Sunday’s edition of Dallas’ Only Daily, the higher-ups at the Dallas Morning News granted reporter Naomi Martin some 3,000 words to profile Tomi Lahren, the blonde talking head for the Las Colinas-based, barely-on-cable The Blaze television network. It was a good idea to profile Lahren, who you know even if you don’t recognize her name: She’s the one who regularly pops up in your cousin’s Facebook shares to rant against whatever slightly liberal or progressive notion is being discussed in the American zeitgeist on a given day.

Credit where it’s due: That Dallas Morning News article was a good read. It was filled with a surprising number of underhanded barbs lobbed toward Lahren’s pretty effed-up worldview, along with its fair share of insights into why Lahren is the way she is — all thanks, of course, to the access she afforded Martin.

We’d be lying if we said we weren’t jealous of that. For the past few months, we repeatedly attempted to schedule an interview with Lahren only to be ignored or rebuffed at each and every pass. That’s no big deal, really — although it is a little ironic since one of Lahren’s preferred ways of punctuating her diatribes is to address the targets of her vitriol directly and invite them to come on her show to argue their side if they disagree with her take.

To that end, if Lahren has an issue with this piece, our offer to grant her an interview still stands. If not, well, that’s fine, too. Because, from where we’re standing, we’d just as well see her leave town altogether.

During this current, unusually divisive presidential election, Lahren’s vitriolic videos have only contributed to the rancor. And we don’t love the fact that she signs off so many of her rants by saying she’s speaking “from Dallas” when she really means Irving.

Here’s the thing about Lahren: Her politics don’t align with those of modern Dallas, which voted for President Obama in both of his presidential campaigns.

Rather, Lahren is a throwback to an earlier Dallas culture — a time when this city was infamous for its support of people and ideas on the fringe of right-wing politics. Thanks to oil tycoon H.L. Hunt, Dallas is home to some of the progenitors of conservative media as we know it. Hunt’s syndicated radio programs, “Facts Forum” and “Life Line,” became de facto mouthpieces for his staunchly conservative views, and Dallas culture was once dominated by men of his ilk, with ideologies that would jibe with Lahren’s doggedly pro-faith and free market ideas. They, like Lahren, were also notorious for pushing back against civil rights movements and values of their time.

Those attitudes did a ton of damage. And the ferocity with which they were expressed and enforced gave the nation at large an unflattering view of our city, which, by the time of the assassination of President Kennedy, had become known as the “City of Hate.” (Fun fact: For a speech to be made in Austin at the first event scheduled after Kennedy’s fateful trip to Dallas, then-Vice President Lyndon Johnson had reportedly intended to initially close his remarks by joking about how lucky Kennedy was to escape Dallas alive. Actually, on second thought, that might not qualify as a “fun” fact.)

Lahren’s deliveries are no different. She’s inflammatory, unapologetic and upfront. Sometimes she talks too fast to take in enough air because she is just so furious. Her clips that go viral — mostly her show’s “Final Thoughts” segments — are two- to three-minute doses of reactionary rage, filled with clumsy rhetorical questions and (occasionally) some glancing references to suspicious-sounding statistics. These videos include her views regarding race relations, which are as undercooked and dangerous as tainted meat.

Alas, because 2016 is a flaming trash heap, Lahren has been championed as a rousing voice of the far-right for her takes, and for her ability to further polarize the electorate.

Somehow, people have missed how predictable these videos are. I’ve watched them all, and it’s clear she has a schtick. It’s not hard to spot.

Here’s Lahren’s model. First, take a current event, political development or something in popular culture that has a progressive bent to it. Next, find spin – usually, this will fall somewhere between the liberal media’s manipulation of our culture and her ideas about widespread anti-white bias, with both subjects being about as reasoned and nuanced as the offensive t-shirts you find at some gas stations. Finally, use inflammatory, hard-line rhetoric against the most straw-stuffed strawman arguments that can be constructed.

Take any old transcript of Lahren’s, strip away its direct references to the people and events being discussed, and use it as a template for any other video she releases. Her monologues are all essentially the same.

Can you think of any other habitual mouth-flappers who follow similar models? How about one Donald J. Trump, whose entire presidential campaign may or may not be a media company roll-out? Was anyone at all surprised to see that Lahren was hand-picked to participate in Trump’s recent run of Facebook Live streams, which are likely just test-shoots for Trump TV? (Also: How do you think this all sits with her current boss, Glenn Beck, a conservative icon in his own right, but also a vocal Trump critic? She’s still under contract with him for another year.)

Lahren, a clear rising star despite her many deficiencies, was built for that role. Her videos are rote, and, like Trump, the homogeneity of her stances makes them dull. Having to explain that they’re bad is like having to explain why you shouldn’t drink a cup of boiling Diet Mountain Dew. And yet it turns out millions of Americans regularly keep scalding their esophageal linings trying to guzzle Lahren’s dangerously hot and nasty beverage. Each of her videos, when posted to Facebook, earns 5 million views on average.

It’s not that there’s no value to a popular conservative voice, especially a young conservative voice. There is no disputing that we’re all better served by robust, informative conversations. The problem is that Lahren is only offering empty calories. Those who oppose her positions have to wade through a swamp of nonsense to find anything resembling a worthwhile discussion. Meanwhile, those who ostensibly support Lahren’s views are being undernourished. No one benefits.

I will, however, concede that every once in a blue moon, her videos have real entertainment value. My personal favorite Lahren moment came during her attack on Jesse Williams’ speech at the BET Awards earlier this year. While taking the preposterous stance that white people have historically done a fine job of standing up for the rights of minorities, she cited the Civil War.

That’s genuinely funny, albeit not intentionally.

Here’s what she said in that clip: “Do you know how many of our [white] ancestors fought in the Civil War to free your [black] ancestors?” Minus the added clarifications of [white] and [black], that is a direct quote. You’d think someone on the sound stage or in the editing room would have realized she was committing argumentative seppuku, but nope, they left her take untouched.

Listen, Lahren is right in one of her positions: The threats of violence that have been made against her and her family are totally out of line. Harassment and intimidation are terrible experiences for anyone to endure, and it’s unequivocally not acceptable. But I have to wonder if she feels sympathy for Colin Kaepernick, whose protests of the National Anthem have been addressed in at least two of her videos and who has also received death threats due to the ways in which he chooses to exercise his freedom of speech.

It’s a weird thing knowing that Lahren theoretically walks the same streets that I do here in North Texas. (She’s a big fan of The Rustic in Uptown, apparently.) Thinking of her frequenting the same local spots I might humanizes her some. But i’s not enough to excuse her caustic contributions to our national political climate.

It took years to happen, but Dallas made important cultural steps over the years and moved away from its reputation as the City of Hate. By shouting out her Dallas locale in her rants, Lahren represents a distinct regression in that regard.

Then again, at just 24 years old, Lahren has time to enjoy a similar growth to the one Dallas has undergone in recent decades. I hope it happens for her. If nothing else, it would mean an end to her godawful videos showing up on our Facebook walls.

And if it doesn’t happen, well, I suppose we can take heart in the fact that she makes no bones in that Dallas Morning News piece about her desires to move to a bigger market — New York, specifically — as her career continues to take off. New York’s gain would be Dallas’ gain in this instance.

No, Dallas doesn’t need Tomi Lahren. And, frankly,  we don’t want her. We’re happy to let someone else — anyone else — claim her.

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