Laura Ingraham doesn’t really want to debate David Hogg

Ingraham’s effort to marginalize Hogg does not mean that she is afraid to debate him. Ingraham is a lawyer, and even the best lawyers — no matter how strong their arguments — would rather see cases dismissed because opponents lack standing than try to win on the merits.

Then again, we are talking about cable news, not a courtroom. Yet Ingraham — author of a book called “Shut Up and Sing” — often attacks opponents’ standing instead of their substance.

When NBA stars LeBron James and Kevin Durant suggested last month that President Trump is racist, Ingraham did not make the case that the label is unfair; she told the players to “shut up and dribble.”

.. Ingraham has taken the same approach to late-night TV host Jimmy Kimmel, a critic of Republican health-care policies.

“Leave it to the pros, Jimmy,” she said in December.

How Stormy Daniels might be outsmarting Trump by denying an affair

In the Kimmel interview, Daniels strongly suggested that she did, in fact, sign some kind of nondisclosure agreement.

KIMMEL: Do you have a nondisclosure agreement?

DANIELS: Do I?

KIMMEL: You can’t say whether you have a nondisclosure agreement, but if you didn’t have a nondisclosure agreement, you most certainly could say, “I don’t have a nondisclosure agreement.” Yes?

DANIELS: You’re so smart, Jimmy.

Daniels, it seems, is trying to remain in technical compliance with the nondisclosure agreement while leading the media and the public to conclude that her denials are not genuine and that the affair was real.

.. Whether Daniels can engage in such innuendo without violating the nondisclosure agreement “turns on the actual terms and language of the agreement, which I have not seen,” said Kathleen Cahill, a Baltimore sexual harassment lawyer.

Trump is, indeed, in a bind: He can’t sue Daniels for breach of contract without admitting that a contract exists.

.. Daniels could open herself up to a different kind of lawsuit, a defamation suit, if she were to explicitly claim that she and Trump had an affair.

“It would be qualitatively different if she came forward and said, ‘Yes, I had an affair,’ ” Katz said. “Then I think he would sue her.”

Sean Spicer Responds to Melissa McCarthy’s Impression of Him

The former White House press secretary Sean Spicer broke his post-administration silence on Wednesday, joining Jimmy Kimmel for an interview. Unsurprisingly, Mr. Spicer didn’t exactly forswear his loyalty to President Trump. Mr. Spicer refused to back away from his old claims that members of the traditional news media are often untruthful, even after Mr. Kimmel asked: “Do you think that is a dangerous thing, to delegitimize the press for America?”

But when Mr. Kimmel asked whether the president’s constant tweeting had ever worn his patience thin, Mr. Spicer couldn’t help but laugh a little.

JIMMY KIMMEL: When the president would tweet, did you have an alert on your phone?

SEAN SPICER: Yes.

KIMMEL: Did he ever run a tweet by you before tweeting it?

SPICER: I don’t think so. Maybe once or twice.

KIMMEL: Did you ask him to? No, you didn’t. Did it ever wake you up in the middle of the night?

SPICER: I think there were times when you might have wanted to go to bed and you’d say, O.K., this is going to be a little longer night. Or you would get up and that was the first thing. But that was one of the president’s most effective tools on the campaign trail, and he continues to utilize it. So you were constantly kept on your toes. And I will tell you, there’s no one that’s working harder than him: When it comes to the hours of the day, he’s up late, he’s up early. And as a staffer you’re trying to get ahead of your boss.

What Toronto Knows About Trump After Living Through Rob Ford

Ford, who died just over a year ago, from cancer, lied constantly and consistently and railed against the media and liberal élites. As one scandal led to another, he surrounded himself with cronies and family loyalists and, when truly tested, fell back on the flag-waving rallies that fired up his base.

.. In a city of immigrants, Ford’s message wasn’t built along racial divisions but along economic and social ones. Toronto’s inner suburbs were his Appalachia, less wealthy than the downtown core of the city, which served as his proxy for a sort of coastal élite. Ford created a culture war, presenting himself as an advocate for the hardworking everyman with the long commute behind the wheel on potholed roads and against the coddled, bike-riding latte sippers who lived downtown. Ford evoked his “war on the car” as brazenly as Trump’s own “war on coal.”

.. He effectively adopted this posture despite the fact that he inherited millions of dollars from his family

.. His typical supporter was the small-business owner fed up with taxes and traffic, who believed that he was ignored by a political class focussed on high-minded ideals of global urbanism and walkable cities. His campaign slogan was “Respect for Taxpayers,” and he promised to stop the city’s “gravy train” of runaway spending, on behalf of the little guy.

.. His swearing-in ceremony was conducted by the hockey commentator Don Cherry, who wore a pink double-breasted paisley suit in mockery of the “left-wing pinkos” opposed to Ford

..he included the city’s newspaper reporters, a group of people “that ride bicycles and everything,” Cherry said, implying a host of liberal sins.

.. When, three years into his tenure, journalists reported the existence of a video showing the mayor smoking crack, Ford fell back to his base and the comforts of the culture war.

.. Post-truth was a hallmark of his administration. He peddled in falsehoods (for example, a repeatedly disproved claim that he’d saved the city a billion Canadian dollars) and flat-out lies (he claimed not to have smoked crack, even though the video had been seen by numerous journalists, police, and others who described it in detail), and reiterated them loudly and unashamedly. Efforts to debunk his lies were dismissed by Ford as nothing more than the jealous desperation of the liberal élites. His Breitbart was a weekly call-in afternoon radio talk show that he hosted with Doug, coupled with friendly columnists at the right-wing Sun tabloid newspaper

.. The more Rob Ford’s lies were flagged and earnestly debunked, the more he was perceived as a straight shooter by his base.

.. Ford’s foibles were, to them, a big middle finger to Toronto’s status quo.

.. Jimmy Kimmel mocked him nightly. But nothing stuck. He was shameless, and that shamelessness coated him like Teflon.

.. but as the months wore on and Ford stayed the course it all felt a bit futile. Why bother writing articles, mounting investigations, and uncovering facts if they had no discernible impact?

.. What we couldn’t see at the time is that politics is a long game. Yes, Ford held onto office, but, by the time he was forced to bow out of his reëlection campaign, because of illness, his political career was already damaged. His name was a global punch line, he retained few political allies, and many of his formal powers had been stripped from him by the city council. Even his radio show was cancelled

.. Yes, the true loyalists of Ford Nation still adore him, and many voted for his brother, but his appeal to a broader base of small-government conservatives was gone. It hadn’t vanished overnight in a sudden, dramatic revelation that forced Ford from office. It built over each story, eroding Ford’s appeal bit by bit, until at least some of the voters who put him into office were ashamed to admit they’d done so and did what they could to right their mistake.