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July 25, 2006

In Defense of Ann Coulter

Oh, oh, oh, Miss Ann, you’re doin’ something no-one can,
Yeah, yeah, yeah, Miss Ann, you’re doin’ something no-one can,
Because believin’ and deceivin’, it’s drivin’ me to grievin’ now.
– Little Richard

A number of newspapers have dropped Ann Coulter’s column in recent months, with others polling their readership to see if they should jump off the bandwagon.

In case you’ve been living in a radiowave-free zone, Coulter is the newspaper columnist and television personality who is often referred to as the person who says what other conservatives are afraid to say. Evidently, ever since Shemp Bush was elected to the White House, “good taste” and “decorum” have become first-time concerns for the American Right. Except for those who are still trying to hang a murder charge on Hillary Clinton, of course.

According the newspaper trade journal Editor and Publisher: “The Augusta (Ga.) Chronicle has become the second newspaper to drop Ann Coulter’s column this month, explaining that her “stridency” had crossed the line.


“Personally, I continue to be an Ann Coulter fan,” said (editor) Ryan. “I think her logic is devastating and her viewpoint is right most of the time.” He added that the Chronicle would even consider bringing Coulter back if she somehow “became less of a lightning rod.”

Oh, yeah, Editor Ryan? You think she’s right most of the time but you’ve offed her because she’s a lightning rod? Boy, you and your newspaper sure have the courage of your convictions. Why the hell do you run an editorial page if you’re afraid to court controversy? What’s the topic your next hard-hitting editorial – “Augusta Flower Show Is Good?”

Would Perry White stand for such weak-kneed editorial writers? Of course not! Well, I’m referring to the John Hamilton Perry White from the 1950s television show; I’m not sure about the current Frank Langella version. What the revered Mike Royko said about Rupert Murdoch certainly applies to the Augusta Chronicle: “I wouldn’t wrap my fish in a Murdoch newspaper.”

When did American journalism lose its spine? Probably when it started being referred to as “American journalism.”

They’re a buncha pussies, if you ask me.

More anon.

Posted by Mike Gold at July 25, 2006 11:36 AM

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I believe in free speech, and I believe that if the editor of the op-ed page believes Ann Coulter is right most of the time and her "logic is devastating," then he should have the courage of his convictions and continue to print her columns. I also believe that his boss should demand some written proof that the editor graduated from elementary school and/or is not suffering from a debilitating mental disorder. I'd also ask the editor for a written definition of "logic".

The scary thing about Ann Coulter isn't that she exists. The scary thing is that a large number of people think that she is making some kind of sense. I can't prove it, but I strongly suspect those same people also believe that pro wrestling is real.

Posted by: Rick Oliver at July 25, 2006 01:42 PM

I went into a public library a few months ago and saw an Ann Coulter fan in the computer lab. He was about 60, looked working class and a bit unkempt, and was ogling her. She is the hot babe of the redneck set.

Posted by: Marilyn Ferdinand at July 25, 2006 02:03 PM

Warning! The following is an irrelevant, sexist digression.

The "sexy babe" angle of the Ann Coulter mystique mystifies me. Even if I knew nothing at all about the the quality of her mind, the most charitable description of her looks that I could conjure up would be "shrewish".

Posted by: Rick Oliver at July 25, 2006 04:34 PM

Ann Coulter is a man, Rick. Check out that Adam's apple.

Posted by: Martha Thomases at July 25, 2006 08:37 PM

I do find it interesting that on a post about free speech, the most critical thing two female posters can comment on is Ann Coulter's looks.

At least Rick acknowledged that his comment was irrelevent and sexist.

Meeoow, ladies.

Posted by: eclark1849 at July 27, 2006 12:35 PM

Ann Coulter contributes nothing of value to the political debate. In fact, she actively stifles debate by routinely proclaiming that just about anyone who disagrees with the current administration's policies is a traitor. In Ann Coulter's America, the only freedom we're allowed is the freedom to agree with her. She is a role model for intolerance. I find it somewhat ironic that the very freedom she seems to so vehemently disdain is the one that allows her to express herself so...well...freely.

Posted by: Rick Oliver at July 27, 2006 01:41 PM

Ed, If I thought Coulter was worth more than a comment on her appeal to rednecks, I'd have said it. She's a stain on America, though I agree with Mike that the newspaper should have had the courage of its so-called convictions and not dropped her simply for being her hateful, over-the-line self.

Posted by: Marilyn Ferdinand at July 27, 2006 01:49 PM

And now Ann says Bill Clinton is a latent homosexual. It's hard to figure out who she's trying to appeal to; certainly not her friend David Brock ("Blinded By The Right"), who stated she was one of the very few Republicans who stood by him when he outed himself.

For people of my political persuasion, Ann does a lot of good: she shows a side of the Right that alienates those who are anywhere in the middle. Even those who rationalize her speech as only representing the fringe of her party must worry that THIS is the type of person to whom our present government is indebted.

And they're right. Check out Bush's highly politically incorrect stem cell veto. He's playing to all he has left, a Hail Mary pass to his base.

Posted by: Mike Gold at July 27, 2006 01:55 PM

Mike, Yeah, and capital punishment is a real deterrent to crime. People read Coulter for the same reasons they listen to Rush and watch Springer. They're outrageous and amuse a lot of people with anger issues.

Posted by: Marilyn at July 27, 2006 02:10 PM

There's a difference, Marilyn. Rush and Jerry have their own shows (and I recommend Springer's Air America radio show). You tune in to them -- at least the second time -- knowing what you're going to get and presumably knowing you're going to enjoy it. Rush, at least, is at that point where he's losing more audience per market than he's attracting. So's Bill O'Reilly.

But Ann's got another act. She appears on other people's shows, and evidently she'll appear on anybody's show as long as she doesn't think they'll get in the way. Those middle-people I mentioned are far more likely to fall across her because she's not appearing on the "Ann Coulter" show. Plus clips from those interviews often appear on other shows; for example, her CNBC appearance made it onto Brian Unger's MSNBC show last night. And I'll bet she turns off some of the viewers even when she appears on Fox "News" and on The 700 Club.

If the middle-people watch her on those shows, my point is valid. But if they decide she's full of it and change the channel, my point is also valid.

Better still, if people are masturbating to her then she's setting the cause of the religious right even further back.

Posted by: Mike Gold at July 27, 2006 02:24 PM

After her comment about the 9/11 widows, which fell across all media outlets, sales of her new book soared. Obviously, people have a curiosity factor toward a woman so mean. I don't think she is turning anyone off anew. Her 15 minutes are almost up, and she's trying to milk that cash cow for the final few drops.

Posted by: Marilyn at July 27, 2006 02:45 PM

Mary, interestingly enough, I disagree with Mike and agree (mostly) with Rick. Ann's a bombthrower. The left has Howard Dean, the Right has Ann Coulter. The main difference between the two that I can see is that nobody but the Left thinks that Ann is representative of the Right.

Where was I? Oh, yeah, I disagree with Mike about the paper dropping her column. I suspect that Mike's true disappointment is that Ann has one less soapbox from which to draw attention to herself. But as Rick opines and I agree, Ann brings nothing to the discussion. Continuing to regard her as a serious pundit only weakens the paper's own credibility. Even if, as Mike seems to think, the paper should continue to run her column so we can all point and laugh at her. Either way, you have to question the paper's bias. Unless that's only a problem if they're biased against your worldview.

Posted by: eclark1849 at July 27, 2006 08:46 PM

Stop the presses! Eclark and I basically agree. I have no problem with a biased press. In fact, I expect the press to be biased. I think the notion of an "objective" press is largely a fiction promoted by the press. The founders certainly did not have any notion of an "objective" press in mind when they wrote the first amendment.

Posted by: Rick Oliver at July 27, 2006 08:56 PM

Of course Ann has a strong following among the Right. Look at her sales figures. I doubt there are anywhere near that many people -- among the Left and the Right -- who hold their nose while turning the pages. Certainly not this late in the game.

And one of those followers is the editor in question, who said "her logic is devastating and her viewpoint is right most of the time." My criticism is in his dropping the column because it's a "lightning rod." I suspect he's talking about some of his advertisers, or perhaps the owner of the paper, but that's just a suspicion.

As for laughing at her column, hey folks, if your local paper drops it you can always get it online.

The paper should run the column because the editorial director finds her logic to be devastating and her viewpoint to be right most of the time. That was the point of my blog, that's why I called him a wimp.

Check that. Pussy.

Posted by: Mike Gold at July 27, 2006 09:00 PM

My comments about Mr. Coulter's appearance are made with the same respect for her intellect and motivations that he brings to the political debate.

Posted by: Martha Thomases at July 28, 2006 09:20 AM

The paper should run the column because the editorial director finds her logic to be devastating and her viewpoint to be right most of the time. That was the point of my blog, that's why I called him a wimp.

Well, geez, Mike, that's the whole point of being a "bombthrower". You don't have to be directly on point as long as you're close enough to hit it. The major problem is usually the fallout. Either way you get the attention you crave.

Same thing with Ann Coulter. I don't disagree with what she says as much as how she says it. Her main thing is to attract attention and stand out. Whether you agree with her or not, you have to admit she does do that.

It's no secret that my views lean to the right, but frankly the only time I ever hear or read anything Ann Coulter says it's when the spot light falls on her. In most cases, I think all the attention she garners, including this post, is far more than she deserves and I refuse to give her any more of my time.

Call me when you have something more important to discuss... like toenail fungus.

Posted by: eclark1849 at July 28, 2006 02:21 PM

Mike, you're the editor of a major newspaper, and presumably well-educated. Ann Coulter's "logic is devastating, and her viewpoint is right most of the time?" Let's examine that logic:
"We should invade their countries, kill their leaders, and convert them to Christianity."
9/12/01, syndicated column.
"God gave us the earth. We have dominion over the plants, the animals, the trees. God said 'the earth is yours, take it, rape it, it's yours."
Hannity & Colmes, 6/20/01
Need more quotes? The woman is looney tunes.

Posted by: Leslie Gargan at July 28, 2006 05:31 PM

I think Mike's basic point was that if the editor thinks Ann Coulter is "right most of the time" then why drop her column? What we think of Ann Coulter is irrelevant in this context.

Maybe it was pressure from advertisers. Maybe it was pressure from the publisher. Maybe the editor finally realized that most of her positions are embarrassingly uninformed. Whatever the reason, the editor just looks like an idiot or a wimp for singing her praises while firing her.

This is a common theme in both Washington and corporate America. Never admit that anything was wrong to begin with, even while you're trying to fix it. As a last result, acknowledge the problem but deny any specific responsibility.

When pressed on the situation in Iraq, John McCain responded to John Stewart: "Mistakes were made." I almost fell out of my chair laughing. Those exact words are the punchline to an old Matt Groening "Life in Hell" joke.

Posted by: Rick Oliver at July 29, 2006 12:22 PM

As to Coulter saying that Bill Clinton is gay:

(A) When i mentioned it to my stepdaughter, she said could we unimpeach him, since if he's gay he probably wasn't lieing about having a sexual relationship with a woman


(B) Much as i detest David Letterman, even a stopped clock is right twice a day:

Posted by: mike weber at July 31, 2006 01:28 AM

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