Ann Coulter affects me much like a rank extra large beef, bean and cheese burrito eaten earlier in the day; try as I may to ignore her she has a nasty tendency to keep coming up.
Meanwhile, the perennial Coulter debate rages on within the progressive community: Should we (“we” being defined herein as those of us who aren’t totally freaking insane) continue to denounce her nasty, but also increasingly moronic and self-impeaching, utterances? Or should we simply ignore her on the theory that if ignored — and thus robbed of her newsworthiness — she’ll eventually dry up and disappear from the public stage: Perhaps she’ll even start living up to her supposed values and find a nice middle-aged man (sorry, Ann, you aren’t that young anymore), settle down and start spawning hordes of mutant females with huge Adam’s apples.
(A brief reminder: We have a strict rule here at The Last Chance Democracy Café against jokes based upon people’s physical appearances. There is, however, an Ann Coulter exception.)
The advocates of simply ignoring Ann do have a point: Benign neglect is often the best approach to dealing with minor devils. Take Fred Phelps and his tiny band of Merry Nuts from Topeka, Kansas: They picket the funerals of AIDS victims and soldiers killed in action in Iraq in order to get attention. If the media would ignore them, they’d quickly lose interest and seep back into the muck.
But therein lies the catch, of course: It’s THE MEDIA, as in television stations (or better yet networks), national news magazines and newspapers, whose attention Phelps craves. He wouldn’t give a rat’s ass if progressive bloggers and other alternative media outlets, like The Nation magazine and Air America Radio, stopped talking about him.
The major media has the power to shut Phelps down; alternative media outfits don’t.
So I can blog on Phelps, or not blog on Phelps; either way it won’t affect what he does.
It’s the same story with Coulter. Regardless of how vile her comments become (or is it because of how vile they become?) the major media continues to shower her with airtime and ink. She does NBC’s Today Show and callously defends accusing 9-11 widows of enjoying their husbands’ deaths: And what is her punishment for this atrocity? Why, another NBC show with high ratings, the Tonight Show, quickly has her on as a guest, where she’s allowed to blather on with her hate speech at length, largely unmolested by the host.
(By the way, I make no apology for comparing Coulter to Phelps. Perhaps this is all a snarling good joke to Coulter, as opposed to the product of a creepy religious fervor in the case of Phelps, but when you compare their words side by side it’s far from clear that Phelps’ utterances, as despicable as they are, are all that much worse than Coulter’s.)
Having liberal alternative media outlets ignore Coulter would accomplish nothing. Sure, liberals would then no longer be forced to read about her in places like BuzzFlash, Daily Kos and The American Prospect, but Coulter’s access to the general public, who, after all, largely read and tune into major media outlets, would be almost completely unaffected.
And be assured Coulter would have no trouble finding ways to generate enough controversy to keep her a hot ticket, even without the “help” of left leaning writers. Most of Coulter’s jihads have been directed against mystical boogeymen rather than real life liberals anyway.
Besides, there’s a much bigger issue at play here than Coulter herself — some would go so far as to call it the biggest issue of the day — the pro-conservative bias of the major media. This from Editor & Publisher (via BuzzFlash):
NEW YORK Ann Coulter hasn’t lost any of her 100-plus newspaper clients, or the support of her syndicate, Universal Press Syndicate, despite her nasty remarks in her new book about 9/11 widows and her comment in an online interview implying that, perhaps, U.S. Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.) should be “fragged.”
God, is this an old and tiresome tale, or what? Hate speech that wouldn’t be tolerated for a nanosecond if spoken by a liberal commentator, routinely rolls by without sanction when it’s a right wing mouthpiece, like Coulter, who’s doing the talking. It’s rank hypocrisy and indisputable evidence of the right leaning bias of today’s media — and Ann Coulter is exhibit A.
And lest we forget, probably the single most important role served by alternative media is to slice through this hypocrisy and, to the greatest extent possible, expose it to the world.
Ignore Ann Coulter? Not on your life. Pop an exhibit sticker on her forehead and submit her to the jury (in this case the public) as proof positive of the craven way the media kowtows to conservatives.
The “liberal media” deserves nothing less.