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Top Stories This Week in the Chronicle.
March 9, 2007

Ann Coulter is caught in an F-bomb
explosion

Washington, D.C.--Conservative talking head Ann Coulter dove into hot water on March 2 when she used an anti-gay epithet to refer to Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards at the Conservative Political Action Conference.

“I was going to have a few comments on the other Democratic presidential candidate, John Edwards, but it turns out you have to go into rehab if you use the word ‘faggot,’ so I’m, so, kind of at an impasse, can’t really talk about Edwards, so I think I’ll just conclude here and take your questions,” she said to laughter and applause from the right-wing crowd.

The rehab comment was in reference to actor Isaiah Washington of Gray’s Anatomy, who went into counseling after twice referring to his co-star T.R. Knight with that invective.

The remark brought immediate criticism from LGBT groups and Democratic leaders, as well as condemnation from the three major Republican presidential candidates, Mitt Romney, Rudolph Giuliani and John McCain.

But Coulter went on Fox News’ Hannity and Colmes March 5 and defended her comments.

"The word I used has nothing to do with sexual preference," she said. "It is a schoolyard taunt, and unless you're going to announce here on national TV that John Edwards, married father of many children, is gay, it clearly had nothing to do with that. It's a schoolyard taunt."

She went on to say that the Republican Party is not, on the whole, anti-gay.

"I'm not anti-gay," she claimed. "We're against gay marriage. I don't want gays to be discriminated against or--I mean, I think we have--in addition to blacks, I don't know why all gays aren't Republicans. I think we have the pro-gay position, which is anti-crime, and for tax cuts."

As if to bolster those claims, Coulter was photographed at CPAC with Corporal Matt Sanchez, a Marine reservist who spoke about anti-military sentiment on the campus of Columbia University, which he attends.

What he did not say, as praise was heaped upon him by the conservatives there and on TV shows, is that he is gay and starred in some hard-core gay pornographic films.

Blogger Andy Towle of www.towleroad.com noted that he briefly dated Sanchez after meeting him in a gay bar in San Jose, California in 1989.

Edwards, at a speaking engagement at Berkeley, said that he was not going to demand an apology from Coulter.

"I think its important that we not reward hateful, selfish, childish behavior with attention," Edwards said. "I also believe that is important for all of us to speak out against language of this kind; it is the place where hatred gets its foothold, and we can't stand silently by and allow this kind of language to be used."

Instead, he has put up a page on his website drawing attention to the attack, trying to raise $100,000 in “Coulter Cash” to help his campaign.

“We must show that inflaming prejudice to attack progressive leaders will only backfire,” the page reads.

Coulter pointed out that she did not actually use the slur to describe John Edwards.

In reacting to her own party’s presidential candidates lashing out at her for her remarks, she told the New York Times, “C’mon, it was a joke. I would never insult gays by suggesting that they are like John Edwards. That would be mean.”

The controversy has hit Coulter where it hurts, though--in her pocketbook. Four major companies, Verizon, Net Bank, Sallie Mae and AT&T have pulled their advertising from her website. All asserted that they did not know their ads were being carried on her site until the furor over her speech.

Three newspapers also dropped her column, distributed by the Universal Press Syndicate: Lancaster, Pennsylvania’s New Era, Detroit’s Oakland Press, and Sevierville, Tennessee’s Mountain Press.

The syndicate has not made any indication that they will stop distributing her column.

While her speech has drawn criticism from all sides, MarketWatch’s John Friedman believes that Coulter’s time as a serious commentator has long since gone.

“Ann Coulter, the raging right-wing author, has become the Paris Hilton of political coverage,” Friedman wrote on www.marketwatch.com, a news service provided by Dow Jones. “Even among her most rabid red-state fans, she has become a cartoon character--and journalists should treat her like one.”

“It's no longer enough for journalists to shake their heads in amazement at her most recent verbal atrocity. Since Coulter's already a bad joke, why not depict her wearing a dunce cap?” he continued. “Her quotes could begin to appear in a special section called ‘Coulter's Latest Stupid Comment.’ ”

Radio talk show host Rob Thompson echoed those sentiments in an interview with Fox News, saying that Coulter is "intellectual chewing gum ... a lady in a dress who likes to spit out things that cause a little bit of unrest, and she'll go away for a while. She'll crawl back in her hole and we'll hear from her in about six months."

 

 

 

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