Wednesday, June 07, 2006

On Coulter, Slime-Traffickers, & the Media's Craving for Blog Buzz

Greg Sargent raises a critical point:
"There's something deeply perverse about the fact that AP brass rewarded John Solomon for his unfair reporting on Harry Reid because of the attention from the blogosphere -- after all, the enormous reaction among bloggers to the story was overwhelmingly critical of it. Yet reward Solomon they did, as Josh Marshall showed and Atrios flagged... At bottom, the absurdity of this really does perfectly illustrate the state of play between the big news orgs and the blogosphere -- and not in a way that should be to any of our liking."
Sargent is absolutely right, as Tuesday's Ann Coulter incident illustrates. Matt Lauer had a faux-debate with Coulter on the Today Show - I say 'faux' because he ended the interview with the words, "always fun to have you." Yes, it's "fun" to give a platform to someone who urinates on 9/11 victims and their families.

Media Matters asks the right question:
"Coulter has a long history of engaging in hateful rhetoric and misinformation, and yet Today still hosted her, giving her book free publicity and a degree of credibility it doesn't deserve. Indeed, this was the third time in eight months that Coulter has appeared on Today. Why?"
How pathetic would it be if this was all about the 'buzz' Coulter generates? What's next: snuff films?

This race to the bottom by the establishment media leaves the progressive netroots in a quandary: if the only thing these so-called 'journalists' want is to create an uproar, how do we respond? Some bloggers advocate ignoring slime-traffickers like Coulter and Glenn Beck, others attack them for the scum they peddle. My preferred tactic is to excoriate the media outlet that gives them a forum - it may play into their need for attention, but I think it's imperative for us to create a public record of these media transgressions, if only for historians to understand how America sunk so far so fast.

One thing is for sure: responding to Coulter's assertions is pointless. When she speaks the unspeakable about the 9/11 widows ("I have never seen people enjoying their husbands’ death so much") and when Glenn Beck does the same (calling hurricane survivors in New Orleans "scumbags" and saying he "hates" 9-11 families), reasoned discussion is not on the table.

I posed a rhetorical challenge to the media yesterday and I'll repeat it here:
"While major media figures and media outlets dizzy themselves trying to rebut factual critiques from the left and to justify unjustifiable reporting, herds of rightwingers wantonly slander them.... This kind of assault on the free press is par for the course on the right. And unlike Democrats, Republicans at the highest levels willingly go after the media. For once, I'd like to see journalists rise in indignation and fury. For once, I'd like to know if the targets of this abuse have the pride and dignity to reject it, to stand up for their profession and their personal integrity. If the same attacks were directed toward any other profession or professional, the response would be overwhelming. Why do reporters take it lying down?

I challenge establishment journalists to stand up to the rightwing smear machine and condemn the maligning of their patriotism and of their values."
Really though, I should know better. Not only will these media clowns refuse to defend themselves against rightwing slander, they will eagerly give those slanderers a platform to spread their smut.

35 Comments:

Blogger Blogenfreude said...

True - there's a lot of server space wasted on her ... and she's getting richer to boot.

6/07/2006 11:22 AM  
Blogger Blogenfreude said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6/07/2006 11:23 AM  
Blogger Eli said...

his was the third time in eight months that Coulter has appeared on Today

And Howard Zinn? Noam Chomsky? Cindy Sheehan? What's their count?

6/07/2006 12:04 PM  
Anonymous billmon said...

"Not only will these media clowns refuse to defend themselves against rightwing slander, they will eagerly give those slanderers a platform to spread their smut."

Of course, because in the end their interests are absolutely identical: making a buck. TV news these days is to journalism what a Harlem Globetrotters game is to basketball, and dwinks like Matt Lauer are the functional equivalent of the Washington Generals.

I'm just surprised Coulter didn't pull his pants down while he was trying to make a free throw.

6/07/2006 12:59 PM  
Anonymous Mike in Massachcusetts said...

Many on the right will defend Coulter with a predictable comment like "If she's so awful, how come she sells so many books?"

Of course, they will not defend the specific outrageous comments she makes, orally or written word. They can't.

Conservatives embrace Coulter not because they believe what she writes, but because she pokes a sharp stick at liberals. But the "my enemy's enemy is my friend" excuse is not good enough here.

Those who defend Coulter must be pressed to defend her specific comments. Let's see if they can without sqirming. I doubt it.

6/07/2006 7:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I defend Coulter's right to free speech. I also defend Ward Churchill's right to free speech. And I defend your right to approve or disapprove of what is said. And I can do so without using vulgarities - something liberals seem incapable of doing.

How's that? Happy now?

6/07/2006 10:17 PM  
Blogger Thesaurus Rex said...

I think it's important from now on to always put the word 'Republican' next to her name. The Rightards are constantly accusing all progressives of harboring the same values as our most extreme spokespeople. So, from now on, always write "Republican Ann Coulter says..."

Make them do the equivcating and triangulating for a change.

6/07/2006 10:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The Rightards are constantly accusing all progressives of harboring the same values as our most extreme spokespeople"

How do your values differ than Ward Churchill's, for example? Or those of Cindy Sheehan, or Noam Chomsky for that matter?

Who do you consider to be extreme liberal?

6/07/2006 11:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

GE Owns NBC. GE Builds Weapons for the US. Nuff Said.

6/08/2006 1:51 AM  
Blogger Alexandra S said...

I wish Matt Lauer had been half as hard on Coulter as he was on Michael Moore when Farenheit 911 came out. I want to send Coulter a moldy omelette in a shoebox. What a sorry excuse for a human being she is.

6/08/2006 2:00 AM  
Anonymous jb said...

Yes, focus on a single sentence in the book, and you don't have to rebut anything else she has written. I mean, c'mon, I wouldn't want you to actually defend your positions.

6/08/2006 3:38 AM  
Blogger James W. Pharo said...

The key is that the media suffers from the same sense of defeatism that's been inculcated in most of our elected Dems. And this sense of "giving up" comes about because of the vitriol and outright hate that the right aims at them both.

This ends only when both the media and the Dems tell these bullies, "enough."

6/08/2006 9:36 AM  
Anonymous jpbreeze said...

Coulter is just a manifestation of the entire Republican party; loathesome, hateful, racist, intollerant, incessant liars, and insecure. We live in a world where liberal 'truths' are told on Comedy shows and Cartoons, while Conservative 'lies' are shown on so-called 'real' news networks.

6/08/2006 10:53 AM  
Blogger lucien de la peste said...

What a woman!

6/08/2006 2:21 PM  
Anonymous Devil's Advocate said...

Whether Coulter is pathologically hooked on getting attention, or whether she has a pathological hatred of Democrats and liberals in general, or both, the fact remains that her behavior is pathological. The woman is clearly unhinged, hence should not be taken seriously.

Coulter belongs to a mental institution. The sooner people realize that, the better.

6/08/2006 9:44 PM  
Anonymous Devil's Advocate said...

Coulter is made of the same fabric that Al-Zarqawi is (was) made.

She has a thuggish, hustling, sadistic, mentality. Left to her own devices, and put in the "right" environment, she would a torturer or a terrorist, depending on the "opportunities".

Coulter is certifiably insane: she is a narcissist coupled with a sociopath (just like her President).

So please let us expose her for what she is: a raving lunatic!

6/08/2006 10:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmmm...Coulter slams 9/11 victim's wives and the left goes into righteous indignation (and rightfully so.)

Ward Churchill refers to 9/11 victims as "Little Eichmann's" and not a peep from the left, other than that Ward has the right to free speech and shouldn't be fired.

Hypocrites.

6/09/2006 1:31 AM  
Blogger lucien de la peste said...

Here is a question I think should be answered with all possible haste.

6/09/2006 8:37 AM  
Blogger Peter said...

I think Coulter's egregious comments (and behaviour since then) is just another manifestation of the extreme rhetoric that now passes for political debate. And it is contemptible. I don't know who Ward Churchill is - if he indeed called victims "little Eichmanns", that is even more repulsive that Coulter's already repulsive enough comments. All of it is unacceptable. We're stuck in a nasty downward spiral as a culture, led by these noisome talking heads who have absolutely no self-regulation or shame and certainly an over-load of righteousness, where they demonize the other side and act as victims if they are called on it.

It has to stop, and the way to do it is to insist that people (left, right, center) be called on it, and ignored if they refuse to comply. Ann's behaviour is reprehensible. She's being called on it by plenty of people. She should run into a firestorm of protest wherever she goes, and not get attention until she retracts (fat chance). The same should apply to ANYONE reaching beyond the pale for rhetoric that is truly offensive.

Now, of course, what is truly offensive? Let's just say, quoting a justice who spoke of pornography, "I know it when I see it". By common, decent community standards, most people acknowledge what Ann said is beyond the pale. Ignore the whack jobs who actually approve of what she said. If you, (assuming you are a normal person) find her discourse unacceptable, say so - write NBC and complain, write her publisher, threaten boycotts. And do so for ANYONE who carries on like she does.

We have got to start cranking this stuff down, or our descent into the toilet will lead us into sewars out of which only something dark and nasty can return.

6/09/2006 9:38 AM  
Blogger Karen M said...

Peter:

I know you're busy at YearlyKos, but wanted you to know that I've taken your suggestion and run away with it, here at Salon.

And on my blogs, e.g., Lyssa Strada

6/09/2006 12:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Taken from one lovely liberal website:

On Ann Coulter's comments:

"How does Ann Coulter continue to get away with it? Coulter, the conservative queen of agit-propaganda, remains a media darling despite continuously venturing beyond partisan politics into the relam of deliberately inflammatory hate speech."


On Ward Churchill's comments:

"As far as I can tell, there isn't any phrase in the First Amendment that says anything like "unless, of course, you're impolite."


Now you know why people think liberals are full of shit.

6/09/2006 1:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

rightwing douchebags... unite. the difference between chomsky and zinn and human waste such as coulter is that, agree with them or not, chomsky and zinn put forth academic theses and studies and do not wallow in the tepid waters of name-calling. what was ann coulter's point and what is so difficult about making it without such vicious name-calling. coulter's solution to the problems of the world as she understands it is to nuke arab capitals, kill their leaders and convert them to chirstianity. there's no debating her because she makes no points. how can one respond to comments like that? that is the problem with people like her - there is no room for discussion or debate. the free exchange of ideas, no matter how disgusting they might be, is essential to the form of government that we once aspired to have. people like ann coulter want to silence everybody who disagrees with them and slaughter people who happen to live in countries that she dislikes. this is insanity, not punditry. if this is who you decide to side with, then call yourself what you really are - a fascist.

6/09/2006 7:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

" rightwing douchebags... unite. the difference between chomsky and zinn and human waste such as coulter is that, agree with them or not, chomsky and zinn put forth academic theses and studies and do not wallow in the tepid waters of name-calling."

You should take a cue from Chomskyy and Zinn about name calling..

You have trouble rebutting Coulter's point about "liberal infallability", (the tactic of using sympathetic figures as political props) because you know it is true.

Coulter's crime was that she brought this old leftie tactic to the public eye in a politically incorrect fashion.

Keep calling her names and she will continue to beat you at your own game..

RT

6/10/2006 5:53 PM  
Anonymous Gideon S. said...

RT said:

"You have trouble rebutting Coulter's point about "liberal infallability", (the tactic of using sympathetic figures as political props) because you know it is true."

You have it backwards RT; Coulter hasn't made a case, she has made an accusation. Since you've chosen to defend her accusation, it is up to YOU to make a case proving that she's right, not for us to prove that she's wrong.

Who among "the Left" is "using" these four women? Did the women seek out these alleged users or were the women sought out?

What is the nature of the relationship between these women and any individual or group that they may or may not be working with? Are the women being told what to say and how to say it?

Further, Coulter claims these women are sacred cows who cannot be touched, and yet she's smacking them around, undercutting her own accusation.

Come on, make your case. We're all wating.

6/10/2006 6:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two of the women are democrat activists. Case closed.

Cindy Sheehan has been co-opted by MoveOn.org..Case closed.

And please don't challenge Murtha's political views because he is a "highly decorated" veteran..

....and ad nauseum

Apparently you don't understand Coulter's "sacred cow" comment..

The tactic of using of sympathetic victims or "untouchables" to promote political agendas is as old as the hills..

Coulter broke from political correctness to make it publicly known. You'll just have to deal with it..

6/10/2006 7:31 PM  
Anonymous Gideon S. said...

Anonymous, I hope you're not a lwayer, because you would be the worst attorney in the world if your arguments are all like this one:

"Two of the women are democrat activists. Case closed."

Wrong. Just because two of the four are Dem activists doesn't mean that they're being used by "the Left." Show us some proof that they're simpletons duped by the monolithic Left, as opposed to American citizens acting on their priniciples and of their own accord.

"Cindy Sheehan has been co-opted by MoveOn.org..Case closed."

There you go again. PROVE to us that Sheehan is being manipulated. Me calling you an ignorant idiot doesn't make it true simply because I say it, I have to provide proof... like your comment.

And it's very sexist that you, like Coulter, think all of these women are weak-willed, weak-minded people who didn't reach their own conclusions but were force-fed them.

6/10/2006 10:46 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

You have trouble rebutting Coulter's point about "liberal infallability", (the tactic of using sympathetic figures as political props) because you know it is true.

Coulter's crime was that she brought this old leftie tactic to the public eye in a politically incorrect fashion.

Keep calling her names and she will continue to beat you at your own game..


"Liberal infallibility" is the delusion of a person so disconnected from reality that's not even really worth addressing. But I'll be nice and do it anyway ;-)

1) You and Coulter appear to believe that there is in fact a single "left wing" that has a single strategy. And that all these "liberals" have the same views on every issue. And that all liberals think with a single collective mind. If you've ever bothered to speak to any of your fellow Americans who happen to be even slightly to the left of fascist (and that includes old guard conservative Republicans and Libertarians who find this current administration disgusting), you'll find that we're a diverse lot with many different points of view on many different issues, and that we DON'T agree on even a core set of issues. The Democratic party, for example, encompasses people of many different viewpoints, and is far more diverse than the Republican party. So, to assert that there is a single "old leftie tactic" or strategy is absurd.

2) The idea of "liberal infallibility" as a strategy only springs from minds who think that everyone should think in exactly the same fashion on every issue. Dualistic thinkers believe that people who believe differently than they do are members of an opposing single organization. It's a shame reality isn't like that, isn't it, Anonymous?

3) You and Coulter both seem to assume that people who have suffered from a tragedy are so weak-willed that they can be co-opted by anyone. You and Coulter discount that people like this can begin to take political action on their own initiative based on the dictates of their individual consciences and belief systems. And you assume that other people who have similar beliefs on the same issue can't get together with these people and work to similar goals. The reality is that when a circumstance like 9-11 or losing a son in the current Iraq war, or serving in the current Iraq war happens to you (the Iraq veterans running for Congress under the Democratic party banner, for example), you might be spurred to action. And you're going to find the most effective and efficient way to trigger a political change as quickly as possible. That's what the 9-11 widows in question did of their own accord and conscience.

It's a shame that you and Coulter can't recognize that individuals believe different things and take the actions they do to affect the kinds of change that they believe to be best. But, then again, only advocates of dualistic thinking can't see the differences between each and every human being on the planet. The world isn't black and white, and maybe one of these days you'll realize that.

6/11/2006 12:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Elizabeth:

You sound more like a real Democrat as opposed to the lefties I refer to. While I don't agree with Coulter on all issues, I agree with the point made about sacred cow political props.

You might want to read this article by Dana Milbank about Cindy Sheehan. MoveOn.org saw Cindy as a Rosa Parks, exploited her as a political propto the max, and dropped her like a hot potato. I truly feel sorry for her son's loss as well as what the left did to her.

I'm sure we can agree that Milbank is liberal and no right wing tool, yes? Below are some excerpts and quotes from moveon.org:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/08/17/AR2005081702266.html

"It was to have been a silent vigil outside the White House last night in solidarity with Cindy Sheehan, the Gold Star Mother-turned-antiwar activist. But the 500 demonstrators were not the sort to be silenced.

"Meet with Cindy!" they chanted. "Tell her the truth! . . . This war was for oil! . . . End the war now!"



"Cindy Sheehan," organizer Karen Bradley shouted into a megaphone, "you are an inspiration to us all!"

As Sheehan, mother of an American soldier killed in Iraq, camps out near President Bush's ranch in Texas this month in symbolic protest, foes of the war see the chance to achieve something that has eluded them for two years: galvanizing a mass antiwar movement. Sheehan, they say hopefully, could be their Rosa Parks.

Bradley, a volunteer for the liberal group MoveOn.org, which coordinated about 1,600 candlelight vigils across the country last night for Sheehan, certainly thinks so. "We've been missing this galvanizing, iconic figure," said Bradley, who lost a child nine years ago, to illness. "I think all the mothers of the world are going to come out and say, 'Enough.' "

6/11/2006 9:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ann Coulter, Ward Churchill, and I have the same right of free speech. But Coulter, Churchill, and I don't all get the same media coverage!

James Carville and Mary Matalin can express their strongly held opposing viewpoints with insight, civility, and wit. George Will, Thomas Friedman, and many others - conservative and liberal - illuminate our national debate.

That is what I want to see on Today, Meet the Press, et al - smart, insightful, civil, witty, respectful discussion of different viewpoints.

Coulter and Churchill? Loud, crude, outrageous, and deliberately simplistic.

Shame on the media for promoting that kind of behavior. Shame on us for accepting that behavior.

Look at the messages on this blog. From comments about Coulter's statements, the messages degrade into bitter attacks against all liberals and all conservatives, and end up like little kids saying "You're wrong", "No, you're wrong", "No, you're wronger".

Coulter and Churchill? Put them in a big empty field and let them exercise their free speech rights on each other!

For the rest of us - let's go to dinner and dicuss it. We may not agree by dessert but at least we'll understand each other better.

6/12/2006 1:36 AM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

>You sound more like a real Democrat as opposed to the lefties I refer to.<

Wrong, actually ;-) I'm a liberal progressive civil libertarian. The Democratic party alienated me in 1992 when it shifted to the right, neglecting its populist, progressive roots. In fact, with the Dems being co-opted by the interests of the ultra-rich and the corporations, there's little difference between mainstream Democrats and their Republican counterparts when it comes to social or economic policy these days (support for NAFTA, WTO, etc. policies, for example are the same in both wings of the Republicrat party). The Dems are just a bit less fervent when it comes to the speed of destroying the Constitution. That's not enough difference for my taste, honestly. And they're really p!ssing me off, to be perfectly frank-- I expect Republicans to do things that nauseate me, but I don't expect my own registered party to do those same things.

>I'm sure we can agree that Milbank is liberal and no right wing tool, yes?<

I'm not familiar with Milbank, so I can't agree with you or disagree with you. Frankly, I'm not too up on all the latest pundits and columnists since I can read the news myself and form my own conclusions without reading others' opinions.

>You might want to read this article by Dana Milbank about Cindy Sheehan. MoveOn.org saw Cindy as a Rosa Parks, exploited her as a political propto the max, and dropped her like a hot potato. I truly feel sorry for her son's loss as well as what the left did to her.<

I don't think you quite understand the position of groups of concerned citizens like those who formed Moveon.org. It sounds to me like a bunch of completely frustrated and angry Americans who loathe this Administration's policies got swept up in Sheehan's cause and her political energy gave them something that's been missing in the hostile political dialog in this country: hope.

This dialog has been made more and more hostile by the hatred preached by folks like Coulter, O'Reilly, Hannity, Franken, Bush, Cheney, Michael Moore, etc. People need a spark right now, because this country is toppling with massive national debt, huge deficit spending, endless wars, demolition of Constitutional liberties, and unfair tax cuts. It's a dark time, and people seize onto any hope they can find when they're feeling as if things can't get much worse. Nearly 70% of Americans disapprove of the President. Think about that for a moment. This is who the Coulters of the world are branding as the "left." The left vs. right battle in this country has been drawn with stupid and irrelevant boundaries. Libertarians aren't liberal. True conservative old-guard Republicans who favor small government and less spending aren't liberal. Moderates aren't liberal. None of these groups can really be called the "Left," but the neocons do consider them to be left-wing. The real battle right now is between those who want a free America vs. those who support a dictatorship.

Moveon.org might suck sometimes (and what political organization doesn't?), but Cindy Sheehan will continue protesting in her own way whether or not Moveon.org or other groups decide to lend her support. And others will listen to her and support her or debate her as their beliefs dictate. This is as it should be-- Sheehan has every right and DUTY as an American to protest policies she believes to be immoral. Expressing oneself politically isn't just a right for a responsible citizen to exercise, it's a fundamental *duty* of every citzen in a democracy.

The self-proclaimed "Christians" such as Coulter theoretically should embrace the fact that people have free will as dictated by their diety, but they, in fact, seem to believe the opposite. Sheehan and the 9-11 widows were speaking the truth as they believed, and allied themselves with people who would further their message and who shared common beliefs. This is exactly what "free will" consists of: taking actions that these women feel and think to be correct. Coulter seems to be exercising the exact same sort of free will, no matter how many (including yours truly) loathe her hateful version of it.

For all the talk of so-called "liberal infallibility," and the claim that no one can address certain individuals and question their authenticity, Coulter seems to be calling out and slandering women who are exercising their democratic duties. That, in and of itself, is proof that her assertion is absurd. And, if she had the power, she'd deny these women the right to express their political beliefs in their own way. I think that, right there, invalidates her "liberal infallability" claim, and indicates that she's a hypocrite.

I do have a question, Anon... What is it that Coulter is so angry about? Her party of choice is in control of all three branches of the Federal government. Policies she endorses are shoved onto the dissenting majority of the American population that she has lost touch with. So why be mad? Why insult the opposition? Anger is frequently a symptom of fear. What is Coulter so afraid of that she has to spew bile toward a few people who disagree with her in the political arena?

6/12/2006 3:47 AM  
Anonymous Gideon S. said...

Anonymous, regarding Cindy Sheehan: You confuse cooperation with "being used," and the Milbank article you cited is not proof that Sheehan has been or is being "used" by "the Left," merely that she is working with one left-wing group -- which is a left-winger, is hardly out of the ordinary.

As for your claim that Milbanks is a liberal, there is no proof of that. No one knows which -- if either -- party Milbank subscribes to or agrees with the most. What we do know is that A) He wrote a book that slammed both Al Gore and George W. Bush mercilessly (read it here online for free) and B) He tells the truth about Republicans, which they try to downplay by falsely accusing Milbank of being a biased liberal reporter.

Ann Coulter was wrong. She was wrong to make her baseles accusation, and she was wrong to make it so crudely and cruelly. By defending her, you show everyone that you condone her behavior.

6/12/2006 3:51 AM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

Anon 1:36AM

I completely agree lol Whatever happened to civilized political discourse?

6/12/2006 3:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe "civilized political discourse" existed around the time Senator Charles Sumner was caned. Political discourse has never been civilized nor will it ever be.

6/15/2006 1:50 AM  
Blogger Rob Anderson said...

The best thing for all of us is to IGNORE HER. Coulter feeds on the frenzy she creates, both literally and figuratively. I think the netroots needs to get serious about it: boycott her TV appearances, don't buy her books (and discourage others from buying them), and don't listen to her on the radio. If we do these things, en masse, she WILL go away.

6/15/2006 4:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One way that Ann "the Man" sells so many volumes is by initially selling the book for $5 a copy to Drudge readers. His page had links for this offer in the last weeks of May (though there may be many who feel that, at $5, her toxic effluvia is still overpriced).

6/15/2006 5:17 PM  

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