Treason by Ann Coulter

Monday, June 30, 2003

I Spoke with Coulter
Read the conversation on my main weblog

Thursday, June 26, 2003

Attention Liberals: Ye shall be as gods
Last night, I went to Barnes & Noble and checked out Treason. The woman is whacked in the head. To Coulter's credit, she didn't appear to include the smear of former President Clinton’s Georgetown speech started by "journalist" Joseph Curl of The Washington Times (click here and here). To Coulter’s discredit, to no surprise, she was one of the usual suspects (along with Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Drudge) who, in the wake of 9/11, scored a few cheap political points by distorting the words of a reasonable speech that Clinton made (and she has the gall to impugn the patriotism of others).

I went to the last few pages to get Coulter’s final thoughts; they are laughable. In Coulter’s opinion, the reason that the left is treasonous is that they are megalomaniacs: “The fundamental difference between liberals and conservatives is conservatives believe man was created in God’s image; liberals believe they are God” (emphasis in original). Maybe liberals were in the Garden of Eden and overheard the devil tell Eve: “Ye shall be as gods” (Gen. 3:5). When I read that, it reminded me of something I heard former Secretary of the Interior James Watt say on Pat Robertson’s 700 Club years ago; Watt said that conservatives think that God is God and liberals think that the state is God. Did Coulter plagiarize her fellow wingnut?

Coulter would have us believe that the left’s supposed God-mentality of the left allows them to act immorally because, they construct right and wrong: “They can lie, with no higher power to constrain them, because they are gods.” Really? Coulter’s belief in the almighty didn’t prevent her from playing fast and loose with the facts big time in Slander. It didn’t prevent Coulter’s boss Joseph Farah from swindling a paranoid old man out of money so that Farah could spread the Vince-Foster-was-murdered lie (Coulter repudiated Christopher Ruddy on this; when will she repudiated the man who is signing her paychecks?). It didn’t prevent Drudge, Limbaugh, Ted Olson, and others on the right from engaging in a dirty tricks operation against the Clintons.

I have a more compelling explanation. Christian fundamentalists hold a Manichean (and dour) worldview in which God is on their side. Because they believe God is on their side, they reason anyone who disagrees is in league with Satan. Thus, any tactic, no matter how noxious, is at their disposal because they are fighting the Beast. Thus, it was hardly surprising that Jerry Falwell sold videotapes (at a premium price) to his followers (read: lemmings) that claimed that Bill Clinton was responsible for the murders of dozens of people. And it didn’t surprise me that Falwell used a fraudulent infomercial to get members of his flock to use their Social Security money to buy his tape. That’s the nature of the hard right.

The Absurdity of Ann Coulter’s Treason: Part One; Random House’s Shame

I haven’t had a chance to read Treason by Ann Coulter, 41, but I’m accusing Crown Books (a division of Random House) of selling its soul by agreeing to publish it. Make no mistake, Crown has every right to publish the book; however, it is the moral duty of a publishing house to exercise good judgment and to assess the honesty and intellectual integrity of its authors. Regarding these matters, Crown Books is guilty of gross dereliction of its literary responsibility.

I know what some people were thinking as they read the first paragraph: Isn’t it a priorism to denounce a book before you have a chance to read it? My response:
1) Who is Ann Coulter to lecture America about treason?
2) Coulter’s previous book for Crown, Slander: Liberal Lies About The American Right, was a case study in deception and should have been sufficient to sink any projects with the author (assuming that Random House had any integrity).

Let me address these two points.

Who is Coulter to lecture us about treason?

Who is Coulter to lecture us about treason? Coulter’s moral authority to lecture the American people on the issue of treason is as phony as her boobs (okay, okay, that’s a low blow—but a truthful low blow). In the wake of 9/11, George W. Bush invited to his Crawford ranch an admitted violator of the Espionage Act (who is still subject to criminal prosecution for treason). This admitted violator of the Espionage Act, David Horowitz, carries Coulter’s column on his web site; if Coulter wants to take money from him to be associated with him—that’s her right, but it seems odd to be lectured on political hygiene by someone like her. If this is guilt by association, that’s okay because in Treason, Coulter defends Joe McCarthy.

Also, the person who is lecturing us on treason is the same person who said the following: “My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times Building." This illustrates the absurdity of a finger-pointing book in which Coulter accuses others of engaging in the same types of behaviors that she herself is guilty of. It’s as absurd of Coulter’s previous book in which she accused the left of slander—when the book itself was an exercise in the very kind of political assassination she denounced.

One more thing, Coulter is a pin-up girl and apologist for the gap-toothed neo-Confederate crowd (This is no insult; anytime I’ve been to a neo-Confederate display, the people there are missing teeth). Aside from being racist, the Confederacy was the largest act of treason against the United States. Their neo-Confederate descendents are no different; whenever I see a Confederate display, anti-American props (other than the stars and bars) are there. Some of the examples include shirts, bumper stickers, and signs that mock the words of civil rights leaders. One I saw was a t-shirt that had the Confederate flag over the White House with the caption, “I have a dream.” Another one read: “North 1, South 0. Halftime.” Coulter defends a movement that is racist, immoral, and treasonous.

The Intellectual Dishonesty of Coulter’s Previous Book For Crown Books

Right before Coulter’s Slander: Liberal Lies about the American Right was released, I got wind of the premise of the book--which was that the decline in political discourse was “all liberals’ fault.” I found that absurd considering that Coulter writes for Joseph Farah one of the sleaziest and ghoulish character assassins on earth. Farah was one of the people promoting Richard Mellon Scaife’s paranoid “Clinton Body Count” and was paid by Scaife to promote Christopher Ruddy’s views that the Clintons were behind Vince Foster’s death.

I got an advance copy and just in the first few pages found that Coulter had systematically distorted the views of people whom she was denouncing as soft on terrorism (in addition, Coulter distorted what Jerry Falwell said to make his comments appear less loathsome; click here and scroll to "Ann Coulter’s Slander: The Title is Correct—But for the Wrong Reasons"). I and other bloggers found other distortions and factual misrepresentations in the book. The Columbia Journalism Review published an article supporting our views on Slander. At that point, it was the responsibility of Crown Books to investigate these findings of literary dishonesty. Although Crown did agree to make some revisions, they shirked their literary responsibilities by not dropping Coulter as one of their authors. It is no more presumptive to argue that Crown should have taken a pass at Treason than it is to argue that any publishing house should reject a book by Michael Bellesiles or John Lott.

Wednesday, June 25, 2003

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