Ann Coulter has
been a reliable name for years among people who plan
television news shows: an attractive, articulate blond
conservative who's made a living lobbing verbal bombs.
Following her use of a gay slur about Democratic
presidential candidate John Edwards this month during
remarks to the Conservative Political Action
Conference, some on TV are wondering whether her shelf
life is expiring.
Many were angered
by her use of the f word. Coulter later said
she considered it a "schoolyard taunt." She said it
was a joke about Grey's Anatomy actor Isaiah
Washington saying he would seek counseling after using the
word to refer to a fellow actor.
At least four
daily newspapers have dropped Coulter as a columnist,
citing her comment about Edwards.
remarks are hardly anything new for the author of
Godless: The Church of Liberalism and How to
Talk to a Liberal (If YouMust). In Godless last year, she wrote
of World Trade Center widows: "I've never seen people
enjoying their husbands' deaths so much."
"It's a world of
'Are you talking about me? Are you talking about me?'"
said Steve Friedman, executive producer of The Early
Show on CBS. "And eventually you have to get more
and more outrageous to be talked about. One day you
cross the line and become persona non grata. I think she's
getting close. I think Bill Maher is getting close."
Friedman has no
plans to book Coulter on his show but said he had no
plans even before her Edwards comment.
Some people on
NBC's Today show didn't want to see Coulter
before she was booked to talk about Godless last
summer, said Jim Bell, the show's executive producer.
them. Having only certain points of view would make for a
bland program, he said. Since Coulter is a best-selling
author, clearly there's an audience that responds to
her. Coulter also appeared on a Today segment
February 8 of this year, debating a University of
Bell said last
week that Coulter's legitimate points of view are
beginning to get lost in the noise of being outlandish. "She
sometimes goes out of her way to push some buttons and tends
to generate more heat than light," he said. "We love a
lively debate, but we would tend to get people who
would generate more light."
Rosenstiel, director of the Project for Excellence in
Journalism: "You do wonder whether she's destined for
Dancing With the Stars at some point."
conservatives criticized Coulter for her Edwards remarks.
Fellow columnist Michelle Malkin lamented that Coulter
had tarred the work of people at the Washington
conference. She called Coulter's humor "tired old
shtick." Tim Graham, director of media analysis at the
Media Research Center, said some conservatives envy the
attention she gets and dislike how she distracts from
legitimate arguments. "If you got the sense that she
was saying things you thought she believed, it would
help," he said.
said it would be "outrageous" if Coulter is
blacklisted by networks but Maher isn't. The HBO comic
angered some by recent remarks suggesting more people
would live if an assassination attempt against Vice
President Dick Cheney had been successful.
organization Media Matters for America, which has long
campaigned against Coulter, hopes this is a "defining
moment" that causes TV networks to turn their backs on
her, said spokesman Karl Frisch.
MSNBC once fired
Coulter as a regular contributor after a remark she made
to a Vietnam veteran. But Coulter has appeared there as a
guest on shows and the network has no policy against
"won't stop conservatives from buying her books, and her
ability to sell books is what drives her bookings on TV,"
said MSNBC's Hardball host, Chris Matthews.
CNN had scheduled
Coulter to appear with Paula Zahn last Monday. The
network said Coulter canceled her appearance.
"We have and will
continue to interview provocative guests and ask them
tough questions," CNN spokeswoman Christa Robinson said. "We
don't have overall bans about anyone. We will book them when
we think it is appropriate to do so, on a case by case
nature of cable news may limit Coulter's ability to speak to
those who don't already agree with her. Cable talk shows
used to be built upon fiery debate, while now there
are more shows that take a point of view and depict
world events through that prism. Think Lou Dobbs, Keith
Olbermann, and Glenn Beck.
A spokeswoman for
Coulter did not return a call for comment. Coulter,
however, did appear on Fox News Channel's Hannity
& Colmes three days after the Edwards remark and
belittled the idea that it would do lasting damage to
her. It's a cycle, she said: She says something, the
same people become hysterical, and that's the end of
it. It's about her 17th allegedly career-ending moment, she
"It happens about
every six months," Coulter said, "and you're always
there to put me on TV, Sean." (David Bauder, AP)