The Super Fun Kids' Graphic Novel Sale

Saturday, June 29th, 2002


Slander: Liberal Lies about the American Right

by Ann Coulter

An Extremely Devious Democrat

A review by C. P. Farley

The most talked about news story of the week was not George Bush's new Middle East policy. It was not the latest corporate scandal (Whatever! Just throw it on the pile). It was not the godless circuit court that eviscerated the Pledge of Allegiance. And it was certainly not Afghanistan. No, the most widely-circulated (thanks to the Internet) news event this week was Tuesday's *Today show catfight between Katie Couric and Ann Coulter.

The show's producers couldn't have asked for a better set up. Couric was interviewing Coulter about her new book, Slander: Liberal Lies about the American Right, in which she criticizes Couric by name several times, dubbing her "the affable Eva Braun of morning TV." (There's no denying that Coulter has a knack for withering one-liners.) Imagine Nancy Kerrigan interviewing Tonya Harding and you get the idea. Needless to say, on Tuesday, Couric wasn't at her affable best. She was just diplomatic enough, though, introducing Coulter as someone who's "been called everything from a pundit extraordinaire to a right wing Telebimbo." After that, all bets were off.

After a brief tit for tat in which Couric accused (rightly**) Coulter of misquoting her, she asked Coulter to elaborate on why she took "Walter Cronkite to task" for speaking out against Jerry Falwell's infamous statement that the abortionists, gays, feminists, ACLU, etc. were responsible for September 11th:

"…what Jerry Falwell said there, whether you agree with it or not, is really fairly standard Jerry Falwell Christian doctrine….What he said was that God had stopped protecting America because America was no longer asking for God's help….And even if it had been some sort of peculiar sect of Christianity -- as opposed to straight Christian doctrine! -- I think it's a little bit peculiar that everyone was jumping on the statements of one Christian minister after thousands of Americans were slaughtered by Islamic fundamentalists."

If it doesn't sound like a smart move to denigrate the most widely respected -- and popular -- American journalist of the twentieth century (in the book, she calls Cronkite a "pious left-wing blowhard" and sneers at his "renowned dispassion and critical thinking") or to suggest, in the same breath, that Jerry Falwell represents "straight Christian doctrine," it seems to work for Coulter. Shortly after this interview, Slander shot to the coveted number one slot on Amazon's bestseller list, and remains there at this writing.

I'm guessing that most people who bought the book, though, weren't interested in hearing Coulter bash Walter Cronkite. Whether you're liberal or conservative (And for Coulter, you are one or the other. Period.), Coulter is just so unbelievably brazen she's hard to resist. Take the grand finale of the Couric/Coulter SmackDown!

Ms. Braun next reminded Coulter that the National Review [hardly a bastion of liberalism] "fired" Coulter for her comment after September 11th that when it came to fighting terrorism we should "invade their countries, kill their leaders, and convert them to Christianity." Then, smelling blood, she asked -- affably, of course -- "Do you still think that that's the best way to combat terrorism worldwide?"

Coulter has already received a number of beatings for this comment, so her reluctance to answer the question was understandable. She hemmed -- "[Liberals] try to portray conservatives as crazy people, as Nazis and slave owners, sexist, homophobic… How about dealing with our ideas?" -- she hawed -- "…the idea that someone can go out and find one quote that will suddenly portray me… 'Just dismiss her ideas. Read no more. Read no further. This person is crazy.' This is precisely what liberals do all the time." -- but after being asked for the third time, she finally answered the question:

"…well, point one and point two, by the end of the week, had become official government policy. As for converting them to Christianity, I think it might be a good idea to get them on some sort of hobby other than slaughtering infidels. I mean, perhaps that's the Peace Corps. Perhaps it's working for Planned Parenthood. But I've never seen the transforming affect of anything like Christianity."

After listening to this interview, there were probably a few who simply wanted to throw up and be done with it. But as Coulter's Amazon ranking suggests, far more than a few -- alas, myself included -- went right out and read the book. They found just what they were looking for. Here's the first paragraph:

"Political 'debate' in this country is insufferable. Whether conducted in Congress, on the political talk shows, or played out at dinners and cocktail parties, politics is a nasty sport. At the risk of giving away the ending: It's all liberals' fault."

The best part is, she is not being ironic. Far from it. Coulter really believes that liberals -- and she means ALL liberals, which, by the way, includes about half of the Republican party -- are nasty. Conservatives, on the other hand -- i.e. everyone to the right of the president -- are just decent, ordinary folk. If Slander were condensed to talking points, it might read something like this:

  • Liberals control the media.
  • Liberals are filled with intense, irrational hatred for conservatives.
  • Liberals use their complete control of the media to falsely and spitefully portray conservatives as mean, irrational, and stupid.
  • Decent, hardworking conservatives are bewildered by the liberals' hatred of them. They just want to get together and talk about issues.
    And, of course...
  • Clinton was a really bad man.

To counter the mean-spirited, manipulative dishonesty of the liberals who are destroying this country, Coulter has written a mean-spirited, manipulative, and dishonest -- and seemingly endless -- rant.

You really have to wonder whose side she's on. Sure, like her buddy Rush Limbaugh, here and there she gets in a good one about how smug, self-righteous, and mean-spirited the bleeding heart set can be. Well, duh. But Coulter does a far better job demonstrating that at least one conservative is just as "scarily weird" as Coulter insists every ACLU member in Birkenstocks believes all conservatives are. To say that Coulter ought to take a look in the mirror is embarrassingly, delightfully obvious. It's hard to imagine even Tom DeLay not being annoyed by this book: "Never tell someone outside the family what you're thinking." For, if this book is any indication, Coulter embodies to a tee virtually every quality she attributes to the Liberal of her imagination. In the following quotes, substitute "Ann Coulter" wherever you see "liberals" and tell me the shoe doesn't fit:

  • "…hate is the coin of the realm for liberals." Check
  • For liberals, "name-calling need bear no relationship to the facts." Check
  • "…ad hominem attack is the liberal's idea of political debate." Check
  • "Liberals don't try to win arguments, they seek to destroy their opponents…" Check
  • Liberals are "savagely cruel bigots who hate ordinary Americans and lie for sport." Okay, this is a bit much. I wouldn't go so far to call Coulter a "savagely cruel bigot," (though it's clear that I shouldn't expect the same restraint in return). And Coulter doesn't hate ordinary Americans, just every American to the left of the president.
  • Liberals are "completely unhinged." Checkmate

Again, one has to wonder what Coulter is really up to. She writes, "Arguments by demonization, rather than truth and light [truth and light?], can be presumed to be fraudulent." Fair enough. She then spends the next 200 pages so thoroughly demonizing all liberals in the most black and white terms, she comes off so malicious, so hypocritical, so Betty-Boop naive (Come on, conservatives just want to talk about ideas?), so completely wacked, she gives all conservatives a bad name (that is, if your thinking is self-serving enough to generalize an entire group by the behavior of one individual). One wonders if she isn't an extremely devious Democrat, or an exceedingly gifted satirist.

Taken at face value, though, Slander is not just bad, it's apocalyptically bad. It's National Enquirer bad. It's Hulk Hogan bad. It's Jerry Springer bad (though Jerry is far more likeable). And yes, it's deliciously, hilariously bad. One has to be amused by the book's soaring popularity. The alternative reaction is far less pleasant.

*To view the interview online, go to, scroll down the page, and and click on the "Play Video" link.

**The disagreement was over a statement Couric made that Ronald Reagan was an "airhead." Couric said that she was quoting Edmund Morris, who said in his biography that Ronald Reagan was "an apparent airhead," but that Coulter made it sound like the quote was hers. Comparing the following two quotes from Slander, Couric is clearly right.

"But for the media to accuse you of being against 'progress and enlightenment' (New York Times on Jesse Helms) or to call you an 'airhead' (Katie Couric on Ronald Reagan) -- well, that makes strong men tremble and weak men liberals."

"On September 27, 1999, NBC's host Katie Couric opened the Today show by chipperly announcing, 'The Gipper was an airhead. That's one of the conclusions of a new biography of Ronald Reagan that's drawing a tremendous amount of interest and fire today.'"

  • back to top


Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at