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
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
- 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…"
- 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 http://msnbc.com/news/763069.asp,
scroll down the page, and and click on the "Play Video" link.
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
"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."
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.'"