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National Review Cans Columnist Ann Coulter
October 2, 2001 7:26 AM   Subscribe

National Review Cans Columnist Ann Coulter as a contributing editor after her call to "invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity." For a person who makes a living out of being as obnoxious, partisan and mean as she can be will this do anything but put her in the spotlight and help her career? The way she has slammed the National Review since her axing seems to indicate this will be the case. And she's already blaming the "liberal" media and the "anti-Christian bigots."
posted by terrapin (70 comments total)

 
The Equal Unemployment Opportunity Commission is doing a fantastic job :)
posted by UncleFes at 7:37 AM on October 2, 2001


I don't know why her stuff appeared in NR in the first place. She dragged down the overall quality of the publication considerably.
posted by Witold at 7:40 AM on October 2, 2001


Lack of quality knows no ideology.
posted by UncleFes at 7:41 AM on October 2, 2001


Big difference is that the columnists in Oregon and Texas were fired for criticizing Bush and his policies. Ann is calling for murder and a new inquisition.
posted by terrapin at 7:42 AM on October 2, 2001


In a way, I'm sorry she got fired. She was a safety valve of sorts for the subset of right-wingers who go in for crypto-Fascism. On the other hand, now that she no longer has to worry about answering to an editor, she can do what anybody with a set of unpalatable opinions does nowadays: Publish her diatribes on her own Web site.
posted by alumshubby at 7:44 AM on October 2, 2001


I guess free speech is only okay if it's left-leaning liberal speech. I don't much care for her brand of Christian-fundamentalist drool, but I am deeply disturbed at the NatRev's decision to fire her. Tolerance for opposing opinions is one of the fulcrums upon which our society turns.

Remember: I may disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.
posted by mrmanley at 7:51 AM on October 2, 2001


Hey, if you think it's bad that they fired Coulter, just think of all the writers they failed to hire in the first place! That's not very tolerant, is it?
posted by kindall at 7:53 AM on October 2, 2001


Big difference is that the columnists in Oregon and Texas were fired for criticizing Bush and his policies. Ann is calling for murder and a new inquisition.

So the right to free speech is dependant on what you say...? Hmm. Sorry Terrapin, censorship is censorship, regardless of whether you agree with the writer. MrManley is exactly right.
posted by UncleFes at 7:58 AM on October 2, 2001


National Review Editor Rich Lowry and his deputies "are just girly-boys."

Where does she get those wonderful insults? Seriously...girly-boys? My 3rd grade cousin can do better than that. You just got sacked Ann...give your petty insults some kick.

Anyway, my advice is to accept the inevitable offer from Playboy, and exit-stage-right.

Then you, Pat Buchanan and Alan Keyes can put together a Happy Multi-Ethnic Fascist Roadshow for the 31% of America that thinks Arab-American internment camps are a good idea. Sky's the limit.
posted by thewittyname at 7:59 AM on October 2, 2001


Remember: I may disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

As opposed to, I may disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to be paid by an editorial staff that wants absolutely nothing to do with views that are extremist, inflammatory, dangerous, and outside the mainstream even by their own skewed standards.

No one is censoring Ann; she can say whatever she wants. I'd wager it will even win her a vice presidential nomination on whatever fringe party gives Pat Buchanan their platform next time.
posted by norm at 8:01 AM on October 2, 2001


mrmanly: There is a difference between free speech and hate speech. Free speech is what the columnist in Oregon and Texas were writing. Bill Maher was exercising his right to free speech. Ann Coulter was calling on people to murder and convert a group of people to her religion.

I personally don't like Ann, but I could care less what she says. She and all the others who established their careers during the Clinton impeachment circus—and only by spreading as much manure as she could—can only survive as long as people are willing to ingest their hateful poison.

I simply laugh and feel sorry for Ann.
posted by terrapin at 8:01 AM on October 2, 2001


[...I am deeply disturbed at the NatRev's decision to fire her. ]

The National Review can hire or fire any columnist they want. There is no right to free publishing, she'll find some rag that will publish her brand of fascism.
posted by revbrian at 8:04 AM on October 2, 2001


I'm with MrManley and UncleFes: An editor has a 1st Amendment obligation to publish everything anybody writes, ever. They're only allowed to make exceptions if they don't like the writing style or the fee charged by the writer. Otherwise, it's censorship.

What a country! I love it.
posted by luser at 8:08 AM on October 2, 2001


Not to single you out, mrmanley, but your comment above: I guess free speech is only okay if it's left-leaning liberal speech... is yet one more inaccurate reference to our civil rights that I've seen since the events of September 11.

As norm and terrapin accurately point out, her constitutional right to say whatever she wants has not been violated. The National Review, a private publication, has simply decided not to sponsor, endorse or disseminate her writings. No civil rights issues involved.

To say that Ms. Coulter's constitutional rights have bene violated is right up there with folks who say that stricter airport security is a violation of our constitutional rights. Last time I checked, I don't have a constitutional right to board an airliner with a weapon.
posted by tippiedog at 8:09 AM on October 2, 2001


I guess free speech is only okay if it's left-leaning liberal speech.

Don't make me laugh. (On the other hand, can I hear some right-leaning liberal speech?)

She was fired because she finally wrote something so mesmerisingly idiotic that it couldn't be ignored. This is not censorship. It's editing.

And even if it wasn't, here's what Ann had to say about her bosses: "If National Review has no spine, they are not my allies," Coulter said yesterday.

This sort of talk goes over really well with my boss.
posted by Skot at 8:11 AM on October 2, 2001


So the right to free speech is dependant on what you say...? Hmm. Sorry Terrapin, censorship is censorship, regardless of whether you agree with the writer. MrManley is exactly right.

Where did I say that I agreed that she should be censored or even fired, Fes? Got that clamp tightened to hard again? ;) The lightbulb in your mouth isn't lighting up.

I am saying there is a difference in types of speech. With your argument people should be allowed to shout "fire" in a crowded theater.

I don't think she should be fired. I know that I can simply not read her style of hate and bigotry, but to say that the cases are the same is wrong.

I am sure she'll get her own radio or TV talk show just like all the rest of the right-wing hate mongers (Dr. Laura, Rush, G. Gordon, etc, etc ad nauseam). She won't suffer, and she certainly won't be censored.
posted by terrapin at 8:12 AM on October 2, 2001


Jonah Goldberg says "It's called editorial judgment..." Editorial judgment? Who ran the column in the first place? Heh, sounds more like backpedaling to me.
posted by gimonca at 8:13 AM on October 2, 2001


Censorship? Hell no. The finest free market forces at work, just like the Maher flap.

Coulter has a product. The NR dropped her product line because they thought it hurt their overall viability.

Censored? Who will tragically be denied her views? Only NR subscribers.
posted by sacre_bleu at 8:13 AM on October 2, 2001


There's no such thing such thing as total free speech, at least not in the UK.
posted by Summer at 8:16 AM on October 2, 2001


Nobody's saying miss Coulter's rights are being violated. But it's unseemly to stomp in righteous indignation when one set of asswipes gets fired, then cheer when another one does. Nobody's questioning the magazine's (or the newspapers', for that matter) rights to fire whoever they want - although the case could be made here that it's the content of their pieces that caused all three writers to get canned. It's the larger question: either you are for free speech (in which case you would criticize the parent publications for firing their columnist on the basis of content alone) or you are not for free speech, in which case you would only criticize those publications who fired writers for content you liked, and cheer publications who fired people for content you disagreed with.

It certainly doesn't take long to sort everyone out into their respective camp, does it?

With your argument people should be allowed to shout "fire" in a crowded theater

I think they should be able to. There are simply consequences to certain kinds of speech, is all.

My clamp ain't that tight, lizard-man :D
posted by UncleFes at 8:19 AM on October 2, 2001


An editor has a 1st Amendment obligation to publish everything anybody writes, ever.

Then why would anyone need an editor? ;) And I guess we have no use for those pesky libel laws either, huh? ;)

Here's what Jonah Goldberg, of the National Review had to say about Ann's censorship argument (if folks actually read the whole article):

"For Ann to go around screaming censorship is absurd. It's called editorial judgment, and there's a world of difference. ... She's a lawyer. She should know better."
posted by terrapin at 8:19 AM on October 2, 2001


I'm with MrManley and UncleFes: An editor has a 1st Amendment obligation to publish everything anybody writes, ever. They're only allowed to make exceptions if they don't like the writing style or the fee charged by the writer. Otherwise, it's censorship.

???

I am an editor, and my stuff gets butchered by my senior all the time. She can say whatever she wants, but a private company can chose whether to pay her or not. So, they chose not to pay her. Big deal, it happens all the time. There was another editor here, who laughed like a penguin (besides the point, but it was funny). They thought his work sucked, so they canned him. That isn't censorship. I write a daily column here, and if I wrote that kind of stuff I would be fired.

The difference is that she is an employee of a private company, and they have no obligation to keep her on the payroll if they don't want to, for whatever reason they see fit (within guidelines such as not discriminating against females, minorities, etc.)
posted by adampsyche at 8:21 AM on October 2, 2001


hahaha. convert them to christians. hahahahahahaha. rofl.
posted by Satapher at 8:27 AM on October 2, 2001


I think what he was trying to say is that this Goldberg hump saw nothing wrong with Coulter's columns before, but all of a sudden NOW they are inflammatory? Bullshit. Same as those numbskulls in Idaho and Oregon. If their editor liked their provactive little screeds before, he has an obligation to stand up for his writers when public opinion turns against them. Turning against them in bad times is gutlessness.
posted by UncleFes at 8:29 AM on October 2, 2001


Methinks it's five dollars a month well saved, even if Jonah Goldberg's "records tell a different story". Not a single bootleg of Bing Crosby Sings "Onward Christian Soldiers", I'll bet. Bah! But what sort of records does Ann Coulter listen to?
*shudders at the thought*
posted by MiguelCardoso at 8:31 AM on October 2, 2001


But what sort of records does Ann Coulter listen to?

Duh! Black Sabbath!
posted by UncleFes at 8:32 AM on October 2, 2001


But of course, silly me.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 8:35 AM on October 2, 2001


But of course, silly me.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 8:35 AM on October 2, 2001


Turning against them in bad times is gutlessness.

This event has changed lots of people, lots of relationships, and lots of things. She may have been the same old hateful hack *before* the events of 9/11, but she went over the top *after* the events. So there *was* a difference in her writing.
posted by terrapin at 8:38 AM on October 2, 2001


If their editor liked their provactive little screeds before, he has an obligation to stand up for his writers when public opinion turns against them. Turning against them in bad times is gutlessness.

By your logic, if Coulter started screaming for internment camps for all Arabs and Muslims, NR would be bound to print that too.

Fortunately, publications don't work that way.

Coulter betrayed her editor and her publication, not the other way around.

Why is "freedom of speech" so hard to understand? She had an absolute right to say what she did. And people had an absolute right (short of criminal acts) to respond to it.

## 30 ##
posted by sacre_bleu at 8:45 AM on October 2, 2001


Search on Google Images for Ann Coulter. Gotta love that first picture.
posted by mrbula at 8:59 AM on October 2, 2001


terrapin:

"Hate speech" for one person is "free speech" to others (kind of like "terrorist" means "freedom fighter" to others). We must be extraordinarily careful in how we label things. When NatRev casts their decision as an "editorial" one, that is only a craven cover for their inability to withstand negative opinion. It damages their credibility, and reduces the forums whereby free speech can take place.

I've never cared much for the argument that "so-and-so can say whatever they want, just not in this editorial context". It stifles expression and limits the parameters of discussion for issues, which is never a good thing.

It's true that the NatRev is within its rights not to run Coulter's column -- but what does that say about the NatRev? Free speech isn't just speech we agree with or speech that affirms what we already know; free speech also challenges us, infuriates us, insults us, and causes us to think.
posted by mrmanley at 9:01 AM on October 2, 2001


terrapin:

"Hate speech" for one person is "free speech" to others (kind of like "terrorist" means "freedom fighter" to others). We must be extraordinarily careful in how we label things. When NatRev casts their decision as an "editorial" one, that is only a craven cover for their inability to withstand negative opinion. It damages their credibility, and reduces the forums whereby free speech can take place.

I've never cared much for the argument that "so-and-so can say whatever they want, just not in this editorial context". It stifles expression and limits the parameters of discussion for issues, which is never a good thing.

It's true that the NatRev is within its rights not to run Coulter's column -- but what does that say about the NatRev? Free speech isn't just speech we agree with or speech that affirms what we already know; free speech also challenges us, infuriates us, insults us, and causes us to think.
posted by mrmanley at 9:02 AM on October 2, 2001


By your logic, if Coulter started screaming for internment camps for all Arabs and Muslims, NR would be bound to print that too.

No, not bound, but why wouldn't they? She's their creature - whose fault is it if she bites? They want her to bite - that's her shtick, same as those other two dipshits. Either her bosses like her work or they don't. It's gutlessness to say, well, this column is OK, but this one, since we got some phone calls, well, now she's fired. That's crap.

Fortunately, publications don't work that way.


I'm not sure if "Fortunately" is the world you're looking for. "Shamefully," maybe? "Sadly"? But you're right, that isn't how they work.
posted by UncleFes at 9:05 AM on October 2, 2001


groan. sorry about the double post. mefi takes forever to post.
posted by mrmanley at 9:05 AM on October 2, 2001


mrbula, that's hilarious.

Adampsyche and terrapin, your earnest-o-meters are redlining. that was sarcasm
posted by luser at 9:08 AM on October 2, 2001


"find them on the grou-hound
tell them if your sou-hound
turn the koran into tires
come and lite the funeral pyre....
wown-wown-wha-wha-whown...."
posted by newnameintown at 9:13 AM on October 2, 2001


mrmanley---Legally, no civil rights were violated. This isn't really a free speech issue. You don't have a right to be published in a national publication (if we do, I have some people I need to sue). The National Review (heck, I pretty much disagree on them on nearly everything with the possible exception of their drug policy) doesn't have a moral obligation to publish Coulter. The "forum" of free speech is not within the National Review, or within the New Republic, or the Nation or the Weekly Standard or the New Yorker. It is between them all. Someone has to defend the practice of having an editorial line. It isn't shameful that the Mother Jones publishes articles with one sort of ideology and the New Republic another, and gasp, could you deny that the editors of each would probably reject each other's favorite columnists? Frankly, if being a defender of free speech means challenging people, then we might as well not have different magazines at all, but mush everyone together in the Bimonthly Blather.
posted by Charmian at 9:19 AM on October 2, 2001


Newname! You are SO fired! :)
posted by UncleFes at 9:22 AM on October 2, 2001


"Hate speech" for one person is "free speech" to others (kind of like "terrorist" means "freedom fighter" to others).


"I think we should hunt down mrmanley, kill his family, and convert him to Christianity."


That okay?


Actually, this is more of an indictment of the culture of syndication that dominates US news media. When opinion columnists sell their wares in the same way as Dave Barry and strip cartoonists, it's perhaps understandable that they have become caricatures themselves.
posted by holgate at 9:25 AM on October 2, 2001


Charmian:

My point (which you seem to have missed entirely) lies not in the NatRev's right not to run Coulter's column; they can run it or not run it as they see fit. However, this seems to be a clear case where their "editorial integrity" came from negative press rather than any internal soul-searching. Coulter has been running in that rag for a long time, and her previous efforts were every bit as noxious as this one --why the sudden change of heart?

In the US and Europe, the organized Left has become just as ossified and vocal as the conservative Right. They waste no time in labeling speech they don't like as "hate speech", and put pressure on newspapers, television programs, and newsmagazines. This leads to exactly the situation you described: we have a multiplicity of polarized purveyors of viewpoint, but relatively few areas where thoughtful and moderate opinions can co-exist.

The Atlantic is still pretty good, as is Harper's. Even the rock-ribbed New Republic sometimes has flashes of even-handedness. What I want in the media is variety and depth, something that neither the liberal nor the conservative media are purveying right now.
posted by mrmanley at 9:28 AM on October 2, 2001


Bimonthly Blather.

The free speech issue being encapsulated in the rhetorical: If a woman in Kabul may whisper "I hate the Taliban" under her breath at midnight in her closet, does she have free speech? You would seem to indicate yes.

You are combining the two separate issues of does firing equal censorship (it does not) to does Coulter's editor have an obligation to her based on her past writings for NatRev (he does) and does that firing, based as it is on the content of her latest piece and the public's reaction to it rather than disagreement with her politics (it does), it which case Goldberg's actions feed into the notion of censorship (which it does)....

Ah, hell. MrManley, once again, has it exactly right, and apparently types faster than I do. What he said.
posted by UncleFes at 9:31 AM on October 2, 2001


That okay?

To say? Yes. To print? Yes. To do? No.

She was obviously being facetious, anyway.

What we really need to do right now is a train, equip and deploy a crack cadre of panty de-wedgers.
posted by UncleFes at 9:35 AM on October 2, 2001


I love how people are willing to spend other people's money in defense of the First Amendment. Where in the Constitution is the right to be published by people who no longer want to publish you?

Maybe it took a little time for the Review to recognize how rabidly moronic Ann Coulter has become since Sept. 11. Her followup column mentioning "swarthy males" was rejected by the editors.

Maybe the Review didn't like how she took the matter public and called her editors "girly boys."

Maybe the Review recognized that everything Coulter does is a pathetic plea for attention and her credentials as an authority on anything are a complete joke.

In any case, there's no censorship issue here. Coulter's right to be demonstrably stupid has not been infringed.
posted by rcade at 9:46 AM on October 2, 2001


this isn't a free speech issue; it's a business issue. if your customers hate your product, it doesn't make sense to keep foisting it on them. if Coulter wants to make inflammatory, ignorant statements, she has every right to, but the National Review is by no means obligated to print them.
posted by lizs at 9:51 AM on October 2, 2001


." Where in the Constitution is the right to be published by people who no longer want to publish you?" That sir, is the best question i have heard. goes straight to our constitution and , well, old market force kinda thing. I.E.- rights cannot apply to a person that has lost the support of the press. (right not applicable to person who has to place((the Press)) to exercise that right.(of course she can get her little junior printing press and roll out phamlets)
posted by newnameintown at 10:00 AM on October 2, 2001


If Coulter started a weblog, would it also feature Rush Limbaugh and be called "Femme Naz"?(check out mrbula's link above). Or is there something fundamentistically un-Christian, un-Capitalistic and un-Blonde about blogging?
posted by MiguelCardoso at 10:17 AM on October 2, 2001


Remember, mrmanley's right to criticize National Review's decision is as important as their right to choose not to publish Coulter's blather, and her right to blather in the first place.

Not to mention our own right to dogpile on mrmanley in this thread.
posted by harmful at 10:26 AM on October 2, 2001


The Atlantic Monthly and Harpers aren't comparable to the NatRev in genre.
You seem to be arguing for more centrist political magazines with diverse viewpoints, which apparently don't exist, with the possible exception of TNR. Liz is right: the importance of money and circulation can't be ignored. If such magazines don't exist, it may be because there isn't much of a market for them. On the other hand, I think Atlantic Monthly and Harpers have wider circulations that TNR or National Review. (Also note how TNR is financed.) Every magazine will try not to offend their readership to some extent, because they want or need subscribers. Ideally, all magazines would publish what the heck they wanted, unfettered by public opinion and the need to remain solvent, and all readerships would enjoy reading things that offended them on a regular basis, because it's like mental fiber, good for you. I accept this, but also note reality.
Why does the National Review have an moral obligation (as we've already established they have no legal one) to continue to publish Coulter? I'd understand this a bit if they were her syndicators, but it seems like she still has the column, which is available to her fans, if she has any, in other places. The only people deprived of Coulter were NatRev readers, who don't seem to want to read her anymore. When is it okay for an editor to drop a columnist, without being accused of crypto-censorship?
posted by Charmian at 10:41 AM on October 2, 2001


UncleFes is right, I think. Coulter getting fired for what she wrote and the columnists at the Texas and another paper getting fired are the same basic thing. But hell, we're all allowed to use our judgement. I believe that a climate where relatively mild criticism of the president merits firing is disturbing. It's not the end of the world, but I worry about a narrowing of opinions.

I do not worry about the lack of large circulation national mags advocating forced conversion and mass deportation. She obviously convinced a number of relatively extreme people on her side of the mythical left-right span that she no longer made sense. If a leftist rag booted one of the "vaguely lefty" types who have unfortunately made the occasional anti-Semitic comment, I wouldn't shed any tears. I don't think my political views makes it impossible to exercise any judgement.

The big picture is clear. The range of opinion writing is moving to the right. (Honestly, folks, even if they are right, do we need another column treading exactly the same ground on how Berkeley residents or college students are traitorous scum?) To fall of the right end of the spectrum during this time took real effort.
posted by Wood at 10:49 AM on October 2, 2001


"Free speech" is the reductio ad absurdum of "talk is cheap."
posted by alumshubby at 10:53 AM on October 2, 2001


There is a difference between free speech and hate speech.

No there isn't. Speech is speech. The probelm here is morally ambigious. The two columnists that were fired for critcizing Bush is considered by many, not just lefties, to be over the top. We've seen criticism like this with no repercussions in the past so it looks very unprofessional. Ann could be seen as being the same sort of victim, just her words are easier to disagree with.

All three of these people do not have the right to be paid for their speech, they just have the right to express themselves. Even after their editors have approved it, it still doesn't make a difference. It does makes your paper look unwilling to take the heat though. If in the long run that hurts the reputation of the paper than some kind of quasi-democratic event has happened. If in the long run the firing helps your paper, the same this has happened. But it looks like the NR knows what its doing, its protecting its ass:

We got a lot of complaints from sponsors and a lot of complaints from readers left, right and center. We've decided for editorial reasons we think are sound that we're no longer going to run Ann Coulter's syndicated column."
posted by skallas at 10:53 AM on October 2, 2001


what bugs me is that the Washington post article quotes Bill Maher as having called U.S. troops "cowards!" He never did anything of the sort! He merely agreed with Dinesh D'Souza (a very conservative conservative) that the 9/11 terrorists were not cowardly, as they gave their own lives rather than launching cruise missiles from miles away. That was a criticism of government policy, not of individual soldiers. See the Washington Post try to rewrite history before your very eyes!
posted by Ty Webb at 11:17 AM on October 2, 2001


I think Ann Coulter has a fantastic career ahead of her writing a line of "Left Behind"-esque thrillers about the Millenial Crusade against those swarthy Arabs.
posted by solistrato at 11:58 AM on October 2, 2001


Charmian:

I'll say this again, clearly: NatRev can do as they please from an editorial standpoint. If they don't want to run Coulter's column, they don't have to. But that doesn't make what they did any ethically easier to swallow.

An analogy might clear things up for you:

Let's say there is a certain cafe somewhere in America that has a sign in the window saying "We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone". Now, let's further say that a certain African-American man has been eating at this cafe for many years. Suddenly, one day a bigoted customer complains to the management that he doesn't like eating with an African-American and demands that the man be barred from the cafe. The bigoted customer is an important man in town, wealthy and "connected". He could have the cafe shut down if he wanted to raise a stink.

Now, the manager knows that legally he can't bar the man for being black; but he can bar him for some other imagined offense...acting rudely, let's say. So the black man comes to the restaurant the next day and finds that he is barred from entering. When he asks why, he is told that his behavior bothered the other patrons.

Now, this is admittedly a made-up story and the parallels to this situation are tenuous, but it an instructive tale. The manager's choice to bar the black patron is clearly morally wrong, no matter the window-dressing. We can say that the black man may still go to any number of other cafes, but that doesn't really change the situation much, does it? And what if the other cafes in town start behaving the same way?

You raise a valid point about how editors may ethically drop columnists; there are certainly good reasons to do so. But doesn't the NatRev have a duty to all their readers, not just the vocal ones who wrote in to complain? Surely Coulter had a substantial audience, having been published in NatRev several times before; the fact that the NatRev picked up her column at all says volumes about the readership of said magazine.

But I think this particular situation is clear enough: they caved to pressure brought to bear by the Left and dropped Coulter's column. Why should I trust NatRev to provide any kind of unbiased commentary from now on?
posted by mrmanley at 12:08 PM on October 2, 2001


they caved to pressure brought to bear by the Left and dropped Coulter's column.

"We got a lot of complaints from sponsors and a lot of complaints from readers left, right and center." -- NR editor Jonah Goldberg
posted by rcade at 12:17 PM on October 2, 2001


The National Review did not edit Coulter's words or demand that she do the same prior to publication. They made the editorial decision not to print her column in its entirety. This is not censorship, as much as we'd like to think it is. Ms. Coulter has every right to exercise her free speech, but The National Review has no obligation to print anything she says. She was let go when she repeatedly questioned the editorial policy that nixed her column and publicly badmouthed the publication. There is a sizeable difference between being fired or reprimanded for criticizing public policy and being dropped from one magazine's website because they don't like you calling for the deportation or detainment of "swarthy males" or having you insult them in the press. Ms. Coulter is no martyr to free speech.
posted by UnReality at 12:22 PM on October 2, 2001


Is it okay to fire her because she's terrible at her job? Because she's a hysterical fringer with racist tendencies? Because she's a shameless egomaniac who handjobs the press at any opportunity--at the expense of her (former) employer?

Any one of these things would get me fired.
posted by Skot at 12:31 PM on October 2, 2001


Speaking of collumnists from the loony right. Kathleen Parker claims that atheists are
nowhere to be found. Perhaps it is because we've been spending too much time donating blood, donating eyedrops, donating bottled water, or waving the flag to hog the cameras.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 12:36 PM on October 2, 2001


But what sort of records does Ann Coulter listen to?


The Mentors?
posted by y2karl at 12:43 PM on October 2, 2001


coming soon from examiner press: Apples and Oranges: A Look at Analogies.

no. sure. i realize. yes. there are problems with logic too.
posted by fishfucker at 3:14 PM on October 2, 2001


Mrmanley: They canned her because it was in thier best interests to do so. For one, they could take a stand about what freedom of expression and let her run wild, but they would lose readership and advertisers. They don`t want that.

Secondly, when they exercize editorial control, she turns around and calls them spineless girly-boys. This was before she was fired. That`s insubordination. If I told my boss exactly what I thought of his abilities and of my company, I`d get my ass canned in hurry, too.

On the other hand, if a newspaper dropped Doonesbury or some other comic/column I like because of controversial content, I`d be pretty pissed, so maybe I`m just a big, cuddly hypocrite.
posted by chiheisen at 7:26 PM on October 2, 2001


Mrmanley: They canned her because it was in their best interests to do so. For one, they could take a stand about what freedom of expression and let her run wild, but they would lose readership and advertisers. They don`t want that.

Secondly, when they exercise editorial control, she turns around and calls them spineless girly-boys. This was before she was fired. That`s insubordination. If I told my boss exactly what I thought of his abilities and of my company, I`d get my ass canned in hurry, too.

On the other hand, if a newspaper dropped Doonesbury or some other comic/column I like because of controversial content, I`d be pretty pissed, so maybe I`m just a big, cuddly hypocrite.
posted by chiheisen at 7:27 PM on October 2, 2001


DOH. Sorry about the double post.

They asy it happens to everyone, but this is the first time it`s happened to me.

Note, however, that the spelling is improved in the second post.....
posted by chiheisen at 7:29 PM on October 2, 2001


lost me 'lost'.
posted by newnameintown at 9:45 PM on October 2, 2001


The big argument, that everyone's kinda been tiptoeing around, is whether it was just as ok for those Texas papers to fire their columnists for criticising Dubya as it was for TNR to fire Coulter. On the surface(and legally), it looks like the same thing. The press reigning in their absolute freedom in the face of public opinion and market forces. People being fired for going outside the bounds of their job description. Which is fine.

But, I think there's a key difference, and it's this: The stuff Coulter wrote in the past couple of weeks was way out there, even for her. That kind of thing should call your job as a "journalist" into question at any time it occurs.

Whereas, criticism of our leaders, at most times, is perfectly kosher(and supposedly encouraged) on the part of those working in the media. In fact, one could even argue that it's the primary function of the press in a democratic society. And now, all of a sudden, that's not ok, which is quite alarming to me.

The difference: Coulter's case was indefensible before or after september 11th, while something like what the Texas guys wrote wouldn't have even raised an eyebrow normally. That kinda gives me the willies.
posted by jdunn_entropy at 12:41 AM on October 3, 2001


If the Texas columnists had insulted Bush, rather than simply criticized him, their papers would have been within their editorial rights not to print the columns. If, then because of that, the columnists decided to call their editors something like, oh I don't know, spineless girly-boys in the national press and insult their integrity, the papers would have been within their rights to fire them. That's not censorship. It is, as chiheisen said, an editorial difference of opinion and a subsequent response to insubordination. That's why Coulter was let go. She is not the victim here. And she wasn't fired. You can still read her rantings (my bias) elsewhere. She simply lost an avenue of syndication when she publicly badmouthed the people who provided it.
posted by UnReality at 5:34 AM on October 3, 2001


If anyone's still here, Jonah Goldberg has written about the decision to invite Ann Coulter to succeed elsewhere. It's hilarious.
posted by rcade at 1:04 PM on October 3, 2001


Bravo rcade; an excellent find.
posted by boaz at 2:53 PM on October 3, 2001


"Apparently, in Ann's mind, she constitutes the thin blonde line between freedom and tyranny, and so any editorial decision she dislikes must be a travesty." I love it! An absolutely wonderful response.
posted by UnReality at 3:28 PM on October 3, 2001


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