Will Ann Coulter going all Isaiah Washington on John Edwards be the last straw of tolerance for this intolerant harridan? Given that she's crossed the line of civility, good taste and plain old factual accuracy innumerable times, it's unlikely that the negative reaction to this one incident will shake her into reflection and rehab. After all, she's no Hollywood pansy like Mel Gibson. No, Miss American Sociopath (1961 - present) insists she was merely joking, a defense which didn't fly for Michael Richards. Sadly, the rumbling laughter from Coulter's audience suggested there was a lot of "It's funny 'cause it's true" sentiment in that room.
I've been very disappointed to see so many comments in the blogosphere (including on this very site) resorting to the very mudslinging and personal insults which are Ms. Coulter's stock in trade. Now, I confess that I did refer to Ms. Coulter as "America's Shrew" in my Huffington essay about my week of getting information solely from conservative sources, a seven-day experiment during which she was the only commentator so abhorrent that I had to switch off the radio as an act of self-preservation. But let's be the mature ones here and can it with the "Mann Coulter" references and the jokes about her Adam's apple, okay?
What this situation calls for is an intervention. Ann needs some "tough love". Well, okay, more like "tough hatred".
To teach Ann Coulter a lesson, she must be banned from America's airwaves for a year.
She has to learn that you cannot say every vile thing which passes through your brain without being made aware that your words have consequences. You cannot continue to insult those who were injured during their military service to our country, or the widows of innocent victims of 9/11, or pretty much anyone who is not you, and expect to be treated as a respected member of society.
"Wait," I hear you saying, "what about freedom of speech?" Well, sure, but there's no Constitutional guarantee to airtime.
Choices are made every day about which guests will or will not appear on television and radio. All I'm asking is for those who book, those who produce, those who host programs which might consider inviting Ms. Coulter simply to refrain from doing so until March 1, 2008. Call it a "time-out", during which she must sit in a metaphorical corner and ponder all the hateful insults and outright lies she has already inflicted on our society.
I'm not advocating censorship. I'm just reminding these people, whose guest selections play a powerful role in shaping our nation's debate and the civility of our discourse, that they have a choice. They can cede some of those precious, finite minutes in their schedules to Ms. Coulter so she can spew more of her venom. Or they can book someone else. ANYONE else. (Okay, not Michael Savage. Or David Duke.) I mean, it's not like she's an elected politician or someone of actual news value - although, ironically, because of the prominent audience to which she addressed her Edwards "joke", this latest incident likely DOES qualify as legitimate news. But most of the time, she's just one more writer with opinions and a mouth. Shouldn't be hard to find another one of them.
Oh, sure, she'll undoubtedly still find outlets for her shtick. Heck, this whole episode may just have been her audition to become a regular on Fox News' "1/2 Hour Comedy Hour". But on the shows that do go ahead and book her, may I suggest that all staff members who are gay -- or merely anti-Coulter - simply walk off the set in protest and refuse to work during her segment. (And if you're gay and working for Fox News: what the hell?)
Okay, perhaps my plan won't work. In all likelihood, it'll just make Coulter even angrier and nastier and reinforce all her views about liberal bias. But since she'll be quarantined, the rest of us won't have to hear her bitch about it.
And maybe, just maybe, if we deprive Ann Coulter of the mainstream-media oxygen on which she has been feeding all these years, twelve months in the penalty box will force her to do some soul searching.
Assuming there's one to search.
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