Yesterday, ABC yet again invited right-wing zealot Ann Coulter to be on what the network calls its "powerhouse roundtable" on This Week. This time, Coulter shared a number of insights, including implying that President Bill Clinton tried to hide drug abuse, and announcing that Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy's anti-gay comments and millions given to anti-gay groups weren't, in fact, "an anti-gay thing." Coulter's shock jock antics play well to right-wing audiences around the country. But with a seemingly endless supply of analysts of every stripe on every topic pertinent to this election, why does ABC give a forum on a serious news show to one of the most toxic voices in America today? Why has Ann Coulter of all people been handed a central role in mainstream political discussion? This has nothing to do with her conservative politics. In George Will and others, ABC has shown itself perfectly capable of finding strong conservative voices who are also capable of civil discourse on the issues. Ann Coulter is not one of those voices. Here's a quick recap of of just a few of her greatest hits:
- She accused a group of widows of the 9/11 terrorist attacks of "enjoying their husbands' death."
- She suggested that violence could be used to shut down the Occupy protests, saying, "Remember the lesson from my book: It just took a few shootings at Kent State to shut that down for good."
- She said that killing an abortion provider doesn't count as a murder.
- She suggested that women shouldn't be allowed to vote because they tend to vote Democratic.
- She said Muslims shouldn't be allowed to fly on airplanes, and instead should use "flying carpets."
- She said Jews could be "perfected" by becoming Christians.
Here is Coulter in her own words:
Whether Coulter is sincere or not is beside the point. She clearly knows that saying outrageously offensive things will get her attention, so keeps on saying them. If ABC wants to be treated as a serious provider of news and analysis it shouldn't be giving the likes of Ann Coulter a platform. Ann Coulter has every right to spew whatever bigoted nonsense she wants in her own time. But it's irresponsible of news outlets to treat her like a reasonable conservative voice.
Here's a simple idea for the media: don't equate Ann Coulter's vitriol with analysis. And most importantly, realize that when you invite her to spew ill-informed extremism on your program, that's exactly what you're going to get. Ann Coulter isn't adding anything to our political discussion. It's time to stop inviting her to the table.
Other networks and news programs seem to get it. Why doesn't ABC?