On "Hannity & Colmes" Ann Coulter revealed that she will appear on NBC's "Today" show on January 6, 2009 to promote her newest book, "Guilty: Liberal 'Victims' and Their Assault on America." Once again, a respectable, mainstream outlet is giving legitimacy to an unreasonable and highly offensive "commentator" and author, Ann Coulter.
How is this happening? Or, as Eric Deggans of the St. Petersburg Times put it, "Why Does NBC News Give So Much Airtime to This Loon?"
Coulter has a rich history of offering inflammatory and inappropriate remarks. Last year, when Coulter said that Jews should be "perfected" and that America would be better off if everyone were Christian, we at the National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC) called on mainstream media to stop inviting Coulter. But the Jewish community is certainly not the only group targeted by Coulter's vile rhetoric.
From Media Matters:
On NBC programs alone, Coulter has called former Vice President Al Gore a "total fag" and has called former President Bill Clinton a "latent homosexual." Elsewhere, Coulter repeatedly likened Obama to Adolf Hitler in media appearances and in her syndicated column in 2008 and written that, without affirmative action, African-American Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) couldn't get a job "that didn't involve wearing a paper hat." She has also said of Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens: "We need somebody to put rat poison in Justice Stevens' créme brulée." Indeed, Coulter has repeatedly mused about potential acts of violence against people she doesn't like or with whom she disagrees.
Despite Coulter's record of hateful speech, it seems that NBC will continue to legitimize Coulter when NBC has her as a guest on the January 6th edition of the "Today" show. NBC should listen to their own network leaders. Media Matters points out that NBC "affiliated hosts and anchors" have publicly criticized Coulter and her remarks , "including 'Today' co-hosts Meredith Vieira and Matt Lauer, 'Tonight Show' host Jay Leno, 'Hardball' host Chris Matthews, 'Nightly News' anchor Brian Williams, and CNBC's 'The Big Idea' host Donny Deutsch."
NBC isn't the only media outlet helping keep Coulter rich and relevant. Earlier this year, Jeffery Feldman, editor-in-chief of the influential political blog Frameshop, called upon CNN to stop inviting Coulter since she "joked about lynching Africa-Americans." In an earlier post, back when Coulter advocated perfecting Jews, Feldman wrote a telling piece titled, "Not All Speech Is 'Free.'"
Let's be clear. Coulter has a constitutional right to "free speech," but a prestigious network such as NBC is not obligated to amplify her outrageous message. Coulter can have her free speech without every individual watching NBC (or any other Coulter tolerating network) feeling like they have to use steel wool to cleanse themselves of Coulter's filth.