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by Bob Somerby
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When will serious folks in the press take notice of Coulters bad problem?
WEDNESDAY, JULY 10, 2002
ANN COULTER'S PROBLEM WITH THE TRUTH: At Fox, on-air personalities enjoy a good laugh when fiery Ann Coulter comes calling. Monday morning, she regaled the gang at Fox and Friends with her tale of a grand NEXIS search. Coulter was complaining about the way the press pretends that those Dems are so brainy:
COULTER: Cerebral Bill Bradley, for example, I mean thats the most striking example. You run a Lexis-Nexis searchas I didon Bill Bradley and you would think his first name was Cerebral. His name never got mentioned [inaudible] Cerebral Bill Bradley.
The whole thing sounded like so much fun, we decided to run the same search. So we sent the phrase cerebral Bill Bradley through the NEXIS file for the period from 1/1/99 through 4/1/00the fifteen months when Bradley was running for president. Bradley was, without any question, a press favorite during the bulk of his run. The cerebral solon got oodles of coverage during the period in question.
Our finding? According to current NEXIS files, the phrase cerebral Bill Bradley appeared in American newspapers exactly six times in that fifteen-month period. The phrase didnt appear in any magazine. Here are the six lonely cites in the file. Note the big papers involved here:
Thats right, folks. If it werent for Sandy Grady, there would hardly have been a Cerebral Bill Bradley at all. According to NEXIS, the only major rag in which the phrase appeared was the Bradley-loving Boston Globe, where the phrase appeared exactly once. The phrase never appeared in the Washington Post or the New York Times. And, of course, the phrase never appeared in Time, U.S. News, or Newsweek. Not even the National Review.
- Sandy Grady, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 3/18/99
- Sandy Grady, Bergen County Record, 3/23/99
- Robert Jordan, Boston Globe, 4/23/99
- Sandy Grady, Raleigh News and Observer, 11/10/99
- Sandy Grady, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 11/6/99
- Editorial, Albany Times-Union, 3/10/00
Again, this isnt meant to suggest that Dollar Bill got bad coverage from the press. This is meant as a commentary on dissembling Ann Coulter and the problem she has with the truth. Lets face itCoulter never ran any such search as the one she described to her simpering pals. But making it up is the norm for Ann Coulterand her friends in the media choose not to notice, willing to put up with her hackwork and her clowning.
By the way, wasnt it only a few years back when pundits were troubled by this sort of thing? In October 2000, for example, a certain columnist was very disturbed by the way Al Gore just kept making things up. Its as if every time Clinton drops his pants, Gore tells a lie, she slanderously said. This same scribe complained about Gores endless boasts, and she said, [m]aking stuff up is surely one of Gores leading negatives in this campaign.
That outraged columnist was, of course, Ann Coulter. And guess what? Coulter exaggerates, embellishes, embroiders and misstates on virtually every page of her new oddball book. (She also embellished almost all of Gores boasts.) She misrepresents the things people say; she invents NEXIS searches that back up her tales. At Fox and Friends, they think its smart. But when will serious folks in the press corps take notice of Ann Coulters problem?
MAYBE SHE REALLY MEANT
: In our usual excess of fairness, we decided to go the extra mile; we ran cerebral Bradley through NEXIS, too, looking for extra citations. Result? Five cites in American papers and magazines, two of them openly mocking. Heres an example of the way the press kept trying to build up those Dems:
SUSAN ISAACS, Newsday, 1/20/00: Hes not just accessible. Hes a boon companion. Vital. Real, albeit larger than life. John McCain is so dynamic the other candidatesstilted Gore, cerebral Bradley, careful-of-everything-you-say-so-you-dont-screw-up Bush, pompous Hatch, goofy Forbesare zombies in comparison.
Thats right. Isaacs was saying how great McCain was compared to cerebral [Bill] Bradley.
On Fox and Friends, Coulter was making it up. But then, she makes it up on all through her daft book. Oh, by the waywe just ran Dollar Bill Bradley through the same NEXIS base. Fifteen months gave us 32 citesand a few hundred more if you take Dollar Bill on its own. Coulter knew not to say it on Fox. But Bill Bradley already has a first name, and that pet name is Dollar, not Cerebral.
TOMORROW: More notes on Ann Coulters bad problem.