Howling Dog Graphic
Point. Click. Search.

Contents: Archives:

Search this weblog
Search WWW
Howler Graphic
by Bob Somerby
E-mail This Page
Socrates Reads Graphic
A companion site.

Site maintained by Allegro Web Communications, comments to Marc.

Howler Banner Graphic
Caveat lector

Coulter baldly misleads readers throughout her laughable book.

FRIDAY, JULY 12, 2002

ANN COULTER, WITH HELP FROM HER FRIENDS: No doubt about it. According to Coulter, life is tough if you’re a conservative, constantly targeted by “the left.” How tough is it? Here’s the question Katie Couric asked when she “berated” poor Arlen Specter (see yesterday’s HOWLER for background):

COURIC: You know, you angered a lot of feminists when you accused Anita Hill. In fact, you detail how she changed her testimony during questioning, during the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings. And you accused her of publicly, quote, “flat out perjury.” Any regrets?
“Any regrets!” What a zinger! Somehow, Specter soldiered on. “I think it was an impolitic thing to say,” he replied. “But I think that it was warranted on the facts. And in this book, I go into great detail as to how I came to that conclusion and why, and how another key member of the Judiciary Committee agreed with me.” According to the NBC transcript, Couric berated him further:
COURIC: Uh-huh.

SPECTER: And it was necessary in my view to find out what happened as best we could. There was a very late challenge to Clarence Thomas, and I thought that as a matter of fairness, we had to try to find out the facts.

Couric asked no follow-up question, asking next about Marc Rich—a topic “the left” will always raise whenever it wants to score points.

Amazing, isn’t it? Couric asked a single, mild question about a subject which Specter had brought up himself. She posed no follow-up question. But this is one of Coulter’s first examples—on page two of her book—of the way “the public square is wall-to-wall liberal propaganda.” Of course, her misused readers have no way of knowing how mild Couric’s questioning actually was. Coulter—dissembling, as she does through her book—provides a phantasmagoric account of this exchange. How did Coulter describe the session? Let’s review. We’re not making this up:

COULTER (page two): In this universe, the public square is wall-to-wall liberal propaganda. Americans wake up in the morning to “America’s Sweetheart,” Katie Couric, berating Arlen Specter about Anita Hill ten years after the hearings…
As a description of Couric’s exchange with Specter, that is pure pathology. But then, Coulter baldly misleads her readers on virtually every page of this laughable, corrupt book.

But Coulter is appearing on TV shows now to peddle her book, and her hosts are too lazy, too incompetent, too bought-off and scared to challenge her crackpot dissembling. Last night, Bill O’Reilly’s worthless performance qualified him for a spot down the row from Ted Williams. At Slate, meanwhile, Mickey Kaus—too lazy and indifferent to the public interest to dirty his hands with actual research—says that a certain part of Coulter’s book “appears to be completely accurate.” In fact, the part of the book to which Kaus refers is also absurdly misleading and bogus. We’ll look at the topic in question next week (sneak preview offered below).

We’re reminded of the hoary old joke about Moses playing golf. (Easily offended people, stop reading.) In Heaven, the Holy Trinity invites Moses to fill out a foursome. Needless to say, God the Father has the honors; Jesus and the Holy Spirit tee off next. Moses watches as they hit a succession of Biblically-themed, perfect hole-in-one trick-shots. After the Dove of Peace takes the Holy Spirit’s ball in his mouth and drops it neatly into the hole, Moses can’t hold it in any longer. “Are we here to play golf,” Moses asks, “or are we really just here to f*ck around?”

Coulter is a crackpot, a clown—and a balls-out dissembler. Her procedures are an insult to the American public interest. And so we have a simple question for lazy O’Reilly and worthless Kaus. Nobody made you host a TV show. Nobody forced you to go on the web. But boys, are you here to perform your actual duties? Or are you really just here to f*ck around?

SNEAK PREVIEW: Did Couric call Reagan an “airhead?” (No.) Did she attribute that claim to biographer Edmund Morris? (Yes.) As you probably know, Coulter is currently riding this topic as she angrily tours the country. It’s the topic O’Reilly snored through last night. Kaus pretended to review this same topic.

Predictably, the background to the silly story can’t be gleaned from Coulter’s book. Details to follow next week. But as a sneak preview, let’s recall what was going on in the final week of September 1999, as Morris’ book was about to appear. During that period, many people were saying that Morris had called Ronald Reagan an “airhead.” (They weren’t exactly wrong, by the way.) Coulter savages Couric’s work on September 27 and 29, 1999. But during this period, many others were saying that Edmund Morris called Reagan an airhead. Here’s someone Coulter forgot to cite. No, he’s not on “the left:”

SEAN HANNITY, 9/27/99: Welcome back to Hannity & Colmes. I’m Sean Hannity. Coming up, the authorized biography of Ronald Reagan calls him, quote, an airhead. And it is upsetting a lot of the former president’s supporters. That debate, that controversy, is straight ahead.

SEAN HANNITY, 9/30/99: Still to come, former Reagan Attorney General Edwin Meese. He sounds off on that controversial book that calls President Reagan an airhead. That debate straight ahead as Hannity & Colmes continues.

Last night on O’Reilly, Coulter condemned Couric for making the same sorts of statements. She said the statements showed that Katie Couric is “a pleasant morning television host who hides behind her charm and beauty to engage in systematic propaganda of all sorts of left-wing ideas.” But Hannity—and many other talkers—were saying the very same things at the time. Coulter, dissembling, left that part out. Needless to say, Bill was clueless.

WALL-TO-WALL PROPAGANDA: Two quotes from September 27, 1999. Included is one of the very remarks for which Ann has been trashing poor Katie:

KATIE COURIC, 9/27/99: Good morning. The Gipper was an airhead. That’s one of the conclusions of a new biography of Ronald Reagan that’s drawing a tremendous amount of interest and fire today, Monday, September the 27th, 1999.

SEAN HANNITY, 9/27/99: Welcome back to Hannity & Colmes. I’m Sean Hannity. Coming up, the authorized biography of Ronald Reagan calls him, quote, an airhead. And it is upsetting a lot of the former president’s supporters.

According to Coulter, Couric was pushing the left’s propaganda. Hannity? He’s been disappeared.

NEXT: Why were journalists saying these things? More notes on Ann Coulter’s bad problem.