Sunday, March 04, 2007

 

The Wicked Witch of the Right



Ann Coulter, the long-suffering victim of a political version of Tourette's Syndrome, has done it again. On Friday at one of the major right-wing events of the year, she dropped an F-bomb on Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards. Oh, not that F-bomb...she'd never be that uncivil. No, she used a common anti-gay epithet to describe the former Senator.

Now, Coulter has the same free speech rights every American does. She can go spew her often violence-advocating bile on a street corner like, say, the anti-white trash talkers I see in Times Square, or the Aryan Nations types who inhabit parts of the Pacific Northwest.

Over the years I've noticed that the anti-white trash-talking types and members of Aryan Nations do not get invited on cable "news" programs to discuss their views on current issues. They also don't get offered contracts from major publishers.

Ms. Coulter does not have a right to be invited as a guest on cable "news," nor does she have a right to have her insane rants published in book form by a major publisher with a good distribution network. The right to free speech in those cases rests with the owners of the networks and publishing houses. They are free to publish or broadcast her spewings, and we are free to criticize their bad judgement in giving her a platform for her hateful rhetoric.

Too many people confuse editing with censorship. When Harper Collins, after a public outcry, cancelled O.J. Simpson's book, they were not inhibiting his right to free speech; they were exercising good editorial judgement after some very bad editorial judgement by their employee, Judith Regan.

IMHO, Cable "news" outlets and publishing houses ought to exercise good editorial judgement and treat Ann Coulter as persona non grata, just like O.J. Simpson is. But I would be 100% opposed to any government censorship of Ms. Coulter, even if media outlets exercise bad judgement in providing her with a forum.

RELATED TOPIC: A few months ago, punk rocker Henry Rollins delivered his own R-rated message to Ann Coulter...and yes, he does drop that F-bomb a few times. Now, I would consider this totally inappropriate for a guest on cable "news" or during a speech at a politically related conference. But Henry isn't spewing this on CNN or MSNBC or Faux "News" or at a MoveOn.org convention; it's a clip from his entertainment show on IFC, the Independent Film Channel. Henry doesn't pose as a "constitutional expert"; he's just a potty-mouthed punk rocker who got ticked off by Coulter's rants and responded with one of his own.


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