Tags: Lies | the | Coulter | Haters

Lies of the Coulter Haters

Tuesday, 05 November 2002 12:00 AM

Was super-pundit Ann Coulter targeted by a journalistic hoax?

On Sept. 1, regional newspaper editor Bob Unger published an open letter telling Miss Coulter she was "fired" - that is, that he was dropping her nationally syndicated column from the Centre Daily Times (CDT).

Two days later, Unger told the newspaper trade publication Editor & Publisher (E&P) that he was being swamped with e-mails supporting his move. E&P reported Unger's claim, apparently without checking its accuracy. Bill O'Reilly of Fox News did likewise, making no attempt to question or challenge anything Unger said in a Sept. 18 interview.

Despite the puppy-dog trust some interviewers have lavished on Unger, mounting evidence suggests that his "firing" of Ann Coulter may have been a carefully staged hoax.

In previous columns, I questioned Unger's e-mail figures. For instance, Unger implied that he had received only 15 pro-Coulter e-mails during a two-day period that happened to coincide with a massive pro-Coulter e-mail campaign by the FreeRepublic.com message board, targeting Unger.

What happened to all of those Free Republic e-mails?

Now a CDT reader has informed me that Unger ran Miss Coulter's column only a few weeks before "firing" her. Unger may have planned Coulter's "firing" from the beginning, this reader suggests.

Intrigued, I ran a Nexis search. Sure enough, Coulter's columns ran in CDT for only three months – from May 26 to Aug. 30, 2002.

What could possibly have happened in a mere three months to turn Unger against Miss Coulter?

Of course, Miss Coulter's book "Slander" sold over 400,000 copies and topped the New York Times non-fiction hardcover bestseller list for eight weeks straight during that time period. But that hardly seems a firing offense.

In his open letter, Unger implied that he was "shocked, shocked" - as Claude Raines put it in "Casablanca" - to discover that Miss Coulter thinks liberals are "no good."

Was Unger the only journalist in the country who did not know Miss Coulter's opinion of liberals?

He also called Miss Coulter a "hater."

"[S]he hates Democrats," he told O'Reilly. "Clearly, she hates liberals. She's made no bones about hating environmentalists. I think she hates most Muslims. …"

Of course, Miss Coulter does not "hate" Muslims. However, after losing her friend Barbara Olson in the 9/11 attack, Miss Coulter wrote of America's enemies, on Sept. 13, 2001: "We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity!"

Her battle cry resonated with Middle Americans, catapulting Miss Coulter overnight into uber-celebrity. Sara Rimensnyder writes in Reason magazine:

"Until then, Coulter was best known as a TV pundit whose stock in trade was tossing her platinum haystack while firing off the sort of conservative bon mots more typically associated with Rush Limbaugh than with leggy blondes. Since Coulter advocated conversion by the sword, her stock has really blown through the roof."

Is Unger the only journalist in America who missed all of that?

Unger is precisely the sort of whining, mincing, bedwetting liberal whom Miss Coulter savages in every column she writes. Why did he publish her column in the first place?

The Mark David Chapman Syndrome comes to mind.

Chapman was a misfit who imagined he could share in John Lennon's celebrity only by shooting the poor man. Can it be that Unger likewise believed that the only way he could bask, even briefly, in Miss Coulter's limelight was by hurting her?

Unger is now out of a job. He stepped down suddenly on Oct. 21. Unger and his boss – CDT publisher Henry Haitz – have both issued public statements denying any connection between Unger's departure and L'Affaire Coulter.

Their announcements call to mind Otto von Bismarck's admonition: "Never believe in anything until it has been officially denied."

Firing people is a touchy business in today's litigious society. One can't really blame Mr. Haitz for playing it safe and trying to downplay the controversy.

Unfortunately, Haitz has gone above and beyond the call of duty. In his effort to demonstrate editorial continuity, he is following dangerously in Unger's footsteps.

"I'm glad Ann Coulter's no longer in the CDT," Haitz stated on Oct. 27. "She's not coming back."

Like Unger before him, Haitz told Editor & Publisher on Oct. 29 that 90 percent of his e-mails have been anti-Coulter. E&P's Dave Astor failed yet again to treat this claim with the skepticism it deserves. He did, however, at least take the trouble this time to note that E&P's own e-mail has run 90 percent in Coulter's favor.

I wonder what sort of e-mail Mr. Haitz is really getting.

Richard Poe is a New York Times best-selling author and cyberjournalist. For more information on Poe and his writings, visit his Web site, RichardPoe.com. He may be reached at

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Was super-pundit Ann Coulter targeted by a journalistic hoax? On Sept. 1, regional newspaper editor Bob Unger published an open letter telling Miss Coulter she was fired - that is, that he was dropping her nationally syndicated column from the Centre Daily Times (CDT)....
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Tuesday, 05 November 2002 12:00 AM
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