Rabid far-right commentator Ann Coulter is known across America for sliming everyone and everything she disagrees with. . . ."Rabid far-right" -- in what sense can that term be applied to Ann Coulter but not to, say, Rush Limbaugh, Laura Ingraham, Mark Steyn, Michelle Malkin or Mark Levin? And "her latest foaming-mouth tome" -- her sixth bestseller, which you can buy right now and see for yourself whether it merits that description.
Coulter has generally avoided bolstering white supremacist hate groups. Until now, that is.
In her latest foaming-mouth tome -- Guilty: Liberal "Victims" and Their Assault on America, released on Jan. 6 -- Coulter spends the better part of three pages defending a group called the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC), which The New York Times had described as a "thinly veiled white supremacist organization." Coulter begs to differ. The CCC, Coulter opines, is "a conservative group" that has unfairly been branded as racist "because some of the directors of the CCC had, decades earlier, been leaders of a segregationist group."
Beyond Potok's frothy prose, what is worth examining here is the application of what a friend of mine who's been smeared by the SPLC (we are legion) has called their "ransom note method" of quotation: A phrase here, half a sentence there -- the words are cut and pasted together like a kidnapper assembling a ransom note from cut-up magazines, with the SPLC's own interpretative comments helpfully interlarded to tell their readers exactly what to think about the target.
The fundamental premise of Potok's piece -- that Coulter was "bolstering" or "defending" the CCC -- is false. For that matter, her putative "defense" of the CCC doesn't occupy "the better part of three pages," but actually less than two, beginning on the middle of page 24 and ending at the top of page 26.
What Coulter is actually doing in this passage -- is Mark Potok dishonest or merely dense? -- is contrasting the differing treatment that the media gave to (a) Barack Obama's 20-year membership in the Rev. Jeremiah Wright's Trinity United Church of Christ, and (b) the CCC associations of Republicans Trent Lott and Bob Barr.
It's quite an interesting argument and perhaps the reason Potok couldn't bring himself to quote so much as two consecutive complete sentences of what Coulter wrote is that he's worried about copyright infringement. Or maybe he's dishonest, an interpretation supported by the way he quotes Coulter here:
"There is no evidence on its Web page that the modern incarnation of the CCC supports segregation," she says. "Apart from some aggressive reporting on black-on-white crimes -- the very crimes that are aggressively hidden by the establishment media -- there is little on the CCC website suggesting" that the group is racist. [Emphasis added.]Contrast that to what Coulter actually wrote:
There is no evidence on its Web page that the modern incarnation of the CCC supports segregation, though its "Statement of Principles" offers that the organization opposes "forced integration" and "efforts to mix the races of mankind." But mostly the principles refer to subjects such as a strong national defense, the right to keep and bear arms, the traditional family, and an "America First" trade policy.Compare the two italicized passages. Notice that, when Potok quotes Coulter, the direct quote ends with "suggesting," and then follows with Potok's own characterization, "that the group is racist"; whereas Coulter's actual sentence ends with a specific description from the New York Times calling the CCC a "thinly veiled white supremacist" organization. One can be "racist" without being "white supremacist" (ask Reverend Wright!), and as to the matter of the thinness of veils -- well, as a liberal might say, "Who are we to judge?"
Apart from some aggressive reporting on black-on-white crimes -- the very crimes that are aggressively hidden by the establishment media -- there is little on the CCC website suggesting that the group is a "thinly veiled white supremacist" organization, as the New York Times called it in one of its more charitable descriptions. At least the crimes reported on the CCC's Web site actually happened, as opposed to the Reverend Jeremiah Wright's claim that the U.S. government invented AIDS to kill black people. [Emphasis added]
In a fair-and-balanced "we report, you decide" manner, Coulter quotes the CCC's statements about "forced integration" and race-mixing and leaves it to the reader to judge how "thinly veiled" these principles are, and whether they are "white supremacist" -- a judgment that the New York Times apparently doesn't trust its readers to make for themselves. It is neither here nor there what the reader's judgment is, since Coulter's purpose is not to "defend" or "bolster" the CCC, but rather to expose the media double standard involved.
Reverend Wright can stand in his pulpit denouncing Israel, shouting "God damn America!" and saying that the 9/11 attacks were "America's chickens coming home to roost," and the media dismisses as insignificant the fact that Obama spent 20 years in Wright's congregation. Yet Bob Barr gave exactly one speech at a CCC meeting and this speech (which had nothing to do with race) is treated as major political news by the New York Times. Perhaps if Barr had spoken to a meeting of Weather Underground terrorists . . .
Never mind. Coulter describes the consequences of the media attack on Barr:
After the initial flurry of articles, editorials, and news stories in the Times excitedly reporting that Barr had spoken to the CCC, Democratic representative Bob Wexler introduced a resolution in Congress for the sole purpose of denouncing the Council of Conservative Citizens. Other than the 9/11 terrorists, the CCC may be the only group ever singled out for denunciation in a congressional resolution. How about a resolution from Obama pom-pom girl Wexler on Obama's Trinity United Church of Christ?"Compare and contrast" -- the kind of exercise every college freshman is asked to do on essay-question exams -- and yet, when Coulter does it, her choice of the CCC as an analog to Wright's church is cited by the SPLC as evidence that she is a sympathizer of a "thinly veiled white supremacist" organization.
When Barr later gave a speech on the House floor favorably citing President John F. Kennedy, Senator Ted Kennedy's son, Representative Patrick Kennedy, got in Barr's face, shouting, "How dare you! Anybody who has been in a racist group has no right invoking my uncle's memory!" Liberals are now reserving the right to tell us which former presidents we can mention by name.
Barr had given a speech to a group that, even assuming everything the Southern Poverty Law Center says about it is true, does not hold a candle to the racism of Obama's Trinity United Church of Christ. Obama was married by the Reverend Wright, his daughters were baptized by the Reverend Wright, Obama gave his second autobiography the title of one of the Reverend Wright's sermons. And yet after decades of majoring in Guilt By Association, liberals were indignant when an ad on cable television linked Obama and the Reverend Jeremiah Wright Jr. The Times produced a blistering editorial decrying the "hate mongering" and calling the ads "the product of a radical fringe that has little regard for rational debate."
What Potok and the SPLC count on is that their gullible liberal readership will not bother to examine what Coulter actually wrote, nor question whether the SPLC's bawdlerization of Coulter's work is fair or accurate. Potok understands that Coulter occupies a special place in the liberal demonology, and that liberals are prepared to believe the worst about her. So he distorts her argument -- which, I repeat, is about media double standards -- into an accusation that she is "defending" and "bolstering" the CCC, and expects no one to contradict him.
Why? Because Potok suspects conservatives of cowardice. If you defend Ann Coulter, you'll be accused of sharing her "thinly veiled" sympathies, and there goes your book deal, there goes your think-tank fellowship, there goes your chance at a staff job in the next Republican administration. Potok believes that your ambition, your cowardly craving to be considered "respectable," will prevent you from defending the "rabid far-right" Coulter, and you will remain silent while she's dishonestly smeared by the SPLC.
Fine. You have the right to remain silent. And who will defend you when the SPLC comes smearing you?
But the age of chivalry is gone. That of sophisters, economists, and calculators, has succeeded and the glory of Europe is extinguished forever. Never, never more, shall we behold that generous loyalty to rank and sex, that proud submission, that dignified obedience, that subordination of the heart, which kept alive, even in servitude itself, the spirit of an exalted
freedom. The unbought grace of life, the cheap defense of nations, the nurse of manly sentiment and heroic enterprise is gone!
-- Edmund Burke
UPDATE: Linked by Kathy Shaidle, who's been trying for years to get Canada to deport her to the United States, where that pesky First Amendment keeps hobbling the annihilationist impulses of liberalism.
UPDATE II: Linked by Mark Steyn, likewise seeking deportation. Canadian refugee fever inspires some awesome political incorrectness.
UPDATE III: Linked by Ed Driscoll, who probably wants to be deported from California.
UPDATE IV: Somebody at LGF sides with the SPLC.
UPDATE V: Getting very interesting now. Raphael Alexander says that Charles (by whom I suppose he means Charles Johnson of LGF) says of what I've written: "That article is ludicrous and deceptive. He claims Coulter is being quoted out of context -- I have the book, and she is NOT being quoted out of context. The charge, by the way, is not that Coulter herself is a white supremacist. It's that she is defending a blatantly, openly white supremacist group -- and that charge is TRUE."
I couldn't find that quote at LGF, which is now at the 1,000+ mark in comments, but assuming that Alexander's quote is accurate, I'm kind of stumped. The extensive quotes from Coulter's book make clear that her argument was basically: If Trent Lott and Bob Barr are beyond the pale for their associations with the CCC, why isn't Obama beyond the pale for his association with Trinity? It's not about being "out of context," but rather that Potok misread (or misrepresented) the whole purpose of that two-page passage.
Is Coulter "defending" Jeremiah Wright? Is the analogy inexact? Surely she will clarify and is capable of defending her own arguments without any help from me, but I saw this passage as essentially a critique of the media double standard.
In every previous Coulter controversy (which, by now, is a long list), she has emerged undamaged. She has Sean Hannity on speed-dial, and if this SPLC thing gets her more TV time, she'll cry all the way to the bank.
What's weird is that Coulter appeared on "The View" a month ago and I don't recall that this CCC thing ever came up. Is Whoopi Goldberg OK with the CCC? Certainly Coulter would agree to return to "The View" to discuss the subject. She would also probably be willing to discuss the subject on "Today," "Larry King Live," "60 Minutes," Leno, Letterman, "Saturday Night Live," "American Idol" . . . if any other TV producers want to book Ann, I can give you her publicist's e-mail address.
UPDATE VI: Linked at Conservative Grapevine.