Monday, January 12, 2009

'That's your act'

(Video via Hot Air.) Barbara Walters introduces Ann Coulter by saying that her new book, Guilty: Liberal 'Victims' and Their Assault on America, is "deliberately provocative because, after all, that sells books." Which might have been said about, inter alia, Bill Buckley's God and Man at Yale.

Whoopi Goldberg -- whose show-biz career has been largely based on shock value -- subsequently lectures Coulter: "I know you want to do this whole 'Left' thing -- that's your act." We are to presume that, in Goldberg's mind:
  • A. The Left is a figment of conservative imagination; or
  • B. The Left, granted it exists, does not do what Coulter says it does; and
  • C. Therefore, Coulter is merely engaged in an "act," whereas Goldberg and her "View" colleagues are . . .?

The reader sees the point. Five days a week, 52 weeks a year, Walters, Goldberg & Co. sit on that set, doing their own "act," generating revenue via advertisers who pay for access to their audience, and yet when Coulter seeks to earn her keep by offering conservative arguments about current events, Walters and Goldberg deride her as an insincere peddler of outrage.

(". . . and next week on 'The View': Why can't atheist transsexuals be Cub Scout den mothers?")

Despite its relatively small audience (about a million daily viewers in November sweeps) "The View" is deemed sufficiently lucrative that Disney/ABC is willing to pay full-time salaries to its four stars, to say nothing of the producers, crew, and other expenses. And who can doubt that Coulter's appearance generated higher-than-average ratings? When, pray tell, did some mid-level singer or actor appear on "The View" to be treated with the sort of sneering that Walters, Goldberg and the insufferable Joy Behar dished out on Coulter?

Publishing is a commercial enterprise. To say that an author earns her living by selling books, and that being "controversial" or "provocative" (i.e., interesting) is helpful to that process is certainly no brilliant insight, nor is it a valid criticism of the content of Coulter's book. That Coulter regularly appears on television to promote her books is not a criticism, unless one is the kind of snob who patronizes only authors who don't regularly appear on TV. (In which case . . .) And to say that she knows how to mix it up with tasty sound bites is merely to say she understands and excels in the medium.

Well, Coulter is conservative, while Walters, Goldberg and Behar are not and -- apart from any actual errors of fact or logic they can cite, which weren't apparent from their confrontation with Coulter -- this political disagreement is the sum of their criticism.

Which is not to say that there are no valid criticisms of Ann Coulter, and certainly many conservatives have criticized her over the years. I could sum up the conservative arguments against Ann . . . but any commenter can do the same, eh?

Coulter is who she inarguably is, and does what she inimitably does, and in the process has changed minds and inspired many young conservatives to stand up against liberal dogma on campus. Whatever criticisms anyone on the Right makes against Coulter must be weighed in the balance against the tremendous good she does, because if she wasn't doing good, Joy Behar wouldn't hate her.

BTW, if you are burning with resentment over how Coulter was treated on "The View," there is really only one way to get your revenge:

1 comment:

  1. Too bad Ann C. didn't focus on the difference between gossip and sniping - talking about the author - instead of review and reporting - talking about the material (her book).

    Gossip is certainly personal, and fills many hours of ennui for millions of Americans. But it is divisive, cliquish, and hateful.

    I disagree to some extent with branding Walters with the same brush as the outraged Whoopi. Walters still acts as a reporter, retains some objectivity, wanted to get back to the material in the book. She may not have been balanced or supportive, but was interested in something better than the Offended Whoopi Hatefest.

    I haven't seen many episodes of The View. I don't recall seeing them so rude before - talking down at and talking over the guest. That is shocking behavior for so-called professional performers - deliberately upstaging a guest performer.

    At least no one had to actually respond to the content of Ann C.'s book.