On the March 5 edition of CNN Newsroom, correspondent Rick Sanchez reported on right-wing pundit Ann Coulter's March 2 speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in which she said she "can't really talk about" Democratic presidential hopeful and former Sen. John Edwards (NC) because "you have to go into rehab if you use the word 'faggot.' " Sanchez said that "with her latest anti-liberal tirade, she took outrageous, some say downright hateful, to a new depth." Yet even as Sanchez reported Coulter's "downright hateful" comments, on-screen text throughout the piece promoted her scheduled March 5 appearance on CNN's Paula Zahn Now: "Ann Coulter on CNN's Paula Zahn, tonight 8 PM ET." The text appeared for 51 total seconds during the report, which lasted 2 minutes, 16 seconds.
Sanchez began his report by characterizing Coulter as "loud" and "opinionated," and added that she "ticks people off." He then highlighted Coulter's comment at CPAC and went on to note that in her recent book, Godless: The Church of Liberalism (Crown Forum, 2006), Coulter said some widows of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks were "enjoying their husbands' death."
Sanchez did not note in his report that Coulter posted on her website a letter written by Edwards campaign manager David Bonior responding to Coulter's March 2 comments. As Editor & Publisher reported, at the bottom of the March 3 posting, Coulter wrote: "IT'S ALWAYS GOOD TO DIVERT BONIOR FROM HIS PRINCIPAL PASTIME WHICH IS FRONTING FOR ARAB TERRORISTS."
From the 9 a.m. ET hour of the March 5 edition of CNN Newsroom:
SANCHEZ: Say what you want about her. She's loud, she's opinionated.
COULTER [video clip]: I don't know, I think Democrats have hit on the perfect candidate.
SANCHEZ: She seeks attention, calls people childish names, ticks people off. And you know what, she'd agree with you -- nobody is so, well, Ann Coulter as Ann Coulter.
COULTER [video clip]: Gore and Hollywood are now telling us --
SANCHEZ: But with her latest anti-liberal tirade, she took outrageous, some say downright hateful, to a new depth.
COULTER [video clip]: It turns out that you have to go into rehab if you use the word "faggot," so I'm -- so kind of at an impasse. Can't really talk about Edwards, so I think I'll just conclude here.
SANCHEZ: But it's hardly the conclusion. More reaction from Congress and from the man insulted, all who think the best comeback is no comeback at all.
EDWARDS [video clip]: I think it's important that we not reward hateful, selfish, childish behavior with attention.
REP. PETE HOEKSTRA (R-MI) [video clip]: We really need to stay focused on the issues and not make this personal.
SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D-CA) [video clip]: I'm not a fan of that kind of rhetoric, and I really don't want to get into it.
SANCHEZ: But Ann Coulter gets into it all the time, and nobody, it seems, is exempt, not even 9-11 widows. This is from one of her books: "I've never seen people enjoying their husbands' deaths so much."
She goes after former ambassadors.
COULTER [video clip]: He was literally the man at our embassies who made sure the plumbing was working.
SANCHEZ: Even presidential appointments catch her wrath.
[begin video clip]
COULTER: She's not qualified for the position. This isn't like, you know, best employee of the month.
BILL MAHER: But you didn't make that objection with every other of George Bush's appointments.
COULTER: It never occurred to us that he'd nominate, as you say, the cleaning lady. We thought this was clear.
[end video clip]
SANCHEZ: Edwards actually posted Coulter's f-word diatribe about him on his website, uncensored, soliciting campaign dollars -- so-called "Coulter cash" -- hoping to turn the incident in his favor.
Rick Sanchez, CNN, Atlanta.