Why does CNN continue to host Ann Coulter?


One day after Ann Coulter wrote a column examining Rep. John P. Murtha's (D-PA) proposal to end military engagement in Iraq, she appeared on the November 25 edition of CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight to comment on it. In her November 24 syndicated column, she claimed, "There is no plausible explanation for the Democrats' behavior other than that they long to see U.S. troops shot, humiliated, and driven from the field of battle." She also falsely claimed that Saddam Hussein sought "enriched uranium from Niger."

Coulter concluded the November 24 column with the following analysis of "Democrats' behavior":

The Democrats are giving aid and comfort to the enemy for no purpose other than giving aid and comfort to the enemy. There is no plausible explanation for the Democrats' behavior other than that they long to see U.S. troops shot, humiliated, and driven from the field of battle.

They fill the airwaves with treason, but when called to vote on withdrawing troops, disavow their own public statements. These people are not only traitors, they are gutless traitors.

In her Lou Dobbs Tonight appearance (which was guest-hosted by correspondent Christine Romans), Coulter said: "I'm not only tired of the Democrats, I'm tired of anyone to the left of [Rep.] Jean Schmidt [R-OH] at this point." In a November 18 speech in the floor of the House on a Republican resolution to immediately withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq -- a resolution that followed a withdrawal plan proposed by Murtha -- Schmidt stated that an Ohio politician wanted "to send Congressman Murtha a message: that cowards cut and run, Marines never do." That politician, Danny Bubp, now denies ever saying that.

Coulter has in the past expressed similar controversial views: In August 2005, she stated her belief that New Yorkers "would immediately surrender" if terrorists invaded their city; in February 2005, she accused the Democratic Party of "support[ing] killing, lying, adultery, thievery, envy"; in January 2005, she labeled Bill Clinton "a very good rapist"; and in November 2004, she reminded Canada that it is "lucky we allow them to exist on the same continent."

Coulter's claim that Hussein solicited uranium from Niger has already been widely discredited. The Senate Intelligence Committee 2004's "Report on the U.S. Intelligence Community's Prewar Intelligence Assessments on Iraq" indicated that there was no uranium deal in the works between Iraq and Niger and that Iraqi inquiries about a possible uranium purchase remain speculative. As Media Matters for America has reported, even national security adviser Stephen J. Hadley [The New York Times, 7/23/03] and former CIA chief George Tenet (in a public statement) have conceded that the now-infamous "16 words" ("the British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa") should have been removed from President Bush's 2003 State of the Union address.

Media Matters has also debunked, on several different occasions, a series of Coulter's claims on a wide range of topics: in October 2005, when she falsely accused Freakonomics (William Morrow, May 2005) co-author and University of Chicago professor Steven Levitt of "defending" Roe v. Wade; in September 2005, when she peddled numerous falsehoods about Hurricane Katrina, and falsely suggested that an Arizona daily newspaper dropped her column to "keep conservatives out"; in August 2005, when she erroneously stated that a "majority of Hispanics" voted for California's Proposition 187; and in March 2005, when she falsely accused The New York Times of outing certain children of notable conservatives.

Coulter's particular brand of right-wing vitriol has led numerous other media outlets to dissociate themselves from her. MSNBC fired Coulter in 1997 after she insulted a Vietnam veteran while both were on the air. National Review dropped her column in 2001 after she suggested, in response to the September 11, 2001, attacks, that the United States "invade their [terrorists'] countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity." USA Today did the same in 2004 after hiring her to provide conservative commentary from the Democratic National Convention, which she labeled the "Spawn of Satan Convention."

Nonetheless, CNN continues to invite Coulter to appear on its various programs. Since 2004, she has appeared on the network on 10 occasions, including the November 25 edition of Lou Dobbs Tonight.

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