CNN's Zahn failed to ask Coulter about refusal to cooperate in felony investigation, reportedly bumped Air America host

››› ››› BRIAN LEVY

CNN reportedly canceled a scheduled appearance by Air America Radio's Sam Seder, who claimed that he was to debate Ann Coulter on The Situation Room, but that Coulter "refused to appear with me," because, Seder said, "she was afraid ... I might mention," her reported "refus[al] to cooperate in an investigation into whether she voted in the wrong precinct." Co-host Paula Zahn did not ask Coulter about the AP report.

On the November 1 edition of CNN's The Situation Room, co-host Paula Zahn neglected to ask right-wing pundit Ann Coulter about her reported "refus[al]," according to the Associated Press, "to cooperate in an investigation into whether she voted in the wrong precinct." In its November 1 article, the AP added that "[k]nowingly voting in the wrong precinct is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison." Moreover, as noted by the weblog Eschaton (written by Atrios, Media Matters for America senior fellow Duncan Black), Air America Radio host Sam Seder claimed that he was scheduled to debate Coulter on The Situation Room, but Coulter "refused to appear with me." Seder added, "[N]ow we know what she was afraid ... I might mention," linking to an AP article reporting that Coulter refused to cooperate in the investigation. Apparently, instead, Zahn hosted Slate.com contributor Mickey Kaus, who writes the site's Kausfiles weblog, to discuss Sen. John Kerry's (D-MA) "botched joke"; Kaus has a history of criticizing Kerry and praising Coulter. During the segment, Coulter forwarded her baseless election predictions and referred to countries in the Middle East as "George Bush's bitch."

While Zahn claimed that "we're focusing on issue number one, the war in Iraq," most of the discussion centered on Kerry's remarks. During the segment, Kaus declared that Kerry's remarks were a "telling mistake," demonstrating that Kerry is "living in the Vietnam era" and that "Kerry's head is obviously still in 1969," when there was "this sort of class bias to who went up in the military." Kaus also said of Kerry: "He was a terrible candidate. We have dispensed with him last year. Democrats only supported him, because ... they have this misguided notion that he would win."

Zahn concluded of Kaus, "Mickey, you're not going to cut him any slack here and now -- at all here tonight." It is not clear why Zahn thought he might "cut [Kerry] any slack." In a March 1, 2004, column headlined "The Trouble With Kerry," Kaus wrote:

As a Democrat, I have two big fears about John Kerry. The first is that he'll lose. The second is that he'll win ... I admit, I'm allergic to Kerry. Something in the vibration of that deep, pompous tone he adopts -- the lugubrious, narcissistic fake gravity -- grates on me. Others, bizarrely, say they don't have this problem.

Moreover, in a July 11, 2006, article, The Observer (London) referred to Kaus as a "self-described 'neoliberal' and friend of Coulter." In an August 9 Kausfiles post criticizing as "overboard" a comment by Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-IL), in which Emanuel called Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (CT) "Bush's love child," Kaus suggested that he would "be defending" Coulter if she had said the same thing.

During The Situation Room interview, Coulter asserted that the conflict between Israel and Lebanon did not "develop[] into an entire conflagration" because "all those countries over there are George Bush's bitch now. They know that he may attack." She also claimed that the "war on terror" is "difficult" because "[w]e weren't attacked by a country. We can't just carpet-bomb Germany, set off a nuke in Japan." But Coulter has advocated carpet-bombing countries as part of the fight against terrorism. As Media Matters noted, Fox News host Sean Hannity asked Coulter how she would propose to end Iran's nuclear activities if she "were president." Coulter replied: "How about we just ... carpet-bomb them so they can't build a transistor radio?"

Media Matters has an ongoing petition urging the media to stop providing Coulter and her ilk a platform to launch baseless and venomous attacks.

On CNN, Coulter also repeated her baseless claim that Democrats, "[b]y historical odds ... ought to be picking up 67 seats in the House." As Media Matters noted, on the October 25 edition of Fox News' The Big Story with John Gibson, Coulter claimed that "[t]he average of the midterm election pickup since World War II is about 40 seats," and stated that because Democrats "lost seats in Bush's first midterm election," they "ought to be picking up 60 or 70" seats in the House. In fact, the average gain in the House for any party after a post-World War II midterm election is about 25 seats. Moreover, no party has gained "60 or 70" seats in any midterm election since World War II.

From the November 1 edition of CNN's The Situation Room:

ZAHN: Six days away from the midterm elections, and we're focusing on issue number one, the war in Iraq -- something polls say over and over again.

Our next guests are two of the sharpest shooters anywhere on the Internet, the blogosphere, and on TV -- and, no, Ann Coulter didn't tell me to say that.

Conservative columnist Ann Coulter, author of Godless, and Slate.com columnist Mickey Kaus. Great to see both of you. So, let's start off by talking about Senator John Kerry. Was the apology enough?

COULTER: I think so, but it's a very bad statement because it brings up all the other statements he's made and just the sort of general idea that the Democrats do think the only reason someone would go into the military is they have no other options, which, of course, is not the truth at all.

But it does bring up him accusing our troops of terrorizing Iraqi women and children last year and, after Vietnam, accusing his fellow comrades of --

KAUS: But --

COULTER: -- of murder and rape.

ZAHN: All right, jump in here, Mickey, because --

KAUS: But, Ann, that was -- that was 2004. I mean, I can't believe that it's a news story that John Kerry said something stupid. He was a terrible candidate. We dispensed with him last year. Democrats only supported him, because -- because they have this misguided notion that he would win.

COULTER: Yes.

KAUS: And, so, he's still putting his foot in his mouth. I can't believe it's a two-day story.

KAUS: Plus --

ZAHN: But it is a two-day story, Mickey, and there are some folks out there that think it will increase voter turnout. Is John Kerry going to cost some Democrats some victories in tight races?

KAUS: Well, it's not going to help. But there are some Democrats, like Harold Ford, who are having a great time distancing themselves from Kerry and using him as the -- sort of our Sister Souljah of -- of this year.

[...]

ZAHN: All right, but -- but let's come back to -- to something that John Kerry fiercely defends. He said what -- what was reported was taken out of context.

COULTER: Right.

ZAHN: Mickey, you're not going to cut him any slack here and now -- at all here tonight. Ann's saying that he was implying that you end up in the military when you're not educated.

KAUS: Well, it was a bad --

ZAHN: Do you really think that's what he meant?

KAUS: I think he's living in the Vietnam era.

And, in the Vietnam era, if you remember, there were -- were these periods where it was score high or die. If you did well in college, you kept your college deferment. So, there was this sort of class bias to who went up in the military. That's been eliminated now.

But Kerry's head is obviously still in 1969. So, yes, I do think it was a telling mistake, but it's just John Kerry.

ZAHN: All right.

KAUS: He's not the whole Democratic Party.

ZAHN: All right. So, Mickey didn't get his president in 2004. You got your president.

COULTER: Yes.

ZAHN: He's president today. You've got some Republicans really running from this president, particularly because the American public is so opposed to this war and the handling of this war. Why are so many Republicans running away from him? And don't -- don't you think it's justifiable, if they're in a tight race, and they think he's going to cost them the race?

COULTER: No. I mean, I understand Americans feel -- I mean, obviously, we would like this whole thing to be over, for Islamic terrorists and insurgents to be -- to be -- what did Bush say? -- gotten rid of one way or the other, alive or dead.

But it is a very difficult war. We weren't attacked by a country. We can't just carpet-bomb Germany, set off a nuke in Japan. They're -- these terrorists --

ZAHN: Right.

COULTER: It's just not Al Qaeda. It's spread throughout the area -- spread throughout the area.

ZAHN: But, if you are running for office as a Republican in this country, would you want to be campaigning side by side with the president right now, particularly if Iraq is the number one issue in this country?

COULTER: I think I would, actually.

I mean, I do think we have to go in and win. And I certainly wouldn't want to be campaigning next to a Democrat who -- who -- who, you know, keeps saying: What's the plan? What's the plan?

All it is, is just pointless carping. Well, what's their plan? Their plan is to pull out and really energize the terrorists. We clearly can't do that.

KAUS: Well --

COULTER: There may be a few complaints here and there, but I think the Democrats have shown themselves to be unsuitable to deal with national defense.

ZAHN: And, Mickey, as you know, Republicans are taking advantage of this opening John Kerry gave them with these remarks. And they're saying this is further evidence that Democrats are very soft on the military and soft on security.

[...]

COULTER: This is a very important war for the odd war we're in right now against terrorism. Like I say, it's spread out throughout the world, including in the United States. We have to establish a democracy in this godforsaken area of the world. It doesn't have to be a perfect democracy. We need a place for our troops, we need a base, and we are transforming the world.

I think the recent war in Israel would have developed into an entire conflagration if we had not -- if -- if but for the fact that all those countries over there are George Bush's bitch now. They know that he may attack.

[...]

ZAHN: OK. I just need a quick answer from both of you. Mickey, will the Democrats pick up the House or the Senate?

KAUS: I think they'll definitely pick up the House and it's looking increasingly likely that they'll pick up the Senate. There's always a last-minute wave, and I think it's likely to go to the Democrats.

ZAHN: And what do you think, Ann?

COULTER: Not as much as they ought to. They lost seats in the first midterm election. They're supposed to pick up --

ZAHN: But you're not overly optimistic that the Republicans will maintain --

COULTER: No, I mean, they ought to be picking up like 67 seats. I write about this in my column this week. By historical odds, they ought to be picking up 67 seats in the House, roughly a dozen seats in the Senate. Nobody thinks they're going to come close to that, and that's because I think they can't be trusted with national security, whether it's Iraq or NSA.

ZAHN: So, you say they stay in control of Congress?

COULTER: No, I'm pessimistic, but even if they take control, it's not going to be a 1994 election.

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Paula Zahn
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