Caplis downplayed Coulter's "faggot" remark, ignored her history of homophobic smears and calls for assassinations

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630 KHOW-AM co-host Dan Caplis attempted to deflect criticism from right-wing pundit Ann Coulter by calling her use of the word "faggot" a "stupid mistake" and by focusing on comedian Bill Maher's comment about an alleged assassination attempt on Vice President Dick Cheney. In discussing Coulter, Caplis ignored her previous use of the homophobic slur and her repeated calls for the deaths of Democrats and members of the media.

During the March 6 broadcast of 630 KHOW-AM's The Caplis & Silverman Show, co-host Dan Caplis downplayed right-wing pundit Ann Coulter's recent reference to Democratic presidential hopeful and former Sen. John Edwards (NC) as a "faggot" by calling it a "stupid mistake" -- ignoring Coulter's previous remark that former Vice President Al Gore is a "total fag." Caplis also said that comedian and HBO host Bill Maher's "implicitly saying the assassination of the vice president would have been a good thing" was "worse" than Coulter's homophobic slur, but he failed to mention Coulter's calls for the assassinations of a president and a Supreme Court Justice, as well as for the executions of members of the media.

While Caplis did characterize Coulter's remarks as "indefensible" and "wrong," he attempted to deflect criticism away from her by focusing on Maher's March 2 comment that if Vice President Dick Cheney "did die [in a February 27 attack on a U.S. base in Afghanistan where Cheney was visiting] ... more people would live." Maher has since pointed out he was not advocating the assassination of Cheney and that he doesn't "wish him dead."

From the March 5 broadcast of 630 KHOW-AM's The Caplis & Silverman Show:

CAPLIS: Did you take Bill Maher -- as Barney Frank obviously did -- as suggesting that, hey, it would be a good thing if, if that assassination attempt had succeeded? And why isn't that getting more attention?

[...]

CAPLIS: What a total weasel. And listen, Ann Coulter, she said something indefensible and, and -- you know, it deserves publicity, it was that wrong. It's getting publicity, fine -- obviously the liberal media eating it up. That's fine. You make a stupid mistake like that, it's fair game. But, Bill Maher said what Bill Maher said. And for his apologists now to try to deny that Bill Maher in his own typical weaselly way was trying to suggest that, you know what? Hey, you know, that assassination attempt succeeds, then a lot of innocent people are gonna live. That's in my opinion exactly what he was doing. Barney Frank took it that way. Barney Frank was sitting there on the set with him, and when given a chance to disclaim it, he wouldn't disclaim it. So I think that what Maher did was absolutely terrible. There are so many nutjobs out there who watch a show like that, I think it was really irresponsible.

[...]

CAPLIS: Little warning if you have kids in the car: When we come back we're going to replay that Ann Coulter sound so you know what we're talking about, and part of this discussion is, which is worse? Coulter's horrible slur toward gays or Bill Maher -- in my view and I think the view of many -- implicitly saying the assassination of the vice president would have been a good thing?

What Caplis left out is that Coulter herself has a history of calling for violent attacks on, or the murders of, those whose opinions she disagrees with. As Media Matters for America and Colorado Media Matters have documented:

  • In her 1998 book High Crimes and Misdemeanors: The Case against Bill Clinton (Regnery, 1998), Coulter wrote that the national debate during the Monica Lewinsky uproar should not have focused on whether President Bill Clinton "did it," but rather "whether to impeach or assassinate" him.
  • Commenting on conservative radio host Melanie Morgan's previous assertion that if New York Times executive editor Bill Keller were convicted of treason she "would have no problem with him being sent to the gas chamber," Coulter wrote in a July 12 column, "I prefer a firing squad, but I'm open to a debate on the method of execution." She later suggested as a guest on Newsradio 850 KOA's The Jon Caldara Show that Times staff members should be "executed."
  • On the July 6, 2006, edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, Coulter suggested "putting rat poison in [U.S. Supreme Court] Justice [John Paul] Stevens's crème brûlée."
  • On the July 27, 2006, edition of MSNBC's Hardball, Coulter remarked that when "most Americans" heard that an Israeli airstrike had hit a United Nations observer post in south Lebanon on July 25, killing four U.N. observers, they hoped to hear similar news about "the installation on 42nd Street" -- presumably a reference to the U.N. headquarters in New York City.

Furthermore, in referring to Coulter's remark about Edwards as a "stupid mistake," Caplis ignored her previous homophobic remarks aimed at Democratic politicians. As Media Matters has noted, Coulter once claimed that former President Bill Clinton exhibits "some level of latent homosexuality." She also smeared Gore by calling him a "total fag."

Caplis' complaint that the Maher story "isn't ... getting more attention" echoed other conservative commentators who also are trying to downplay Coulter's comments.

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