Contrary to the assertion by Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy that NBC's Today "booked" Ann Coulter "to talk about her book, and they didn't talk about her book," Today host Meredith Vieira noted in her introduction of Coulter that she has a new book out, the book appeared on-screen at the beginning and end of the interview, and Vieira did bring it up during the interview. The Today appearance marks at least Coulter's 195th appearance on an NBC-operated channel.
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Notwithstanding the false assertion on the October 2 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends that NBC's Today hosted Ann Coulter but did not "talk about her book," Today in fact repeated NBC's longstanding pattern of providing the right-wing pundit with an audience of millions -- this time to promote her latest book, If Democrats Had Any Brains, They'd Be Republicans (Crown Forum, October 2007). And, contrary to the assertion by Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy that Today "booked her to talk about her book, and they didn't talk about her book," Today host Meredith Vieira noted in her introduction of Coulter that she has a new book out, the book appeared on-screen at the beginning and end of the interview, and Vieira did bring it up, saying that it is "a compilation" of "opinion pieces," "insights," and "insults."
Indeed, the discussion of her book on Today marks at least Coulter's 195th appearance on an NBC-operated channel, even though several NBC hosts and anchors -- including Tonight Show host Jay Leno, Today co-host Matt Lauer, and Nightly News anchor Brian Williams -- have expressed disapproval of Coulter's "harsh" and "nasty" statements. According to a Media Matters review, Coulter has been interviewed at least 194 times on at least 13 individual programs on MSNBC, CNBC, and NBC since April 28, 1997 -- apparently her first appearance on the network, during which Coulter's books were always named, by a host or anchor, by an on-screen graphic, or by Coulter herself.
On October 1, Media Matters for America asked whether NBC would host Coulter to promote her latest book, which Today did the next day, October 2, the book's release date. Later on Fox & Friends, Doocy and co-host Gretchen Carlson asked Coulter why Vieira "didn't talk to you about the book." Coulter told Doocy: "[T]hey're trying to mainstream me. They're treating me like, you know, an esteemed guest accepted by the mainstream media," prompting Carlson to ask: "But why would they do that?" When Coulter said, "They're supposed to be outraged," Carlson again asked: "But, why would they do that? Meredith Vieira interviews you. Why do you think that they would try to keep the interview non-confrontational?"
On Today, Coulter, who has a pattern of attacking Arabs and Muslims, including recently defending her use of the slur "camel jockeys" in referring to Arabs, said that Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani "seems sort of crazy enough that he'd nuke Iran, and that warms our hearts and, you know, at that point it's been years since an ex-wife appeared in Vagina Monologues," an apparent reference to Giuliani's then-estranged wife, Donna Hanover, who performed in the play on Broadway for three weeks in 2000.
As Media Matters has documented, Coulter has engaged in a longtime pattern of using inflammatory rhetoric.
From the October 2 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
DOOCY: Straight ahead on our program today: Her books always cause controversy, but Ann Coulter says her newest one takes the case [sic]. I was just talking to her. She is so angry today --
BRIAN KILMEADE (co-host): At you?
DOOCY: -- at the Today show because they booked her to talk about her book, and they didn't talk about her book. Anyway, she's going to take some phone calls.
KILMEADE: How could you possibly pull off a book with this type of genre, and this type of theme, Ann Coulter? Where does it come from? The anger? The directness? The bluntness?
COULTER: Thank you, thank you. Pure resentment and hatred.
KILMEADE: Thank you. Is that where it comes from?
DOOCY: And you got a little hatred today from the Today show. They in -- they invited you out. Your book is released today.
DOOCY: They invited you on the Today show this morning, and they didn't talk to you about the book?
COULTER: No, they're trying to mainstream me. They're treating me like, you know, an esteemed guest accepted by the mainstream media.
DOOCY: Henry Kissinger?
COULTER: No, I am Ann Coulter.
CARLSON: But, why would they do that?
COULTER: They're supposed to be outraged.
CARLSON: But, why would they do that? Meredith Vieira interviews you. Why do you think that they would try to keep the interview nonconfrontational?
COULTER: I don't know. If this book doesn't upset them, then, you know, I think Republicans can cut loose now 'cause nothing's going to upset them.
From the October 2 edition of NBC's Today:
VIEIRA: So, will the right revolt if Rudy Giuliani is the Republican presidential nominee? We're going to ask Ann Coulter, a conservative commentator and author of the new book, If Democrats Had Any Brains, They'd Be Republicans. Ann, good morning to you.
COULTER: Good morning.
VIEIRA: So, you have a lot of conservative friends. Do you hear the drumbeat? Do you sense a revolt?
COULTER: I mean, we'll see during the primary. It's hard -- I -- I-- I don't think it's a very good argument that Giuliani would not get social conservatives if he's the nominee, because if he's not getting social conservatives, he's not going to be the nominee. And I do think, as Jerry Falwell said in his last interview before he died, Christian conservatives like myself understand that the war on terrorism is the epochal war of our time right now, and social issues may have to take a backseat. I would just assume --
VIEIRA: So, when Giuliani says, "Be pragmatic," he makes a good point?
COULTER: I didn't like his point on the polls. I mean, we've been hearing about this from moderate Republicans for a long time, how they're so much more electable, you know, like old electable Bob Dole and electable Bush One. No, the right-wing social conservative Christian conservative is always the most electable one. What is appealing about Rudy Giuliani is what he did in New York, and also he seems sort of crazy enough that he'd nuke Iran, and that warms our hearts and, you know, at this point it's been years since an ex-wife has appeared in Vagina Monologues.
VIEIRA: Let me ask you very quickly about your book. It is in many ways --
COULTER: I thought we'd never get to that.
VIEIRA: Well, of course, we'll get to it -- a compilation of a lot of your opinion pieces, insights, and a lot of insults as well. How do you think it -- it engages conservatives and advances discussion, or do you believe -- some people say it's just the same old tired shtick rehashed over and over?
COULTER: Well, you can say that about a lot of things, even this interview. No, it's -- and it's not opinion pieces. It's quotes, and it is, among other things, all of the -- my allegedly career-ending quotes, and I think it ought to give heart to young right-wingers that -- that liberals and the mainstream media aren't as powerful as they used to be. Just because they are hysterical and denounce you won't end your career. It's been 10 years of these statements for me, and also, I think they're pretty funny.
VIEIRA: All right, Ann Coulter, thank you so much --
COULTER: Thank you.
VIEIRA: -- for your time this morning, and the book is called If Democrats Had Any Brains, They'd Be Republicans.