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Sweet column: Giving Coulter attention she does not deserve.

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WASHINGTON -- I wrestled with myself about writing this column about Ann Coulter, and yet, I am here.

Any ink, blog or airtime on Coulter's latest rants just feeds her self-serving business model. She says something outrageous in an interview or speech and that spawns yet more publicity to fuel her book sales.

I decided to give Coulter attention here she does not deserve because of the off-the-charts interest in a blog item I posted last week pegged to Coulter's intolerant comments about Jews. The post featured reaction from Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), who called her out as an anti-Semite.

"Why [oh] why does the media keep giving that bigoted woman any air time?" was the reasonable question asked by Lenore Wilkas in the comment she submitted for posting on my blog.

Wilkas, 63, a Realtor from Foster City, Calif., describes the Coulter germ: "Everything coming out of her mouth is aimed at making headlines, and the media runs right out and gives her what she's trying to get, more attention for her stupid, racist, bigoted remarks."
'We just want Jews to be perfected'

Coulter's latest affront to civil society came in an Oct. 8 interview on CNBC's "The Big Idea" hosted by Donny Deutsch.

"If you had your way ... and your dreams, which are genuine, came true ... what would this country look like?" Deutsch asked.

Coulter responded, "It would look like New York City during the [2004] Republican National Convention. In fact, that's what I think heaven is going to look like." She added, "People were happy. They're Christian. They're tolerant. They defend America."

Deutsch sought clarification: "It would be better if we were all Christian?"

Coulter said, "Yes."

Pressed by Deutsch regarding whether she wanted to be like "the head of Iran" and "wipe Israel off the Earth," Coulter stated: "No, we just want Jews to be perfected, as they say."

Though Deutsch protested that he was offended, a comment posted by Larry Braxton, 70, a retired educator from Las Vegas showed no pity.

"Mr. Deutsch got just what he deserved," Braxton wrote. "Did he think he was immune from the caustics generated by this sick and psychotic amoeba? He wanted some good ratings. He got some good ratings, I guess. Personally, I stopped watching his show about a year ago."

Coulter's comments are contemptible -- not because of her evangelical theology -- but because she seems willfully unaware that talk that Jews have to be converted has historically fueled anti-Semitism.

"Just imagine what would happen if some notable left of center pundit (and I don't mean to suggest the demented Coulter is notable in the same sense) made such hateful and bigoted anti-Semitic remarks," wrote Richard Knabel, 67, a retired college professor from West Tisbury, Mass.

Actually, I can imagine what would happen. Conservative and right-wing special interest groups -- and various Republican organizations -- would invoke the bigot's comments in a fund-raising appeal as fast as you could say "e-mail."

'Crusades, anyone?'

Speaking of God -- Irene Haralabatos, 41, a physician from Huntingdon Valley, Pa., near Philadelphia, summarized her horror over Coulter with IM shorthand in her post to my blog:

"OMG. No matter how tolerant some of these fundies (or fundie wannabe, in Ann's case) say they are, in truth, not only do they think that their religion is right ... They think that everyone should either convert or be damned. Basically, she is stuck in medieval times. Crusades, anyone?"

These are times where religious tolerance and reconciliation is being tested for faiths other than Judaism. The United States is struggling to understand the Islamic fundamentalism that led to 9/11 and the rise of al-Qaida. There are people who may not vote for GOP White House hopeful Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, because he is a Mormon.

Gideon Money, 43, who calls himself a "disenfranchised IT specialist" from Indianapolis, sent a good summary quote to my blog. Coulter is "an offensive harpy" who "will say anything to sell her poorly written propaganda books."
Condemning Coulter seems not as effective as figuring out a practical way to lessen her media megaphone. I plead guilty today to being an accessory.


11 Comments

Dear Lynn
What a confusing column (Ann Coulter)....."ignore her"...but read my column! What is that?? Not only do you give her the press you claim you don't want her to have, you don't bother to review EXACTLY what she said, which was really not offensive to anyone until of course you and the "other side" decide to extract what appears to be an offensive comment. Of course if you had bothered to print both sides (ie. the full quote) then people would have heard nothing so offensive as a statement of fact for Christians: that Jews and Christians share a common text, and that Christians BELIEVE they are then "perfected" by their belief in the New Testament and Jesus. OK...I give up...what is offensive about that statement of fact? I've talked to several Jewish friends and they are NOT offended when given the FULL statement. Why are you?
It just makes me happy to be an atheist so I don't really have to put up with either of you "useful idiots" to your ideology.

Ann Coulter's comments are contemptible? For gosh sakes, what would you expect a Christian to say in response to such a question? Is there an obligation to betray one's principals in order to keep the peace? Should one expect something other than an ethnic/ideological response designed to reflect the ethnicity or ideology of the person answering the question? Do you think an Israeli asked a similar question would be "contemptible" if their response detailed a picture of an Israel filled with Jews? Are Austrians not allowed a smile at the thought of a German speaking homeland? Would someone opposed to abortion be wrong to imagine a world filled with even more children?
Ann Coulter suggested no punishment aimed at people who do not share her beliefs, she merely sketched a picture of her "dream world" that is consistent with her own tastes. You'd insist that she think otherwise: i.e., demand people's ideologies take a back seat to political correctness? This is medicine that is surely worse that the illness from which you imagine she suffers!
I'd suggest Ms. Sweet's bitterness over her feelings towards Ann Coulter has clouded her thinking. Perhaps she might spend a little time asking similar questions of ordinary people to finally discover the remarkably obvious fact that people actually do dream of a Heaven filled with their friends, and a hell filled with everybody else!

Lynn. First, you've got to stop wrestling with yourself. You'll get hurt and have no one to sue.

"These are times where religious tolerance and reconciliation is being tested for faiths other than Judaism."

Bon Dieu! Bind up my mind; I'm beginning to think that I should not think. I am reguired to tolerate and reconcile ALL religions; to allow without prohibition or opposition, to become compatible, to accept and endure ALL religions?

Stuck in medieval times? It may be that medieval times are stuck in the present.

Lynn, you want us to ignore her, but you don't (by writing an article on her). Of course she's an obnoxious attention seeking buffoon. She's selling a book, isn't she? However, Lynn, my only problem with some of you critics is your DOUBLE-STANDARD. You all 'cherry-pick' who you go after. I'll give two examples:

Jesse Jackson also has made anti-semite comments. His infamous "hymies in hymietown" comment. So I ask, "did you complain when Jackson got to write a column on Tuesday for the same paper you work for?" Let us know?

Dick Gregory was interviewed on the WVON-AM Cliff Kelly Show a couple of years back. He commented, "I heard it on a very good source that all those jews all called off work at the World Trade Center on the morning of 9/11." Infering that the jews were behind 9/11. BTW, Cliff Kelly did NOT challenge him on that comment. Why? Lynn, Gregory never mentioned who his source was, nor has he been challenged especially since 512 victims that day were of the jewish faith. Yet none of YOU jouranlists have ever challenged him or that show. Why?

Your comments regarding Anne Coulter are childish and dishonest. Anne is an effective antidote to the drivel that generally passes for "journalism" in our culture. What a shock that a Christian wishes that the world was Christian.

The beauty of Anne Coulterand the secret to her success is that she nails liberal establishment ignorance, bias, inanities, dishonesty and hypocrisy with humor and pithiness every time. The left has no sense of humorespecially (unless it involves sophmoric vulgarity and name calling) when you are laughing at them. That is Anne Coulter's real offense. To the true believers and "mind numbed robots" of the left she and others must be silenced at all costs. Free speech is only for the left.

The left's answer is always to distort, smear, shout down and destroy because they cannot compete openly and honestly in the realm of ideas. Welcome aboard comrade Lynn!

Ah, yeah, you should have saved your ink. Your article is boorish and completely uninformative. You provide no news substance.

You don’t even bother to provide a context for Coulters conversation, and if you read the transcript, you would also know that Deutsch goaded her into this for 15 minutes, and then made it a story so that his lowest rated cable news show got some press.

Regardless of Coulter, your article is trash and only self serving.

Btw: this is the transcript, because I know you (a member of the modern media) wont bother to look for it.

The show transcript of their conversation about Jews appears below:

DEUTSCH: Let me ask you a question. We’re going to get off strengths and weakness for a second. If you had your way, and all of your — forget that any of them —

COULTER: I like this.

DEUTSCH: — are calculated marketing teases, and your dreams, which are genuine, came true having to do with immigration, having to do with women’s — with abortion — what would this country look like?

COULTER: UMMMMM (pause) … It would look like New York City during the Republican National Convention. In fact, that’s what I think heaven is going to look like.

DEUTSCH: And what did that look like?

COULTER: Happy, joyful Republicans in the greatest city in the world.

DEUTSCH: No, no, no, no, but I’m talking about this country. You don’t want to make this country — it’s not about Republicans. I’m saying, what would the fabric of this country look like? Forget that the Republicans would be running the show.

COULTER: Well, everyone would root for America, the Democratic Party would look like Joe Lieberman, the Republican Party would look like Duncan Hunter —

DEUTSCH: No, no, no, I don’t want — I’m not talking about politically the landscape. What would our — would we be safer? Would people be happier? Would they be more —

COULTER: We would be a lot safer.

DEUTSCH: Would there be more tolerance? Would there be — would women be happier, would the races get along better? The Ann Coulter subscription — prescription. What — tell me what would be different in our fabric of country, because —

COULTER: Well, all of those things.

DEUTSCH: I can give — I can give you an argument there would be more divisiveness, that there would be more hate —

COULTER: Oh, no.

DEUTSCH: That there would be a bigger difference between the rich and the poor, a lot of other — tell me what — why this would be a better world? Let’s give you — I’m going to give you — say this is your show.

COULTER: Well, OK, take the Republican National Convention. People were happy. They’re Christian. They’re tolerant. They defend America, they —

DEUTSCH: Christian — so we should be Christian? It would be better if we were all Christian?

COULTER: Yes.

DEUTSCH: We should all be Christian?

COULTER: Yes. Would you like to come to church with me, Donny?

DEUTSCH: So I should not be a Jew, I should be a Christian, and this would be a better place?

COULTER: Well, you could be a practicing Jew, but you’re not.

DEUTSCH: I actually am. That’s not true. I really am. But — so we would be better if we were — if people — if there were no Jews, no Buddhists —

COULTER: Whenever I’m harangued by —

DEUTSCH: — in this country? You can’t believe that.

COULTER: — you know, liberals on diversity —

DEUTSCH: Here you go again.

COULTER: No, it’s true. I give all of these speeches at megachurches across America, and the one thing that’s really striking about it is how utterly, completely diverse they are, and completely unself-consciously. You walk past a mixed-race couple in New York, and it’s like they have a chip on their shoulder. They’re just waiting for somebody to say something, as if anybody would. And —

DEUTSCH: I don’t agree with that. I don’t agree with that at all. Maybe you have the chip looking at them. I see a lot of interracial couples, and I don’t see any more or less chips there either way. That’s erroneous.

COULTER: No. In fact, there was an entire “Seinfeld” episode about Elaine and her boyfriend dating because they wanted to be a mixed-race couple, so you’re lying.

DEUTSCH: Oh, because of some “Seinfeld” episode? OK.

COULTER: But yeah, I think that’s reflective of what’s going on in the culture, but it is completely striking that at these huge megachurches — the idea that, you know, the more Christian you are, the less tolerant you would be is preposterous.

DEUTSCH: That isn’t what I said, but you said I should not — we should just throw Judaism away and we should all be Christians, then, or —

COULTER: Yeah.

DEUTSCH: Really?

COULTER: Well, it’s a lot easier. It’s kind of a fast track.

DEUTSCH: Really?

COULTER: Yeah. You have to obey.

DEUTSCH: You can’t possibly believe that.

COULTER: Yes.

DEUTSCH: You can’t possibly — you’re too educated, you can’t — you’re like my friend in —

COULTER: Do you know what Christianity is? We believe your religion, but you have to obey.

DEUTSCH: No, no, no, but I mean —

COULTER: We have the fast-track program.

DEUTSCH: Why don’t I put you with the head of Iran? I mean, come on. You can’t believe that.

COULTER: The head of Iran is not a Christian.

DEUTSCH: No, but in fact, “Let’s wipe Israel” —

COULTER: I don’t know if you’ve been paying attention.

DEUTSCH: “Let’s wipe Israel off the earth.” I mean, what, no Jews?

COULTER: No, we think — we just want Jews to be perfected, as they say.

DEUTSCH: Wow, you didn’t really say that, did you?

COULTER: Yes. That is what Christianity is. We believe the Old Testament, but ours is more like Federal Express. You have to obey laws. We know we’re all sinners —

DEUTSCH: In my old days, I would have argued — when you say something absurd like that, there’s no —

COULTER: What’s absurd?

DEUTSCH: Jews are going to be perfected. I’m going to go off and try to perfect myself —

COULTER: Well, that’s what the New Testament says.

DEUTSCH: Ann Coulter, author of “If Democrats Had Any Brains, They’d Be Republicans,” and if Ann Coulter had any brains, she would not say Jews need to be perfected. I’m offended by that personally. And we’ll have more “Big Idea” when we come back.

(BREAK)

DEUTSCH: Welcome back to “The Big Idea.” During the break, Ann said she wanted to explain her last comment. So I’m going to give her a chance. So you don’t think that was offensive?

COULTER: No. I’m sorry. It is not intended to be. I don’t think you should take it that way, but that is what Christians consider themselves: perfected Jews. We believe the Old Testament. As you know from the Old Testament, God was constantly getting fed up with humans for not being able to, you know, live up to all the laws. What Christians believe — this is just a statement of what the New Testament is — is that that’s why Christ came and died for our sins. Christians believe the Old Testament. You don’t believe our testament.

DEUTSCH: You said — your exact words were, “Jews need to be perfected.” Those are the words out of your mouth.

COULTER: No, I’m saying that’s what a Christian is.

DEUTSCH: But that’s what you said — don’t you see how hateful, how anti-Semitic —

COULTER: No!

DEUTSCH: How do you not see? You’re an educated woman. How do you not see that?

COULTER: That isn’t hateful at all.

DEUTSCH: But that’s even a scarier thought. OK —

COULTER: No, no, no, no, no. I don’t want you being offended by this. This is what Christians consider themselves, because our testament is the continuation of your testament. You know that. So we think Jews go to heaven. I mean (Jerry) Falwell himself said that, but you have to follow laws. Ours is “Christ died for our sins.” We consider ourselves perfected Christians. For me to say that for you to become a Christian is to become a perfected Christian is not offensive at all.

DEUTSCH: We will let the audience decide then, won’t we? Ann Coulter. New book. More “Big Idea” straight ahead.

I cannot see why Fox News gives air time to Ann Coulter. She is a right-wing, anti-Semite with a bad dye job. I usually change channels when I see her on Fox News.

When I was in second grade at Emerson School in Berwyn, I was expelled along with two buddies for fighting. It was my first taste of anti-Semitism.

One of my buddies arrived at school a little early. He was a shy, timid boy. Five other boys were beating him up when I arrived, calling him "Yid" and "Kike" and some other names I had never heard before. I was a scrapper and jumped right in to help my friend. A couple of minutes later, his cousin arrived and joined in. The principal came over, pulled us apart, and walked the three of us to her office.

"I am expelling the three of you. If you wish to return to Emerson, you'll have to come back with your parents to see me. Go home!"

I walked home and told my mother what happened. She phoned my father at his office. He asked me what happened. "You did the right thing," he said. "I'll call the principal and make an appointment."

My parents and I saw her late that afternoon. She was angry.

"Your son and his friend were beating up some of their classmates this morning right before school started. I saw them. That's why I expelled them. I don't know why you people always have to make trouble!"

My dad asked me to tell my side of the story. I did.

"I believe my son," he said. "He always tells us the truth. But I don't think you have a clue about what happened this morning.

"You think that my son and his two buddies are Jewish troublemakers, don't you? Well, I have news for you. My last name might sound Jewish, but I'm not Jewish. My father was born and raised in England as a Christian. He and my mother now live only a block from this school.

"Now, here's what we're going to do. You seem totally ignorant of what happened to the Jews just a couple of years ago during the war in Europe. I don't think you even care. You will reinstate my son so he can finish second grade here. Next year, he will attend St. Leonard's Catholic School. I don't want him coming back to Emerson."

This incident happened in May 1948. I started St. Leonard's in September 1948. My two buddies were reinstated at Emerson and eventually graduated. The shy one became a rabbi; his cousin became a playwright. I became a magazine writer. In the 1970s and 1980s, I freelanced articles and book reviews about jazz and big music for the Chicago Sun-Times.

Hearing Ann Coulter reminds me of that principal at Emerson almost 60 years ago. There was no excuse for her ignorance and bigotry back then, and there is no excuse for Ann Coulter's ignorance and bigotry today. Or her lousy dye job!

George Spink
Los Angeles

After reading the full clip of what Ann Coulter said, I have to say that was the oddest 'explanation' of the difference between Christianity and Judaism I've heard. "You have to obey laws" - and she thinks Christians don't? Explains a lot.... ;-)

Don't feel bad about giving her oxygen. The more people know about her, the more they realize she has some serious problems.

A major point of ann's is pointing out the hypocrisy and dimwitted attitudes of liberals. By all of you talking about her, and 'not getting' her qoutes, you are proving her point. She will be the first to tell you it's about entertainment, thats why conservatives like her and liberals don't get her. It's entertainment. Once you see if for what it is, you won't care so much to write an article about her, but will just laugh it off.

The difference between a blog that has a preponderance of Democrats and one that has mostly Republicans comes in the teeth gnashing concerning a pundit's outrageous views. Here, where there are a great many Democrats, you'll find few that disagree amicably. There is a classic liberal knee jerk reaction that is exactly what Ms. Coulter is going for. I ask you, who is the buffoon? On some of the Republican blogs, I would expect to read many supportive messages concerning Ms. Coulter's remarks. However, some of the conservatives would not agree with her remarks and would say so in their message. I would like to see the same measure of outrage that is directed to Ms. Coulter here heaped upon the various liberal pundits, politicians, and newspeople that have said and done heinous and sometimes illegal things in the past. Liberals have a distinct lack in the conscience department. Lynn, any thing that generates this much discourse on your blog is a good item to post. Keep it up.

Clearly the Coulter bashing stems from a fear of Christianity. People fear things they don't understand. Our society likes to let everyone have their own truths, so long as they don't offend others. This idea is ridiculous and illogical. The beliefs of a Christian and a Jew are mutually exclusive. The same with the beliefs of a Christian and a Muslim. Christians believe that belief in Christ is the only way to salvation. Jews have a different view of salvation. And Muslims, another.

If your friend was sick you'd want them to get better. As a Christian, I believe all people are inherently sick and need the kind of healing that only Jesus Christ can provide. It is typically only out of love for others that we promote our beliefs. I believe this is Ann Coulters motivation, but maybe it's power or fame. I can't be certain. Only God knows the heart. Regardless, it should not be offensive, it's just what we believe; it is truth. I don't hate people with differing beliefs, I love them. It is a command. Jesus, a Jew, adds to the Jewish shema in Matt 22: 39 "Love your neighbor as yourself."

How can I be sure I am right in my beliefs? That's a tough question, but the short answer is faith inspired by fact and personal experience. But then, everyone's religious beliefs come down to faith - even atheists- even yours. That's because there is not 100% proof. The one idea I can be sure of is that not all religious beliefs can be true. If you subscribe to universal truth you are an irrational self-defeatist.

If Donnie Deutsch understood Christianity, he would not have found Coulter's remarks offensive. That's not to say that the truth doesn't hurt. But truth in love is what the Bible instructs and salvation is offered to everyone, Jews and Gentiles. Maybe that's why Coulter invited him to church.

Mark

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on October 15, 2007 8:27 AM.

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