By: Dave Astor
At least two more daily newspapers — The Oakland Press of Michigan and The Mountain Press of Sevierville, Tenn. — have dropped Ann Coulter’s column. A daily in Pennsylvania had dropped the column two days ago.
Meanwhile, the Human Rights Campaign gay-rights organization announced a campaign late this afternoon to get other Coulter newspaper clients to drop the columnist. This comes a day after HRC started a letter-writing effort that resulted in what it said were more than 20,000 messages urging Universal Press Syndicate to stop distributing Coulter.
Oakland Press Editorial Page Editor Allan Adler, when reached this morning by E&P, said Coulter’s use of the word “faggot” in a Friday speech was “definitely a factor” in his newspaper’s decision. He also read a statement from his paper that went as follows:
“When we picked up Ann Coulter, it was because we felt we needed a conservative columnist … and we knew she had a following. She certainly no longer represents conservatism and apparently is more interested in being a celebrity. We are searching for a new columnist and will no longer be running Coulter.”
The Oakland Press had picked up Coulter’s column last summer and, since then, the Universal feature “probably drew many more letters to the editor pro and con than any national column we run,” said Adler.
In a story today on its Web site, The Mountain Press said it dropped Coulter because of her “distasteful and irresponsible comments over the weekend about a presidential candidate. Coulter referred to Democratic candidate John Edwards as a ‘faggot’ in a Friday speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference. Her comments were denounced by both Republicans and Democrats,” the Tennessee paper noted.
“When we agree to buy a syndicated column we expect the writer to offer responsible, reasoned opinion on national and international issues,” Editor Stan Voit said in the story. “Ms. Coulter’s column drew an unusual amount of criticism from our readers when we first started running it, but we felt she was a nationally known writer offering her opinions in her own style. However we will not continue to publish the columns of someone who uses people as a punch line to get a cheap laugh and who so freely uses an offensive term to describe another human being.”
The Mountain Press will replace Coulter with another conservative, female columnist yet to be determined.
Another daily Coulter client, the Lancaster (Pa.) New Era, had dropped the Universal columnist this week following her “faggot” slur.
In a Wednesday letter announcing his organization’s campaign targeting individual newspapers, HRC President Joe Solmonese wrote: “Yesterday, we asked you to send a message to [President and Editor] Lee Salem … of Universal Press Syndicate. … You leaped into action and sent over 20,000 e-mails to Lee demanding Universal … drop Coulter?s column. By responding so quickly, you sent a strong message that our community will not stand by silently while UPS continues to serve as a platform for hateful and destructive language in the media.
“As you may know by now, UPS has flatly defied the protests of thousands of fair-minded Americans nationwide by refusing to stop distributing Coulter?s column. …
“UPS said, ‘of course, any of her subscribing newspapers can drop her column at any time.’ And that’s exactly why we need your help again.
“Keep the heat on Coulter by encouraging individual newspapers to not provide platforms to bigots.
“Send a message today to the editors of newspapers that have not stepped up to the plate by dropping Coulter?s column and demand that these publications stop allowing their pages to be used to spread Coulter?s hate.”
Coulter reportedly has about 100 clients, but HRC was only able to find the names of seven through online searches. David Smith, HRC’s vice president of programs, said many of the clients may be too small to show up in searches.
According to Smith, the papers being targeted that HRC was able to find include the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, the Elko (Nev.) Daily Free Press, The Calgary Sun, The Winnipeg Sun, and three sister California papers (the Pasadena Star-News, the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, and the Whittier Daily News). However, from its Web site, there is no indication that Coulter’s column runs at the Pittsburgh paper.
Coulter’s exact words Friday were: “I was going to have a few comments on the other Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, but it turns out you have to go into rehab if you use the word ‘faggot,’ so I — so kind of an impasse, can’t really talk about Edwards.”
She followed her “faggot” reference with a statement on her Web site saying Edwards campaign manager David Bonior — a former Congressman — “is fronting for Arab terrorists.”
Related E&P story:
— Human Rights Campaign Brings Pressure on Coulter’s Syndicate