Editor Explains Why Paper Dropped Coulter Column

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By: Dave Astor

At least one newspaper has canceled Ann Coulter’s column after she implied that Democratic politician John Edwards is a “faggot.”

The daily Lancaster (Pa.) New Era, in a note to readers, said it “halted publication of Ann Coulter’s syndicated column following her crude characterization of presidential candidate John Edwards as a homosexual at a public appearance on Friday. Coulter’s use of name-calling, sarcasm, and overstatement in her columns too often detracts from the arguments she seeks to make. …

“Lancaster County residents of whatever political view — conservative, moderate, or liberal — deserve intelligent discussion of issues. Ann Coulter no longer provides that.”

New Era Editor Ernie Schreiber expanded on those comments when reached early this afternoon. He told E&P that Coulter “was hurting our credibility. Our community is largely conservative and Republican. They expect insightful discussion of issues. Ann Coulter wasn’t giving us that. We have lots of conservative columnists who do — Cal Thomas, Jonah Goldberg, Robert Novak, Michelle Malkin, among others.”

Schreiber said of Coulter: “I can’t defend her antics, and I don’t want the New Era associated with them.”

The editor added: “My primary objection to Coulter’s antics are that they distract attention from the issues that are important — the war in Iraq, immigration policy, spending policy, health care. Her schoolyard taunt of John Edwards is just so irrelevant to American life. I resent having to spend a moment dealing with it.”

When asked about reader response so far, Schreiber said 16 people who contacted the New Era agree with the paper’s decision and 12 oppose it. “One promised to cancel,” he reported. “But even those who objected were polite, which makes my point. Readers want rational discussion, not name-calling.”

Schreiber doesn’t yet know who might replace Coulter in the New Era. “I’ve told a number of folks who e-mailed me in support of Coulter that I’d welcome their recommendations,” he said. “But we’re not at a loss for conservative columnists. There are lots of good ones out there.”

In other fallout, several advertisers — including Verizon — withdrew ads from Coulter’s Web site on Monday. “Per our policy, the networked Web site ad purchases are supposed to be stripped of certain kinds of Web sites,” said a Verizon spokesperson. “This one could be considered an extreme political Web site, should be off the list, and now it is off the list.”

AT&T also pulled ads, announcing: “Many of our ad placements — particularly on the Internet — are secured in bulk with placements made by third-party buyers with a goal of trying to reach the broadest audiences possible. We ask our media buyers to avoid sites that might generally be seen as offensive or polarizing to the public, which appears to be the case with this political Web site. Our ads have been withdrawn.”

Universal Press Syndicate distributes Coulter to about 100 newspapers. The syndicate declined to comment to E&P yesterday on Coulter’s slur, saying she hadn’t made it in her newspaper column.

Coulter’s exact words Friday, when speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference, 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.”

Audience members at the conference appeared stunned, but then many laughed and applauded Coulter’s homophobic slur.

The controversial Universal columnist 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.”

Last night on Fox News Coulter said the F-word was merely a “schoolyard taunt. … It isn’t offensive to gays. It has nothing to do with gays.”
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Related E&P stories:

Leading Gay Activist Group Lobbying Coulter’s Syndicate

Coulter’s Syndicate Won’t React to ‘Faggot’ Slur

Coulter: Edwards’ Campaign Manager ‘Fronting for Arab Terrorists’

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