Editors Who Are Keeping Coulter’s Column Explain Why

By: Dave Astor

At least seven of Ann Coulter’s approximately 100 clients dropped her column this week, meaning more than 90 are keeping the feature — at least for now.

E&P called some newspapers to find out why they’ve opted to continue publishing her in the wake of Coulter’s March 2 “faggot” reference about former Sen. John Edwards (and her previous incendiary comments).

“She didn’t use that language in her column,” said Michael P. Clark, editorial page editor of The Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville. If she had used the F-word slur in her Universal Press Syndicate feature, he added, “we would have edited it out.”

Clark declined further comment, except to conclude: “We plan to keep her column.”

The Casper Star-Tribune also plans to continue publishing Coulter. “I don’t like Ann Coulter, but many of my readers do,” said Clark Walworth, editor of the Wyoming daily. “And I resent being lectured to by people who don’t even subscribe to my paper.”

Walworth was referring to the liberal MediaMatters.org site posting the names of Coulter’s clients and suggesting that people contact those papers. The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), a gay-rights group, has also urged people to contact some of the conservative Coulter’s clients.

David Hampton, editorial director of The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Miss., reported that his newspaper received about 3,000 e-mails since last night due to the MediaMatters.org listing. “It’s the most mail I’ve ever gotten on anything,” he told E&P, adding that he has also received some calls from local readers criticizing Coulter.

Like Walworth, Hampton is not a Coulter fan. “I’ve never agreed with anything that woman has uttered or written,” he said. But Hampton is keeping Coulter, at least for now, because he wants a wide variety of commentary in The Clarion-Ledger. “She’s loved and hated by many people in our region,” Hampton added.

Hampton did emphasize that Coulter’s use of the word “faggot” was “terrible, offensive, and out of line” — and that her column is “really on the edge” of what his paper accepts. “We do monitor her column closely — more than our other columns,” he said, resulting in some of her past pieces either being spiked or edited.

“I think her popularity will continue to wane,” concluded Hampton. “I believe ideas rise and fall on their merits, and I haven’t seen much depth in hers.”

The Associated Press reported that another Coulter client, the Elko (Nev.) Daily Free Press, decided Friday to keep the columnist after soliciting the opinions of readers.

On Thursday, the Free Press had posted a note reporting that it received thousands of e-mails generated by the HRC campaign, but said none of the e-mails were local. So the paper asked local readers to weigh in.

“As of this morning we had received nearly 60 phone calls or faxes, and about nine out of 10 wanted us to keep running Ann Coulter,” said Free Press Managing Editor Jeff Mullins, as quoted in a Friday story in his paper.

Mullins added: “Many callers said they thought Ann Coulter had a right to express herself, and they did not want us to be swayed by those seeking her removal.”


Related E&P story: Two More Papers Drop Ann Coulter: They Explain Why

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