By: Dave Astor
An Illinois daily has decided to keep Ann Coulter, at least for now, despite local reader sentiment running somewhat against the controversial conservative columnist.
Meanwhile, the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin of Ontario, Calif., has become at least the ninth of Coulter’s approximately 100 newspaper clients to drop her since she used the word “faggot” when talking about Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards during a March 2 speech.
The State Journal-Register of Springfield, Ill., had been soliciting reader input this week about Coulter. More than 2,000 readers weighed in, with roughly 53% wanting the paper to drop the Universal Press Syndicate columnist and 47% wanting to keep her.
“We asked ourselves whether we wanted to get rid of someone nearly half our readers considered worth reading,” said SJ-R Editorial Page Editor Mike Matulis, when interviewed today by E&P.
He added that if the paper canceled Coulter, some readers might try to get other columnists — including liberal Ted Rall — dropped. (Rall does a column in addition to his Universal-distributed editorial cartoons.)
“We’re dedicated to having as open an opinion page as we can,” said Matulis, who had told E&P Monday that reader input would be one factor, but not the only factor, determining Coulter’s status in the paper.
SJ-R Editor Barry Locher wrote a piece about the decision to keep Coulter that was posted today on his paper’s Web site. It read, in part:
“Ann Coulter’s work is valued by virtually half of you who contacted us, and that’s good enough for me. Because I publish her work, however, doesn’t mean that I, or the newspaper, endorse any of the outrageous or otherwise loaded language sometimes evident in her work, nor in the work of any of the syndicated national columnists, our own letter writers or even our beloved [editorial cartoonist] Chris Britt. We must be careful not to blur the lines between what’s presented as opinion and what’s presented as fact.
“While it is human nature to respect and admire those who share similar opinions while at the same time belittling those who do not, for a daily newspaper to be truly independent and relevant to its readers it must allow and encourage vast ranges of views on its pages. …”
Locher’s full piece can be read by clicking here.
The Daily Bulletin’s decision to drop the Universal columnist was reported by MediaMatters.org, which has been asking people to contact Coulter’s client newspapers. The Human Rights Campaign gay-rights organization has also been urging its supporters to complain to papers about Coulter, whose track record includes numerous “jokes” about killing liberals and others with whom she disagrees.