By: Dave Astor
The Times of Shreveport, La., today became at least the fourth newspaper this week to drop columnist Ann Coulter.
In a note just posted on the newspaper’s site, Times Executive Editor Alan English wrote: “Today we move past the rhetoric and unproductive dialogue offered by Ann Coulter. The Times is dropping her column effective immediately.
“It is her recent ‘joke’ about John Edwards being considered a ‘faggot’ that is the back-breaking straw for a decision we’ve openly discussed for some time.”
The Times had previously considered dropping Coulter last year after the author/Universal Press columnist made nasty remarks about 9/11 widows.
The American Press in Lake Charles, La., also dropped Coulter this week, according to a letter today to Media Matters from one of its editors.
Also dropping Coulter this week were the Lancaster (Pa.) New Era, The Oakland Press of Michigan, and The Mountain Press of Sevierville, Tenn.
Kathie Kerr, a Universal spokeswoman, told the Associated Press today the service has no plans to stop offering the columns. “All of our clients and newspaper editors know better than we do what they should and should not run,” Kerr said. “They know their communities better than we do.”
Shreveport’s English wrote today that Coulter’s “repeated use of hyperbole in the call for the death of some journalists and politicians was beyond the pale. And while we all believe she was ‘just kidding,’ her ‘shock-jock” writing style is no different from Howard Stern’s practical jokes and bathroom humor that aims to draw a school-yard snicker but falls well short of reasonable, thought-provoking journalism. Unlike the work of a Thomas Sowell or a Kathleen Parker, two thoughtful conservatives, does a Coulter column raise the level of discourse? The answer: rarely.
“No doubt some conservatives will lament the loss of their beloved Coulter, someone who made the joke they are too polite to make. Objections are expected, but please do not miss the continuation of outstanding conservative commentary by Cal Thomas and Jonah Goldberg that continues on our pages. Sure Michelle Malkin sometimes approaches a Coulter-style rant, but we don’t recall any homicidal zingers.
“We are committed to providing a balance in commentary, so Coulter will be replaced by another conservative voice. …”
The Times has been hearing from readers since Coulter uttered her homophobic slur at the Conservative Political Action Conference. One Shreveport resident wrote: “It’s very disheartening that The Times continues to support a bigot like Ann Coulter. Had she used the ‘n’ word so proudly and unashamedly, would you conveniently overlook it, merely for the controversy she provides your readers? Seriously, would you?
“Indirectly, by continuing to run her column, you and your publication perpetuate the climate of hate that supports discrimination and the hundreds of gay bashings that occur each year. I hope that you will reconsider your ethical and moral responsibilities and the high standards for which you strive.”
Meanwhile, the Human Rights Campaign gay-rights organization announced an effort late Wednesday afternoon to get other Coulter newspaper clients (she has about 100) to drop the columnist. That came a day after HRC started a letter-writing effort that resulted in what it said were more than 20,000 messages urging Universal to stop distributing Coulter.
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
— Statement by Shreveport Editor Today on Dropping Ann Coulter