By: Dave Astor
When the State College, Pa., Centre Daily Times dropped ultraconservative columnist Ann Coulter two days ago, it braced for a large reaction — and got it. But of the more than 500 e-mails that poured in, about 485 supported the paper’s decision, according to Executive Editor Bob Unger. “Maybe this is a hopeful sign that people are getting sick of extremists that pander to the worst in us,” he told E&P Online.
The column precipitating the decision was Coulter’s latest piece, which said Republicans are nicer than they should be to liberals. “I will say that there is only one thing wrong with liberals: they’re no good,” she wrote, later calling the Kennedys “a family of heroin addicts, statutory rapists, convicted and unconvicted female-killers, cheaters, bootleggers, and dissolute drunks.”
Unger responded in a column addressed to Coulter. “You’re fired. … You are either a hater or a hypocrite who calls names and spews enmity because you believe it will get your pretty face on television more or sell more copies of your best-selling books. … I’m not going to defend the Kennedy family or liberals. … But, Ann, you’re mean — vicious, really — which is why we do not believe that you in any way serve the public good.” The Centre Daily Times runs a mix of columnists, including conservative Cal Thomas and liberal Molly Ivins. Among the paper’s audience is a “pretty conservative readership outside of Penn State,” said Unger, who noted that the 500-plus e-mails have been local, national, and international in origin.
Coulter, author of the current Slander: Liberal Lies About the American Right, is distributed by Universal Press Syndicate to about 60 papers. The column has gained at least three clients since Slander was published, said Universal Director of Communications Kathie Kerr, adding that the Centre Daily Times is the only recent cancellation she knows of. “While we regret the loss of any newspaper as a client, we certainly respect the right of editors to decide whether a column is appropriate for their readers,” said Kerr. “Some people are going to like the style and some will not.”