By: Joe Strupp
USA Today has dropped plans for conservative columnist Ann Coulter to write a daily column from the Democratic National Convention this week after an editing dispute over her first piece could not be resolved on Monday. Jonah Goldberg, a contributor to the National Review, has agreed to take her place, with his first column slated to run Tuesday.
“It was just differences over editing of a fairly ordinary kind,” said USA Today Editorial Page Editor Brian Gallagher. “We had some different conceptions of what the column should be, we tried to work them out and when we couldn’t, we decided the best course of action was for us to go our own ways.”
The plan to have Coulter take shots at the DNC got off to a delayed start after editors held her first column, slated for Monday morning’s print edition, asking that she make changes to it before it ran.
“Ms. Coulter filed a column for today’s paper and our editors made some suggestions and asked her to consider them,” USA Today spokesman Steve Anderson said early Monday. “But by that point it was late in the day (Sunday) and there was no rush to get it in the paper, so we decided to hold it for a day.” Anderson would not discuss the content of the column.
The dispute was first reported on DrudgeReport.com.
Coulter, whose regular syndicated column is distributed by Universal Press Syndicate, issued a short statement Monday afternoon about the situation: “USA Today doesn’t like my ‘tone,’ humor, sarcasm, etc., which raises the intriguing question of why they hired me to write for them. Perhaps they thought they were getting CATHERINE Coulter.”
A copy of what appears to be the disputed column dated Monday was posted on Coulter’s Web site, www.anncoulter.com.
The idea of having Coulter write about the convention came about recently, Anderson said, adding that the paper wanted “a fresh approach to events that have largely become four-day commercials for political parties.”
Following Coulter’s stint as a columnist covering the Democratic convention, liberal filmmaker Moore is scheduled to do the same thing at the Republican National Convention, which begins in late August.
“We wanted to give someone who would not otherwise be invited to share their opinions of the convention,” Anderson said. “The idea is they would write wry columns that would appear under the heading ‘Crashing the Party.'”
Gallagher said the two-column project will continue, adding that Goldberg was the perfect choice. “Our concern here was to provide an opportunity to look at this convention through a conservative lens and look at the Republican convention through a liberal lens,” he said. “We think our readers will enjoy his work.”