Universal Edited Out Coulter's 'Old Arab,' to Discuss Problem of Different Versions

By: Dave Astor Universal Press Syndicate will be talking with Ann Coulter about using the same versions of columns on AnnCoulter.com as she sends Universal.

The syndicate also said this morning that Coulter, in the Feb. 23 column she transmitted to Universal, did use the words "old Arab" to describe Helen Thomas before the syndicate edited out "Arab." Universal had originally been unsure whether the column Coulter sent Universal contained "Arab" or whether Coulter only used that word in the version she posted on her Web site.

Meanwhile, E&P reached Thomas this morning, and she declined to respond to what Coulter wrote about her.

In her Feb. 23 column, Coulter wrote: "Press passes can't be that hard to come by if the White House allows that old Arab Helen Thomas to sit within yards of the president." Universal said it removed the word "Arab" before distributing the column to Coulter's 110 client papers; the new version read "dyspeptic, old Helen Thomas." But "Arab" remained in the version Coulter put on her Web site.

Kathie Kerr, Universal's director of communications, told E&P that the syndicate is having "friendly discussions" with Coulter about using the same wording in a column on her Web site as in the syndicated version. "The policy would not just be for this [the Feb. 23] column but also for future columns," said Kerr. What if Coulter insists on using different wording on her site? Kerr replied that possible options would include Coulter putting a disclaimer on a changed column or removing the Universal copyright from a changed column on her site. As of today, a Universal copyright continued to appear under the AnnCoulter.com version of the Feb. 23 column even though it contains the "Arab" word the syndicate edited out.

Thomas, whose Hearst Newspapers column is distributed by King Features Syndicate, is of Lebanese descent. The former United Press International reporter has been a journalist for nearly 60 years and has covered every president since John F. Kennedy.


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