Thursday , March 08, 2007
WASHINGTON —At least three newspapers have pulled conservative commentator Ann Coulter's syndicated column from their editorial pages after her comments last week calling Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards a "faggot."
Newspapers in Tennessee, Pennsylvania and Michigan pulled the column after criticism from readers. In addition, reports say at least three companies, Verizon, Sallie Mae and NetBank, have dropped their advertising from Coulter's Web site after a liberal blogger launched a campaign to petition the firms to stop their support.
The Mountain Press in Sevier County, Tenn., pulled Coulter's column this week and called her comments at the Conservative Political Action Conference last week "distasteful and irresponsible," according to its note to readers on its Web site.
"When we agree to buy a syndicated column we expect the writer to offer responsible, reasoned opinion on national and international issues," said Stan Voit, editor of the Mountain Press. "We will not continue to publish the columns of someone who uses people as a punch line to get a cheap laugh and who so freely uses an offensive term to describe another human being."
The Mountain Press carried the column since last fall. It will replace Coulter's column with another female conservative columnist.
Coulter came under fire after appearing at CPAC last Friday and joking that she "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.'"
Besieged in the press and by three Republican presidential candidates, Coulter defended herself by saying she was mocking political correctness in America, not homosexuality.
"'Faggot' isn't offensive to gays; it has nothing to do with gays," Coulter said on FOX News' "Hannity and Colmes."
"It's a schoolyard taunt meaning 'wuss,' and unless you're telling me that John Edwards is gay, it was not applied to a gay person."
But her explanation apparently didn't satisfy editors at The Oakland Press in Michigan and The Daily Lancaster New Era in Pennsylvania. According to a report by Editor and Publisher, both papers dropped her from their op-ed line-up.
"Apparently, she seems more interested in being a celebrity," said Oakland Press Editorial Page Editor Allan Adler. "It's fine to express your views and back them up, and try to be a proponent for conservatives, but we just felt she got a little carried away."
The Lancaster New Era called Coulter's comments a "crude characterization of presidential candidate John Edwards as a homosexual."
"Coulter's use of name-calling, sarcasm and overstatement in her columns too often detracts from the arguments she seeks to make. Her writing leads her political opponents to respond with name-calling and vitriol," according to a note to readers on its Web site.
It's not the first time Coulter has been dropped from some of the partners of Universal Press Syndicate. In 2004, USA Today dropped her column after she called the Democratic National Convention in Boston "The Spawn of Satan convention."
Edwards launched a fundraising drive as a result of the remark. His campaign asked supporters to donate $100,000 in "Coulter Cash" to "show that inflaming prejudice to attack progressive leaders will only backfire."