Take a look at the cover of The New York Daily News today, huge publicity. Ann Coulter's publisher is dancing down the street. The controversy is all about Ann writing that four 9/11 widows are liberal pawns and are craven.
Says Coulter, "these broads are millionaires lionized on TV and in articles about them, reveling in their status as celebrities... I've never seen people enjoying their husbands' deaths so much."
Now many conservatives have joined liberals in condemning Coulter's words, but not all. On "The Radio Factor," some callers supported Ann. Talking Points believes most Americans reject that kind of vitriol because it is mean and counterproductive.
The question then becomes, why does Ann Coulter do it? No doubt the publicity will sell her some books, but she is already well off and famous.
No doubt the widows have become liberal activists. They replied to Ms. Coulter today on a far left blog. But as Americans, they have a right to take any political position they want. No doubt some far-left pundits have said far worse things than Ann Coulter will ever say and the mainstream media often celebrates them. But a no-spin rule is that you don't justify bad behavior by pointing to other bad behavior.
Three years ago I chastised Ann Coulter for the personal stuff:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
O'REILLY: You basically are doing somewhat what the left wing bomb- throwers are doing. You demonize --
O'REILLY: Oh, come on, Jimmy Carter, quote, "self-righteous, vengeful, sneaky and back-stabbing." Jimmy Carter.
COULTER: Read the full sentence. It's so much better.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
From that clip you get the impression Ms. Coulter enjoys the personal attack and that may be true. But once you get down to that level, you often lose the point. And Coulter's point on the widows is interesting. She believes the far left uses people like the widows to attack President Bush and conservatives because grieving people are hard to challenge.
Now, I ran into that exact situation last January on the Letterman program when Cindy Sheehan name came up:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
O'REILLY: The soldiers and Marines are noble. They are not terrorists and when people call them that, like Cindy Sheehan called the insurgents freedom fighters, we don't like that.
DAVID LETTERMAN: I'm very concerned about people like yourself who don't have nothing but endless sympathy for a woman like Cindy Sheehan, honest to Christ.
O'REILLY: I'm sorry, no way a terrorist who blows up women and children are going to be called freedom fighter on my program.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Now you may remember Ms. Sheehan telling CBS News reporter Mark Knoller that the terrorists in Iraq were freedom fighters. My point was that Sheehan's description injured the families of U.S. service people killed and hurt by those savages and the far-left activists, Ms. Sheehan, needs to be called on that, even if she did lose a son in Iraq.
Now if I had used a personal attack against Ms. Sheehan, which I did not, my point would not have been as persuasive, I believe. So if Ann Coulter is trying to persuade people to her view, the personal attacks are foolish. If she just wants to sing her choir a song, well, you can make money doing that.
I believe that in the end those standing on the high ground will win the culture war. The vicious fighter often loses to the smarter fighter.
That's "The Memo."
The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day
I was supposed to be in D.C. this evening. We had an interview set up with John Kerry. But it rained here in New York, and when it rains in New York, planes get backed up and a nightmare unfolds. So I couldn't get to Washington in time to do my radio program.
If you are going to fly this summer, prepare yourself. Any bad weather will wreak havoc. That's because in most big airports, too many planes. They're supposed to take off at the same time and they're stacked up. Everybody in the airline industry knows this, but nothing is done because nobody cares.
Flying in America is now painful, going to the airport an ordeal. It is obviously ridiculous.
And we appreciate Senator Kerry. He's been very good about this. And we'll catch up with him later on in the month.
—You can catch Bill O'Reilly's "Talking Points Memo" and "Most Ridiculous Item" weeknights at 8 and 11 p.m. ET on the FOX News Channel and any time on foxnews.com/oreilly. Send your comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org