In defending Ann Coulter -- who smeared both liberals and the widows of the 9-11 victims in her new book and recent public appearances -- Bill O'Reilly and Rush Limbaugh claimed that Coulter "doesn't lie." But Media Matters for America has previously documented numerous statements by Coulter that have proved to be untrue.
In defending right-wing pundit Ann Coulter -- who smeared both liberals and the widows of the victims of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in her new book, Godless: The Church of Liberalism (Crown Forum, June 2006), and in recent public appearances -- Fox News host Bill O'Reilly and nationally syndicated radio host Rush Limbaugh claimed that Coulter "doesn't lie." Although Media Matters for America does not purport to know whether Coulter advances false claims consciously, we have previously documented numerous statements by Coulter that have proved to be untrue.
During an interview with right-wing activist and author David Horowitz on the June 8 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, O'Reilly asked Horowitz to identify "the difference" between Coulter and liberal satirist and Air America Radio host Al Franken. O'Reilly then answered his own question, claiming that, although "Franken lies, and we can prove that," "Coulter doesn't lie." O'Reilly offered no evidence to support his claim that Franken lies but claimed, on the June 8 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio program, that, in his upcoming book, Culture Warrior (Broadway Books, September 2006), he "will prove that beyond any doubt at all" both Franken and liberal filmmaker Michael Moore "consciously lie."
Media Matters has, in fact, documented numerous false statements by Coulter, including:
- She falsely accused former President Bill Clinton of being a "very good rapist."
- She falsely claimed Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) refused to release his military records and tax forms during his 2004 presidential campaign, when, in fact, both were posted on his website.
- She falsely claimed that former President Clinton's private secretary was the highest-placed African-American in the Clinton administration.
- She falsely accused The New York Times of "out[ing]" gay children of prominent conservatives.
- She falsely claimed the Arizona Daily Star dropped her syndicated column to "keep conservatives out."
Similarly, on the June 8 broadcast of The Rush Limbaugh Show, Limbaugh claimed: "You can say whatever you want about Ann Coulter, but she doesn't lie about what liberals say. She doesn't make it up, and she doesn't take it out of context." In fact, Coulter has misrepresented, numerous times, the remarks of liberals, progressives, and Democrats. As Media Matters documented:
- She erroneously claimed that liberal financier George Soros "said the reason for anti-Semitism is the Jews."
- She falsely accused University of Chicago professor Steven D. Levitt and Stanford University professor John J. Donohue III -- whom she identified as "liberals" -- of "defending Roe v. Wade."
- She falsely asserted that Elizabeth Edwards -- whom she identified as the "white wife of vice presidential candidate John Edwards" -- "warned of riots unless John Kerry is elected."
From the June 8 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
O'REILLY: Well, she'll get a fair shake on this program and on this network.
HOROWITZ: Yes. Well, you did --
O'REILLY: But, in some -- yeah, in some places she won't. What's the difference between Ann Coulter and Al Franken? I mean --
HOROWITZ: Well, good point. Ann Coulter is funnier and smarter. But the fact is that Franken and -- a really nasty piece of work -- Bill Maher get a totally free ride, you know, for their viciousness.
O'REILLY: Well, they do. But that's the left-wing media doing that. I have an answer to this question. I'm going to ask you one more time. What's the difference between the tactics that Coulter uses and the tactics that Franken uses?
HOROWITZ: Well, like I say, I think they're both in the field of political satire, and, therefore, they're going to make statements that for others would be over the top. But, you know -- and you might say Witches of Eastwick -- East Brunswick is a little over the top.
O'REILLY: I didn't care about that. The thing that I thought -- I don't care about that. The thing that I thought was beyond the pale was saying that they enjoyed their husbands' demise.
HOROWITZ: Well, the fact is that they --
O'REILLY: I don't believe that's satire. But here's the difference between Franken and Coulter. I have to answer my own question here.
HOROWITZ: Go ahead.
O'REILLY: Coulter doesn't lie. Coulter doesn't lie.
HOROWITZ: Well, that's true.
O'REILLY: She's over the top in my opinion, and I don't like her tactics at all and I think they diminish her.
HOROWITZ: She's exposing rank hypocrisy here.
O'REILLY: Yeah, she does that.
HOROWITZ: These are the same people who in attacking her who attack our troops, and, you know, I've already --
O'REILLY: We demonstrated that earlier, David, in the program.
O'REILLY: I mean, these people on the far left are despicable people. There's no question. But Franken lies, and we can prove that. Coulter doesn't.
From the June 8 broadcast of Westwood One's The Radio Factor with Bill O'Reilly:
CALLER: I'll tell you, on this Ann Coulter thing, let me just say that I think that the comparison to Al Franken isn't quite accurate, and here's why: Yeah, Ann Coulter's probably a bomb-thrower but, you know, she's a smart bomb-thrower. The stuff that she says is -- it's, number one, it's accurate and it's truthful, unlike, you know, what Franken or Michael Moore --
O'REILLY: That's a good -- that's a good point. That's an excellent point. And Coulter herself should have made it. Franken and Moore consciously lie. All right. Consciously lie. I haven't seen that with Ann Coulter. So, that -- that's an excellent point. In -- in her, you know -- she uses the same techniques, you know, bomb-throwing personal attacks, but I haven't seen her consciously lie where the other two do. And there's no question they do. Again, in my upcoming September book, I will prove that beyond any doubt at all.
From the June 8 broadcast of The Rush Limbaugh Show:
LIMBAUGH: There's actual slander and libel that the left is engaging in. Michael Moore takes people out of context. He's in the process of being sued by somebody who was misused in his movie for $85 million, a military man who was in a video clip taken totally out of context. Well, you can say whatever you want about Ann Coulter, but she doesn't lie about what liberals say. She doesn't make it up, and she doesn't take it out of context. It is between-your-eyes truth, just as all of us on the right are between-the-eyes truth when we talk about and identify the left. They can't handle it.