Right-wing pundit Ann Coulter has recently appeared on numerous television and radio programs to promote her latest book. Those who have interviewed Coulter have focused on her more egregious statements in the book, largely ignoring other controversies surrounding Coulter. As such, Media Matters for America has compiled a list of questions for the media to ask Coulter.
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Since June 6, right-wing pundit Ann Coulter has made numerous appearances on television and radio programs to promote her latest book, Godless: The Church of Liberalism (Crown Forum, June 2006). Beginning with her June 6 interview on NBC's Today with co-host Matt Lauer, Coulter has defended comments from her book attacking some of the 9-11 widows as "celebrities ... stalked by grief-arazzis," who are "enjoying their husbands' deaths." However, while those who have interviewed Coulter in recent days have noted some of her more egregious statements from the book, many have largely ignored some controversial issues surrounding Coulter. For example:
Questions relating to plagiarism
Can you explain the similarity of this passage from your most recent book to work previously published by others you did not cite or quote? (From a post on the weblog The Rude Pundit):
Here's Coulter from Chapter 1 of Godless: The massive Dickey-Lincoln Dam, a $227 million hydroelectric project proposed on upper St. John River in Maine, was halted by the discovery of the Furbish lousewort, a plant previously believed to be extinct.
Here's the Portland Press Herald, from the year 2000, in its list of the "Maine Stories of the Century": The massive Dickey-Lincoln Dam, a $227 million hydroelectric project proposed on upper St. John River, is halted by the discovery of the Furbish lousewort, a plant believed to be extinct.
Can you explain prior instances of passages you have written that are also remarkably similar to works previously published by others you did not cite or quote? (From an August 4, 2005, article by Tucson Weekly columnist Walt Nett, citing examples highlighted by The Rude Pundit and The Raw Story):
The Coulter chase began July 1 when a blogger called The Rude Pundit (rudepundit.blogspot.com) compared four unattributed comments in Coulter's column to text from the December 1993 edition of a now-defunct Web magazine, The Flummery Digest. (If the publication is deceased, is it plagiarism or grave-robbing?) Here's one example Rude Pundit provided:
"From Ann Coulter, talking about what taxpayers have funded: 'A photo of a newborn infant with its mouth open titled to suggest the infant was available for oral sex.'
"From The Flummery Digest: 'The title of a photo of a newborn infant with its mouth open suggested that the infant was available for oral sex.' "
The Raw Story (www.rawstory.com), an online "alternative news nexus," dug around further. In a July 20 story titled "Coulter Caught Cribbing From Conservative Magazines," Raw Story presented another half-dozen questionable paragraphs -- two from a Jan. 24, 1995 column in the Boston Globe and four from various issues of an MIT-based magazine, Counterpoint.
Should we be surprised? Not really. The conservative group CoulterWatch (www.coulterwatch.com) offers strong evidence that portions of Coulter's book, High Crimes and Misdemeanors: The Case Against Bill Clinton, were lifted from articles and research by a former Coulter colleague -- who she since has denied ever knowing -- at Human Events magazine.
Are you able to refute other possible examples of plagiarism in your work, as documented by The Raw Story?
Questions relating to possible illegal voting
Why did you try to vote in a precinct in which you are not registered? Why did you then leave when you were told that you had to file a change-of-address form?
On February 15, The Palm Beach Post reported that when voting in local town council elections in Florida, Coulter "cast her ballot in a precinct 4 miles north of the precinct where she owns a home." Two days later, the Post reported that Coulter had attempted to vote in the wrong precinct, quoting the Palm Beach poll worker who confronted Coulter on her mistake:
A Palm Beach poll worker says he tried to help GOP-loving pundit Ann Coulter vote in the right precinct last week. But, Jim Whited says, Coulter dashed out of the polling place when he told her she needed to file a change of address.
On the June 6 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, co-host Alan Colmes noted that the Palm Beach election supervisor had accused Coulter of "voting in the wrong district and not answering a registered letter that they sent" to her. Colmes then asked Coulter: "So could you address those charges and tell us what happened?" Coulter quickly denied the allegations, but refused to provide any substantive details, instead declaring that "I think the syphilis has gone to their [the Palm Beach election officials'] brains," and adding that the reporters writing about the incident are "all retarded":
COLMES: Did you knowingly vote in the wrong district?
COLMES: What happened?
COULTER: Do you need my Social Security number? Should we get my stalkers on the line with my address and apartment number?
COLMES: No. I don't need your address. I just want to know what happened.
COULTER: No, I live in New York. I'm not going to tell you anymore about where I live, Alan. Oddly enough.
COLMES: I didn't ask you where you live. You're accused of voting in the wrong district so --
COULTER: Yes. That's not true. That's not true.
COLMES: You didn't knowingly walk into the wrong district?
COLMES: And did you -- is there a reason you didn't respond to the authorities when they sent you a registered letter?
COULTER: This is all false, I'm telling you. You've got -- I mean, the Treason Times* may hate America, but they're at least accurate. When you go to the bush-league newspapers, you get all the venom of The New York Times, but they're all retarded.
After you left that precinct, why did you cast a ballot in another precinct that was not your own?
According to the same Palm Beach Post article, "[l]ater, elections records show, Coulter cast her ballot 2 miles up the road -- in the wrong precinct."
The Post also reported that Coulter's voter registration in Florida did not contain her correct address, noting that "Florida statutes make it a third-degree felony to vote knowingly in the wrong precinct. Lying on a voter's registration can cost up to $5,000 and five years behind bars."
Can you confirm that you have hired a lawyer to defend you against allegations of illegal voting?
On June 2, Palm Beach Post columnist Jose Lambiet noted that Coulter "hired a white-glove, White House-connected law firm to fight allegations she voted illegally in February's Town of Palm Beach election." He added that her lawyer is "one of the lead attorneys who fought for George W. Bush's side in the 2000 presidential election" in Florida.
Why are you registered to vote in both Florida and Connecticut, which is illegal according to a Connecticut registrar, even though you told Fox News that you live in New York and not Florida or Connecticut?
In a June 7 article on the Palm Beach County investigation into Coulter's voting, the New York Daily News reported that "Coulter is also registered to vote in New Canaan, Conn. -- though the local registrar told the Daily News yesterday it's illegal to be registered in two places at once." The article noted that Coulter told Fox News "she actually lives in New York" and owns a condominium in New York, but "has never registered to vote there."
Question relating to church attendance
Why does the spokesman for the church you have said you attend say that you are not a member of the church and are not known by the congregation?
In a June 8 Raw Story article, Media Matters staff member Max Blumenthal noted that, while Coulter's book "denounces liberalism as 'the opposition party to God,' " a spokesman for the church she professes to attend says that her congregation "do[esn't] really know her." Blumenthal quoted an April 17, 2005, Time magazine article, in which writer John Cloud "suggested that she has been a regular attendee of New York City's Redeemer Presbyterian Church, to which 'she brings a lot of people.' " Blumenthal then detailed his inquiry with the Manhattan church regarding Coulter's purported attendance there:
When contacted by Raw Story, however, Redeemer Presbyterian's Communications and Media Director Cregan Cooke could not confirm that Coulter had ever attended services at the church.
"The only thing I have heard is hearsay that she is an attender" of Redeemer, Cregan told Raw Story. "Our database shows that she is not a member. ... And I don't know anybody that would have seen Ann Coulter. We don't really know her."
Do you dispute the spokesperson's assertion that you are not a member? Can you name anyone who has been to the church and seen you there?