"[I]f I had a dollar ... ": After defending Falwell's post-9-11 comments, Coulter and Caldara joked about her homophobic slurs
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During a guest appearance on Newsradio 850 KOA's The Jon Caldara Show, right-wing pundit Ann Coulter defended the late Rev. Jerry Falwell's comments in which he blamed feminists, gays and lesbians, and abortion rights supporters for the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. She and Caldara later joked about Coulter's history of incendiary rhetoric, including her highly publicized homophobic remarks.
After telling Newsradio 850 KOA host and Independence Institute president Jon Caldara that "it never pays to apologize to liberals," frequent guest and right-wing pundit Ann Coulter stated that the late Rev. Jerry Falwell's comments blaming feminists, gays and lesbians, and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), among others, for the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks were "utterly defensible" and "straight Christian doctrine." Coulter continued by saying that what Falwell meant was that "if you reject God, he's going to stop protecting you."
Later in the May 17 broadcast, during a discussion with a caller who was "concerned" about "politically correct speech," Caldara said, "[I]f I got a dollar for every time she [Coulter] called me a 'faggot' I'd be one rich man." He added that Coulter "calls me 'faggot' only because she's, she's seen me shoot." Coulter replied, "Yeah, but you [Caldara] keep calling me 'nappy-headed ho.' "
Discussing Falwell's recent death and the media's coverage of some of his controversial statements, Coulter said, "It does prove my point -- stated over and over again, most clearly in How to Talk to a Liberal (If You Must) -- it never pays to apologize to liberals. You apologize, they take it as an admission of wrongdoing and what Jerry Falwell said after 9-11 is a perfect example of that. It was utterly defensible. It ... was straight Christian doctrine. "
The "straight Christian doctrine" Coulter apparently referred to was Falwell's comment on the September 13, 2001, broadcast of Pat Robertson's The 700 Club, in which he blamed "abortionists," "feminists," and gays and lesbians for the September 11 terrorist attacks:
But, throwing God out successfully with the help of the federal court system, throwing God out of the public square, out of the schools. The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked. And when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad. I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America. I point the finger in their face and say 'you helped this happen'.
Later that day Falwell apologized on CNN, saying, "I would never blame any human being except the terrorists, and if I left that impression with gays or lesbians or anyone else, I apologize." However, as Media Matters for America noted, Falwell in November 2004 defended his remarks about 9-11 and falsely claimed that when he assigned blame for God's wrath, he had "likewise" held responsible "a sleeping church, a lethargic church."
Coulter herself has blamed Democrats for the 9-11 attacks, and wrote in her May 16 column that Falwell also should have assigned blame for 9-11 to "[Sen.] Teddy Kennedy [D-MA] and 'the Reverend' Barry Lynn," executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
Later in the broadcast, after making his "faggot" remarks, Caldara said, "[W]e all say things that we occasionally regret" and surmised that "must have happened" with Coulter "at some point as well." Coulter responded, "I don't think so," and added, "Nothin' that they've been hysterical over."
As Colorado Media Matters pointed out when Caldara announced in July 2006 that Coulter would be a regular guest on his show, Coulter has a history of incendiary rhetoric; she has leveled personal attacks, made accusations of treason, and called for violence against those with whom she disagrees. Examples include:
- In her book, Godless: The Church of Liberalism (Crown Forum, June 2006), Coulter presented "liberalism as the opposition party to God" [p.22] and attacked widows of victims of the 9-11 terrorist attacks who have spoken out on political issues, calling them "self-obsessed women" who act "as if the terrorist attacks happened only to them" and who are "enjoying their husbands' deaths" [p.103].
- In addition to calling former Vice President Al Gore a "total fag" and stating that former President Bill Clinton "show[s] some level of latent homosexuality," Coulter during a March 2 speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) said she "can't really talk about" Democratic presidential candidate and former Sen. John Edwards (NC) because "you have to go into rehab if you use the word 'faggot.' " As Media Matters noted, nine newspapers dropped Coulter's column after her homophobic remarks.
From the May 17 broadcast of Newsradio 850 KOA's The Jon Caldara Show:
COULTER: But if I could just say one other thing on Falwell, because everyone is just -- well, two things: It does prove my point -- stated over and over again, most clearly in How to Talk to a Liberal (If You Must) -- it never pays to apologize to liberals. You apologize, they take it as an admission of wrongdoing and what Jerry Falwell said after 9-11 is a perfect example of that. It was utterly defensible. It --
CALDARA: What did --
COULTER: -- was straight Christian doctrine.
CALDARA: What did -- remind me, what did he say and then tell me the apology.
COULTER: He said -- well, it's in the column, which is posted at AnnCoulter.com -- it was his remark, he went on Pat Robertson's TV show, they're talking about 9-11, I don't know, the next day or that night or something, and obviously taking a Christian perspective. They're two Christian ministers sitting there. And, and he said, you know, "America has been" -- I'm, I'm paraphrasing a little, but -- "America has been rejecting God's help. God's been protecting America since its conception when John Winthrop arrived on the Arbella, but now we have, you know, the feminists, the pagans, the ACLU, People for the American Way, the gays who are activists and promoting that as an alternative lifestyle. And I blame them for withdrawing God's protection." This is just straight Christian doctrine. It doesn't mean bad things don't happen. It doesn't mean America brought it on itself. What it means is if you reject God, he's going to stop protecting you. And, and it -- there was nothing to apologize for. He did apologize, 'cause everyone went crazy. And now everyone takes his, his apology as, you know, proof that there was something wrong in what he said in the first place.
CALDARA: And, and, and you've learned, of course, how to apologize over and over again.
COULTER: [Laughs] Yes, I figured out what it is that upset them and see how I can redouble it in my next statement.
CALLER: I should speak quickly before I get [makes muffled sound] -- before I get muffled here by, based on what's been happening to a lot of people on the air lately. I'm, I'm calling 'cause I'm concerned about what seems to be taking place here in America with people and politically correct speech, and also with the mindset that you must believe, as I believe -- meaning the person that is in power in order to be good. Because that's, it's getting scary on the air. I want to hear people's points of view, and I'm afraid we're at a point now where we're not even allowing people to express an idea, even if it's a negative one.
CALDARA: I tell you what, if there's, there's no one better qualified to talk about that than --
CALLER: I was going to say.
CALDARA: -- than, than, you know -- by the way, if --
CALLER: Ann Coulter.
CALDARA: If, if Coulter -- you know, if I got a dollar for every time she called me a "faggot" I'd be one rich man.
CALLER: Well, like she said, the women that are, the women that are Christian are hot.
CALDARA: Yeah. Well, I mean, she, she, she, she calls me "faggot" only because she's, she's seen me shoot.
CALLER: But, see, their holy [unintelligible]
COULTER: Yeah, but you keep calling me "nappy-headed ho."
COULTER: Right. I'm not -- no one hires me, so no one can fire me.
COULTER: The only people who can fire me are the American people. And, by the way, by not buying my books they're not hiring me for speeches. And, by the way, this shows why the advertisers are being stupid. Because the American people keep buying my books. So, you and -- I mean, the sorts of things you or I would get in trouble for are, are going to be similar. So the advertisers are being stupid. They are responding to, to a small group of, of screaming hyenas, whereas we know -- and, and I am a proxy for that -- that most of your listeners would not be offended at anything they'd get hysterical over. I mean, not anything you'd say. I know you.
CALDARA: Oh, come on, if I got, if I got a dollar for every obnoxious thing I said, I'd be, I'd be very wealthy. But we all say things that we occasionally regret. And doing a three-hour show every day, sooner or later something's going to slip out that you wish you could, you could tuck back in. And I -- that must have happened with you at some point as well.
COULTER: No, I don't think so.
CALDARA: [laughs] No, I don't think so.
COULTER: I'll tell you one thing, completely seriously.
COULTER: Nothin' that they've been hysterical over.