Most journalists are so stupid, the fact that they are also catty, lazy, vengeful and humorless is often overlooked. I generally avoid mentioning even widely published lies about me, or I’d never have time to do the things that provoke liberals to lie about me. But inasmuch as one of the media’s favorite pastimes is to invent inane quotes and attribute them to me, I thought we could use a few examples to probe the need for lithium among the scribbling profession. One apocryphal quote that has long perplexed me was the one falsely attributed to me in Salon.com by Christina Valhouli, renowned expert on “fat farms” and “squishy tummies.” (See http://www.curve-film.com.) What I never said, but fat-farm expert Valhouli thinks I should have said, and that has now appeared in the Washington Monthly, the Washington Post and hundreds of Web sites, is this: “Women like Pamela Harriman and Patricia Duff are basically Anna Nicole Smith from the waist down. Let’s just call it for what it is. They’re whores.” (Aren’t all women somewhat similar “from the waist down”? No wonder liberals are so eager for sex education classes.) I have wracked my brain to understand why a fat-farm expert and “plus size” historian would do me such a bad turn. Readers? Anyone? One of my favorite fabricated statements was the one created for me by Andrew Grossman of the Hollywood Reporter. He was reporting an exchange on the “Today” show about my 9/11 column in which I said of the terrorists and their sympathizers: “We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity.” “Today” host Katie Couric asked me if I thought that was the best way to battle terrorism. Here is my precise answer: “Well, point one and point two, by the end of the week, had become official government policy. As for converting them to Christianity, I think it might be a good idea to get them on some sort of hobby other than slaughtering infidels. I mean, perhaps that’s the Peace Corps, perhaps it’s working for Planned Parenthood, but I’ve never seen the transforming effect of anything like Christianity.” Grossman’ full account of this exchange in the Hollywood Reporter was: ” ‘Do you still believe that’s the best way to fight terrorism?’ Couric demanded. That quote was taken out of context, Coulter insisted.” My parents are still waiting for the day that I formulate an argument as succinct and elegant as: “That was taken out of context. Now I’ll go back to eating my turkey.” Even my worst enemies would not believe I was a nonparticipant in an argument about me. This is the form of stupidity I admire the most: How should I know how to work LexisNexis? Apart from being a college professor, there is no easier job in the universe than being a journalist. For 99.999% of writers, there is no heavy lifting, no physical danger, no honest day’s work. Andrew Grossman has found a way to make it even easier. No research! At the other end of the spectrum are energetic journalists who missed the class on “editing.” They think all Ann Coulter quotes are one long ticker tape that may be cut up and strung together at random to produce any imaginable point. On Dec. 8, 1998, the topic on “Rivera Live” was how long an impeachment trial would take. Alan Dershowitz said it would take up to 10 months. Geraldo Rivera said three months. Lawyer Roy Black offered the important and persuasive point that “people with a brain” wanted me to stop talking. This is the relevant exchange about the length of the impeachment trial (which took about one week): Ms. Coulter: The idea that a Senate trial would go on and on and on is absurd. It would take about a week. . . . Prof. Dershowitz: Can you make a tape of that? Yeah, Geraldo, make a tape of that and replay that over and over again as we get into the sixth week, the 10th week, the 20th week, the 30th week, the 40th week. We’ll have Ann Coulter saying, “It will take a week. It will take a week.” Ms. Coulter: Well, I don’t know. So far, I could be quoted back to myself many times, like on the Secret Service privilege, the attorney-client privilege, the dead man’s privilege. Really, my track record is pretty good on predictions. On another TV show the following March, about the time Hillary Clinton was first thinking about running for Senate and her presumed opponent was Rudolph Giuliani, I said I thought Whitewater would prevent Hillary from challenging Giuliani. Now we’ll never know. The Washington Monthly reported my quotes as: “I think [Whitewater]’s going to prevent the first lady from running for Senate. . . . My track record is pretty good on predictions.” They get an A for effort on that one. Little Andrew Grossman wouldn’t even look up the show he was writing about. These people found two different quotes, in two different places, on two different TV shows, on two different topics, three months apart, and patched them together without dates to try to make a monkey out of me. I’ve also said “yes.” How about stringing these sentences together to make me look brilliant: Will Jimmy Carter win the Nobel Peace Prize, Madonna make a movie that bombs and North Korea develop nuclear weapons? Ann Coulter: “Yes.” I think I’m owed that. Finally, for an example of journalists’ fine-tuned sense of humor, the winner is this e-mail sent out by CBSNews.com a few weeks ago, which requires no comment: “Quote of the Day: ‘I’m just glad Strom Thurmond isn’t around to see this.’—conservative syndicated columnist Ann Coulter’s take on the Trent Lott controversy. At last check by CBS News, the world’s most famous 100-year-old was doing fine.” From their commitment to exactitude to their terrific sense of humor, all of the feminists’ very best qualities now dominate the profession of journalism. Journalists’ quotes are as accurate as feminists’ statistics about anorexia.
Ann Coulter wonders whether journalists ever get it right.
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