Wow. I’m not sure what I said when I got the news, but it was loud enough to get coworkers coming to my desk to see what was wrong. My hometown newspaper, the Augusta Chronicle, just dropped Anne Coulter like a hot rock. The announcement includes this statement.
But biting commentary is one thing. A personal attack is another – such as when she slammed several 9-11 widows for backing Democrats and allegedly milking the tragedy for political purposes. That charge alone isn’t necessarily unfair, but to suggest they were “enjoying” their husbands’ deaths and calling them “witches” – well, that’s where stridency crosses a line.
Moreover, in the weeks since, Coulter herself had become the issue, rather than the topics she was writing about, which is an unhealthy circumstance for a journalist, even a columnist.
This editorial page stands for many things, and we make no bones about it. But one of the things we stand for is civility. Pulling Ann Coulter’s column hurts; she’s one of the clearest thinkers around. But you’ve got to stand by your principles, even – especially – when it’s painful.
I don’t want to oversell this but let me explain what this means. The Augusta Chronicle is a very conservative paper. I’m talking really, really conservative. It makes the Washington Times look vaguely like the Village Voice, or at least like the New York Times. If a paper that conservative is joining the others that have dropped Coulter, it can only mean she’s truly crossed a line that even the reddest of red states can’t ignore.
They’re replacing Ann with Michelle Malkin. No, I’m not kidding. And this is after they claim they “stand for civility.” So they trade Ann for Michelle, someone who:
- Posted anti-war protesters’ contact information on her blog, touched off death threats, defended her actions, and then played victim when karma caught up with her.
- Falsely accused the New York Times of exposing officials private information to terrorists, resulting in more death threats for the reporter and photographer involved, the posting of their addresses and phone numbers, and calls to track down their children’s school addresses. All while Malkin remained unapologetic.
- Lied about the timing and context of Hillary Clinton getting booed during a speech, and never owned up to it.
I’m sure there’s lots more, if you wade through Malkin’s archives, but that alone should be enough for any newspaper worth its salt to send Malkin packing, especially if they’re washing their hands of Coulter. (If you know of more, send me links and I’ll update the list.)
I’m not sure what effect it will have, but I’d like ask some people to join me in writing the Augusta Chronicle and suggest that if they really “stand for civility” they’ll give Malkin “the Coulter treatment” before her column even appears in their paper.