Tag Archives: Michael B.Keegan

This guy gets it kind of

Here's Michael B.Keegan, one of The Huffington Post's (sorry!) various bloggers, on Ann Coulter:

When you put Ann Coulter on TV, she may say something provocative. She is also guaranteed to say something offensive, tasteless, and meant only purely to provoke controversy. These are not the same thing.

George Stephanopoulos, host of ABC's This Week, appears to have forgotten the difference between provocative discussion and straight-up trolling.

Last Sunday, This Week invited Coulter to participate in a roundtable discussion for the third time this year. Reliably, Coulter managed to fit as many ignorant and insulting statements as she could in her time on national television while shamelessly plugging her latest book. She announced that civil rights are only "for blacks" – not for "gay rights groups, those defending immigrants, and feminists." She continued, "We don't owe the homeless. We don't owe feminists. We don't owe women who are desirous of having abortions, or gays who want to get married to one another."

We could spend our time countering Coulter's anti-gay, anti-immigrant, anti-feminist, anti-homeless rant, but that would be a waste of time. Her cheap attempts at provocation have kept her in the public eye for years but have never, as far as I know, led to a productive discussion. Her attacks on 9/11 widows, women voters, abortion providers, Jews and Muslims are not designed to start an honest conversation. Instead, they were shameless attempts at self-promotion at the expense of decency and civility.

Is there any other commentator who's invited to "mainstream" talk shows simply to hurl ignorant insults?

Coulter is the epitome of the false "balance" the mainstream media is trying to bring to political debate, treating right-wing conspiracy theories and animosities as just the "other side" of the news. Coulter's not presenting anyone's "side." She's just talking trash and calling it an opinion.

This sounds pretty much right to me.  Coulter's participation in our national discussion is completely unserious and only someone sadly unable to distinguish seriousness from sophistry could conclude otherwise. 

The problem, however, lies in trying to identify what's so bad about it.  Keegan here has argued, correctly I think, that Coulter isn't really trying.  There isn't any value, he implies, in refuting views she holds only as provocations.  What to do, however, with people who do hold these views.  The other day (I can't remember where), Alan Colmes said that Sean Hannity, a Fox News blowhard, holds his views sincerely, and that he admires him for that.  I'd still think that Hannity has no place in ordinary debates, no matter how serious he takes himself to be.  He's not really up to the task of critical self-evaluation. 

So, yes, Coulter's probably not serious.  But more importantly, her views have been decisively refuted already.  Why bother giving them more life?