Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Coulter 1-0 Paxman

Forget England v. Sweden, tonight's real battle for supremacy was between Jeremy Paxman and Ann Coulter, on Newsnight. And I'm very sorry to say that for all intents and purposes, Coulter won. But like some of England's recent World Cup matches, it wasn't an impressive victory at all, and that's what made it so frustrating to watch. I've read about this woman's legendary stand-offishness before, but given that she really only came to media prominence around the same time I left North America, tonight was the first opportunity I've had to actually hear her speak. And what did she say? Basically almost nothing, apart from (a) confirming that yes, she really believed and stood by all that she's ever written, (b) denying that any non-liberals disagreed with anything she had to say, and (c) essentially saying that her ideas on the state of religion in the US are better than more detailed analyses because her new book is "the number one best-seller in America", and everyone else's, well, isn't.

Which all sounds like so much teenage hot air to me, and it would almost be funny if the woman wasn't well into her forties.

Paxman - who I presume was interviewing her for the first time - was visibly equally taken aback by her bluster and her seeming inability or unwillingness to actually discuss in depth any of the reactionary right-wing values she espouses (not linking to her official site, but a quick Google search will do it). Ann Coulter is the sort of pundit who requires Newsnight's heavy artillery to be brought out, but I personally feel that Paxman missed a real opportunity tonight. While he obviously decided that the best policy was to let Coulter's madness speak for itself and have done with it, I would argue that this really isn't the most proactive or helpful approach. Ann Coulter is one of the most popular conservative commentators in the United States, and she has some of the most extreme and often deeply offensive views on issues ranging from religion to immigration to war. As such, she's not some David Icke 12-foot lizard cartoon character who can be laughed at and brushed aside. What's needed is a good old-fashioned debate with some of the most scarily intelligent liberal polemicists of this country to tear through her hateful nonsense piece by piece and expose it for what it really is.

But once again, that didn't happen, and Coulter has walked away looking like the cat who got the cream.


At June 21, 2006 1:02 am, Blogger Kate said...

sigh. we get her on the tv all the time over here. it's miserable and almost worth emigrating to europe over. or south america. yeah, that would annoy her. yes..

however, yelling catchphrases and talking points is the only way those without real depth of knowledge or opinion can "debate".

about the only person taking the piss out of people like coulter is stephen colbert. if he's not yet over there on the comedy channels, he's worth downloading.


At June 21, 2006 10:24 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wouldn't view it as a 'victory' for Coulter. It was more of a case of Paxman acting as the ringmaster for a "roll-up, roll-up, come and see the freakshow" session.
Then Brits can feel superior by laughing at the nutty American conservative...before turning and enjoying their Richard Littlejohn column/Daily Express/Daily Mail the next day.

At June 21, 2006 4:35 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I see it entirely differently, Coulter was absolutely correct in that the London media village, like its counterpart in N.Y.,has a default setting which espouses an unrefective liberal position on a whole range of subjects, so much so that the denizens of those "villages" can no more perceive that reality than fish are aware of water. Well done Coulter, a counterblast which heralds a much delayed reaction to the ideologically bankrupt liberal left.

At June 22, 2006 8:58 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Well done Coulter, a counterblast which heralds a much delayed reaction to the ideologically bankrupt liberal left."

Ha, ha! Are you Ann Coulter?

At June 24, 2006 12:09 am, Blogger Jon said...

Welcome to the real world. Thewre are conservatives otu there, and unlike in Europe they are NOT afraid of the media.
You know what's the silliest thing about your post though?
You claim Ann Coulter didn't say anything:
JEREMY PAXMAN ASKED THE QUESTIONS, not her. HE never went into detail about the book (neither did he read it).

He just basically tried to ask those smug Euro-questions like: "Do you mean it?"; "Will you take it back?" and "Do you really believe that?".
She quickly put him in his place:
Of course she meant it! She WROTE it!
What an idiotic question.

At June 24, 2006 2:47 am, Blogger NelC said...

Jon, you know nothing about Europe. By typing this rubbish, you show yourself as empty-headed as Coulter did in the Newsnight interview. Paxman didn't need to do anything in the interview, she did herself in.

Honestly, if there's a liberal hegemony in the media, why would they let Coulter say what she liked? The lack of logic is what gave Paxman pause. Silly, silly woman. Not worth Paxman's contempt.

At June 24, 2006 5:16 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here are a few points that I have: 1) I think Coulter did great; he was misquoting (!) her on the four pro-Kerry widows, making it seam she was critising all 9/11 widows(I mean, c'mon, how hard is it to ask factual, non-misleading questions) and she set him straight. 1:0 for her. (BTW, I don't think I have seen any other comment pointing this out. Maybe you're a little bit blind here?) 2) He was asking her if the main stream media were liberaly biased, and she came back with a good point, saying that for instance the welcome she was offered right here was maybe a good example of liberal bias. 2:0 for Coulter. I could go on, but as you are somewhat brainwashed anyway, it doesn't matter. I should be doing more useful things, then trying to convince you guys. One suggestion, just try to open up your mind a little bit, maybe there is a point to some of the things she says. For instance, is it OK that 1.2 million babies are murdered in the US every year through abortion. Maybe we should try to limit abortion to only the most mother-life-treatening cases, and other extreme cases. Not use it as contraception. My parents could have aborted me, as I was the 6th and 'not planned' and they were stretched a little bit thin. I'm glad they didn't, and so are they. It worked out wonderfully, thanks to a lot of hard work and a little bit of sacrifice from all sides. Please don't let this personal point about abortion distract you from the points I tried to make about the interview of Coulter. I just tried to open up your liberal mindset a little bit with the example of abortion. Also, please keep it civil, that makes life a little bit nicer.

At June 25, 2006 12:00 am, Blogger Lady M said...

I just love how "liberal" equates with "close-minded" to some people. Very amusing.

Perhaps I didn't make it clear enough for you people in my original post, but I actually agree with you that the questions Paxman was asking her were not very good. It was quite a lazy interview on his part, and I think that's a shame because if he had thought up some more pointed questions there could've been a proper debate between the two. But there wasn't. I still disagree with the vast majority of what Ann Coulter has to say, but that doesn't mean I don't think that means she shouldn't be engaged with. Far from it.

At June 25, 2006 4:11 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good news, maybe we are a little bit more on the same page than I thought, and there is room for a dialogue.

Sorry if I generalized with "liberals" needing to "open up their minds". One could say many conservatives need to do the same after all. Just from the complete hatred from some liberal posts I believe that indeed those should open their minds, but I know that's not realistic.

So let's talk about the contents of Ann Coulter's writings. Are there any positions of hers that you say she might have a little bit of a point ?

At June 27, 2006 12:37 pm, Blogger Gloria said...

To an English onlooker it is puzzling that Ann Coulter cannot be allowed by her adversaries to have ANY good points. Much of the comment I have read on various blogs is simply insulting or even obscene. As for Paxman "wiping the floor" with her, were these people even watching or listening? I have begun reading one of her books, "Slander" which so far is very sharp and -- O thank heavens! -- FUNNY, about things that are NO JOKING MATTER.

At June 28, 2006 2:30 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"So let's talk about the contents of Ann Coulter's writings. Are there any positions of hers that you say she might have a little bit of a point ?"

No. If she can't make her 'points' without taking them to obscene, vitriolic and incredible extremes then she is a circus act, not someone to be listened to.

At July 22, 2006 12:22 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A cicus act, wow just for a minute I thought you were going to get abusive but I expect you used to like the circus

At August 05, 2006 2:52 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think Paxman lost this at all, he simply stepped out of the way and allowed Coulter to hang herself with her own self-satisfied, smarmy and down right moronic length of rope. Paxman certainly did NOT misqoute her; he refered to 'the 9/11 widows' which is a non-descript way of broaching the subject - yes, you can interpret it as all-inclusive, but it's not actively misleading. I absolutely agree with Paxman's choice to ask her if she really meant it - when somebody says something that idiotic, you have to give them the benefit of the doubt and at least give them the chance to explain or justify their claims. She didn't. She just sat there massaging her own ego, acting like the rest of us were all fools for disagreeing with her. Had Paxman engaged in a slagging match, we wouldn't have had the opportunity to catch this glorious unobstructed view of a bafflingly twisted mind at work.


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