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ABC helps Coulter promote 'Godless' paperback
David Edwards and Ron Brynaert
Published: Monday June 25, 2007
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Four months after referring to Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards as a "faggot," controversial conservative author Ann Coulter appeared as a guest on the popular Good Morning America show Monday morning on ABC.

While Coulter appears to have been obstensibly booked to talk about an "identity crisis of sorts" in the Republican Party, ABC publicized the interview to coincide with the paperback release of her last book. At its website, ABC links to the seven-minute video interview (and accompanying article) with the caption "'Godless:' Ann Coulter Unplugged Conservative firebrand's book out in paperback."

An Associated Press column from March wondered if Coulter might get "blacklisted" from television: "Following her use of a gay slur about Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards this month during remarks to the Conservative Political Action Conference, some on TV are wondering whether her shelf life is expiring."

"I was going to have a few comments about John Edwards but you have to go into rehab if you use the word 'faggot,'" Coulter had said at C-PAC.

As RAW STORY reported, that wasn't the first time that Coulter has "gay-baited" a Democrat. Coulter used the "other f-word" in a joking reference to Gore in a television interview last June, and on various occasions has claimed that Bill Clinton could be a "latent homosexual."

"I think that sort of rampant promiscuity does show some level of latent homosexuality," Coulter said of Clinton on The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch on CNBC (Crooks and Liars has video of the CNBC comments). During a Hardball interview with Chris Matthews, Coulter also said of Clinton, "I donít know if heís gay. But Al Gore ó total fag."

Even ABC News correspondent Terry Moran wrote in February. "A lot of what Ann Coulter has said could certainly be construed as hate speech."

'I didn't call Edwards the 'f-word'

At the start of her appearance on Monday's Good Morning America, Coulter briefly spoke about having been denounced by all three top Republican candidates over the Edwards slur, claiming that it didn't show a "shift to the tolerant among the GOP," since she was "denounced all over" for her words. The Godless author then blasted the media for focusing on statements by her, and not criticizing others when they make controversial statements such as the HBO talk show host and comic Bill Maher.

"Though, about the same time, Bill Maher said...and, by the way, I did not call John Edwards the 'f-word,' I said I couldn't talk about him because you go into rehab for using that word," Coulter said.

Good Morning America News Anchor Christoper Cuomo, a former political policy analyst for Fox News Channel, interrupted, "You said you were joking."

"I wouldn't insult gays by comparing them to John Edwards," Coulter continued, "that would be mean. But about the same time, Bill Maher was not joking when he said he wished Dick Cheney had been killed in a terrorist attack."

Coulter then added, "So I've learned my lesson, if I'm gonna say anything about John Edwards in the future, I'll just wish he'd been killed in a terrorist assassination plot," but Cuomo had no reaction to Coulter's latest "threat."

On the topic at hand, Coulter admitted, "The Democrats do start with a little bit of an advantage," but insisted that "I do sort of get the sense now that there's, you know, people's reaching across the partisan divide. The country is unified. Bush really is a uniter because we're all just waiting for this nincompoop to be gone. I think we all finally are on the same page on that."

When asked who she favored in the Republican field, Coulter jokingly cited French president Nicolas Sarkozy first, and then right-wing favorite Duncan Hunter, who is not currently in the race.

A year ago, ABC News' Jake Tapper defended his network's coverage of Coulter, even in the face of criticism by liberals and conservatives who believe she says racist things just "to sell books." Tapper said on the June 9, 2006 audio podcast of ABC News Shuffle that "you can't win, really" when pondering if "we [took] the Coulter bait."

"There's an argument to be made," Tapper said. "I mean, I think people were talking about it, and certainly as a news organization, we try to cover things that people are talking about. But you always take that risk."

ABC posts 'exclusive' Coulter chapter

Along with the interview, ABC News also posted an excerpt from Coulter's book, the same excerpted Chapter One which ran as an exclusive, when posted online by last year.

Coulter's book was published by the Crown Publishing Group through Random House, which also releases children's books with ABC's corporate owner, The Walt Disney Company.

One year ago, almost immediately after the Townhall excerpt was published, blogger The Rude Pundit noticed some "possible plagiarism" in Coulter's first chapter.

In one example, Coulter wrote (link): "The massive Dickey-Lincoln Dam, a $227 million hydroelectric project proposed on upper St. John River in Maine, was halted by the discovery of the Furbish lousewort, a plant previously believed to be extinct."

"Here's the Portland Press Herald, from the year 2000, in its list of the 'Maine Stories of the Century': 'The massive Dickey-Lincoln Dam, a $227 million hydroelectric project proposed on upper St. John River, is halted by the discovery of the Furbish lousewort, a plant believed to be extinct," offered The Rude Pundit.

Nearly two years ago, The Rude Pundit caught Coulter apparently lifting passages from various texts "without attribution" for a column on controversial examples of "speech that has been funded in whole or in part by taxpayers." Shortly after, a RAW STORY investigation turned up even more examples from that same column.

Last July, Philip Recchia reported for The New York Post that "John Barrie, the creator of a leading plagiarism-recognition system, claimed he found at least three instances of what he calls 'textbook plagiarism' in the leggy blond pundit's Godless: the Church of Liberalism after he ran the book's text through the company's digital iThenticate program."

Recchia also singled out the same example from the first chapter, which remains unchanged with no endnote or citation in the paperback edition, and in the ABC News excerpt. Last August, Random House senior vice president Steve Ross vigorously defended Coulter against charges of plagiarism, which he blasted as "trivial" and "irresponsible."

A "complete list" of Coulter plagiarism allegations can be found at this link at TPMmuckraker.

The following video is from ABC's Good Morning America, broadcast on June 25. An ABC writeup of the segment is available here.