Group finds more than a dozen lies in Coulter's latest book
John Byrne
Published: Monday January 5, 2009

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The progressive media watchdog Media Matters for America delivered a scathing 6,000-word rebuke to conservative superstar Ann Coulter, accusing her of lying on more than a dozen occasions in her new book, Guilty: Liberal "Victims" and Their Assault on America.

Coulter has of late appeared to be something of a mockery of herself. Her support among conservatives has waned, though her prolific publishing prowess continues.

Among the slew of apparent lies in Coulter's book -- which Media Matters labels as "falsehoods," includes claims Coulter makes about Sen. John Kerry by the so-called "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth; and assertion that Fox News has "never been caught promoting a fraud;" and that President-elect Barack Obama was referring to Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin when he said, "you know, you can put lipstick on a pig; it's still a pig."

Perhaps among the more preposterous is Coulter's claim that Fox News has never been caught promoting a fraud. The group cites two glaring examples of Fox News missteps.

Fox & Friends' Steve Doocy once claimed that President-elect Obama was raised by a Muslim father as a Muslim and was educated in madrassa," an assertion that was patently false.

Doocy retracted the claim Jan. 19, 2007.

In 2004, Fox issued a retraction and apologized for a story in which political reporter Carl Cameron attributed quotes to Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) in an effort to deride him over an alleged manicure.

In fact, a top Fox executive once emailed staff saying that stories that appeared on websites weren't de facto worthy of airing on Fox News.

Coulter is slated to promote Guilty on Jan. 6's Today Show.

Media Matters has catalogued at least thirteen major falsehoods Coulter makes in her book. Among them include (excerpts):

* Liberals' purported "praise[]" for hoaxers for staging hate crimes. Coulter claims that two black students who engaged in a hoax by hanging a black doll from a noose were "immediately praised" by "liberals," but the sources she cites do not support this claim.

* On Page 15, Coulter writes, "Fox News has never been caught promoting a fraud -- unlike CBS (Bush National Guard story), ABC (tobacco industry report), NBC (exploding GM trucks), CNN (Tailwind), and MSNBC (Keith Olbermann)." In fact, as Media Matters has documented, on several occasions since 2004, Fox News has issued a retraction and apology for airing a news report that repeated false information, one of which led Fox News' Vice President for News John Moody to reportedly warn staff in January 2007 that "seeing an item on a website does not mean it is right. Nor does it mean it is ready for air on FNC."

* Coulter advances several falsehoods about Kerry in defending the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, an organization which spread numerous falsehoods and smears regarding Kerry's military record in the six months leading up to the 2004 presidential election.

* Coulter falsely claims that "the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth weren't forced to retract any part of their story. [Page 100]" In fact, the organization altered its website's account of the December 2, 1968, mission for which the U.S. Navy awarded Kerry his first Purple Heart three days after Media Matters noted that the account was inconsistent with that of the group's star witness -- retired Rear Admiral William L. Schachte Jr., who claims he was the commander on that mission.

* Coulter also suggests that the media ignored the allegations of the Swift Boat Veterans, writing, "The only way they could have gotten less attention would have been to be interviewed on Air America Radio." By the time the Swift Boat story had played out, CNN, chasing after ratings leader Fox News, found time to mention the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth --hereafter, Swifties -- in nearly 300 separate news segments, while more than 100 New York Times articles and columns made mention of the Swifties. And during one overheated 12-day span in late August, the Washington Post mentioned the Swifties in page 1 stories on Aug. 19, 20, 21 (two separate articles), 22, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, and 31.

* Coulter also falsely suggests that no witnesses supported Kerry's account that his convoy came under enemy fire during the March 13, 1969, actions for which he was awarded the Bronze Star.

* Coulter writes that Kerry "carrie[d] a home-movie camera to war in order to reenact combat scenes and tape fake interviews with himself" during his tour in Vietnam [Page 100]. Coulter was repeating a discredited charge previously made by Internet gossip Matt Drudge and subsequently echoed by The New York Times and numerous cable and radio outlets during the 2004 presidential election.

* Coulter devotes four pages of Guilty [173-176] to discussing her false assertion that "Obama himself compared Palin to a pig and then denied doing so." In fact, Obama's September 9, 2008, statement, "you know, you can put lipstick on a pig; it's still a pig," did not refer to Palin, but rather to how a "list" of Sen. John McCain's policies were, according to Obama, no different from President Bush's. Obama did not mention Palin in at least the 65 words preceding his "lipstick on a pig" comment, as Media Matters noted. Moreover, the expression "lipstick on a pig" is common political rhetoric -- Obama had reportedly used the expression in the past, and McCain used it in 2007 in reference to Sen. Hillary Clinton's health-care proposal.