Ann Coulter Endorses Romney, Bashes MSM to Make Up for It

The conservative columnist tries to cultivate a reputation for telling brutal truths. As yet, she hasn't lived up to it.

Ann Coulter - AP Photo:Laramie Boomerang, Andy Carpenean - banner.jpg

Ann Coulter's defenders insist that she has a great sense of humor and a sharp analytic mind but that her politically correct critics can't handle her brutal honesty. To see why they're wrong, look at her latest. "The mainstream media keep pushing alternatives to Mitt Romney not only because they are terrified of running against him, but also because they want to keep Republicans fighting, allowing Democrats to get a four-month jump on us," she writes. "Meanwhile, everyone knows the nominee is going to be Romney. That's not so bad if you think the most important issues in this election are defeating Obama and repealing Obamacare."

There is in fact an element of telling hard truths here, and what passes as bravery in right-wing pundit land. "Instead of sitting on our thumbs, wishing Ronald Reagan were around, or chasing the latest mechanical rabbit flashed by the media, conservatives ought to start rallying around Romney as the only Republican who has a shot at beating Obama," she goes on to write. "It's fun to be a purist, but let's put that on hold until Obama and his abominable health care plan are gone, please." This is heresy among the extremist fan base she's cultivated.

So credit where it's due.

But wait a minute.

Is she seriously asserting that it's "the mainstream media" that "keeps pushing alternatives to Mitt Romney"? Come on. First, is there a conservative media organization in America that hasn't been looking for an alternative, often with desperation?

Second, what political reporters and editors are doing is covering whoever rises in the polls. The absurd challengers that keep dominating headlines for a few weeks at a time are the ones that likely GOP voters are elevating by affirming, "Yeah, Michele Bachmann/Rick Perry/Herman Cain/Newt Gingrich is my candidate." It's appropriate for media workers to respond by saying, "Okay, if Republicans think they want X, we're going to dig deeper into X's candidacy." One role of the press is to inform voters about candidates in whom they signal interest.

I understand the role the MSM-bashing plays in Coulter's column. She felt like she had to throw the base some red meat to go along with the Romney endorsement. But she is smart enough to know that there is no conspiracy. Despite her reputation for telling unspeakable truths, Coulter is actually nakedly strategic in her willingness to tell readers lies they want to hear, whether to goose her sales or make more palatable a heretical argument about which she actually cares. Her shameless propaganda streak bothers me more than her political incorrectness.

Why?

The willingness of people like Coulter to casually pass along lies and self-serving victim narratives to the conservative base is one reason why its candidates this cycle are so self-defeating and absurd. I'll respect her "hard truth" columns a lot more when they're stripped of pandering.


Image credit: Andy Carpenean/Laramie Boomerang/AP
Presented by

Conor Friedersdorf is a staff writer at The Atlantic, where he focuses on politics and national affairs. He lives in Venice, California, and is the founding editor of The Best of Journalism, a newsletter devoted to exceptional nonfiction.

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well. Bestselling author Mark Bittman teaches James Hamblin the recipe that everyone is Googling.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well.

Video

Before Tinder, a Tree

Looking for your soulmate? Write a letter to the "Bridegroom's Oak" in Germany.

Video

The Health Benefits of Going Outside

People spend too much time indoors. One solution: ecotherapy.

Video

Where High Tech Meets the 1950s

Why did Green Bank, West Virginia, ban wireless signals? For science.

Video

Yes, Quidditch Is Real

How J.K. Rowling's magical sport spread from Hogwarts to college campuses

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

More in Politics

Just In