Although Ann Coulter originally achieved fame as a right-wing pundit by talking about President Clinton's penis on national TV, since 9/11 she has turned most of her attention to framing Democrats as terrorists.
During one TV spot in 2003, Coulter said, "Liberals...want there to be lots of 9/11s" (see Outright Barbarous, 74-75), followed by an entire book (Treason) in which she argued that the goal of Liberalism is the destruction of American civil society -- the violent idea that frames most of Coulter's writing since 2002.
Lately, Coulter has focused her violent rhetoric at Sen. Barack Obama, in particular on spreading the defamatory idea that the sitting Senator and leading candidate for president is a terrorist. Coulter kicked this rhetoric into high-gear in her Apr 23 column which includes the line:
"Obama pals around with terrorists."
Coulter's Violent Framing of Obama: First Hitler, Then Terrorism
Ever since Sen. Obama became the likely 2008 nominee for the Democratic Party, Coulter has been trying to define him in the minds of her listeners as a Muslim terrorist. She has done this by referring to him as "B. Hussein Obama" and by making endless jokes suggesting that he is in fact a terrorist, in addition to equating Sen. Obama with Hitler.
In her Apr 3, 2008 appearance on FOX's Hannity and Co., Coulter cited Sen. Obama's autobiography Dreams of My Father as evidence that he will become as dangerous as Adolf Hitler:
COULTER: Because -- the topic we were supposed to be talking about in this segment, Sean, my column this week. I'm the only person in America who has read Obama's biography.
COLMES: As a matter of fact...
COULTER: He has a racial hair-trigger, a complete loon. All he talks about is constantly being offended. And Mr. Unity attacks Sean Hannity and me.
COLMES: You said in your piece...
COLMES: We only have a second left. You said, if only -- you might want to take a peek at Obama when he writes, if only people had read "Mein Kampf." So in other words he would be as dangerous as Hitler?
COULTER: No. He's a dime store "Mein Kampf."
COLMES: Oh, he's a two-bit Hitler?
COULTER: Yes. It is absolute racialist. If you read "Mein Kampf."
COLMES: I see.
COULTER: It's all about his Germanic heritage. And this is -- OK, go read it if you don't believe me. Read the Cliff Notes version in my column.
COLMES: We should have be as wary of Obama as they should have been of Hitler in Nazi Germany?
COULTER: If only people had read "Mein Kampf." (LexisNexis)
Coulter also published her accusation that Obama will become the next Hitler in her syndicated column of Apr 3.
Taken together, Coulter's column and her appearance on FOX broadcast to millions of voters the blatantly false idea that Sen. Obama's writing shared something in common with Hitler's and that his autobiography suggested that Sn. Obama would behave like Hitler if elected President -- meaning that he would launch a genocidal program against non-African Americans.
Just to be clear, Coulter's Apr 3 column and FOX appearance (1) equated Sen. Obama with the most notorious genocidal dictator of modern history, (2) this accusation went out to millions of Americans, (3) there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever for Coulter's assertions, and (4) it was never redressed by any watchdog group as being in violation of broadcast standards.
More recently, Coulter has turned to defining Sen. Obama as a terrorist by dropping the end of his first name and referring to him as "B. Hussein Obama." In addition to the Hitler smear, this framing also implies that Obama has a violent agenda that he will unleash on the American people.
Yesterday's column by Coulter opens up a second level in the 'terrorist' frame by equating Sen. Obama with the violent tactics of the 1970s group The Weathermen. In addition to publishing the lie that Obama is 'pals' with The Weathermen -- Coulter also included the flagrant and defamatory lie that Obama specifically makes political alliances with people because they have committed acts of violence against the American government:
If he had only said he bombed the building in Oklahoma City to protest American "imperialism," McVeigh, too, could be teaching at Northwestern University, sitting on a board with and holding fundraisers for presidential candidate B. Hussein Obama.
The "he" in this case refers to Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber.
Coulter's strategy for framing Obama in violent terms takes on a new depth in her latest column. And as tends to be Coulter's pattern, the violent rhetoric she unfolds in her syndicated column will likely be broadcast to exponentially more viewers through an appearance on FOX.
Important To Shine A Light on This Problem
Many Americans are quick to dismiss this kind of language from Coulter as insignificant and not worth even noting.
To skeptics, I would simply point to the fact that Ann Coulter is one of the most dominant voices in American political media. Coulter currently has multiple best-selling books on the Amazon.com ranking page, appears regularly on broadcast TV, and has the backing of a massive right-wing publishing and PR machine that promotes her work as part of a larger strategy to control political debate.
It is absolutely crucial for Americans to shine a light on this problem. When a major figure in print and broadcast media repeatedly accuses a U.S. senator of being a genocidal dictator and a terrorist, the American people have a right to protest.
Cross posted in Frameshop.