Desperate TV producers, caught in a competition for ratings, are clearly without shame.
Chris Matthews, a knowledgeable and experienced commentator, is under ratings pressure at MSNBC. The result is a descent into the foulest gutter available -- inviting on Tuesday the ignorant, vile, garbage-mouthed Ann Coulter for an interview.
Ann Coulter offers nothing -- no insight, no knowledge, no wit -- except vapid invective. She's a political Brittney Spears without the glimmer of talent -- an unhinged spectacle. When it comes to former Sen. John Edwards, she's simply deranged. She calls him a "faggot." She once said, "I'll just wish he had been killed in a terrorist assassination plot." The tragic death of Edwards' teenage son elicits Coulter's scornful claim that he parades the death on a bumper sticker.
Matthews got the attention he craves. Elizabeth Edwards called in to challenge Coulter's "language of hate."
"I'm the mother of that boy who died," she said. "These young people behind you, you're asking them to participate in a dialogue that is based on hatefulness and ugliness instead of on the issues, and I don't think that's serving them or this country very well."
Great stuff. But Coulter is a windup defecating doll. The disservice to the country is done by those who give her a public stage to parade her infamies. Need a ratings boost? Focus on Paris Hilton, she's out of control. Ship in Ann Coulter, she's likely to say something obscene. There are no limits, no shame. OK. But lie in the bed you make.
Think of Chris Mathews and Ann Coulter as inextricably linked. And don't call it "Hardball." Hardball is played hard to win, but has rules and style. Call it "Animal House" or "Garbage Dump." At least, viewers would know what they are getting.