Perhaps, the growing concerns about media bias could explain the popularity of Ann Coulter’s best-selling book Slander. The author’s principal argument centres on the growing idea that intellectual diversity within the media is as rare as hen’s teeth. This may offer the reader an insight into why the so-called conservative FOX News service now boasts 85 million plus subscribers in the US alone.
Even Fox’s free to air competitors and corporate sponsors have been shocked by the rise of the channel’s fan base. The broadcaster, unlike its mainstream rivals, regularly holds debates between left-wingers and right-wingers. Watching Fox News is the equivalent of shock therapy for old Pravda journalists.
As a qualified attorney and legal affairs correspondent, Ann Coulter knows how to pack a mean punch. Here, is just one of her talking points on publishers:
The left’s control of the monopoly media has its greatest crossover effect on books. While the radio and internet can bring conservatives to people’s homes with the flick of a dial or modem, conservative books have to clear three sets of liberal censors before making their way to readers.
She then lists one hundred billion odd examples, and by the end of the chapter, one wonders if it’s appropriate to laugh or cry. I settled on pulling out my hair.
Coulter points to the various ways in which publishing houses, studios and news networks filter conservative views. It’s no coincidence that there are next to no pro-life directors in Hollywood. Nor is it surprising that reporters drone on and on about the “religious right” but never the “atheist left.” Thanks to Lexis Nexis, Ann Coulter could win that argument in a court case.
Ann writes, “Leaving nothing to chance, liberals also hide conservative books. The hiding-books trick - long well known to conservatives - eventually became comical enough to be written in the New York Times”. Moreover, since the opening of online stores, conservative book sales have skyrocketed. It’s becoming harder to censor moderate and right wing views.
After checking Coulter’s footnotes, you’ll never be able to see the New York Times as an innocent provider of anti-Bush information. This insufferably cliquey newspaper has a history of providing happy personal interest stories on madder than mad dictators, partial-birth abortion providers, radical environmentalists and adults-only libertarians. The list of charlatans that the newspaper has defended reads like a Who’s Who of the criminal underworld. And Ann’s description of the now legendary I, Rigoberta Menchu scandal had me in stitches. But by the time I started reading about the anti-gun activist, Michael A.Bellesiles, I was howling with laughter. But you’ll have to read that story for yourself.
Coulter also makes many witty observations about how reporters speak down to conservatives instead of to them. She asserts, “If liberals were ever prevented from calling Republicans dumb, they would be robbed of half their arguments. To be sure, they would still have, ‘racist’, ‘fascist’, ‘homophobe’, ‘ugly’ and a few other highly nuanced arguments in the quiver”.
On the imaginary threat of the so-called religious right:
In any random month, a series of no-account actresses can be found courageously advancing their careers by attacking the Catholic Church in glossy magazines. You would think that it would be difficult to be taken seriously as a martyr while being favourably profiled in Vanity Fair. But that’s the beauty of modern-day martyrdom: You never have to suffer.
Ouch! The truth hurts.
One of the most controversial chapters deals with the way in which the media covered the last presidential race. During and after the election, disgruntled Democrats complained about FOX News. Sure the left had ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, and CNBC but they also wanted FOX News to cheer for Al Gore, the then leftist presidential nominee. Forgetting that the so-called conservative broadcaster was the first to break Bush’s drink driving case, the liberal media treated FOX like the Soviets treated London’s Daily Telegraph. As Coulter states, “The Fox News protesters were not just isolated nuts. They were nuts, just not isolated”. She then cuts their arguments point by point and shreds them up for safekeeping. That, in part might explain why Democrats go into “diarrhoea panic” whenever they hear Coulter’s voice echoing down a passageway. She means business.
At times, Coulter’s comic genius, fluent writing style and perverse sense of humour lead me to think that she’s a prophet. With Ann, there’s clearly no let-up. Just when you think she’s out of breath, along comes another wiser than wise wisecrack. Not surprisingly, the controversy surrounding this book helped it to fly off the shelves. Whereas, most non-fiction books sell around 5,000 and a “best-seller” usually has to hit the 30,000 mark, Coulter’s Slander has sold a whopping 400,000! Oh, and about the old hiding-books trick: I found Ann’s little book at the very back of a well-known store tucked away near the far right (!) hand corner on the second floor. Does that surprise you? Thank God for my magnifying glasses.