Even after condemnations of Coulter by NBC staff, will network again help her sell books?

Summary: On Hannity & Colmes, Ann Coulter announced that she will appear on the January 6, 2009, edition of NBC's Today show to promote the release of her new book. NBC has repeatedly provided Coulter a platform to spew her inflammatory rhetoric even as NBC-affiliated hosts and anchors have expressed disapproval of Coulter's statements or criticized the media for promoting her.


On the December 15 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, during a segment in which she called President-elect Barack Obama an "atheist" and asked if "we could get all of his aliases before he's sworn in on the Quran," author and syndicated columnist Ann Coulter announced that she is scheduled to appear on the January 6, 2009, edition of NBC's Today show to promote the release of her new book, Guilty: Liberal "Victims" and Their Assault on America (Crown Forum, January 2009). As Media Matters for America documented, NBC has repeatedly provided Coulter a platform to spew her inflammatory rhetoric even as NBC-affiliated hosts and anchors -- including Today co-hosts Meredith Vieira and Matt Lauer, Tonight Show host Jay Leno, Hardball host Chris Matthews, Nightly News anchor Brian Williams, and CNBC's The Big Idea host Donny Deutsch -- have expressed disapproval of, in Leno's words, Coulter's "harsh" and "nasty" statements, or criticized the media for promoting her.
For instance, discussing Coulter's October 8, 2007, appearance on The Big Idea -- during which Coulter asserted that "we" Christians "just want Jews to be perfected" -- Deutsch said on the October 12, 2007, edition of Today: "And I think that's what -- we're playing dangerous with words in our society that there's no accountability. There's a glibness that we in the media kind of elevate, and I'm here to kind of say I'm personally tired of it, and I think America is tired of it also." Deutsch later told Today co-host Meredith Vieira that someone might ask, "Aren't we part of the problem?" Vieira responded: "Of course we are. We're perpetuating it."
On Hannity & Colmes, Coulter said to co-hosts Sean Hannity and Alan Colmes: "I have a new book coming out in two weeks, and this will be my first evening interview, January 6, and this is the last time you'll see me on TV until then," adding, "And the Today show that morning, hopefully with Matt Lauer." Later in the segment, discussing Obama's reported statement that he will use his full name -- Barack Hussein Obama -- when taking the presidential oath of office on January 20, 2009, Coulter asked: "Do you think we could get all of his aliases before he's sworn in on the Quran, I imagine?" Later, Coulter stated of Obama: "I think he's an atheist." After Colmes asked, "He's not a Christian?" Coulter stated, "Like all liberals, yeah. Of course he's an atheist." Obama's presidential campaign website states that Obama is "a committed Christian."
As Media Matters has extensively documented, Coulter has made a number of highly controversial remarks during her appearances on NBC-owned channels. On NBC programs alone, Coulter has called former Vice President Al Gore a "total fag" and has called former President Bill Clinton a "latent homosexual." Elsewhere, Coulter repeatedly likened Obama to Adolf Hitler in media appearances and in her syndicated column in 2008 and written that, without affirmative action, African-American Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) couldn't get a job "that didn't involve wearing a paper hat." She has also said of Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens: "We need somebody to put rat poison in Justice Stevens' créme brulée." Indeed, Coulter has repeatedly mused about potential acts of violence against people she doesn't like or with whom she disagrees.
According to a Media Matters review, Coulter was interviewed at least 194 times on at least 13 individual programs on MSNBC, CNBC, and NBC from April 28, 1997, to October 1, 2007.
From the December 15 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes:
COLMES: Governor Blagojevich left his house today apologizing to reporters for not catching the Saturday Night Live parody of him this weekend, but the governor is not apologizing to anybody for the accusations brought against him and is continuing to ignore pleas for his resignation. Joining us now for more on this is former Democratic pollster Pat Caddell; author of If Democrats Had Brains, syndicated columnist Ann Coulter.
COULTER: That's kind of an abbreviated version of the title.
COLMES: Oh, is there more to the title? If Democrats Had Brains, but they already do.
COULTER: If Democrats Had Any Brains, They'd Be Republicans.
COLMES: Oh, I thought --
HANNITY: Yeah, but you have a new book coming out in a week.
COULTER: I have a new book coming out in two weeks, and this will be my first evening interview, January 6 --
COLMES: And do I need a --
COULTER: -- and this is the last time you'll see me on TV until then.
COLMES: Do I need an attorney for this one?
COULTER: And the Today show that morning, hopefully with Matt Lauer.
COLMES: You gonna say something bad about me in this book? Yeah, so do you want to expand upon that?
COULTER: You are in this book.
COLMES: I am?
HANNITY: Do you -- do you not like Meredith Vieira?
COLMES: Do I have a -- do I have a role in this book?
COULTER: You do -- you do have a role.
COLMES: And I need an attorney?
COULTER: And I'm going to add a pocket part, because the news came out you were leaving the show since I wrote the book, that I just want to tell you, Sean, you know, John Lennon always thought he'd be better without Paul McCartney. And Keith Richards always thought he'd be better without Mick Jagger.
COLMES: Yeah.
HANNITY: He abandoned me. Don't blame me. He --
COULTER: It never works. You could be George Michael, because he left, and it worked.
COLMES: Let me -- let's get to some actual --
COULTER: I don't think you want to be George Michael.
COLMES: Let's get to some actual material, here. I know you'd rather schmooze.
[...]
CADDELL: When Jimmy Carter ran, he ran as Jimmy Carter. And when he was sworn in, he was sworn in as James Earl Carter Jr.
COLMES: Right.
CADDELL: The -- and, so that --
COULTER: He didn't say that was going to reboot relations with the South --
COLMES: Let my friend Pat Caddell speak. Go ahead, Pat.
CADDELL: Let me finish, Ann.
COLMES: Let him finish.
CADDELL: But let me say, I think it is going to be a shock to a lot of people, though, on Inauguration Day, because I tried it today, once I heard everyone discuss it. I asked five people whether they knew what his middle name was, and no one knew. And when I told them, three of them were kind of surprised, to say the least.
COULTER: How is it going to be a shock, Pat?
CADDELL: So a lot of people, you can say this -- no, no, I'm just saying there's nothing to it. I just say a lot of people are going to be surprised that they didn't know. That's all.
COULTER: Well, they weren't watching Fox.
CADDELL: [inaudible] on Inauguration Day.
COLMES: Conservatives have been all over the place trying to use his middle name for the purpose of scaring people, because he's got the --
CADDELL: Sure they were. Of course they were.
COLMES: -- same name of the guy we deposed in Iraq.
CADDELL: Of course they were.
COULTER: Do you think we could get all of his aliases before he's sworn in on the Quran, I imagine?
COLMES: Now, Ann.
CADDELL: Oh, God, Ann.
COLMES: Do you want to actually marginalize yourself by saying that?
CADDELL: No, no, no, no.
COLMES: Do you really believe that?
COULTER: Well, the last time you said that, it was when I was using his middle name, and he likes it.
COLMES: Well, you did marginalize yourself.
CADDELL: No, no.
COLMES: And by saying he'd be sworn in on the Quran is also marginalizing yourself --
COULTER: Or whatever.
COLMES: -- because you know that's not true.
COULTER: Can we get off --
COLMES: Do you believe he's a --
COULTER: No, 'cause I know he's an atheist.
COLMES: Do you believe he's a --
COULTER: No. I think he's an atheist.
COLMES: He's not Christian? He's not a Christian?
COULTER: Like all liberals, yeah.
COLMES: You don't believe he's accepted Jesus Christ --
COULTER: Of course he's an atheist.
COLMES: -- into his heart?
HANNITY: Let me ask --
COLMES: He goes to a Christian church.
HANNITY: -- let me ask Pat Caddell. Hang on a second. Let me ask Pat Caddell. Pat, is it now acceptable to say -- like we say George W. Bush, George Herbert Walker Bush, Ronald Wilson Reagan, Richard Milhous Nixon, Hillary Rodham Clinton, can we -- is it now acceptable to say Barack Hussein Obama?
CADDELL: Apparently so.
HANNITY: Is it OK now?
CADDELL: Apparently so. He made it OK, and now I'm sure the mainstream press will say it's OK.