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July 18, 2006

Coulter Jokes That She Sent The White-Powder Terrorist Note To The NYT

Rewriting-- actually, I kinda think this is funny, and not overly tasteless.

In context, you understand.

Reporter Jacob Bernstein, in a "Memo Pad" item in today's Women's Wear Daily, wrote that he received a message from a New York Times source saying that Friday's powder mailing -- which included an Xed-out Times editorial and what ended up being corn starch -- "makes all of Ann Coulter's comments a little less funny. I wonder if she considers herself at all responsible when lunatics read her columns and she says that we should be killed."

Coulter, whose column is distributed by Universal Press Syndicate, has "joked" that maybe terrorist Timothy McVeigh should have blown up the Times building and that maybe Times Executive Editor Bill Keller should be executed.

"Memo Pad" sent an e-mail to Coulter's AOL account and according to Bernstein, received a reply claiming that she was the sender of the mysterious powder.

"'So glad to hear that The New York Times got my letter and that your friend at the Times thinks I'm funny,' she wrote back. 'Good luck in journalism and please send me your home address so we can stay in touch, too.

"P.S. If we get hit again, don't forget to ask the NYT if they consider themselves responsible since they have repeatedly exposed classified government programs designed to prevent another terrorist attack.'"

When I first read the headline, I introduced the story with the line "a sense of taste, an internal editor, some assembly required," but given the jerkoff's accusation against Coulter, I think her flippancy is justified.

As for his basic point -- that attacks by Coulter on the patriotism of journalists is marginally decreasing their safety -- well, Old Bean, it's like this. When you publish inflamatory stories and classified information sure to put Americans' and soldiers' lives marginally (or worse) at risk, you defend it by saying "the public has a right to know" and the "risks of the truth are outweighed by the benefits of the truth."

That has a broad application. If the truth -- that you are anti-American bigots who unconsciously or deliberately attempt to put American lives in danger or compromise the war effort for the purpose of petty partisan point-scoring -- makes you marginally less safe, well, the truth is too important to be suppressed over such trivial concerns.

Which is not at all to say I support harming reporters, or sending them terroristic threats in the mail.

I'm saying precisely what I'm saying -- that we cannot suppress the truth in order to spare someone some additional risk of being harmed or even killed.

Did Michael Moore's Farhenheit 9/11 make it slightly more likely that an unhinged man would attempt to kill Bush? I think this is pretty undeniable. And yet I don't hear Jacob Berstein calling on Michael Moore's inflammatory flim-flam just to decrease the risk of harm to the President.

You taught us that, boys. You are, as far as I know, still foresquare behind that proposition. If you begin to doubt it, please let me know. Maybe we can have a "constructive dialogue" about the irresponsibility of publishing certain "truths."

PS: I have many times slammed this sort of terrorist threat when made by the left, as well as when made by the right. Whether we like liberals or not (or whether they like us), we are fellow Americans, and the tools and even paradigm of warfare should not be in use between Americans.

These are our (drooling, imbecilic) political rivals, not our enemies in war.

Even before Glenn Greenwad began calling upon conservatives to condemn the "a tree, some rope, some assembly required" faux-lynching taunt, I made ti clear here that, while I wouldn't ban such I comment, I considered it over the line and beneath us. Beneath anyone, really. What modest humor value it possessed was far outweighed by its suggestion of poltiical violence.

So I condemn the sending of the fake-anthrax death threat to the New York Times, as well as any suggestion that their reporters should be killed. Or even beaten up.

However, I do think they should be prosecuted for revealing classified information. And if such hot talk puts them at risk, I repeat: the mainstream media has piously instructed us over and over that merely increasing the risk that some lunatic and/or terrorist may kill an American in response to such inflammatory information is no reason to suppress publication. Or, at least, it's not a good reason. It's a reason that gets considered "soberly" for five minutes and then chucked out the window.

If we believed this notion -- one mustn't inflame anyone's passions against anyone else, lest some lunatic decide to terrorize or harm that person -- well, that's pretty much the end of political debate. Much political advocacy is by nature inflammatory. If you're not pissing your audience off from time to time, you're not doing your job right.

And, in fact, you're David Broder. And no one wants to be David Broder.

Do violent movies and violent videogames marginally increase the chances that a nutjob will act violently? Of course they do. But we have collectively decided we don't want to live in a perfectly safe, Barney-the-Dinosaur world of endless pap and inoffensiveness. It would drive too many of us insane.

So, until we repeal this basic consensus position, I think Jacob Bernstein should just treat himself, on this hot day, to a nice cold glass of shut the fuck up juice.


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posted by Ace at 01:41 PM

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