Conservative author Ann Coulter found herself embroiled in controversy last week after she spoke at a Canadian university.
According to numerous American media outlets, when asked by a seventeen-year-old Muslim student at the University of Western Ontario last Monday, "[S]ince I don't have a magic carpet, what other modes [of transportation] do you suggest," Coulter responded, "Take a camel."
What the Coulter-hating media ignored is that she spent almost two full minutes giving a rather thoughtful, fact-based answer to the first, more serious part of Fatima Al-Dhaher's question, and was badgered by others in the crowd who clearly didn't like her response.
At that point, Coulter heckled the hecklers (video embedded below the fold with rough transcript due to sound quality):
FATIMA AL-DHAHER: On September 14, 2001, you said that America should invade Muslim countries and convert them to Christianity. You also said that all the Muslims should boycott all the airlines. When asked what alternative modes of transportation were, you suggested flying carpet.
(CROWD LAUGHS AND CHEERS)
ANN COULTER: Hang on, she's reading my lines. Go on.
AL-DHAHER: Question, first of all, as a seventeen-year-old student of this university, Muslim, should I be converted to Christianity? Second of all, since I don't have a magic carpet, what other modes do you suggest?
COULTER: First, you dropped a line from the first quote. It was "invade all countries, kill their leaders, and convert them to Christianity." And, you know, by the way, this shows, I thought it was just, you know, American public schools that produced ignorant people. This is what America has done, after World War II, after the Korean War. After we won in World War II, the emperor went to MacArthur and said, "Okay, we're ready to convert." And MacArthur said, "Well, actually, we don't convert people forcibly." Also, as he's described, he said he didn't know whether to convert them to Protestantism or Catholicism. But he put out the call for Christian missionaries to come to Japan, and they poured in. And, you don't convert people forcibly, but missionaries have been operating throughout Japan for years, and we certainly have religious freedom in Japan, and I would add we haven't heard a peep out of them.
(CHEERS AND BOOS FROM CROWD)
After the Korean War, the exact same thing happened. A call was put out for Christian missionaries to go into South Korea. The Christian missionaries poured in, and this is one of the greatest success stories of Christianity. You'll see in at least on a American university campuses...
CROWD: Answer the question. Answer the question.
COULTER: What mode of transportation? Take a camel.
HECKLER: Are you going to convert her now?
COULTER: No, there are some people I'd just as soon not convert. I'm kind of a mean Christian.
Unfortunately, this wasn't how America's media reported this incident. Instead, they ran with a video that conveniently omitted all of Coulter's answer EXCEPT the camel comment.
Here's CNN's Rick Sanchez during Wednesday's "Rick's List":
RICK SANCHEZ, HOST: Ann Coulter in Canada, her speech last night canceled because of protesters who say that she's a spokeswoman for hate.
Let's catch up. If you weren't with us then, let -- let's bring it into this now. This is Ann Coulter Monday. This is an exchange I'm going to show you now. It's -- it's incredible, what she says. It's with a -- it's -- it's an exchange with a student at the University of Western Ontario after Coulter suggested Muslims should not be allowed to fly on airplanes and should travel only on flying carpets.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As a 17-year-old student of this university, Muslim, should I be converted to Christianity?
Second of all, since I don't have a magic carpet, what other modes would you suggest?
ANN COULTER, AUTHOR, "GODLESS: THE CHURCH OF LIBERALISM": What mode of transportation? Take a camel.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: "Take a camel." "Take a camel." That's what Ann Coulter told that student, who happens to be a Muslim. We are accustomed to that here in the United States. There, they are not. They don't have Ann Coulter, know not that much about her.
As you can see, he skipped almost a full two minutes between Al-Dhaher's question and Coulter's "Take a camel" comment.
Is that what passes for journalism today?
But Sanchez wasn't alone, for the Associated Press, the New York Times, the Boston Globe, New York's Daily News, the Houston Chronicle, New York's Newsday, the Los Angeles Times, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and the Palm Beach Post -- amongst others -- also ignored the almost two minutes between Al-Dhaher's question and Coulter's camel quip.
Here's what the New York Times reported Wednesday:
During an appearance Monday at the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario, a female Muslim student noted that Ms. Coulter had once said that Muslims should be banned from airplanes and should use flying carpets instead.
Ms. Coulter responded by telling the student that she could "take a camel."
My favorite report on Coulter's comments came from Sunday's St. Petersburg (Florida) Times (via LexisNexis supposedly on page A22, no link available): "Coulter told students earlier at the University of Western Ontario that Muslims should 'take a camel' for international travel and not be allowed on airplanes."
Is that what you saw her say in that video?
Well, maybe that paper's Politifact will fact-check that piece...but don't hold your breath.