Ann Coulter is an eight-time New York Times bestselling author as well as the legal correspondent for Human Events and a syndicated columnist for Universal Press Syndicate.
She has been a dear friend of the Media Research Center’s for decades and is beloved by NewsBusters readers around the world.
We’re very pleased to have an opportunity to discuss her new book with her entitled, “Mugged: Racial Demagoguery from the Seventies to Obama.”
NEWSBUSTERS: Before we get to your fabulous new book which I finished yesterday and think might be the most important piece you’ve ever done, you said on ABC's This Week this morning that you don’t watch any of the shows up for Emmys because you’re “busy watching the children’s hour on MSNBC.” Please explain.
ANN COULTER: I think they might win an Emmy for best children's programming. And Rachel Maddow for best comedy.
NEWSBUSTERS: You and I have talked before about this - you watch a lot of MSNBC.
COULTER: Yes I do. Yes I do. It is something to behold, and that was part of what gave me the idea for the book. Lots of people noticed I was completely undercover for about two and a half months. The idea just came to me in April, and it's a topic I've been interested in for a while. So I had actually read most of the books I cite like “Circle of Six,” and obviously not only have I read all of Thomas Sowell's books, many of them I've read twice, and “Albion's Seed.”
I researched a lot of this already because race and liberal guilt and their despicable history with respect to their race relations in America is a topic that's interested me. But from watching MSNBC, and particularly the Trayvon Martin nonsense, it was like a flashback to the '70s and '80s living in New York where it was just a constant state of racial turmoil and crazy racial demagoguery from the New York Times and all the “respectable” press as if we had the Klan on the New York City police force.
If any black criminal got shot it was proof of racism and police brutality. And then the facts would come out, and as with the Trayvon Martin case, it would just disappear from the news pages. You'd never get the conclusion saying, “Remember that story we've been beating you hysterical about for the past three months? Sorry, we were wrong, and actually the kid was mugging the cop.” That's the famed Edmund Perry case.
I've long had a theory that the best thing that ever happened to America, especially to black people ironically enough, was the OJ verdict because multiple millions of people watched that verdict being read, and then they watched law students at Howard University and at McDonald's and in stores around the country erupt in cheers for the acquittal of an obviously guilty black celebrity. And that was when white people in America said, “That's it – the white guilt bank has shut down.”
It was a very healthy thing that happened to the country, and most of all for black people who were being nearly patronized to death by liberals. So we had this beautiful period, twelve years of paradise, and now liberals have brought it back to first elect and now they're hoping re-elect the most liberal president this nation has ever seen.
I noticed that liberals weren't terribly worried about what black children would think if Clarence Thomas's nomination had been rejected. But suddenly, in 2008, black children would think our civil rights laws were a lie – I'm paraphrasing Slate's Jacob Weisberg on this – unless we elected Barack Obama, who doesn't even have an American black experience.
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NEWSBUSTERS: When you first came up with the idea for this book back in April, were you concerned that people wouldn’t be interested in views about race and racism from a white conservative? After all, in the eyes of the left and their media minions, white conservatives are the cause of the problem. Why should they be writing about this subject? How can they be credible?
COULTER: That's a great question. That's why my book really isn't about black people, although there are a lot of heroic black people in the book you've never heard of before because the media doesn't celebrate honorable, decent, shockingly brave black people. They celebrate black criminals and gangster rappers and so on. My book is really a book about white liberals.
The first friend of mine who read the book said, “After reading your book” - he loved it - “I like black people a lot more, but I really hate white liberals in the media.” And that's exactly what I want people to come away with. I don't claim to speak for black people. I am attacking white liberals who first of all were mostly responsible for subjugating blacks or oppressing blacks.
As you know from the “Civil Rights Chickenhawks” chapter, this nonsense about Democratic segregationists being conservative Democrats. No, no, no, no, no. There are more than a dozen, and only one of them ever became a Republican. At most, two in addition to Strom Thurmond – who's the only one anyone's ever heard of – could plausibly be described as conservative Democrats. The rest are big left-wing luminaries and remained liberals until the day they died.
NEWSBUSTERS: You told me last week that there appears to be a bit of a blackball going on towards you and this book where with the exception of Fox News, the television media aren’t interested in interviewing you about it. Tell us what’s going on and why you think this is the case? Do you think it’s the subject matter, your castigation of Obama, the upcoming elections, or a mixture of the three?
COULTER: As you know at NewsBusters, the media is in war mode, and the reason I wanted to write this book to get it out for the election was I could see that this was the direction we're going in. More racial mau-mauing. And they're really going to have to kick it into high gear this time.
Liberals didn't really need to white guilt America when they were only running against John McCain. This time, Obama has a record to run on; it's not a good record. They certainly can't talk about that. And they're up against a pretty tough candidate especially for their campaign techniques which usually involve digging up sealed divorce records and child custody records and basically forcing Obama's opponents to default. You're not going to be able to do that with the clean-living Mormon who gave $4 million to charity last year and whose roughest drink is chocolate milk.
So what are they going to do? It's going to be nonstop racial demagoguery. MSNBC kicked it off during the Republican National Convention when every night it was one more insane claim after another about anything Republicans say is racist, many of which I go through in my book.
NEWSBUSTERS: In the past when you've had a book come out, you've gotten interviews on most of the morning shows. This time that's not happening. Do you think it's because of the subject, the election, Obama, or all three?
COULTER: Some of it is just they do not want to acknowledge this book exists and want to get the election over with. I do think a lot of the morning shows are going much more – this was an explanation given to me that seems plausible – for entertainment items. (Although I will be doing Entertainment Tonight this week.) But, as for the morning shows, they're doing more Lindsay Lohan and Justin Bieber, and it's not so much a conservative issue as serious political discussion even though I am excellent for ratings especially if they get mad at me.
NEWSBUSTERS: Do you have anything in particular you'd like to say to NBC's Matt Lauer?
COULTER: Please have me on. Please, please, please have me on. And please fight with me.
NEWSBUSTERS: When's the last time you were on the Today show talking about a new book?
COULTER: It would have been "Godless" and the Jersey girls, and that was a fantastic sendoff for a first day interview for a book. I was supposed to be interviewed for "Guilty," and I think that was a scam because it wasn't listed on Tivo. I wasn't in the lineup. Then suddenly the day before, they canceled me, and I hysterically complained to all my friends. At that point it's too late to book another morning show. The morning shows are generally booked months in advance, sometimes a year in advance for a new book that's coming out. So it was just a way to screw me over and make us think we were going to be on the Today show and at the last minute pull the rug out from under us.
So I had no morning interviews the first day of "Guilty," and I was pretty upset about it. Drudge made it a headline, a big headline, and so the suits at NBC conferred. Suddenly, they remembered that in addition to their Tuesday show, they had a Wednesday show, and a Thursday show, and a Friday show which they did not remember when they canceled me. So I ended up going on on Thursday, and that was the last time.
NEWSBUSTERS: And that's years ago now.
COULTER: Yes, although Matt Lauer promised to have me on for my next book while we were sitting there, while assuring me there was no malintent, in fact they did not have me on for "Demonic." I've usually been on one of them. Nope, not this time.
NEWSBUSTERS: As I emailed you Friday, I love the way “Mugged” begins: “The Democrats’ slogan during the Bush years was: ‘Dissent is patriotic.’ Under Obama, it’s: ‘Dissent is racist.’” Explain why you believe that’s the case, and tell us how the media aided and abetted both slogans.
COULTER: They're the ones pushing it. As I illustrate in many examples, it's not black people objecting. One of the famous incidents is Bill O'Reilly on radio during the 2008 campaign, and somebody came on and said, “I know someone who knows someone who knows Michelle Obama, and I hear she really hates America.” And O'Reilly was totally pooh-poohing it and said, “I'm not going to take second or third-hand word. I really feel sorry for these people. I feel sorry for Michelle and Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton to be in the public eye like that. People can say all kinds of things.” It was really a very sympathetic remark, and then in a polite way of telling the woman she was nuts, he said, “Look, unless you've got some hard evidence for me, get whoever knows her to call in, we'll run it down. But otherwise I'm not going to go on a lynching party against her.”
This became a nightly “Urgent Alert: Bill O'Reilly Still Working At Fox News” on pasty white Keith Olbermann's show. As I pointed out in the book, when he interviewed Jesse Jackson, Jackson seemed a little perplexed by hysteria over a turn of phrase being turned into an actual threat to lynch Michelle Obama.
When you have a more sensitive racial hair-trigger than Jesse Jackson, I think there's a problem. But this is the way the world is now. It isn't black people complaining about a turn of phrase here or there. It's always white liberals trying to gain political advantage over their ideological opponents.
NEWSBUSTERS: And always with the media's assistance.
COULTER: Yes, generally being pushed by the media.
NEWSBUSTERS: Still on the first page: “Beginning in the seventies, there was constant racial turmoil in this country, stirred up by the media, academia, and Hollywood to promote their fantasy of America as ‘Mississippi Burning.’” Are you suggesting that without the media, academia, and Hollywood, the racial turmoil in America would have ended after the Civil Rights Acts of the 60s?
COULTER: Yes, yes. Absolutely. I go through a lot of the most exciting examples of that. In fact, that's how we came up with the title “Mugged.” I couldn't get a good title for the book, and when I was having lunch, my publisher's assistant asked if I got into busing. I said, “No, that's too boring. My stories, because I've got to limit this some way, are the ones where someone gets mugged." My publisher said, “That's it.” And it's resonant of I believe the Irving Kristol line, “A neo-conservative is a liberal who's been mugged by reality.”
A lot of the racial turmoil involved crimes, and you know from reading it, there are several chapters on that with short vignettes from some of the juiciest crimes, many that people won't know. For instance, the cop-killing at a Farrakhan mosque which I won't go into right now because it's a little too detailed. But there are interesting criminal stories, and I quote the media like the New York Times and what was said at the time. And it was just like Trayvon Martin but worse.
That's what life was like in the '70s and '80s. The hotbeds of racism were no longer Democratic-controlled areas of the south, i.e. Bull Connor, Democrat in Birmingham, or Little Rock High School where Democrat governor and Bill Clinton friend Orville Faubus blocked the schoolhouse door. No, now suddenly the hotbeds of racism and Klan behavior had, according to the media, somehow migrated to places like Queens where lots of Polish and Irish cops live. And if they ever apprehended a criminal, a crime that ended up being committed by a black person, no, this was a rush to judgment. How could he have done it? This can't be true. And when a cop ended up shooting a black criminal or a black criminal died in the custody of a cop, it was just non-stop hysteria and front-page articles constantly, constantly, constantly. Eventually the details trickle out, and you discover he was mugging the cop or he was not killed in police custody and so on and so forth.
NEWSBUSTERS: Let's dig a little deeper here. What do you feel is the media, academia, and Hollywood's goal? Is it political because the Democratic Party needs it, or do they see a financial benefit for doing this?
COULTER: Actually neither. I think moral indignation is a more pervasive drive in the human psyche than the drive for sex. Liberals just love being morally indignant. And what would liberal Democrats be morally indignant about? They were the party of slavery. They were the party of Jim Crow. They were the party that fought to the death to keep discriminating against blacks and protecting that wing of their party the same way the Democratic Party today protects the wing that is all for killing babies in the womb. That was an actual wing of the Democratic Party while the Republican history on civil rights is absolutely blameless and incredibly impressive. So liberals first rewrite the history and then create a new history in which liberals get to be the heroes and we'll just have to invent the racists. So, the racists got to be the Irish and Italian cops in Queens.
NEWSBUSTERS: We could probably talk for hours about what Republicans did for civil rights issues in the '50s versus the Democrats – including LBJ who prior to becoming president was staunchly opposed to black equality. Give us a brief synopsis of the real '50s and '60s civil rights history Americans aren’t taught in schools or in our media.
COULTER: Not just the '50s and '60s. From the time of the founding of the Republican Party, which of course was founded expressly to oppose slavery because the Whig Party was pro-choice on slavery. A band of Whigs said, “No expanding slavery. We want to stop slavery.” That is the beginning of the Republican Party. Republicans fight a Civil War – a barbaric, savage Civil War – to end the institution of slavery. Republicans passed the 13th, 14th, 15th amendments emancipating slaves, giving them the rights of citizenship, giving them the right to vote. And then throughout the next hundred years, it is constantly the Republican Party pushing civil rights bills, pushing public accommodations bills, pushing anti-poll tax bills, pushing over and over and over again anti-lynching bills with the Democrats blocking them.
Then what happened was – without getting too much into the details – Eisenhower was the one who actually completed desegregation of the military. Yes, Truman thought about it and he tried, but he couldn't pull it off. You needed someone with the military chops of Eisenhower to actually get it done. And he got it done.
Richard Nixon was crucial in getting two civil rights bills passed under President Eisenhower for which Nixon was personally thanked by Martin Luther King. The speeches Nixon gave and the columns he wrote denouncing the Democrats as the party of the segregationists who were going to keep trying to achieve political victories by squeezing the last ounces of juice out of racial segregation were just beautiful. His inauguration speech in '69 was so beautiful on the issue of what the Democrats were doing.
Finally, because of the successes, especially of Thurgood Marshall in winning Supreme Court cases enforcing existing constitutional rights of black Americans and Republicans pushing through laws, the Civil Rights Commission, even the first affirmative action – quotas and timetables which I had once been against. But when you read through the history of how abstinent and the massive resistance we were getting from the Democratic Party one hundred years after the Civil War, you get so angry that it would be the equivalent today of finally getting Roe v. Wade overturned by a federal law banning abortion.
Some people like the Federalists would say, “Well, we really don't have the constitutional authority for that.” Some Republicans would even say that. Of course, the Democrats don't care about the Constitution. But you'd be so enraged you might say, “Screw it. They have been killing babies at a clip of two million a year for lo these many decades. So now we're going to make a federal law about this.”
Now, that would be beyond the bounds of what Congress has the authority to do, but would I object to it? No, I do not think I would. And similarly, that's how I feel about the timetables, the racial quotas that Nixon put into effect. We were getting the same massive resistance to basic equality for our fellow black Americans that we're getting on the civil rights of an unborn right now.
NEWSBUSTERS: What was was really fascinating was that you not only wrote about the various Civil Rights Acts that were enacted, but also that Johnson really didn't do anything to enforce them. It was actually Nixon that was responsible for that, and I don't think anybody in America knows this because it's not what's being taught in public schools or disseminated by the Nixon-hating media.
COULTER: That's right, and I don't think they know how dismissive Johnson was of blacks. He used to refer to “them niggras” and we have to get a “niggra bill.” He totally watered down the 1957 Civil Rights Act. And then he becomes president. At that point, Republican bills and Thurgood Marshall's lawsuits had succeeded enough, and also - although I'm a bigger fan of Thurgood Marshall than Martin Luther King Jr. - the civil rights marches and the freedom rides were bringing attention to how Democrats were treating blacks, and the Democratic Party was going to start losing votes over their cheerful tolerance of racism within their party.
So on principle, they changed, and started becoming champions of civil rights. But even then, the only reason we hear about the 1964 Civil Rights Act is that it was the first civil rights act pushed by a Democrat – President LBJ. Even with a Democratic president pushing the civil rights bill, overwhelmingly more Republicans voted for it than Democrats.
It's an ugly history of the Democratic Party which I wouldn't mention except they've rewritten the history books to reverse the roles.
NEWSBUSTERS: And as you know, you actually listed in the book all of the various actions by Congress and by presidents associated with civil rights, and that they were all done by Republicans. It was really quite fascinating.
COULTER: Throughout the '20s, the Republican platform included a plank calling for anti-lynching legislation. The Democratic platform did not. In the '40s, the Republican platform called for full integration of the military and the civil services. The Democratic platform did not. Immediately after Thurgood Marshall won Brown v. Board of Education, the Republican platform two years later specifically endorsed Brown v. Board of Education ending the separate but equal in the public schools. The Democratic Party did not.
No, it's not until both blacks and whites started noticing. Blacks aren't voting in large enough numbers to make a difference. And also, white people found out what was going on in these Democratic areas of the country, and it wasn't making the Democrats look good. So it started to hurt their electoral fortunes, and finally you get a Democratic president really pushing this civil rights bill, yet still roughly 60 percent of Democrats in the Congress supported the 1964 Civil Rights Act compared to 80 percent of the Republicans.
As I pointed out in the book, the Republicans who voted against it such as Goldwater were huge integrationists. Goldwater had already integrated the Goldwater department stores. He had already integrated the Arizona National Guard. His objection was the one I just described to a federal abortion law. His disagreement was on constitutional authority only as it regards public accommodations. He would have written a civil rights law that was tougher on those doing business with the government or integration within the government. It was only when it came to private property.
Goldwater and Strom Thurmond were the only ones whose votes you ever hear about on the 1964 Civil Rights Act: not Al Gore Sr.; not Bill Clinton's mentor J. William Fulbright; not Richard Russell, a prominent enough Democrat that he has a Senate building named after him in Washington, D.C.; not Sam Ervin, a liberal demigod for his presiding over the Watergate panel. All of these, by the way, were huge opponents of Joe McCarthy. They were liberals.
I only mention that to say these were not conservative Democrats. They were supportive of the New Deal, of Great Society. They loved big government in everything. The only thing they didn't love it for was civil rights.
Stay tuned for Part II wherein Coulter discusses the liberal policies that have destroyed the black family, the importance of the O.J. Simpson verdict, racial double-standards at MSNBC, and how the media's handling of the Rodney King beating videotape cost 54 lives and over a billion dollars in damages to the city of Los Angeles.