So the increasingly deranged Ann Coulter calls Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards a "faggot" at the Conservative Political Action Conference yesterday, which was met with laughter and approval by the audience and captured for all the world to see by C-Span, and CNN ignores it. (Go ahead, try and search their site for it.) They were obviously too busy incessantly covering the Anna Nicole Smith burial saga, understandable, because nothing's really more import than that.
You can find write-ups on it at quite a few newspapers and their web sites, and online sites like Huffington Post and Monsters and Critics. But CNN and for that matter ABC and CBS - pretended it didn't happen. Couldn't find anything online at C-Span, either. Nothing on MSNBC, either. (They do have a piece on the object of Coulter's affection, Mitt Romney, and footage of a surfing golden retriever, however.)
Now some may argue that the best way to get rid of someone like Coulter is to ignore her until she goes away - sort of like an imaginary monster can't exist without acknowledgment. However, the reaction to her comments is the story here - no apologies, no dismissal or disowning from the GOP, laughter from the audience. If a Democrat had said something hateful about one of the GOP candidates, you'd bet we'd have shock, horror and demands for an apology from the right. Instead, it's like it didn't happen. Pretending Ann Coulter doesn't exist is understandable; pretending the Republican party's schizophrenic beliefs and tolerance of the intolerant is not.
So the question is, what are they afraid of - the word "faggot"? Offending anyone who wasn't offended by the word "faggot"? Giving too much PR to Coulter? By acknowledging this story it means it exists? If an epithet is uttered at a conservative PAC meeting and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?
What are they afraid of?
End note: MediaMatters reported on this and hearkened back to last year: As Media Matters for America documented, Coulter called former Vice President Al Gore a "total fag" on the July 27 edition of MSNBC's Hardball, claiming immediately that the comment was "a joke." At the end of the interview, host Chris Matthews said: "Thanks for coming on. And a smart lady. Her book's called Godless. Sometimes being smart isn't enough for a civil discourse. We'd love to have her back."
(Poor John Edwards: smeared in reality and smeared in virtual reality.)
This just gets better and better. Later at the CPAC, Rep. Sam Johnson, R-Plano, said of Cindy Sheehan, whose son died in Iraq: "She's an idiot." (Link)
Update! Looks like the NY Times finally caught up with the story, whee. And a few other news sources, too, once GOP candidates started denouncing her comments. Well, that's a start anyway, even if it's hard to take seriously as long as they keep inviting Coulter to events.
Update 2! John Edwards' wife Elizabeth posted an perfectly worded response to all this on the Edwards campaign blog. Read this.