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Jewish World Review August 13, 2002 / 5 Elul, 5762

Bill Steigerwald

Bill Steigerwald
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Consumer Reports

Tell us what you really think, Ann Coulter | Anyone who dubs Katie Couric the "affable Eva Braun of morning television," as Ann Coulter does in Slander: Liberal Lies About the American Right. can't be all bad.

Most liberals don't get the joke - and they sure don't appreciate the brains, brass and bite that have made Coulter the country's hottest conservative tele-pundit and columnist.

Liberals were cursing Coulter's liberal-bashing ways long before "Slander," her bloodthirsty but funny, dead-on expose of the biases and bad sportsmanship of the media establishment, soared to the top of The New York Times best-seller list. Her first Times best-seller was 1998's "High Crimes and Misdemeanors: The Case Against Bill Clinton."

Coulter, whose predictably provocative column appears here every Thursday, was so busy flogging her book on radio and TV shows coast-to-coast that she could only be Q&A'd by e-mail. We don't usually roll over to such demands by the important, the powerful or the trouble-making.

But Coulter's a lawyer. And since the back cover of "Slander" contains a left-right spectrum of praise from the likes of Robert Novak, Bill Maher and Geraldo Rivera, and since we like Coulter's style, we made an exception. Here are our questions and her answers:

Q: So far, what do your enemies and victims seem to hate most about your book?

A: I tell the truth about them.

Q: Is "Slander" being fairly characterized by print and electronic media folks?

A: Those who praise it have characterized it exactly right.

Q: What's the worst someone has said?

A: I was too soft on Katie Couric.

Q:, the liberal Web site, ripped you pretty good in its mostly derisive review, saying that "Coulter dishes out a fresh book-full of hypocrisy, distortion and half-crazed rants" and essentially argues that you do unto liberals what you say liberals do unto conservatives. Defend thyself.

A: What's the name again?

Q: If you had a chance to write your own introduction on the "Today Show," how would describe yourself, your new book and your reputation? Don't be your usual shy or modest self.

A: "Unlike Katie Couric, Ann Coulter is unabashed about being a political polemicist."

Q: Your book is touted as an attack on liberals and their "lies about the America right." Who are the biggest "liars," and give your favorite example to prove your case (no legalese, please).

A: I wouldn't want to create jealousies among my enemies by citing one as opposed to another.

Q: Your book is serious and tough. But it's also full of obvious jokes, hyperbole and other humorous rhetorical devices. What's your favorite laugh line - and do liberals get it or do they hate you too much?

A: Liberals can get anything? I did not know that. I love all my jokes - they're all my children.

Q: Are there any good liberals - fair-fighting liberals, thoughtful liberals, liberals you like? Or are they all unprincipled dolts?

A: Bernard Goldberg has risen mightily in my estimation. And erstwhile FDR-voter Ronald Reagan is pretty cool too.

Q: Is there anyone on the liberal-left side like you - a counter-Coulter? If not, would you join with Democrats who are calling for a federal program to subsidize liberals so they can compete fairly with conservatives in the new media, namely radio and TV talk shows and Internet opinion sites?

A: Yes, Christopher Hitchens, but he's only like me when he's attacking the Clintons.

Q: If you met, say, Christopher Hitchens in a bar, and he asked you to define your politics, what would you say?

A: "Chris, do you have an extra cigarette?"

Q: Where did your politics come from?

A: God and my parents in descending order of importance. (Sorry mother!)

Q: Are you now or have you ever been a dues-paying member of the vast right-wing conspiracy?

A: That is such a stupid question even I can't come up with a clever answer.

Q: What's the worst thing any liberal has said about you - something that almost made you cry?

A: "I liked your column today."

Q: What's the best (most surprising or most gratifying) thing anyone - friend or foe - has said about your book?

A: When The New York Times declined to call it a "surprise best-seller."

Q: Is it true that you next book will be a children's book?

A: No, I don't write books simply so that liberals can understand them.

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JWR contributor Bill Steigerwald is an associate editor and columnist at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Comment by clicking here.

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© 2002, Bill Steigerwald