Here is Ann Coulter on Piers Morgan's show, refusing to answer any questions about her private life:
Since clamming up was the advice I gave in my last post to all politicians facing questions about alleged scandals, I can't fault her for refusing to answer. And yet this response seems a bit disingenuous in her case. After all, a big part of the reason Ann Coulter constantly gets invited on TV talk shows has to do with her carefully-cultivated persona--the long blonde hair, the bare-shouldered, short black dresses, her whole unique look. It is the shock of hearing such seriousness-- and viciousness--come from someone who appears to be a fun-loving party girl that draws attention. Coulter's refusal to provide more details about her personal life also adds an air of mystery that must be part of the image she is trying to project. If Ann Coulter's life were more of an open book, if she dressed more conservatively, if she did not wave her long blonde mane around, it seems unlikely she would attract as much interest as she does. So she can't very well complain that people show an interest in her personal life, when she has gone to such lengths to draw attention to her personality.
Coulter's insistence that Morgan stick to the ideas expressed in her book seems a bit phony, considering that there is nothing particularly original about her ideas, and she has no special expertise in her chosen subjects. It is only the way she provokes and demonizes her opponents that makes her the least bit interesting. (Her latest book, Demonic, which argues that liberalism is based on mob psychology, is a prime example.) Ann Coulter is not the person you invite to a TV interview if you want to have a calm and rational discussion of intellectual issues. If you want that, you would invite a university professor. If you invite Ann Coulter, you know you are not going to have a serious debate. She is not going to listen carefully and take into consideration anything anyone else has to say. She is just going to roll her eyes and smirk until it is her turn to speak, and then she is going to start throwing bombs at her opponents. I guess that is what makes for good television, where people generally do not go to have their minds opened to new ideas. We watch TV for the comfort of having our existing ideas confirmed, and Ann Coulter suits that purpose admirably. She is as divisive and provocative as she can be. She does not attempt to make her ideas palatable to anyone who doesn't already agree with her. She does not try to win anyone over. She already knows who her fans are, and she likes to throw them red meat. As for her adversaries, attack rather than dialogue is her style.
Nobody should invite Ann Coulter on television if they are interested in sharing ideas, solving problems, or reaching consensus. But if you are interested in creating controversy, sowing divisiveness, and inflaming passions on both sides of any issue, then Ann Coulter is your woman. I probably shouldn't be giving her any attention either, because Coulter's style and purpose are exactly opposite to what I'm trying to create. In my defense, I might say that Ann Coulter is not really the subject of this post. This post is about the media, and its relationship to us. Why are they (and we) more interested in heat than light? Why are they so ready to give a platform to hate and fear? Why do they pander to people's interest in politics as a sport, instead of politics as a means of improving people's lives? As for Ann Coulter's personal life, I just feel sorry that a smart woman has allowed herself to be turned into a clown just to sell books and attract media attention.