Topic category: Other/General
The "Godless" Goddess (Ann Coulter): Far Left Enemy No 1
President Nixon gave his enemies a sword, and they wielded it with relish. The "Godless" Goddess (Ann Coulter) should have learned from that, but she did not. Instead, she has given her enemies openings, they make full use (and more) of them to discredit both Ann and Ann's message and she refuses to acknowledge her mistakes (thereby magnifying their importance).
This year Ann released Godless: The Church of Liberalism, a powerful pro-life, pro-traditional American values book, the latest in a series of bestsellers. In it, Ann made a point that much deserved and needed making: that the Far Left uses spokespersons whose tragic personal circumstances tend to immunize them from criticism to promote their fundamentally flawed and dangerous political agenda, such as Cindy Sheehan and the four Jersey widows, and discourage robust debate. Ann was right, and right to draw as much attention to that tactic as reasonably possible. But she was wrong to speculate that the Jersey widows enjoyed their husbands' deaths (in addition to the celebrity and wealth they received as a result), to disparage them as harpies and witches (instead of persons who misdirected their anger and misunderstood the danger posed by the War on Terror and the need for America to take the offensive instead of wait foolishly for more terrorist attacks, to speculate that their husbands might have been about to divorce them (without providing any evidence for the speculation), and to suggest that they better hurry if they wanted to pose in a magazine like Playboy (without providing any evidence that they ever wanted to do so).
To be sure, the Far Left has targeted Ann for destruction like it targeted former Vice President Dan Quayle. Mr. Quayle was right about Murphy Brown not being a good role model, but he misspelled potato at an event that was being recorded and was effectively destroyed as a prominent politician (never mind that he was a lawyer and a former United States Senator, as well as Vice President of the United States).
Ann is a great speller, so there is an effort to discredit her as a plagiarist. (Senator Joe Biden, Democrat of Delaware, what do you think of that?).
It appears that this brouhaha is, at best, an enormous exaggeration (like the Far Left claim that Ann disparaged ALL September 11 widows instead of FOUR).
John Barrie, creator of a plagiarism-recognition system, claimed to have identified "at least three instances of what he calls 'textbook plagiarism' in the leggy blond pundit's Godless: the Church of Liberalism after he ran the book's text through [a] digital iThenticate program."
Putting aside the apparent irrelevance of the length of Ann's legs and the color of her hair to plagiarism, what is most interesting here is that after examining a 281 page book Mr. Barrie cited three alleged instances of Ann using the same words as others.
Perhaps realizing that this "evidence" did not support a convincing claim of plagiarism, Mr. Barrie examined Ann's weekly column and claimed some "verbatim lifts" there too.
Where's the beef?
Mr. Barry cited a 25-word passage from the chapter titled The Holiest Sacrament: Abortion that allegedly appears to have been taken nearly word for word from Planned Parenthood literature published before Godless was published.
The real problem is not Ann's use of any or all of those 25 words (which doubt do not rank among Ann's most memorable prose), but Ann's ardent opposition to abortion!
Mr. Barry also whines about 24 words in The Creation Myth chapter and reports that they appeared about a year earlier in the San Francisco Chronicle, except "stacked" was substituted for "piled."
Oh my. The real problem is that Ann put forward a solid rebuttal to the evolution theory. And why shouldn't Ann prefer "stacked" to "piled"?
The third example--a 33-word passage early in the book--allegedly were pilfered from a 1999 article in The Portland (Maine) Press Herald.
All of 33 words?
NO evidence that Ann actually accessed the early articles and deliberately used all (or nearly all) of those 25, or 24, or 33 words without attribution. Instead, a hope that people will infer that she deliberately plagiarized. A presumption of guilt instead of a presumption of innocence.
On that evidence, not even Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong's favorite grand jury would indict (I hope).
Mr. Barrie also charged that many of the 344 citations in Godless "are very misleading." Whatever that means. Sounds like Ted Kennedy droning on that President Bush misled America.
Mr. Barrie: "They're used purely to try and give the book a higher level of credibility - as if it's an academic work. But her sloppiness in failing to properly attribute many other passages strips it of nearly all its academic merits."
It seems to me that Mr. Barrie is pretending to be a mind reader, but really is a man with a Far Left agenda. If Ann gives a citation, he charges her with trying to create a false impression and if she doesn't provide a citation, she's plagiarizing. How many other books has you checked? Which ones?
His carping has had an effect: Universal Press Syndicate will investigate the plagiarism allegations.
If you can't rebut the message, then malign the messenger! How about reading the book for its substance and focusing on its message instead of the messenger's hair, legs or particular word choices?
Ann may love attention and high book sales, but Craig Durrett, editorial page editor of The Shreveport (La.) Times, is considering dropping Ann as a columnist, not because of the pathetic plagiarism charge, but because Ann's affinity for shocking to gain attention detracts from the impact of her message:
The National Society of Newspaper Columnists recently awarded Ann its annual Sitting Duck Award for easiest column target "for cheapening political discourse in America," albeit "reluctantly, because we know Ms. Coulter is desperate for any kind of attention."
Mr. Durrett's opinion: Ann "is more about entertainment and self-promotion, understanding that shock and outrage translate into publicity that feeds into her quest for media airtime and column space. Her comments about several women who were made widows on Sept. 11, 2001, is a prime example."
Mr. Durrett was impressed with the analysis of B. Jay Cooper, former deputy press secretary to Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush: "To me, Ann Coulter's exercise of her right to free speech is the political equivalent of yelling fire in a crowded theater. She crosses the line of decency. To me, individuals who engage in name-calling and hate speech to get attention, sell books, increase speaking fees and feather their own nests, are speaking for themselves, not any political party. My problem is the popular presumption that she represents the Republican Party. We all get painted with her tainted brush."
The problem is that what may be good for Ann is not necessarily good for America. Ann should not play into the hands of her political enemies by "cross[ing] the line of decency" (even though many of them live on the wrong side of that line).
Michael J. Gaynor
Biography - Michael J. Gaynor
Michael J. Gaynor has been practicing law in New York since 1973. A former partner at Fulton, Duncombe & Rowe and Gaynor & Bass, he is a solo practitioner admitted to practice in New York state and federal courts and an Association of the Bar of the City of New York member.
Gaynor graduated magna cum laude, with Honors in Social Science, from Hofstra University's New College, and received his J.D. degree from St. John's Law School, where he won the American Jurisprudence Award in Evidence and served as an editor of the Law Review and the St. Thomas More Institute for Legal Research. He wrote on the Pentagon Papers case for the Review and obscenity law for The Catholic Lawyer and edited the Law Review's commentary on significant developments in New York law.
The day after graduating, Gaynor joined the Fulton firm, where he focused on litigation and corporate law. In 1997 Gaynor and Emily Bass formed Gaynor & Bass and then conducted a general legal practice, emphasizing litigation, and represented corporations, individuals and a New York City labor union. Notably, Gaynor & Bass prevailed in the Second Circuit in a seminal copyright infringement case, Tasini v. New York Times, against newspaper and magazine publishers and Lexis-Nexis. The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed, 7 to 2, holding that the copyrights of freelance writers had been infringed when their work was put online without permission or compensation.
Gaynor currently contributes regularly to www.MichNews.com, www.RenewAmerica.com, www.WebCommentary.com, www.PostChronicle.com and www.therealitycheck.org and has contributed to many other websites. He has written extensively on political and religious issues, notably the Terry Schiavo case, the Duke "no rape" case, ACORN and canon law, and appeared as a guest on television and radio. He was acknowledged in Until Proven Innocent, by Stuart Taylor and KC Johnson, and Culture of Corruption, by Michelle Malkin. He appeared on "Your World With Cavuto" to promote an eBay boycott that he initiated and "The World Over With Raymond Arroyo" (EWTN) to discuss the legal implications of the Schiavo case. On October 22, 2008, Gaynor was the first to report that The New York Times had killed an Obama/ACORN expose on which a Times reporter had been working with ACORN whistleblower Anita MonCrief.
Gaynor's email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.