On Sunday, the Times put two controversial conservative women on the front of two of their sections, blogger Pamela Geller, and author and commentator Ann Coulter.
Coulter was profiled on the front of the Sunday Styles section under the headline "Not Done Yet." The thrust of that odd headline became clear in the subhead, which put a cynical spin on Coulter's recent pronouncements: "Increasingly outflanked on the right by the Tea party, the conservative columnist Ann Coulter is trotting out a new image and seeking support in some unlikely places."
For a right-wing, evangelical Christian who has made fun of homosexuals and opposes same-sex marriage, Ms. Coulter seemed awfully...game. Wearing a black lace-up cocktail dress and high black heels, she posed for a photograph with the founder of Boy Butter, a maker of sex lubricants.
Reporter Laura Holson, while not actively hostile toward Coulter personally (at least not the way the Times' tag-team of Anne Barnard and Alan Feuer treated anti-Ground Zero mosque blogger Geller), did inaccurately portray Coulter as acting out of opportunism:
Now that members of the Tea Party movement have stolen much of her thunder, Ms. Coulter is taking some surprising new positions. She called the decision to send more troops into Afghanistan "insane," warning that it could be a new Vietnam. She has decried fellow Republicans for continuing to insist President Obama is Muslim. And perhaps most startling, she wants to bring more gay Republicans into the conservative fold.
But as Coulter friend and neo-liberal blogger Mickey Kaus (now at Newsweek) proved, none of the positions Holson flagged are new ones for Coulter, and she's been a guest speaker at the very Tea Party groups that have supposedly eclipsed her. Kaus concluded:
Holson's "opportunism" theory might strike some as a sleazy and condescending attempt to discredit a conservative figure whose views are more sensible...than the New York Times, whose reputation for avoiding dumb liberal bias has faded somewhat, has ever admitted, in part because it didn't bother to pay attention!
Those people would be right.
Holson also committed some standard Times labeling slant: "Ann Coulter has made a lucrative career out of being the outspoken, sometimes outrageous Cassandra of the far right..." Holson placed World Net Daily editor Joseph Farah, a recent Coulter critic, on "the extreme right." The paper has rarely if ever placed an American political figure on "the extreme left."
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