Ann Coulter Takes Matt Lauer and Brian Williams to Task on 'Today'

After reports that Ann Coulter had been banned from NBC News, her return to the "Today" show set this Wednesday morning was, as expected, a fiery one with co-host Matt Lauer. The conservative author put Lauer on the defensive on her being bumped for the likes of Rachel Maddow and Perez Hilton, his colleague Brian Williams’ softball questions to Barack Obama, and Lauer’s charges that Coulter’s takes on single motherhood and Obama’s middle name were "outrageous," and "venomous."

First up, Coulter stuck it to Lauer on his, rather lame excuse for her being bumped from yesterday’s "Today" show:

MATT LAUER: Let me just get to this little controversy. You've been all over the blogs in the last day or so. We cancelled your appearance here on Tuesday. And from what I've been reading you thought you were banned for life from the show. Did, were you behind that report?

ANN COULTER: No, I didn't say that. That was from a reliable news report that, by the way, had never, has never had to retract a report on exploding GM trucks. But I do know that, like NBC. Um, it apparently took-

LAUER: So we're either dead or you weren't banned.

COULTER: It apparently took eight hours for the "Today" show to remember that there was a Wednesday show that I could be invited back to. It took the Drudge Report posting that, for the Wednesday invitation to appear.

LAUER: You, you-

COULTER: But I'm very happy to be here Matt Lauer.

LAUER: You said all kinds of things. That, that one of the reasons you weren't on the show is because the mainstream liberal media hates conservatives. I mean you do know that we-

COULTER: I didn't say that.

LAUER: Yeah you did.

COULTER: Where did you say that?

LAUER: On, I think it was on "Hannity & Colmes" or something like that.

COULTER: That the mainstream media hates conservatives? I didn't say that.

LAUER: Yeah. You, you know that we've had every major conservative-

COULTER: I have much more colorful language. I mean you're capturing the thought, that's just not my language.

LAUER: Do, do, do you think though that much was made of this and maybe you helped fan the fire here a little bit to (holds up book) make a controversy to sell the book?

COULTER: No I don't think I'd be sitting here now if it hadn't been a headline on Drudge. But let's get to the book-

LAUER: Really?

COULTER: -because I do want to talk about the book.

LAUER: But we've had you on so many times in the past. After every book you've always been invited back. Why would you, all of a sudden, be banned?

COULTER: Well I was, well I don't know. I mean that's not for me to answer what your motives are.

LAUER: We made it, we traded you out for Tony Blair yesterday. And I think that's a pretty good switch.

COULTER: Well yeah, more than Tony Blair on for four hours.

LAUER: Yeah right.

COULTER: It's a four hour show.

LAUER: But you were, in your slot where you were supposed to be yesterday morning was Tony Blair.

COULTER: Um, and Rachel Maddow, and various gossip columnists-

LAUER: Afterward.

COULTER: -and a bear.

LAUER: Afterward.

COULTER: The point is I was cancelled twice and it wasn't until the Drudge Report ran a headline, on its own reporting, and the Drudge Report has never had to retract a report-

LAUER: You know-

COULTER: -the way NBC News has.

LAUER: You know, you know what that expression is? Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean you don't have enemies.

Then a little later in the segment, Coulter took the liberal media and specifically, Lauer’s colleague, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams, to task for giving Obama a free ride during the campaign:

LAUER: We've just come through an election cycle where it seemed to me and maybe I'm completely wrong because apparently, according to you, I'm wrong about most things, but that, that people have decided it's time to address the issues that face this country. The economy clearly one. Unemployment. Things like that. And to maybe concentrate less on what divides us. Did you not get that sense from this? I mean I'm just asking is-

COULTER: No.

LAUER: You didn't get that sense from this election?

COULTER: No, to the contrary and as I detail, at great length in this book, we didn't, I mean to say we want to concentrate on the issues, then why wasn't B. Hussein Obama asked about the issues? He was asked, as I describe over and over in my book, you know the tough "gotcha" questions he'd get from the media were things like, "How did you feel tonight? You must have been thinking about your parents."

LAUER: Do you, do you not get a sense though-

COULTER: That's from Brian Williams.

LAUER: -that people want-

COULTER: Meanwhile Sarah Palin is memorizing the last seven kings of Swaziland.

LAUER: Do you not get a sense that people want a different tone? That they want a different attitude? That they want, maybe, to start to pull together?

COULTER: No I think liberals want conservatives to stop talking so that you can keep telling us how marvelous B. Hussein Obama is. You were not asking him about the issues during the campaign, which is why, well the next four years, I think, are gonna be a surprise for all of us because he can't keep voting, "present."

The following is the complete transcript of Coulter’s segment as it was aired in the 7am half hour of the January 7, "Today" show:

MATT LAUER: Conservative commentator Ann Coulter is a bestselling author and syndicated columnist. Her latest book is Guilty: Liberal Victims and Their Assault On America. Ann, good morning. Nice to have you here.

[On screen headline: "Conservative Queen, Coulter's Assault On Liberal America"]

ANN COULTER: Good morning, it's great to be here.

LAUER: I want to talk about [Roland] Burris in a second, but let, let me just get to this little controversy. You've been all over the blogs in the last day or so. We cancelled your appearance here on Tuesday. And from what I've been reading you thought you were banned for life from the show. Did, were you behind that report?

COULTER: No, I didn't say that. That was from a reliable news report that, by the way, had never, has never had to retract a report on exploding GM trucks. But I do know that, like NBC. Um, it apparently took-

LAUER: So we're either dead or you weren't banned.

COULTER: It apparently took eight hours for the "Today" show to remember that there was a Wednesday show that I could be invited back to. It took the Drudge Report posting that, for the Wednesday invitation to appear.

LAUER: You, you-

COULTER: But I'm very happy to be here Matt Lauer.

LAUER: You said all kinds of things. That, that one of the reasons you weren't on the show is because the mainstream liberal media hates conservatives. I mean you do know that we-

COULTER: I didn't say that.

LAUER: Yeah you did.

COULTER: Where did you say that?

LAUER: On, I think it was on "Hannity & Colmes" or something like that.

COULTER: That the mainstream media hates conservatives? I didn't say that.

LAUER: Yeah. You, you know that we've had every major conservative-

COULTER: I have much more colorful language. I mean you're capturing the thought, that's just not my language.

LAUER: Do, do, do you think though that much was made of this and maybe you helped fan the fire here a little bit to (holds up book) make a controversy to sell the book?

COULTER: No I don't think I'd be sitting here now if it hadn't been a headline on Drudge. But let's get to the book-

LAUER: Really?

COULTER: -because I do want to talk about the book.

LAUER: But we've had you on so many times in the past. After every book you've always been invited back. Why would you, all of a sudden, be banned?

COULTER: Well I was, well I don't know. I mean that's not for me to answer what your motives are.

LAUER: We made it, we traded you out for Tony Blair yesterday. And I think that's a pretty good switch.

COULTER: Well yeah, more than Tony Blair on for four hours.

LAUER: Yeah right.

COULTER: It's a four hour show.

LAUER: But you were, in your slot where you were supposed to be yesterday morning was Tony Blair.

COULTER: Um, and Rachel Maddow, and various gossip columnists-

LAUER: Afterward.

COULTER: -and a bear.

LAUER: Afterward.

COULTER: The point is I was cancelled twice and it wasn't until the Drudge Report ran a headline, on its own reporting, and the Drudge Report has never had to retract a report-

LAUER: You know-

COULTER: -the way NBC News has.

LAUER: You know, you know what that expression is? Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean you don't have enemies. But anyway. Let, let's get to-

COULTER: Let's get to the reason I wanted to be here.

LAUER: Let me get to Roland Burris first. Let me get to Roland Burris first. What's going on here? Has Rod Blagojevich pulled a fast one on the Democratic leadership here?

COULTER: I am like Roland Burris. I was turned away but I'm back.

LAUER: But I mean has he pulled one over on the Democrats here?

COULTER: Look I haven't been following this. I have a brand new book out. I'm very happy about it. All I can say is they're all Democrats so I don't really care what happens. But I do know, I have read the Constitution, and the Senate cannot turn away an appointed senator by a sitting governor. They can't do it.

LAUER: In, in the, in the book you say that liberals play victims all the time, and then they use that victimization to go on the attack.

COULTER: Right.

LAUER: You also say that the liberal media and Democrats are out to accomplish the same thing, they want to destroy America. So I mean, go ahead, why, why do liberals and the media want to destroy America?

COULTER: Oh why? Their motives? Well I'd have to be their confessor or psychologist to understand that. I'm, I'm describing the results. And one beautiful example of this my, my chapter two of the book, is the exultation of single motherhood. It, it's promoted in the New York Times and all the glossy women's magazines and Hollywood movies. And we now know, after 30 years of promoting single motherhood, of the courts destroying the institute of marriage, that children raised without fathers are filling up the prisons, are 70 percent of the teenage runaways, of, of teenage pregnancies, of rapists.

LAUER: Hasn't the mainstream media also done extensive reporting on the problem of the disintegration of the American family?

COULTER: Not so much.

LAUER: And talked about the responsibility that needs to be held by men and fathers and all that sort of thing?

COULTER: No, not so much actually. I mean I think I document that pretty well. You have Barbara Ehrenreich, who used to be a regular reporter for Time magazine and the New York Times, and she is constantly denouncing the nuclear family. National Organization for Women has a bumper sticker, "One Nuclear Family Can Destroy Your Whole Life."

LAUER: But there are a lot of other voices, there are a lot of other voices that say, "Hey we need fathers and mothers to raise children together." The, the point I want to make with this, is you, you say it and I don't have time to read the whole excerpt from the book and if people want to buy it they should go off and do that. But you say it in a fairly outrageous way. The last sentence of which and I need my glasses now. The last sentence of which is, "Countless studies on the subject make clear, look at almost any societal problem and you'll find it is really a problem of single mothers."

COULTER: Yes.

LAUER: And I think Harry Smith, I think did a, tried to raise this point with you yesterday. When you make outrageous comments-

COULTER: That isn't outrageous. That's a fact.

LAUER: When, when you, when you make outrageous comments and you use that kind of venomous tone, in some ways do you cut your own credibility off and take away from the real viable points you make in some of this?

COULTER: Okay, can I answer now?

LAUER: Sure.

COULTER: It'll be more than half a sentence. No, I mean on one hand you just said, "Look the mainstream media we're, we're totally standing up for the, for the nuclear family," and then you turn around and say that, the statement you just quoted, is an outrageous statement to make.

LAUER: No the tone of it.

COULTER: This, that-

LAUER: The tone of it.

COULTER: I said there would be more than one-

LAUER: The tone of it.

COULTER: It would be more than half a sentence. What I just said there is absolutely true. look at any societal problem, it is a problem of single motherhood. I quote Charles Murray saying basically the same thing. That you could solve-

LAUER: Well let me just clear you up, you, you said, "almost any." I mean if you want to say, "any societal problem is a result of single motherhood," that would be crazy. "Any." You said, "almost." Even in your book you say, "almost."

COULTER: Wait! Oh, okay but I'm speaking extemporaneously. You're gonna, take out the "almost."

LAUER: Okay, I'm just saying do think every societal problem-

COULTER: No.

LAUER: Okay.

COULTER: I describe what they are in the book in great detail and with enormous numbers of statistics. I mean it's not a static problem, because new illegitimate babies are being born every year, being raised without fathers. New runaways, teenage runaways, new murders are occurring everyday. So every, you know, it changes. But study after study, for years, have shown that 70 percent of the prison population - children of unwed mothers. 70, 60 to 70 percent of teenage runaways, teenage pregnancies, teenage murderers, teenage rapists. In fact there's a liberal institute, the Progressive Policy Institute, that says if you take out the factor of illegitimacy the difference in black/white crime rates completely disappears.

LAUER: I'm not saying-

COULTER: This is a massive problem. And no, the mainstream media does not discuss it.

LAUER: Let me-

COULTER: In fact your shocked by this line of mine and unfortunately Republicans-

LAUER: No, no I only read one line. The, the section in the book goes on in some other directions that I think are over the line. That's the reason I made the point.

COULTER: Well quote that sentence to me then!

LAUER: Let, let, let me do this. Let me ask you this other thing. In the book, throughout the book, you refer to the President-elect Barack Obama as "B. Hussein Obama."

COULTER: Not throughout the book.

LAUER: Well in a lot of places.

COULTER: I sometimes call him the Angel Obama.

LAUER: In a lot of places.

COULTER: The Sheriff Obama.

LAUER: You don't refer to President Bush as "G. Walker Bush." Why would you, if not for the reason of appealing to the extreme readers of your book who still believe--despite all the information and despite the fact that it's simply untrue--that he's Muslim.

COULTER: It's not untrue that, that's what his middle name is. This is the first time-

LAUER: But why would you refer to him

COULTER: -in history-

LAUER: -in that way, when no one else refers to him in that way?

COULTER: He refers to himself that way!

LAUER: As B. Hussein Obama?

COULTER: We now know that he likes his middle name.

LAUER: But as B. Hussein Obama?

COULTER: He's announced, he's announced that he is going to use his middle name now. So-

LAUER: Well so I think George Walker Bush-

COULTER: You act like this is a hate crime-

LAUER: George Walker Bush enjoys his middle name too-

COULTER: -to use his middle name.

LAUER: -but he doesn't call himself G. Walker Bush. I'm just saying you don't refer to any one else in that way.

COULTER: Okay I think it's insane-

LAUER: But by highlighting Hussein-

COULTER: -to act like using someone's actual middle name is some sort of vicious hate crime - point one. Point two, if Republicans-

LAUER: Why take his first name out of the mix?

COULTER: Because, because we just went, I mean it is funny Matt Lauer. I'm not going to deny that there is something ironic about having just gone to war with an enemy named Hussein and they're running a guy whose middle name is Hussein. This would be like Republicans. I'm going to finish this sentence no matter what you do.

LAUER: Go, go! I didn't say a word.

COULTER: Oh you were getting ready. In 1948 running, running instead of Thomas Dewey, you know if it were, Thomas Hitler Dewey. If that were his middle name I think it would have come out. If we were running candidates named, named, you know-

LAUER: Would we have called him, T. Hitler Dewey?

COULTER: I think it would have been mentioned.

LAUER: We've just come through an election cycle where it seemed to me and maybe I'm completely wrong because apparently, according to you, I'm wrong about most things, but that, that people have decided it's time to address the issues that face this country. The economy clearly one. Unemployment. Things like that. And to maybe concentrate less on what divides us. Did you not get that sense from this? I mean I'm just asking is-

COULTER: No.

LAUER: You didn't get that sense from this election?

COULTER: No, to the contrary and as I detail, at great length in this book, we didn't, I mean to say we want to concentrate on the issues, then why wasn't B. Hussein Obama asked about the issues? He was asked, as I describe over and over in my book, you know the tough "gotcha" questions he'd get from the media were things like, "How did you feel tonight? You must have been thinking about your parents."

LAUER: Do you, do you not get a sense though-

COULTER: That's from Brian Williams.

LAUER: -that people want-

COULTER: Meanwhile Sarah Palin is memorizing the last seven kings of Swaziland.

LAUER: Do you not get a sense that people want a different tone? That they want a different attitude? That they want, maybe, to start to pull together?

COULTER: No I think liberals want conservatives to stop talking so that you can keep telling us how marvelous B. Hussein Obama is. You were not asking him about the issues during the campaign, which is why, well the next four years, I think, are gonna be a surprise for all of us because he can't keep voting, "present."

LAUER: George Bush leaving office in two weeks. What are your thoughts on his departure?

COULTER: Well I'm grateful to him for keeping the nation safe for the last, for the last eight years. We'll see if that continues. We don't really know that much about what, what the President-elect is going to do, because he was being asked so much about how he thinks his parents would feel tonight? "You must have been thinking of them? And how do you think the Republicans will come after you?"

LAUER: The book is called Guilty. Ann Coulter, I'm glad you're back.

COULTER: Oh so am I! Thank you.

LAUER: It's good to be here.

COULTER: Nice to see you again.

LAUER: Alright we are going to, by the way you're not banned for life, obviously. Okay?

COULTER: Thank you, I'm delighted to hear that.

LAUER: Next book comes out I'm sure you'll be sitting right, you'll be sitting right here again.

Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens is the Deputy Research Director at the Media Research Center.