Oh No! Could Coulter be Going Mainstream?

Conservatives rightly complain that MSM shows such as Today have a paucity of guests from the right, and that those who do appear are treated with skepticism if not outright disdain.

But I'd say there's an exception to the rule. It's my sense that conservatives want to see Ann Coulter appearing only rarely on MSM shows, and that when she does, that the occasion be treated as something of a Texas Steel Cage Match, or better yet, as the introduction of a Kong-like creature brought onto the set, to be released from her shackles for the briefest of moments as she confronts her antagonists while displaying her panoply of rhetorical weapons.

That rule was honored when, a couple years ago, Katie Couric interviewed Coulter. The appearance came not too long after Coulter had described Couric as the "affable Eva Braun" of morning television. There was electricity in the air, ill-disguised animosity, the sense that an actual cat-fight might break out at any moment.

Alas, the thrill is gone. Ann's last two appearances on Today [click here for a report on Ann's previous Today appearance], in which she was interviewed by Matt Lauer rather than Katie, have been tame affairs, with this morning's rendezvous being downright chummy.

Her appearance this morning was promoted with little fanfare. No shots of a pent-up Coulter stalking the green room while waiting to be unleashed, no overwrought teases about Ann's impending appearance. Just two old friends, Matt and Ann, chewing over the news of the day.

Oh sure, Matt challenged her on a couple issues, but with an utter absence of edge or venom. For all the tension in the air, he might as well have been interviewing Russ Feingold on the details of his latest campaign-finance proposal, for gosh sakes!

The subject was the year in review for Pres. Bush, and looking ahead to see what he could do to sustain his current, modest, rebound. For the record, Ann's basic point was that what the Dems saw as strong points for them were in fact good fodder for Bush and the Republicans. She called for "more Alitos," more votes whenever Dems call for precipitous Iraq withdrawals, more leaks on surveillance showing Bush to be aggressively fighting the war on terror.

Lauer raised the specter of democracy in Iraq resulting in a religiously-oriented government antithetic to US policy. Coulter responded to the effect that the religious-government-in-Iraq boogie man is the last refuge of the liberals, who have been wrong about every step in Iraq's march toward democracy, and cling to this as their last best hope for failure.

Even the reddest of meat that Coulter threw down couldn't provoke Lauer. When she flatly described the base of the Democratic party as "crazy," there was nary a raised eyebrow from Matt.

The closest he came to a confronatation was in response to Ann's defense of the NSA surveillance. Lauer meekly pointed out that there was another side to the issue, citing Colin Powell to the effect that it should have been possible to go to the courts.

This is simply not good. Bad for Ann's reputation as the Scourge of the MSM. Bad for Today's ratings. Next time Ann is on, bring back Katie, and . . . bring it on!

Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.