Stephanopoulos Combats Ann Coulter on Historical Events In Her New Book

ABC's George Stephanopoulos went beyond challenging assumptions from Ann Coulter's newest book "Demonic: How the Liberal Mob Is Endangering America" on Tuesday, as he repeatedly attempted to correct her on historical facts. The former Clinton advisor interrupted her multiple times on Tuesday's Good Morning America to make a point that she was either wrong or lying about history.

You are entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts, said the late Democrat Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan. Yet Stephanopoulos interrupted Coulter as she claimed that the Ku Klux Klan in the South was Democratic. "Started out Democratic, but turned very quickly," Stephanopoulos asserted.

[Click here for audio. Video below the break.]

That depends on the meaning of "quick." The Ku Klux Klan advocated anti-Republican violence in the post-Civil War years, and its resurgence in the early 20th century was due to Democrats; in fact, the Klan had quite a large voice at the 1924 Democratic National Convention. The Southern Klan had strong ties to the Democratic Party, and the South was heavily Democratic into the 1960s.

Coulter replied that the Klan never turned Republican and Stephanopoulos abruptly changed the subject. He then hit Coulter for alleging that the Civil Rights movement was an unruly mob while defending violence for the pro-life cause. Coulter corrected him, saying that she was comparing the two groups and not defending violence.

Coulter later profiled civil rights icons Martin Luther King and Thurgood Marshall as at odds over the methods they used to achieve civil rights for African-Americans. Marshall made legal arguments and won court cases while King led street protests.

Stephanopoulos retorted the two figures "would see themselves as allies." Coulter replied "They did not," before backing up her claim by citing a letter where Marshall criticized King.

A transcript of the segment, which aired on June 7 at 8:15 a.m. EDT, is as follows:

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: So much to talk about this morning with the always-provocative Ann Coulter. She's had seven best-sellers, never shies away from a hot debate. And you can tell from the title of her new book "Demonic: How the Liberal Mob is Endangering America" that she's ready for a few more debates. And Ann, welcome. I want to get to the book in just a second, but we've got to begin with Congressman Anthony Weiner. You almost predicted it last week.

ANN COULTER: Yes I did. Thank you for noticing that. In fact, he used almost the same terms in his press conference yesterday as I did in my column. He Twittered this by mistake, he thought it was a private tweet, sent it to his whole list, panicked, and claimed he had been hacked.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Now I think we might be able to agree on at least one thing, that sex scandals know no party.

COULTER: (Laughing) No that's true, but I would say, consistent with the theme of my book "the liberals behave like a mob," that conservatives respond to their sex scandals differently because we don't elevate our leaders. There isn't a sort of messiah worship, a mob characteristic. We're worried about being consistent. We aren't comfortable with contradictory thinking. The only Republican sex scandal where the Republican didn't resign or not run for re-election is Vitter down in Louisiana, and that was –

STEPHANOPOULOS: After soliciting prostitutes –

COULTER: – but that was seven years earlier. By the time it broke he had – he had apologized to his wife. It was over. It came out when the D.C. Madame releases her list. And by the way, everybody knew there were Democrats on that list.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Mark Sanford, governor of South Carolina, held on as well for a long time.

COULTER: Well a brief time, but the basic Republican response is not to attack the person who just releases information. And by the way, congratulations to ABC – you guys owned the Weiner story, you did all of the reporting. But the way – I mean, all the reporting on this last week was to attack Andrew Breitbart, attack some random hacker – I don't know who broke the Mark Foley story. I don't know who broke –

STEPHANOPOULOS: Actually ABC was on top of that one as well.

COULTER: And by the way, we were upset about that, because I believe you guys – that's the only one where I remember the source at all, and the claim was that ABC had it but they held it until the day after Foley couldn't be replaced.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Oh, that's not true. Anyway, let's get to the book, "Demonic: How the Liberal Mob Is Endangering America." You write, and this – I think this is a fair quote to pull from the book. You say basically "Republicans are the party of peaceful order; Democrats are the party of noisy, violent mobs." And you say it's rooted in the Democrats following the French Revolution, Republicans following the American Revolution. Explain that.

COULTER: Yes. Well, the first part is sort of a psychological profile of the Left. So even liberals who are wondering why they behave the way they behave might want to read it, because it explains it, and it's all mob psychology from this French psychologist – or social psychologist, Gustave Le Bon, who is the father of group-think, and Hitler and Mussolini studied him to learn how to incite mobs. And as I was reading a lot of books on mobs and group-think, I mean everything just describes the behavioral patterns of the Left. And then the middle section, I go through the American tradition, which is to write arguments like the Declaration of Independence – that's what we celebrate, what the do the French celebrate? Bastille Day, where a bunch of lunatics stormed an empty prison, because they thought it was unsightly and it was based on rumors. And if you look at the history of the Left in this country – including the Klan in the South, which was Democratic, contrary to revisionist history –

STEPHANOPOULOS: Started out Democratic, but turned very quickly.

COULTER: Not to Republican. It was never Republican.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You take on the Civil Rights movement, and that's where it seems that you fall into some contradictions. You seem to suggest that that is part of the mob, yet this was a peaceful mob almost entirely, yet you seem to express some kind of understanding for anti-abortion protesters who use violence.

COULTER: No, no, no, no, no, I'm comparing the two, actually. I think they're very similar. And the reason I raise the Civil Rights movement is that gave mobs a halo, because that was the first time mobs were being deployed –

STEPHANOPOULOS: Because it was peaceful. It was civil disobedience.

COULTER: No, it was – the cause behind it. Up until then, from the beginning of the Revolution to the Shay's Rebellion to the draft riots here in New York City by Democrats lynching blacks, it was always – the Left, it was Democrats, it was the SDS, the Weathermen, mobs have always been a bad thing. The Civil Rights movement was the first time in this country it started to give street protests – I mean not all street protests are going to be a mob, but my point on this – well, two different things. One is comparing Martin Luther King to Thurgood Marshall who, sort of surprising to me, became a hero of this book because when I was in law school he was just signing on to all of the opinions with Justice Brennan, I just thought of him as a liberal. But his history – I mean, it is the tradition of the American Revolution. He's making arguments, he's bringing court cases, he is winning them. In 1954 he won Brown v. Board of Education. If there had been Republican presidents for that eight years, nine years, from '60-'68, you never would have had the Civil Rights movement.

STEPHANOPOULOS: I wish we had more time. I think Marshall and King would see themselves as allies –

COULTER: They did not. I quote Thurgood Marshall criticizing Martin Luther King.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Ann Coulter, thanks very much.

Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro was a News Analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division from 2010 through early 2014