CNBC host Donny Deutsch appeared on Friday’s "Today" with co-host Meredith Vieira, to get his take on his recent interview of Ann Coulter, and for his response to something Vieira mentioned in the promo for the segment: "We're going to show you what she said, and then, you decide if you think, maybe she should be taken off the airwaves permanently. Some people are actually saying she should not be on television anymore."
During his earlier interview of Coulter, Deutsch compared the conservative writer to Iranian president Ahmadinejad, after Coulter confirmed that she believed all people should be Christians. "Why don't I put you with the head of Iran? Come on, you can't believe that." Coulter made an awkward defense of this belief, which may have dug the hole deeper for the writer, since she immediately responded by saying, "We just want Jews to be perfected, as they say."
In his "Today" appearance, which came 12 minutes into the 7 am Eastern hour, Deutsch compared Coulter to the more-benign Britney Spears. "Britney Spears crashed her car again. Because until she does, she doesn't exist. Ann Coulter, without even realizing it -- I don't think she was doing that on purpose. She, genuinely, was like, 'I'm sorry I offended you.' But we're creating these critters in the media, that until she does that, she doesn't exist."
"Today" replayed large parts of the Coulter interview prior to Deutsch’s appearance. Deutsch attempted to take a "moral high road" with regards to Coulter. A partial transcript of his exchange with Vieira, who "went down memory lane" by bringing up past quotes of Coulter:
DEUTSCH: ...Britney Spears crashed her car again. Because until she does, she doesn't exist. Ann Coulter, without even realizing it -- I don't think she was doing that on purpose. She, genuinely, was like, 'I'm sorry I offended you.' But we're creating these critters in the media, that until she does that, she doesn't exist. I want to hear somebody in the media to say, 'It's kind of over. It's boring. It's silly. And I think the candidates need to follow this. I didn't -- we didn't service this. I didn't even want them to run this. I think people are just tired of this nonsense.
VIEIRA: What is it about this that crossed the line? Can we go down memory lane with Ann Coulter?
DEUTSCH: Sure, yeah.
VIEIRA: Last year, on your show, about Bill Clinton, she said, 'I think that sort of rampart promiscuity does show some level of latent homosexuality.' Muslims: 'We should raid their countries, kill their leaders, convert them to Christianity.' On the 9/11 widows, she said, among other things: 'I've never seen people enjoying their husbands’ deaths so much.' This is her stock and trade. Talk about marketing.
DEUTSCH: Exactly. She's a lounge act. The scary thing for me here was, she wasn't doing it on purpose. It wasn't -- and I think we're playing dangerously with words in our society that there's no accountability. There's a glibness that we and the media kind of elevate. I'm here to kind of say, 'I'm personally tired of it, and I think America is tired of it also.'"
VIEIRA: You're saying she should not be allowed on the air?
DEUTSCH: Of course, she should be allowed on the air. It's free speech. But I think the consumers are going to start to vote, and I think you're going to see less of this stuff on television. If you really follow the things that are successful today, hate is going out. When the producer is booking, 'Oh, here we go again.' People are just tired of it. You're tired of it. I'm tired of it. And forget -- this is not an indictment of her. This is not a religious discussion. This to me is a moment in time where we kind of say, enough -- everybody in the studio that is watching is going, 'Oh.' Yet, we're talking about it. So you go, wait a second. Aren't we part of the problem?
VIEIRA: Of course, we are. We're perpetuating it.
DEUTSCH: But I'm here to raise my hand as one and say, 'You know what. Over. Done. I don't care. It's not that interesting. It really isn't.
VIEIRA: Donny Deutsch, thanks very much. Good to see you.
So, Donny Deutsch isn’t in favor of regulating speech in the airwaves. That’s good to see in television talk show host. But the very fact "Today" even brought that train of thought into the discussion is sobering.