National Review fires Ann Coulter

The conservative magazine says goodbye to the controversial columnist over her piece calling for converting terrorists to Christianity.

Published October 2, 2001 6:56PM (EDT)

Two weeks after penning a column calling for the United States to respond to terrorists by "invad[ing] their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity," conservative commentator Ann Coulter has been fired by National Review Online.

NRO's decision came after editors refused to run a follow-up piece in which Coulter singled out what she called "swarthy males." She promptly began criticizing National Review editors as "girly-boys."

"If National Review has no spine, they are not my allies," Coulter told the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz. "I really don't need friends like that. Every once in awhile they'll throw one of their people to the wolves to get good press in left-wing publications."

NRO editor Jonah Goldberg told Kurtz: "We didn't feel we wanted to be associated with the comments expressed in those two columns. We got a lot of complaints from sponsors and a lot of complaints from readers left, right and center. We've decided for editorial reasons we think are sound that we're no longer going to run Ann Coulter's syndicated column."

While Coulter's column created an uproar nationwide, she cast off the majority of the criticism as coming from "anti-Christian bigots who will jump on you for any mention of Christianity."

Reaction to Coulter's firing was Topic A on the Free Republic, spawning multiple threads, including this one: "Philosophy like that is what started the Crusades a thousand years ago," writes one poster of Coulter's column, "and it is still the right idea."

In this particular thread, which contains more than 400 posts, Freepers offer Coulter everything from cheap sex to hockey lessons. "Does anyone have an e-mail address for Ann Coulter? I'd like to meet this feisty dame and teach her to play hockey."

Free Republic denizens clearly sided with Coulter. "I have been a subscriber to National Review since 1956 (yup, I was 13), but I've had it with the current group of -- well, 'girly-boys'," writes one poster. "Ann, of course, is right. Invade, kill the leaders and convert them -- one could say, finish the Crusades and make the world a better place. After 45 years, I'm done with NR."

And once the National Review bashing began, the Freepers piled on. "They have gay writers there as well. Barf alert!"

For good measure, since NRO is run by the son of Lucianne Goldberg, who runs the rival conservative bulletin board site, there was a fair amount of Goldberg bashing as well. "Well, no one ever accused Jolly Jonah of being especially tolerant of those with whose views he demurs to even a single degree. Remember, all it takes is for him to pout even once and Mommie Dearest bans the miscreants' Web sites from having their material posted as threads on hers."

"Ann is Christian, Goldberg is Jewish," points out one poster. "Any questions?"

Well, yes, a few, but we don't have to go into them here.

Most in the thread cite post-Sept. 11 political correctness for Coulter's dismissal. But one optimist sees the controversy as evidence that American may be beginning to recover from the attacks. "Ahhh, nothing like conservatives fighting with each other. Nice to see that things are starting to get back to normal."

By Anthony York

Anthony York is Salon's Washington correspondent.

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