What ban? Coulter appears on "Today"

Despite a report that NBC had decided to stop booking the conservative columnist, she was back on the show Wednesday.

By Alex Koppelman

Published January 7, 2009 4:35PM (EST)

Ann Coulter didn't get to make her scheduled appearance on NBC's "Today" show on Tuesday, prompting a story from the Drudge Report that NBC and MSNBC had decided to ban the columnist from their airwaves.

If that report was true -- NBC denied it -- then the ban didn't last very long. Wednesday morning, Coulter was on "Today" for what proved to be a contentious interview with host Matt Lauer.

Of course, the first issue at hand was the topic of the earlier cancellation, and Drudge's story. Lauer told Coulter she had been bumped from Tuesday's show because former British Prime Minister Tony Blair needed to take her slot, but she wasn't buying it. "I don't think I'd be sitting here now if it weren't for the headline on Drudge," she said. Lauer contested that, saying there was no ban, but Coulter responded, "The Drudge Report has never had to retract a report."

That's an interesting assertion, to say the least. It may be true that Drudge has never actually retracted a story, I'm not sure, but it's certainly true that there were some they definitely should have retracted. Offhand, there's the allegation John Kerry had an affair with an intern, and more recently -- and directly analogous to the Coulter report -- there was the story that Oprah Winfrey had specifically decided not to have Sarah Palin on her show, when in fact she had decided not to have any candidates on during the campaign.

There were other topics discussed, of course, and Lauer did a good job of challenging Coulter. His best moment came when he was questioning her about using "B. Hussein Obama" to refer to Barack Obama; when he asked, repeatedly, why she doesn't refer to George W. Bush as "G. Walker Bush," she was unable to come up with a coherent response.


Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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