(Reuters/Lucas Jackson)

Ann Coulter's odious anti-Muslim rants: Of course she's exploiting the Paris terror attacks to entertain racist, xenophobic fans

Coulter's response to the Paris attacks was pretty low, even on the Coulter garbage scale


Mary Elizabeth Williams
November 16, 2015 9:27PM (UTC)

In the aftermath of Friday's terror attack in Paris that left at least 129 individuals dead, social media became an instant race to the bottom to see who could say the most offensive, incendiary thing first and loudest. And as usual, Ann Coulter gave it a hell of a run.

As surely as the sun rises in the morning, whenever there's a big news story, Coulter will be there to pounce on the headlines, fanning the flames of paranoia to attract to attention to herself. I don't feeding the beast, but sometimes, you've got to hold your nose, point, and say, this woman is the worst kind of garbage person. Because Coulter is the kind who has managed to make being a garbage person a full time career. Just a few weeks ago, she crossed a line — even by Ann Coulter standards — during the Republican debate, when she mused on Twitter, "How many f---ing Jews do these people think there are in the United States?" (As one fellow tweeter observed, it's so nice how she cleaned up the profanity so as not to give offense.) You can imagine then, how excited a woman who has referred to Middle Easterners as "camel-riding nomads" and suggested that Muslims be banned from air travel and "use flying carpets" to get around was on Friday.

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She had already been on a full throated roll complaining about how "illegals" are "lazy f--s who refuse to MECHANIZE" when the news broke. Switching her focus but not her overall theme, she quickly moved over to fury that "We can't even deport 3rd world pouring in, committing murder, child rape, Ft Hood, 9/11 etc." Then she really got rolling, asking, "Can we all agree now? No more Muslim immigration. How is this making life better for us? But the mass immigration machine churns on … What's the upside of letting millions of Muslims migrate to western countries? 100% of TV talk is @ fighting ISIS--IN SYRIA. Bomb away, but isn't there something else we should consider? Like not letting ISIS move here?" She noted, "Think of all the wonderful things refugees are bringing to Europe! Rape, murder, car burnings - list is endless!" And then for the big bravura move, she said, "They can wait if they like until next November for the actual balloting, but Donald Trump was elected president tonight."

In her delightfully oversimplified way, Coulter has yet again tapped into the thriving racist, xenophobic beating heart of America, legitimizing spectacular grossness by making it the stuff of bestselling books. It's quite a performance. She happily conflates "Muslim," "refugee" and "ISIS," untroubled about depicting the 1.5 billion worldwide practitioners of a belief system as terrorists, or calling the men, women and children forced to flee their homelands the perpetrators of violence. As the New York Times reported earlier this year, "More than 200,000 people have been killed in the four-and-a-half-year Syrian civil war." But Coulter doesn't see what those victims' survivors are enduring. She said on Sunday, "We didn't import 100k Germans, Austrians and Japanese every year during WWII." Well, no instead the US did inter 127,000 of its own Japanese-American citizens, a practice it apologized and made restitution for in the Civil Liberties Act of 1988. We're trying to learn here that punishing entire races of people is a very bad idea.

But Coulter doesn't care about any of that, because to deal in facts would alienate her audience — the rootin' tootin' facts-challenged FOX News audience. Her messages to "Stop importing Muslims!" get huge responses and thousands of RTs; it doesn't matter if they're nonsense. And per usual, there's not a word of actual human compassion or sympathy anywhere in her rhetoric. There's not a moment of authentic horror or grief. Her outrage schtick is one of calculated nasty contempt, even even in moments of profound mass suffering.

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Don't think for a moment that hers is a message about justice or safety, anywhere in the world, even in your most generous interpretation of her act. It's instead a coldblooded inability to empathize, because Coulter learned way back in the Clinton administration that should could get more traction than she ever could have dreamed simply by saying truly terrible things about large groups of marginalized people. And since Friday, she's been doing what she does best — exploiting human misery for her personal gain. This weekend, she mocked Angela Merkel for saying, "We are crying with you." Coulter sniffed, "Maybe a little less crying and a little more deporting." Spoken like a person who can't fathom the uses of grief, who makes fun of "people rushing to the street with candles." Spoken like someone who calls others "savages" but couldn't pass the smell test for being truly a civilized human if she tried.

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Mary Elizabeth Williams

Mary Elizabeth Williams is a staff writer for Salon and the author of "A Series of Catastrophes & Miracles."

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