Skip to comments.Screed: With Treason, Ann Coulter once again defines a new low in America's political debate
Posted on 07/02/2003 4:50:57 PM PDT by The Raven
With her new book Treason: Liberal Treachery from the Cold War to the War on Terrorism, syndicated pundit Ann Coulter has driven the national discourse to a new low. No longer content to merely smear liberals and the media with sweeping generalizations and fraudulent evidence, she has now upped the ante, accusing the entire Democratic Party as well as liberals and leftists nationwide of treason, a crime of disloyalty against the United States. But, as in her syndicated columns (many of which are adapted in the book) and her previous book Slander: Liberal Lies Against the American Right, Coulter's case relies in large part on irrational rhetoric and pervasive factual errors and deceptions. Regardless of your opinions about Democrats, liberals or the left, her work should not be taken at face value.
Context: The syndicated column and Slander
As we documented back in July 2001, Coulter's writing is not just inflammatory but blatantly irrational. For years, she has infused her syndicated columns with cheap shots and asides directed at targets like President Bill Clinton, the American Civil Liberties Union and Hustler publisher Larry Flynt (among many others). Liberals are indiscriminately denounced as a group as "terrorists" or a "cult" who "hate democracy." Slander, her bestseller from last year, quickly became notorious for its errors and distortions of the facts, which we detailed in our examination of the book. From deceptive footnotes to mischaracterized quotes to outright lies, Coulter broke all standards of reasonable political debate in her quest to paint a picture of a media that is unambiguously hostile to conservatives.
Jargon: How Coulter blurs distinctions in her rhetoric
In Treason, similar techniques are employed with aplomb. Consider her use of language. The accusation of treason is, of course, one of the most grave that can be made against a citizen of any country. Article III of the United States Constitution specifies that "Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort."
In latching onto a powerful word with a specific legal meaning and casually leveling the charge as a blanket accusation against a wide array of people (as she did with slander, which is a defamatory verbal statement), Coulter is attempting to smear virtually anyone who disagrees with her views on foreign policy as treasonous. "Liberals have a preternatural gift for striking a position on the side of treason," she writes on the first page of the book. "Whenever the nation is under attack, from within or without, liberals side with the enemy. This is their essence." (p. 1)
At times, Coulter portrays liberals and the left as engaged in a grand conspiracy to destroy the United States:
While undermining victory in the Cold War, liberals dedicated themselves to mainstreaming Communist ideals at home... Betraying the manifest national defense objectives of the country is only part of the left's treasonous scheme. They aim to destroy America from the inside with their relentless attacks on morality and the truth. (p. 289) At others, she instead insinuates that disagreeing with her about US policy toward various hostile foreign countries or taking any action that could be construed as favorable to those countries' interests is equivalent to treasonous support for those countries. Here are two classic examples of this tactic:
As a rule of thumb, Democrats opposed anything opposed by their cherished Soviet Union. The Soviet Union did not like the idea of a militarily strong America. Neither did the Democrats! (p. 171) Democrats always had mysterious objections and secret "better" ways, which they would never tell us. Then they would vote whichever way would best advance Communist interests. (p. 177) In the end, Coulter doesn't care about such distinctions, and goes so far as to specifically reject any distinction based on motive in judging her standard of treason:
Whether they are defending the Soviet Union or bleating for Saddam Hussein, liberals are always against America. They are either traitors or idiots, and on the matter of America's self-preservation, the difference is irrelevant. Fifty years of treason hasn't slowed them down. (p. 16) Of course, Coulter must engage in a complicated set of rhetorical tricks to accuse liberals of "fifty years of treason" (in a 2001 column, it was only "[t]wenty years of treason" - did inflation set in?). The book is primarily focused on the controversy over real and alleged Soviet espionage in the post-World War II era. We can certainly stipulate that Soviet agents who worked covertly inside the United States government did commit treason. But Coulter broadens the term to include virtually every liberal, leftist, Democrat or member of the media, in each case obscuring distinctions between individuals and stereotyping the entire group.
(Excerpt) Read more at spinsanity.org ...
The Democrats have every reason to be scared sh!tless of a telegenic babe who calls a spade a spade.
As I recall, SpinCity's review of "Slander" was notorious for its errors and distortions of facts (commonly called lies). Brendan is at it again with "Treason".
Spin-Whatever is certainly aptly named.
I haven't purchased her book. Slander started off like gangbusters, and towards the end it looked like she ran out of steam, was under a deadline, or just had to fill up fifty more pages with something. I hope that this isn't the case in Treason.
Remember, now, that in the "liberal" world view, anybody who disagrees with the party line is by definition irrational.
It is uneven, and reads as if it were dashed off on deadline, yes.
For well-informed FReepers, there's not much new material.
But as a popular broadside aimed at a clueless public, it is fine.
You're wrong, I know
Baby, what's so
I know a thing or two
Ooo honey, I learned from you
I really learned a lot
I really learned a lot
Truth is like a stove
It burns you when it's hot
Truth hurts, (ooooo), truth hurts
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