If you were on social media Tuesday night, you would have noticed that professional troll Ann Coulter was trending. It also didn’t take long to realize it was due to her appearance on MSNBC’s Hardball, where she praised Joe McCarthy and said women would need to get more abortions if we didn’t close our borders to stop “Latin American rape culture.”
Of course, this was standard operating procedure for Coulter, who will do and say anything to get attention, much like her candidate of choice, Donald J. Trump. Finding herself relegated to the fringe of right-wing media a year ago, Coulter quickly latched onto Trump’s campaign in an effort to become relevant again. She soon found herself getting booked on cable news and talk radio with greater frequency, along with appearances on talk shows like Real Time with Bill Maher (she’s buddies with Bill) and The View.
At the same time, because she is Ann Coulter, many of these shows have treated her as more of a one-and-done guest, and not someone who would continually be called on to express her opinions. Producers and hosts obviously know she is extremely toxic and unbelievably polarizing, and that she is typically using her appearances to say something blatantly offensive and purposely outrageous just to keep her name out there. Large swaths of these programs’ viewers can’t stand her, even on the conservative side, so overbooking her can lead to alienating audiences.
However, for some unknown reason, Chris Matthews continues to invite her on Hardball, despite the fact that each and every one of her spots turns into a shitshow. In early January, Coulter appeared alongside Republican strategist and vocal #NeverTrumper Liz Mair. The two argued back and forth regarding Coulter’s flip-flopping support of Trump — she despised him three years ago — with Coulter eventually saying she supported Trump because Americans are being “out-voted by foreigners.”
Just two weeks later, we got more Coulter on Hardball. In this instance, she used her appearance to trash Fox News as not being conservative enough and not treating Trump fairly. (This was during one of Fox and Trump’s many ‘wars’ this election season.) In the end, Matthews was ecstatic that Coulter ripped a rival network on his show, thanking her for doing so and telling the pundit that she could come back anytime because she’s always on her best behavior.
And, lo and behold, in mid-February, there was Ann on Hardball. She was part of a panel discussion regarding Trump’s criticisms of George W. Bush’s reaction to 9/11 and the Iraq War. Matthews let Coulter go first in the conversation because he wanted to see where she’d go with it. Or, in other words, he was hoping she’d say something batshit crazy. For the most part, she was restrained — well, for Coulter — but she did call for more racial profiling of Arabs and said we need to stop talking about the Middle East because Americans don’t know the difference between different nationalities and sects anyway.
About a week ago, Matthews brought Coulter on to discuss Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski’s arrest for grabbing former Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields at a press conference. She said Fields was lying about being hurt by Lewandowski and said that if what happened to Fields was battery, then she’d been “gang-raped” multiple times on the subway or in bars.
So, that’s how we got to Tuesday night’s broadcast featuring Coulter calling an entire culture rapists and publicly expressing admiration for an alcoholic who devoted his whole life to destroying others.
The thing is, MSNBC has already banned one Trump ally from their airwaves for being a hateful bigot who gleefully spouts incendiary rhetoric and personally attacks members of the media on the basis of their race, gender or sexual orientation. So, why are they allowing Matthews to give her a platform to do the same? How exactly is she different than Roger Stone? (CNN has also banned him.) Shouldn’t MSNBC make a move to no longer allow her on their network?