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O'Reilly Defends Ann Coulter's Rhetoric to Canadian Journalist as "Jest," "Exaggeration" and "Hyperbole"

Reported by Julie - March 25, 2010 -

On last night's (3/24/10) O'Reilly Factor, O'Reilly defended hate speaker Ann Coulter, who was recently "shut down" at the University of Ottawa in Ontario, Canada. Rolling a clip of protesters chanting, "Get Ann Coulter off our campus" and "No more hate speech on our campus" -- including a segment which included a black individual challenging a (presumably) right-winger, and being bleeped out (funny, all those people and Fox could only find an African American to portray negatively) -- O'Reilly went on to say that a university official had sent Coulter a letter saying she "could be prosecuted" in Canada if she said anything hateful. Considering that O'Reilly liberally uses the term "left-wing loons" to refer to progressives who protest pretty much anything (if this were Janeane Garofalo, for example, being drummed out of Canada, would O'Reilly be so quick to defend her right to free speech?), O'Reilly's defense of the Queen of Hate Speech, Ann Coulter, makes Sisyphus' job look easy. With video.

As his guest, O'Reilly welcomed Susan G. Cole, a columnist for a Canadian magazine. Noting that Cole had supported the protesters, O'Reilly asked her if that wasn't "un-Canadian." Noting that there's a difference between the "American political culture and ours," Cole said that that many think that Coulter should be allowed to speak in conservative venues, but that "universities are not the place for provocateurs and people who target certain minorities and even majorities in the case of women . . . ." Cole noted that the university students didn't cry for Coulter's ouster from Canada, or even Ottawa -- they just didn't welcome her to their campus. Wait, refresh me -- isn't Fox the network that decried President Obama's speech at Notre Dame, implying that it would be waaaay too controversial? And that's the President of the United States. In his own country. Without a history of making controversial, hateful statements about Catholics. In fairness, O'Reilly wasn't rabidly outspoken about President Obama speaking at Notre Dame -- but his network, in all its "fair and balanced" coverage -- was. Somehow, in his rabid defense of Coulter's vile rhetoric, O'Reilly failed to mention this.

O'Reilly noted that as a former teacher he encouraged his students to hear different viewpoints, and questioned whether Canadian education "is doing itself any favors by tossing somebody like Ann Coulter off campus." In response, Cole noted that conservative politics are "all over our campus," and said that it's not the ideas, "it's the tone, it's the quality of the dialogue . . . ." O'Reilly aggressively challenged Cole to cite an example of something Coulter has done that "disqualifies" her from being there. Noting that nobody was forced to come see Coulter, O'Reilly said, "What disqualifies her from being there?"

"I think her comment that women shouldn't be allowed to vote . . . ." Cole began.

"I think that's a joke in jest," Coulter-defender responded. How does that sound familiar? Oh, right -- it's the whole "satire" thing . . . anything goes if it's satire, right, Rush?

Continuing, Cole offered, ". . . Her statement that all Muslims should be on a no fly list." Cole explained that that comment was exactly what prompted the Provo of the University of Ottawa to send Coulter the warning letter, saying that that kind of speech could violate their hate laws. Coulter-defender argued, "She is a person who exaggerates to make a point . . . let's say she does believe that, so that's her opinion, that Muslims should be on a no fly list . . . So why would you now say she can't say that opinion in Canada?" Ah, yes -- first it's "jest" and now it's "exaggeration." Well, it's probably also worth noting that Coulter hasn't historically been all in on Canada, at one time saying that Canadians "are lucky we allow them to exist on the same continent." I think one could safely say that, in addition to the fact that her stock in trade is hatefulness, she hasn't worked too hard at gaining the Canadians' good will.

"She can't say it on the campus," Cole said flatly, prompting O'Reilly to ask pugnaciously, "Why, why . . . why?"

"Because in Canada," Cole explained patiently, "We have regulations that make it important that there's an environment on the campus that allows students to live, think, learn . . . In fact, saying that Muslims should be on a no fly zone targets Muslim students who have a right to be able to go about their business . . . ."

O'Reilly questioned whether a statement by Coulter that most terrorism is generated by Muslims would result in her being thrown off campus, too, and concluded with, "If you say the 'no fly list' is over the top, which I don't think it is . . . ." How about calling John Edwards a faggot, is that over the top? And calling Al Gore a "total fag," what about that? Hmmm, what else . . . oh, yeah, in 2006 at CPAC, Coulter said, "I think our motto should be post-9-11, 'raghead talks tough, raghead faces consequences.'" And, I don't know, threatening to kill a former U.S. President, Bill Clinton, seems a little over the top; Coulter, responding to a question from a Catholic University student on "moral or ethical" dilemmas (as if she'd know about either), said, "There was one time I had a shot at Clinton. I thought 'Ann, that's not going to help your career.'" If the worst thing Coulter had ever said was that most terrorism is committed by Muslims, she most likely wouldn't have been driven off campus. Unfortunately, if she said that, it's probably one of the most mild things she's ever said.

Cole held her ground nicely, saying, "It's not the 'no fly list,' it's the 'all' Muslims . . . Once you say all or generalize, you're getting perilously close to hate speech."

Dismissively, O'Reilly took his defense of Coulter to the wall, replying, "I don't see it as hate speech, as much as hyperbole . . . students in Canada are mature enough to either accept it or reject it."

She's just joking . . . on, no, I mean she's just exaggerating . . . oh, wait, it's just hyperbole. Well, Bill, you can defend the little vixen all you want, but the fair-minded Canadian students -- all those "radicals" who like civilized behavior -- rejected it. Flatly and out of hand. As noted in the Huffington Post, "They just weren't that into her."