Did Ann Coulter 'Really Go Too Far' This Time? Today Show Asks

By Susan Jones | July 7, 2008 | 8:06 PM EDT

(CNSNews.com) - "We're going to show you what [Ann Coulter] said, and then you decide if you think maybe she should be taken off the airwaves permanently," NBC's Meredith Viera told Today show viewers on Friday morning.

"Some people are actually saying she should not be on television any more," Viera told viewers.

But as it turns out, no one said any such thing on the Today show. In fact, Donnie Deutsch, the CNBC host who prompted the latest Coulter controversy, told Viera on Friday that "of course" Coulter should be allowed to appear on the air.

The controversy stems from Coulter's comments on Monday that Christians consider themselves "perfected Jews." She made the comments on CNBC's "Big Idea" program with Donnie Deutsch, after Deutsch asked Coulter what an ideal nation would look like.

"It would look like New York City during the Republican National Convention," Coulter said. Coulter said that's her idea of heaven: a place filled with "happy" people who are "Christian" and "tolerant" and who "defend America."

Deutsch, picking up on Coulter's comment that everyone would be Christian, asked her if she really meant it. "Yes," she said -- and that's when Deutsch pressed her for an explanation.

Coulter obliged: "We just want the Jews to be perfected, as they say... That's what Christianity is -- we believe the Old Testament, but ours [New Testament] is more like Federal Express, Coulter said. "You (Jews) have to obey laws. We (Christians) know we're all sinners..."

Coulter later told Deutsch, who claimed to be personally offended, that she did not mean to offend him. "I don't think you should take it that way, but that is what Christians consider themselves -- perfected Jews," Coulter said.

Coulter noted that Christians believe the Old Testament, and they also believe the New Testament, which says Christ came and died for our sins. "Christians believe the Old Testament, you don't believe our Testament," she told Deutsch.

As Deutsch continued to harp on Coulter's "perfected Jews" comment, Coulter kept trying to explain what she meant.

"You said -- your exact words were, 'Jews need to be perfected," Deutsch said.

"No, I'm saying that's what a Christian is," Coulter replied.

"Don't you see how hateful and anti-Semitic that is?" Deutsch asked. "No," Coulter protested, "that isn't an insult at all."

Media 'critters'

NBC's Today show interviewed CNBC's Deutsch in person on Friday morning, stoking his professed outrage to keep the controversy going.

Deutsch told Viera he put Coulter on his show to "celebrate" what he called her "successful" business model.

He also compared Coulter to Britney Spears, who "doesn't exist" until she crashes her car again. It's the same thing with Coulter, Deutsch said. "We're creating these critters in the media, that until she does that, she doesn't exist."

Deutsch called it "scary" that Coulter wasn't being controversial on purpose. "We're playing with dangerous words in our society -- there's no accountability, there's a glibness that we in the media kind of elevate," Deutsch said. He said he's personally tired of it, and he thinks Americans are, too.

"So you're saying she should not be allowed on the air?" Meredith Viera asked.

"Of course she should be allowed on the air, it's free speech," Deutsch responded.

Dautsch also expressed the opinion that people with controversial opinions will be heard less and less on the nation's airwaves, as fed-up viewers tune them out.

The Today show apparently did not make any attempt to present Coulter's side of the "tempest in a talk show" controversy.

Meanwhile, the National Jewish Democratic Council this week launched on an online petition to have the conservative Coulter dropped as a network commentator.

A number of conservative groups are increasingly concerned about attacks on freedom of speech in this country, given the recent uproar over Rush Limbaugh's misinterpreted "phony soldiers" comment, which prompted a number of U.S. lawmakers to denounce him.

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