Ann Coulter is the Paris Hilton of Conservative Politics

Most elementary school teachers will tell you a simple fact about the relationship between positive and negative attention and the continuation of behavior, good and bad. When you acknowledge and give attention to negative behavior as much as you do to positive behavior, you tacitly endorse negative behavior. In the end, the child becomes disinterested in the exact nature of attention, and simply pursues attention for its own sake.

Enter Paris Hilton and Ann Coulter, the quintessential attention whores. While Hilton has the predisposition to open her legs on the moments notice of being in the proximity of a flash bulb, Coulter decidedly opens her mouth when the cameras are rolling. For Hilton, doing coke, getting DUI’s, and having blowjobs night-vision video taped is the standard; for Coulter, it is insulting the widows of 9/11, referring to Muslims as rag-heads, and most recently, calling John Edwards a ‘faggot’.

The problem with the situation wasn’t Ann Coulter necessarily, but the amount of response to her absurdity. After years of hearing a neighbor’s nocturnal dog, the media and blogospheres reaction was as if being unexpectedly stirred from slumber by the barks and yelps of the canine. Much like a poorly trained dog or poorly raised child, the satisfaction of Coulter and Hilton grows as the uproar continues. They suffer from the same disease of needing to satiate their egos with the media attention they believe is deserved. In this addiction, they do not care who they hurt, what they say, or what they have to do, the end prize is the pursuit and capture of attention, no matter how negative or repugnant.

The lesson was learned apparently, later rather than sooner, by the Associated Press. Reported by CNN, the AP decidedly ‘blacked out’ Paris Hilton from media reports for a week and promptly was arrested for driving under the influence the following week:

So you may have heard: Paris Hilton was ticketed the other day for driving with a suspended license. Not huge news, even by celebrity-gossip standards. Here at The Associated Press, we put out an initial item of some 300 words. But it actually meant more to us than that. It meant the end of our experimental blackout on news about Paris Hilton.

It was only meant to be a weeklong ban — not the boldest of journalistic initiatives, and one, we realized, that might seem hypocritical once it ended. And it wasn’t based on a view of what the public should be focusing on — the war in Iraq, for example, or the upcoming election of the next leader of the free world, as opposed to the doings of a partygoing celebrity heiress/reality TV star most famous for a grainy sex video.

No, editors just wanted to see what would happen if we didn’t cover this media phenomenon, this creature of the Internet gossip age, for a full week. After that, we’d take it day by day. Would anyone care? Would anyone notice? And would that tell us something interesting?

It turned out that people noticed plenty — but not in the way that might have been expected. None of the thousands of media outlets that depend on AP called in asking for a Paris Hilton story. No one felt a newsworthy event had been ignored.

The media, after years of getting humans like Paris Hilton wrong, finally got it right. But it turned around in less than a month and got Ann Coulter wrong. The reaction to Ann Coulter’s ‘faggot’ episode was flawed not in the direction — almost everyone, left and right, denounced her words — but that the reaction was disparate, coming from all directions, and constantly replayed. Rather than having isolated Coulter, the story found itself on the headlines of CNN and FoxNews website, on Bill O’Reilly’s ‘The Factor’, on MSNBC, and any blog with a political bent. Essentially, Coulter was put on a pedestal — isolated but admired with attention that she did not deserve, aptly labeled by Slate as the press’ Ann Coulter problem.

In the end, there is but one lesson to learn: don’t feed the ego, especially of individuals who don’t deserve it. It’s the only way Ann Coulter and Paris Hilton will go away.

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  1. zenshadow says:

    interesting that we arrived at the EXACT same conclusion (and near exact Article Title). My post was about 3 days ago (see site). I’m not saying you used my concept (you didn’t!) … just that we came to the same conclusion concerning Ann via different routes (and different approaches to satirizing the event). Hey, that’s what happens when a million blog monkeys are a typin’!

  2. alec says:

    That is very, very odd. For all of those interested, the link for that page is here. I am a blog monkey.

  3. Sarah C. says:

    Aren’t you contributing to the excessive response and attention? Anyway…

    I see your point of course but I think this is not about Ann Coulter. The greater story that merits the great response is the comfort that the conservative base feels with emasculating men by calling them gay. And the implication that being gay is bad because it’s more on the feminine end of the spectrum. And the hypocritical and manipulative ways of hacks like Coulter. She calls liberals hate-spewing name-callers from her pedestal. I know people who like her aren’t listening anyway, but I don’t think that means we should give up hope and stop calling out these tactics and the shameful beliefs of her followers. Perhaps it will sink in to someone who’s just tuning in to the world – like high-school and college age kids that we want to come to the light side…

  4. […] out on long-repressed dreams, enjoys a threesome with Janet Reno and Ted Haggard. Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter, thoroughly unattracted to each other, awkwardly pop pills and wonder why everyone they love turns […]

  5. alec says:

    Yah, there is some irony in writing about how Ann Coulter should be a non-issue and ignored. But still, I think she just needs to be treated like a dog or a child. I’ll even buy the leash and the biscuits.

  6. The Pledge of Resistance

    We believe that as people living
    in the United States it is our
    responsibility to resist the injustices
    done by our government,
    in our names
    Not in our name
    will you wage endless war
    there can be no more deaths
    no more transfusions
    of blood for oil

  7. Lee Gilbert says:

    Right. When we accept queer as normal, then we’ll be queer by definition. Thanks, Ann.

  8. Kerry Clinton says:

    “I want to wait and hear what John Edwards has to say, he’s kind of good-looking,” Obama envisioned Iowa caucus-goers from the small town of Clinton telling themselves. During an appearance in West Burlington, Iowa, the phrase appeared again, this time with Edwards as a kind of a cute “fudge” packer.”

    ~ Senator Barack Bin Laden

    MISUNDERSTANDING:

    March 15, 2007
    HRC: “Fudge Packing” Is Not Immoral
    Appearing on Bloomberg News, Sen. Hillary Clinton:

    Tell a lie often enough and it becomes the truth!
    ~Adolph Rodham-Obama-Dean-Kerry Hitler

  9. […] policy, backwards beliefs in regard to women’s rights or religion, thinly veiled racism and homophobia or being reverse robin hoods! No, they wanted oh-so much more: “We are conservative scholars, […]

  10. Zenny says:

    close, but no blog cigar! I moved my site, lol. Here is the new link! (someone came by my site looking for it, but I recognized the ‘old link’ .aspx. Anyway, here’s that mysterious Ann/Paris Link!

  11. I am a director for Off off Broadway production that uses letters, journals and blogs to talk about different subject matters. In October we doing a show with regards to politics and how people are giving voice in this election cycle. I love the blog about Ann Coulter is the Paris Hilton of Conservative Politics. I am wondering if you would mind us using some of your postings and maybe link our site with ours. http://www.wreckio.com
    Thanks,
    Chris Bamonte

  12. I have been watching Paris Hilton’s BFF. Where do they come across these folks? They are from another world!

  13. […] article was originally posted on PBH in March 2007. Tweet !function(d,s,id){var […]

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