NBC bumps Ann Coulter, denies conspiracy

Mon Jan 5, 2009 9:52pm EST

Conservative commentator Ann Coulter watches play at the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York September 4, 2006. REUTERS/Jeff Zelevansky

Conservative commentator Ann Coulter watches play at the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York September 4, 2006.

Credit: Reuters/Jeff Zelevansky

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NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) - NBC News denied Monday that conservative author Ann Coulter has been banned from the network after "Today" dropped her from Tuesday's program because of breaking-news events.

The Coulter incident garnered huge headlines on the Drudge Report, which reported that network sources said NBC was not going to allow the frequent guest to appear any more.

That's not true, NBC News said Monday. Coulter's segment was dropped from the schedule because of news that the show was expecting to cover in the Gaza Strip with the Israeli military action there and in Washington with the Obama transition. "Today" had booked former British prime minister Tony Blair. Coulter was to promote her new book, "Guilty: Liberal 'Victims' and Their Assault on America."

"We've had Ann Coulter on 'Today' many times, but because of the news in Washington and the Middle East, we decided to cancel her appearance tomorrow," NBC News said in a statement Monday. "Understanding the media as well as she does, we are sure she knows this happens from time to time. We look forward to welcoming her back in the future."

Instead, Coulter will appear on CBS' "The Early Show" to promote her book, according to an announcement on Coulter's Web site. It wasn't confirmed immediately by CBS.

"I guess this ends the 'they just want to get ratings' argument about liberal media bias," Coulter wrote on her site of NBC. She was scheduled to appear January 9 on Fox News Channel's "Hannity & Colmes."

Coulter has a history with NBC, particularly "Today." She went toe-to-toe with former co-host Katie Couric in 2002, whom she called "the affable Eva Braun" in her book "Slander: Liberal Lies About the American Right." Couric protested Coulter's portrayal of the "Today" interview with Ronald Reagan biographer Edmund Morris that called the former president "an apparent airhead."

In 2006, Coulter's appearance on "Today" with Matt Lauer caused another uproar as they battled over some of the things she said about 9/11 widows and what she called "the left's doctrine of infallibility" in another book "Godless: The Church of Liberalism." She was also criticized in 2007 for her remarks on CNBC's "The Big Idea With Donny Deutsch" about Jews.

On Sunday, watchdog group Media Matters of America noted what it called several cases of "inflammatory rhetoric" in a copy of her book. It also questioned whether NBC would "help Coulter sell" the book by booking her.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

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