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What's the buzz on ... Ann Coulter?
Each week, CNN.com takes a look at trends in the blogosphere by tracking one topic across gender and generation. This week we focus on conservative commentator Ann Coulter, who drew stiff criticism for calling presidential candidate John Edwards a "faggot." She later explained on Fox News' Hannity & Colmes that she'd meant the word as a "schoolyard taunt."

Overall opinion (February 28 - March 6, 2007)


So what does this mean?
Bloggers didn't have a lot of nice things to say about Ann Coulter during the week. Many cited the negative stereotypes about gay men that Coulter's comments reinforce, or questioned why she still has an audience at all, conservative or liberal. Those who posted positive comments focused on the idea that there's no such thing as bad press and that Coulter's charm is in her inappropriate comments.

In their own words
Markos Moulitsas on The Daily Kos
Rather than Coulter herself, who has proven to be a savvy businesswoman, this whole mess says more about Coulter's huge fan base in the conservative movement. She is feeding their desire for hate. There is nothing remotely like it on the Left. Have liberals said hateful things? Sure. But none have made a cottage industry out of it. The fact she exists, and continues to command so much attention from her fan base, is an indictment not on her, but on conservatism itself.

Ann Coulter exists because the conservative movement craves her brand of hatred, and she delivers the goods.

Rick Moran on RightWing NutHouse
Enough is enough. I am sick to death of this woman leading people to believe that she speaks for conservatives. She doesn't speak for me. And if you believe that she speaks for you, or if you were one of those mouth breathers who applauded when she used that disgusting epithet deliberately to hurt other people (not just John Edwards), then you are hopelessly beyond the pale yourself and would do well to examine exactly what you believe a conservative is and what is acceptable political discourse.

Andrew Sullivan on The Daily Dish
Her joke was that the world is so absurd that someone like Isaiah Washington is forced to go into rehab for calling someone a "faggot." She's absolutely right that this is absurd and funny and an example of p.c. insanity. She could have made a joke about that -- a better one, to be sure -- but a joke. But she didn't just do that. She added to the joke a slur: "John Edwards is a faggot." That's why people gasped and then laughed and clapped so heartily. I was in the room, so I felt the atmosphere personally. It was an ugly atmosphere, designed to make any gay man or woman in the room feel marginalized and despised. To put it simply, either conservatism is happy to be associated with that atmosphere, or it isn't. I think the response so far suggests that the conservative elites don't want to go there, but the base has already been there for a very long time. (That's why this affair is so revealing, because it is showing which elites want to pander to bigots, and which do not.)

Sarah C. in a comment thread on Prose Before Hos
...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.

HOW DOES THIS WORK?
CNN works with Umbria, a company that collects and analyzes millions of online opinions and review postings every day.

More about Umbria's analysis
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