August 23, 2006

Coulter ’84 Criticizes Wives of 9/11 Victims

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Ann Coulter ’84, currently one of Cornell’s most well-known recent alumni, was again at the center of a firestorm this summer surrounding the content of Godless: The Church of Liberalism, her latest book.
The controversy involved Coulter’s comments about the wives of victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. Her book claims that several New Jersey wives acted “as if the terrorist attacks happened only to them,” and she added that she had “never seen people enjoying their husbands’ deaths so much.”
The New Jersey wives identified were Kristen Breitweiser, Lorie Van Auken, Mindy Kleinberg and Patty Casazza. They responded immediately in a joint statement claiming that “we have been slandered. Contrary to Ms. Coulter’s statements, there was no joy in watching men that we loved burn alive. There was no happiness in telling our children that their fathers were never coming home again. We adored these men and miss them every day.”
The controversy began to dominate the news after Matt Lauer’s interview of Coulter in a prime position of NBC’s Today Show, which in the days after received thousands of views on the popular YouTube website.
In the interview, Coulter stood by all her comments and tried to explain what she meant when she was talking about the 9/11 widows, whom she called “millionaire broads.” She said that she believed that Democrats and “members of the left” were taking political advantage of these women because people who did not share their views could not respond without offending them.
When Matt Lauer questioned the wording behind Coulter claiming that the wives were “enjoying” the deaths of relatives, she responded that they were “all over the news” but did not go any further. The noticeably tense interview ended with a soft moment as Coulter questioned where Katie Couric was, weeks after her last appearance on the Today Show.
Following the Today Show interview, Coulter went on a media blitz, appearing on the cable news networks several times. While the book offers a certain amount of political analysis, the interviews and talk shows on cable always seemed to focus on Coulter’s state of mind instead of her opinions.
Although Coulter’s sanity is being challenged and the New York Daily News has called her “Coulter the Cruel”, the book Godless has proved to be a resounding success. Currently the book is on The New York Times bestseller list for the tenth consecutive week at number nine, and it spent a few weeks in the top five. When Coulter last visited Cornell in May for a speech at the Statler Hotel, she drew a capacity crowd, which is common for her college visits.