Annie, get your gun
Thu May 10 2007
Like any journalist worth his salt, I spend hours each day perusing the blogosphere. As it so happens, my daily digital degustation includes a number of queer blogs. After all, it was the gays (not Al Gore) who created the Internet.
One of my favorite purveyors of pink prose is Towleroad, helmed by out blogger Andy Towle (pronounced "TOLL," not "TOW-el," thank you). You can always count on Andy covering everything from Tony Blair's resignation to Paul Rudd stripping down on Veronica Mars.
Which is why I almost dropped my Chipwich when, upon reading an entry on Oregon governor Ted Kulongoski signing historic gay-rights legislation, I came face-to-face with an online ad for columnist Ann Coulter, a.k.a the Joseph(ine) Goebbels of the Republican Party.
As pictured above, it looked like one of those Google ads that randomly cycle through most blogs, and was supposedly sponsored by a site calling itself HumanEvents.com.
At first I thought it was a joke, perhaps something whipped up by those crazy kids at collegehumor.com. But, as i surfed over to the Human Events' website (not by clicking on the ad and thereby affecting their metrics, mind you), I realized it was the real deal. Human Events, "the favorite paper of President Reagan," is a knee-jerk conservative sheet promising to reveal "how America-hating multi-culturalists who encourage immigrants and their children to retain their native cultures are destroying the 'Melting Pot,' stripping us of a common language and Balkanizing the nation."
Why would such a red-state ad wind up on a such a blue-state site? Was it an accident? Was Towleroad hoping to flood Human Nature with angry missives from the lambda literati? Was Ann trying to hit the gay agenda where it lives? I had to know more.
After e-mailing Towleroad last night, I received the following response today:
Thanks for the note.
Just to clear up the misinterpretations around a brief appearance of ads for Ann Coulter's column on Towleroad. Her decision to buy site-specific ads through Google with no apparent purpose other than to confuse folks somewhat solidifies her previously acknowledged level of discourse to be that of a child in the playground. A child left behind and pissed since everyone else has gone on to middle school.
The fact of this ad or any ad's presence on Towleroad does not indicate nor imply our support of the ad, the cause or the person.
We try to be as expansive as possible in terms of accepting ads...and not just because we don't cover our expenses yet. We have great confidence in the intelligence of the vast majority of our readers who come from across the political spectrum. Opinions are quite easily found elsewhere. And we believe that the respectful exchange of ideas is what
our site and our country are about.
Coulter clearly does not does not adhere to that part about "respectful" and her gleeful, unapologetic attacks on individuals are offensive to a lot of readers. It's not the type of discourse we want on the site, in the comments or as part of our ads.
As with all Google ads, we didn't know it was headed our way. Coulter didn't have to pay for the ad unless anyone clicked on it. If Google rules didn't prohibit it, we would have simply suggested that everyone click with reckless abandon to help our bottom line. But, we don't suggest that anyone click on an ad that they are not simply interested in. When we saw it, we blocked the URL.
Unfortunately, the limits of the Google tools mean that we have had to block the entire URL, meaning that many other civil and respectful opinion leaders at humanevents.com are now banned from advertising on Towleroad, which gets 550,000 unique and intelligent users every month who come from all kinds of political positions.
I for one can think of a quick way for them to be allowed access to our valuable audience immediately. I'm sure that humanevents.com would be concerned to hear from it's other writers . We would, of course, unblock humanevents.com if they were to drop Coulter from their rosters.
Oh Ann, can't we just stop with the silly games and admit we love each other? I mean, you're a fiery, mannish banshee who doesn't know when to stop and we're an often-persecuted minority who frequently worship the wrong diva. It's a match made in heaven.