Q on the tube: Why do they do it?

As if the “Rev. ” Fred Phelps’ crew visiting Philadelphia to spread their hate campaign (“God Hates Fags”) isn’t demoralizing enough, everyone’s least favorite media maven is back.

Ann Coulter, the Republican often referred to as Rush Limbaugh in a mini-skirt, has a new book she’s promoting all over the tube.

Difficult as it is to imagine, her latest premise is even more offensive than her last. In “Guilty: Liberal ‘Victims’ and Their Assault on America,” Coulter spends page after page pulling the pansy card, making the claim repeatedly that “real” men aren’t liberals because, according to Coulter, all liberals are “pussies.”

Coulter is fundamentally a creation of the mainstream TV media. There’s no question she’s well-educated and some would argue she’s a brilliant rhetoritician, if utterly wrong-headed. But Coulter’s rise to fame has been predicated on becoming a figure of “controversy” on TV talk shows by tossing around words like “faggot,” “pussy” and “emasculate” in her fixation on how the “homosexual agenda” has perverted the white male ascendancy she so admires (and some would say envies).

Coulter called John Edwards a “faggot” at the Conservative Political Action Conference in March 2007, when he was a presidential candidate. She has repetitively implied that Hillary Clinton is a lesbian, noting on one TV show, “I’d say that’s about even money” on Sen. Clinton “coming out of the closet” in 2008. Back in 2006, while on the Chris Matthews show, Coulter asserted that Bill Clinton — possibly the best-known heterosexual in America — was gay.

Matthews asked Coulter, “How do you know that Bill Clinton is gay?” referring to her comment on CNBC’s “The Big Idea” that Clinton “show[s] some level of latent homosexuality.”

Coulter quipped, “I don’t know if he’s gay. But Al Gore — total fag.”

It’s understandable that FOX and CNN would have Coulter as a regular commentator on their inflammatory right-wing talk shows. But why do non-political shows continue to give this woman a platform? Why is her hate speech considered acceptable morning-show fare? It’s one thing for her to appear on “Hannity & Colmes” — that’s her choir.

But when “Today’s” Matt Lauer interviewed her last February, after Sen. John McCain became the Republican nominee, his disgust with Coulter and her politics was palpable when he fairly yelled, “Come on!” when she said McCain was not conservative enough for a “principled conservative” like herself. (Coulter supported Mitt Romney.)

It’s difficult to imagine what’s principled about Coulter. In “Guilty,” she asserts that the Democratic primary was a contest to see “Who’s the biggest pussy?”

Coulter also fixates on the image of liberals as closet cases. Of New York Times columnist Frank Rich, she claimed he “became qualified to comment on U.S. foreign policy, national security and presidential politics after spending a childhood dancing his favorite numbers from ‘Oklahoma!’ in his mother’s panties.”

Biased pundits are a staple of cable talk shows, which thrive on real and manufactured controversy. But network TV and mainstream talk shows are supposed to give the appearance of lack of bias. By repeatedly giving Coulter and her ilk a platform for what is not political opinion but flat-out, blatantly homophobic speech is implicit endorsement. In bringing Coulter back to NBC, the “Today” show and other shows that promote her are selling her book for her and, with it, the vile and paranoiac commentary within.

Coulter hates liberals and to her the lowest thing she can compare them to is queers, faggots and lesbians. That derogation of our community is egregious and unacceptable. Were Coulter creating a similarly derogatory analogy with any other minority group, she would not even be the darling of the conservative TV talk-show circuit, let alone a frequent guest in the mainstream.

This year, the LGBT and progressive communities should be banding together to protest the way mainstream TV promotes purveyors of homophobia and, at the very least, demand equal time for rebuttal. The only way we are going to limit hate speech is by letting these shows know it is not OK that they promote negative stereotypes of us via people like Coulter.

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Victoria A. Brownworth is a Pulitzer Prize-nominated award-winning journalist whose work has appeared in The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Baltimore Sun, DAME, The Advocate, Bay Area Reporter and Curve among other publications. She was among the OUT 100 and is the author and editor of more than 20 books, including the Lambda Award-winning Coming Out of Cancer: Writings from the Lesbian Cancer Epidemic and Ordinary Mayhem: A Novel, and the award-winning From Where They Sit: Black Writers Write Black Youth and Too Queer: Essays from a Radical Life.