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Ann’s out, Bill’s in

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I’d like to lapse from the “editorial we” voice for a moment if I may, as I need to say something to the readers of YES! Weekly.

Here it is:

Ann Coulter is gone from these pages’… gone like the leaves in December, like the fringes of the polar ice caps, like the last vestiges of Tom Cruise’s rational mind.

We began running her column last August in an effort to widen the playing field, so to speak, in the discussion on our Voices page. She certainly did that, but in the last few months Ann Coulter has been a very naughty girl indeed.

We will be replacing her with William F. Buckley, one of the foremost voices for the conservative and libertarian movements and a very smart man who has worked as a CIA spook, run for mayor of New York City, reportedly been a member of Skull and Bones while at Yale, founded a magazine (National Review) and a TV show (“Firing Line”) and authored the quote, “One must bear in mind that the expansion of federal activity is a form of eating for politicians.”

That’s good stuff.

We launched the campaign for Coulter’s eviction about five weeks ago, after excerpts from her book, Godless: The Church of Liberalism, revealed blanket hostility to the widows of 9-11.

“I’ve never seen people enjoying their husbands’ deaths so much,” she wrote.

This was offensive to me, and I’m not a man who is offended easily.

Eleven people from my hometown perished when the towers collapsed. My friend Jim Murphy was just 30 years old that day in September. Tom Brennan, who we used to call “the old man” in high school, left behind a pregnant wife. My friend Bobby Ferris lost his father on 9-11; neither he nor his mother will ever be the same.

But there’s more than just my personal beef.

Coulter has also been accused of lifting portions of this same book from the works of other writers. I looked at the evidence and found four passages I consider to be plagiarized, along with several other examples of plagiarism in her columns.

That’s a big no-no here in the newsroom – the biggest of them all save for just making crap up. And she’s been accused of that, too, with strong supporting evidence.

Since we began this campaign the letters and website poll show that our readers approve cutting her column at a ratio of two to one. And numbers don’t lie (unless, some would say, they’re being wielded by Ann Coulter).

Sure, there will be some who bemoan her absence from our pages and others who will question my decision to pull from our ranks a writer whose book currently sits atop the New York Times bestseller list.

And they may have a point – she’s sold a lot of books. But I’m not gonna be helping her do it anymore.

So goodbye, Ann. It’s been a wild ride.

And to our readers: check out the “new guy” on page 18.

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