(September 11, 2001)
Even before the Twin Towers fell, Ann Coulter’s career was going into a tailspin. As a result, the 9/11 terrorist attack traumatized Coulter more than most, especially given other significant factors.
Coulter – the shock jock of conservative commentary – has been called both a heroine and a villain, and she seems equally at home with both characterizations. Though wanting to be perceived as a good person, Coulter relishes the provocateur label.
Which mask is the real one: angel or devil? Who is the real person behind the persona?
From whence did countless contradictions and complexities arise in Coulter’s life?
Key events, significant periods in her life, and a multitude of psychological forces have molded and shaped the person we know today as Ann Hart Coulter.
The first part in our series delving into the root causes in Coulter’s life appropriately began with her birth, family, childhood, and other formative factors in her early life. Part II examined her adult education, early career, a confluence of debilitating psychological factors, and the moment when the brass ring was within her grasp.
In part three, we look at events and circumstances prior to and surrounding the 9/11 terrorist attack which shocked the nation and heralded the war on terror in which we remain engaged.
Coulter was surely traumatized by 9/11, but both personal and professional circumstances in her life enhanced its impact upon her mind, heart, and soul.
A Troubled Soul in Need
Even with a best-selling book, accolades from her peers, and date requests from her fans, Coulter needed more. Much more.
In 1998, Coulter almost had a nervous breakdown, an emotional fracture from which she has yet to fully recover. Coulter craved attention, affirmation, and adoration. At a political rally on Halloween, Coulter’s insatiable need for more was palpable.
Coulter promised her publisher that she would not speak at the rally, but she felt compelled to obtain adoration. As she walked on stage, amidst thunderous applause, she said, “I said I wouldn’t talk.” One fan shouted, “We love you, Annie!” Unable to contain herself, Coulter burst out, “God bless you!”
Then Coulter exclaimed, “I promised my publisher that in the interests of appearing non-partisan that I would not be speaking today but I had to come and see my fellow Freepers. … God bless you all. Thanks!”
Coulter’s narcissistic desire for attention also extended to her fan mail. She needed something to fill the void within.
In early 2000, Coulter devoted one of her legal columns to her fan mail. She wrote, “I’ve read them all [thousands of letters],” adding that “those letters mean a lot to me.”
Coulter continued, “That is why I love my mail. Apart from my parents and a few friends – and I know they like me – it’s the only feedback I get.” Moreover, “Some letters are so touching I carry them around with me for a while. I still intend to respond someday, which is why I still have them all.”
Concluding her legal column for the week, Coulter wrote, “But I don’t need television, and I certainly don’t need pathetically frail bosses in any context. I do need those letters.”
In1998, Coulter left her one-year term as a part-time litigator for the Center for Individual Rights. George magazine employed her as a columnist for one year, ending in 2000. Coulter’s attempted run for Congress that year was quickly aborted as she could find no political party to represent. Moreover, she was distraught at her inability to garner a book deal for her next book. The words were in her, but no one would publish.
Then, in 2001, HarperCollins struck a deal with Coulter, but her book editor later died and her book deal died weeks after that.
Coulter’s World Fell Apart
In late 2001, Coulter experienced a triple whammy in just a few short weeks. The primary thrust of the 9/11 terrorist attack occurred just 6.66 miles from her Manhattan apartment and at least one of her friends died on that day. Following her subsequent extremist essays, her publisher, HarperCollins, cancelled her lucrative book deal, requiring repayment of her substantial advance. And the Boston Globe exposed the plagiarism contained in her then only book, High Crimes and Misdemeanors.
So, Coulter lost a friend in Barbara Olson on 9/11, lost her sense of safety in Manhattan, lost her book deal and its income, and lost her reputation and credibility due to plagiarism allegations.
In the aftermath of 9/11, Coulter would come to condemn candle-lighting ceremonies and the human quest for closure. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder would be a concept forever foreign to Coulter, who wrote:
“I really am sick of [the candle lighting]. I think the candle lighting is bad. It’s womanly. It’s hugging. It’s mourning. Mourning is the opposite of anger, and we’re supposed to be angry right now. A flag, that’s like a manly thing. … It’s the candle lighting. … I like the flag, and I don’t like the candles.”
PTSD? Not in Ann’s lexicon. Coulter noted, “WASPs aren’t into that. In fact, if I ever used the words ‘emotional welfare,’ I would be sent to my room without dinner.” As one profiler observed early in Coulter’s career, “She seems to despise weakness of any kind.” To admit to weakness or a need for help was anathema to Coulter.
At the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) the following year, Coulter’s clout was at an all-time low. She was under attack from liberals, conservatives, and civil rights organizations for her questionable and deliberately provocative commentary. Moreover, the CPAC program guide listing the speakers included Coulter, but her description was very brief and, conspicuously absent, there was no sponsor or organizational affiliation listed for her. Coulter was becoming untouchable.
Crown Forum came to Ann’s rescue, publishing her second book, Slander.
Coulter attended the White House Correspondents Dinner, on May 4, 2002, as a guest of the Boston Globe, who had, the previous fall, disclosed the plagiarism allegations against Coulter. Coulter’s lawsuit threat abruptly terminated future coverage of her demonstrable plagiarism but also yielded a coveted seat at the Dinner. The New York Observer  reported on an after-dinner party faux pas by Coulter:
“Ms. Coulter spotted lobbyist Dan Senor, a former colleague from her days working under former Senator and current Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham, with Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer. Leaping up, she pleaded with Mr. Fleischer to have Mr. Bush read and publicly carry her forthcoming book, Slander: Liberal Lies About the American Right.”
“’I will do anything!’ Ms. Coulter said to Mr. Fleischer. ‘I’ll swear to you, you’ll like it! I will do anything!’ (Later, when asked if Mr. Bush might honor Ms. Coulter’s request, Mr. Fleischer said, ‘Well, I don’t know. I have to read it first.’)”
Chapter 5: “… and Balls!” The Beauty of Conservatism, 2011, available as a free download at www.coulterwatch.com/beauty.pdf.
Chapter 7: “Love: God’s Desire and Goal for Us,” The Gospel According to Ann Coulter, 2012, available as a free download at www.coulterwatch.com/gospel.pdf.
Chapter 8: “The Lost Art of the Eulogy: It’s ALL About ME!” Vanity: Ann Coulter’s Quest for Glory, 2012, available as a free download at www.coulterwatch.com/vanity.pdf.
Chapter 5: “Paint Chip Profiling,” Never Trust Ann Coulter – at ANY Age, 2013, available as a free download at www.coulterwatch.com/never.pdf.
 Ann Coulter, Free Republic Rally, 10/31/98.
 Ann Coulter, “You’ve Got Mail,” Human Events, 1/14/00.
 Distance determined by Mapquest.
 Ann Coulter, Politically Incorrect, ABC, 9/25/01.
 Gaby Wood, “Lethally blonde,” The Observer, 6/11/06. http://observer.guardian.co.uk/review/story/0,,1794552,00.html.
 Mary Jacoby, “The Pundettes,” Capital Style, December 1997, p 45.
 Gabriel Snyder and Sridhar Pappu, “Reporters’ Party Makes George W. Bigger than Ozzy,” New York Observer, 5/12/07, http://www.observer.com/2002/reporters-party-makes-george-w-bigger-ozzy.