CFACT at the University of Minnesota hosted best selling author Ann Coulter on April 8 in the Willey Hall auditorium.
Coulter addressed a wide range of topics and stated unequivocally that, “The free market makes things cheaper and better over time. Liberals can’t learn this, even though it’s right in front of their faces. Mollusks can learn. Viruses can learn. Liberals can’t.”
Coulter referenced how government wasn’t needed to shape environmental attitudes and encourage stewardship. She noted the famous littering commercials in the 70’s that featured a crying Indian, “played by an Italian actor” Coulter quipped. Coulter also noted that the commercials were sponsored by beer companies who didn’t want their product associated with littering, and that the commercials were largely successful in changing American’s attitudes towards littering.
Later, Coulter commented on CFACT’s REAL Energy, Not Green Energy campaign saying, “Real Environmentalism, real conservation, that’s fantastic!” Coulter went on to pan Obama’s energy policies stating, “Energy policy in this country reminds me of the saying from the cold war– if Obama’s not being paid by the Soviet Union to ruin the country, he’s being gypped.”
Coulter provided a specific example of Obama’s energy policy failure regarding nuclear power when she said, “One of the most devastating things Obama did, he shut down Yucca Mountain. If you can’t put the waste in Yucca Mountain, there’s no place you can put it.”
Coulter brought the free markets back to renewable energy, and explained how wind and solar don’t add up. “I think if they were going to work, they’d have private investors,” Coulter commented.
The event was co-sponsored with Students for a Conservative Voice, the publisher of the conservative monthly publication, the Minnesota Republic.
Picking a Fight with the Minnesota Daily
They say that you should never pick a fight with an organization that buys ink by the barrel. But that’s just what CFACT-UMN’s Collegians did.
“I’ve had it, I’m not talking to them anymore,” said an exasperated CFACT-UMN Chair Rachel Jansen. The local campus paper, the Minnesota Daily (only published 4 times a week, don’t let the name fool you), had mangled and manipulated Jansen’s quotes three times in the last year.
Jansen explained, “The first time they quoted me, they left the word ‘not’ out of my statement, thus having me express the exact opposite meaning. I called them to complain and they said the statement was properly edited for size and were unconcerned about changing the meaning.”
Later in the year, another reporter called Jansen for a quote about getting a job in politics. Jansen relates, “I told them getting a job in politics is hard since few conservatives win in Minnesota and the positions are quite competitive. The full quote they gave me – ‘It’s hard’. I should have learned my lesson about giving quotes to the Daily after complaining about the first one – its as though they went out of their way to make me sound like a buffoon.”
The third strike against the Daily came recently when CFACT had its funding attacked by liberal groups on campus. “This time I told the reporter I would only do an email interview so they could easily cut and paste my quotes. They took this too literally and grafted two of my statements to completely different questions to make it sound like I was admitting to academic dis-honesty. Again, the editors were unconcerned that my statements had been grafted together out of context to fit their narrative.”
The Minnesota Daily was very interested in covering the Ann Coulter event and called Jansen and several other CFACT officers, but Jansen was done with them. The reporter couldn’t get a comment out of Jansen or the other officers, and was upset when CFACT didn’t grant her or her photographer special access to interview Coulter or wander the room taking pictures. Jansen clarified, “The reporter and photographer were welcome to get a free ticket and watch the event from their seat, but we weren’t about to start giving them special access beyond that enjoyed by every attendee.”
The Minnesota Daily did publish a story on the event, and the lead in their headline stated only 100 people attended. “I knew they couldn’t quote, but they also can’t count,” Jansen quipped. CFACT sold over 200 tickets to the event, and at least 100 free student vouchers were used. Jansen clarified, “while we don’t have an exact count besides sold tickets, based on the capacity of the room and head counts from pictures we took, there were easily over 300 people at the event, our official estimate is 350.”
Jansen submitted another complaint which the Daily ignored. Jansen’s advice to other conservatives on campus, “When the Daily calls, just hang up.”