Don't seat Ann Coulter and Katie Couric at the same table at your next dinner party. Coulter hammers Couric in her new book "Slander: Liberal Lies About the American Right," calling her "the affable Eva Braun of morning TV." Couric got her revenge when Coulter visited the Today Show; the anchor challenged the book's factual accuracy, and said that some had called its author "a right-wing tele-bimbo." But Coulter is laughing all the way to the bank, it seems. Her book has been at the top of the New York Times nonfiction list for ten weeks. Couric is not the only media figure who irritates Coulter; the latter decries the number of "liberal propagandists," which is to say, "basically, everyone delivering objective news on ABC, NBC and CBS; all the professional bathos morning TV, evening TV objective news, delivering diet and exercise tips. Pretty much all of them." In what way do they engage in liberal propaganda? "Constantly calling Ronald Reagan dumb. Constantly calling George Bush dumb. Refusing to cover gaffes by Al Gore, Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton. Somehow, that never gets replayed over and over and over again. Only the verbal slips of Republicans will be endlessly repeated, until small children can repeat it in their sleep." Has Coulter always been a conservative? "Yes. In the crib," she says. "Though being around liberals does keep pushing me farther and farther to the right."
And what in particular does Coulter have against the winsome Katie Couric? "Well, that she uses her charm and beauty to engage in systematic liberal propaganda," says Coulter. "She has an appealing personality. It really doesn't matter what an unappealing, hideous, denounced person like David Duke says or thinks, does it? He doesn't have an audience. It makes a difference when you have a charming propagandist." But why would Couric have an agenda? "I don't know. You'd need a team of psychologists to figure that out."
PW buys a hundred shares of "Take on the Street: What Wall Street and Corporate America Don't Want You to Know What You Can Do to Fight Back" by Arthur Levitt, the SEC's longest-serving-chairman, with Paula Dwyer (Pantheon; October 8). "Levitt's mini-MBA course sans the lifelong club connections, should be mandatory reading for anyone with a dollar invested in the stock market. FORECAST: Levitt's high profile, coupled with his authority and integrity, will make him a man in demand by the mainstream media. A 150,000 first printing, a big plug to booksellers from the publisher at BookExpo this past May and a big advertising push may put this business book on the bestseller lists."
JOE AND HADASSAH'S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE:
In January, Simon & Schuster will publish "An Amazing Adventure: Joe and Hadassah's Personal Note on the 2000 Campaign," by Joe and Hadassah Lieberman, with Sarah Crichton (formerly of Newsweek and Little, Brown). The book ping-pongs back and forth between the homespun observations of the two spouses, as they discover how much their lives have changed. Writes Mrs. Lieberman, "You are always being watched. This is not paranoia, this is just the new reality. So the thing is, how do you maintain any semblance of normalcy? Do you just give up and not try? There's garbage to be taken out. We're leaving New Haven soon for Nashville, so I have to carry it out to the garage. I don't have any shoes on. We've just learned my husband is running for the second highest office in the land. I'm trying to figure it all out, and suddenly there are all these media people falling out of the forsythia bushes, aiming cameras at my face. They're saying, 'What are you doing? How are you doing?' The next thing you know, people around the country are watching me take out the trash: barefoot!"
Next May, Miramax will publish "Madame Secretary," a memoir by former Secretary of State Madeline Albright. In addition to telling her own story, Albright will "share her valuable insights on the current state of affairs in the Mideast, the terrorism threat and how the Bush Administration has handled these crises thus far." To be embargoed.
Kirkus is enchanted with "The Founding Fish" by John McPhee (Farrar, Straus; October), giving it a starred review. "A blue-chip tour of the American shad from McPhee, maestro of the extended essay, if not the fly rod. Suitably, and lucky for readers, there isn't a dry patch in this story of a fish and its homewaters. It's owlish, reflective, full of sustaining information you had no idea you wanted to know, but also warm and full of McPhee, a shad fisherman, with rod and dart and fly, of long standing...'I'm a shad fisherman,' says McPhee. True, but also a talented portraitist of the fish, a Gilbert Stuart of the species and a William Hogarth, too, sticking an elbow into the ribs of his obsession."
Next May, Hyperion will publish "The Older the Fiddle, the Better the Tune," by Today Show weatherman Willard Scott. According to the publisher the books is "a humorous collection of pieces by a broad cross-section of Americans, ranging from 70 to 100, of whom Willard asked one question: 'What is the greatest thing about getting older?' Scott's book is guaranteed to make you laugh with answers covering everything from senior citizen discounts to being asked for advice on everything under the sun." Well, maybe.
Save a seat, Ms. Coulter. Here comes another conservative, taking on the liberal establishment. On October 1, Basic will publish "An Unlikely Conservative: The Transformation of an Ex-Liberal (Or How I Became the Most Hated Hispanic in America)" by Linda Chavez. Kirkus sniffs. "Why Chavez claims a liberal past is a mystery, when her memoir clearly shows she had conservative views on affirmative action, language, education, immigrant assimilation from the start. Chavez is a blunt writer and public figure, which made her an easy target...The sub-title isn't a joke but it's not much of an epitaph either." Author tour.
In October, Warner will publish "Dorothy Parker's Elbow: Writers on Tattoo" by Kim Addonizio and Cheryl Dumesnil (paperback). According to the publisher, "With stories from such writers as Herman Melville, Flannery O'Connor, Rick Moody, Mark Doty, Elizabeth McCracken, Ray Bradbury and Sylvia Plath, the full tattoo experience is brilliantly captured and explored."