The interview, however, went awry—and eventually, viral, on YouTube and blogs around the world—when Deutsch asked her what her ideal world would look like:

COULTER: Well, OK, take the Republican National Convention. People were happy. They’re Christian. They’re tolerant. They defend America, they —

DEUTSCH: Christian — so we should be Christian? It would be better if we were all Christian?

COULTER: Yes.

DEUTSCH: We should all be Christian?

COULTER: Yes. Would you like to come to church with me, Donny?

DEUTSCH: So I should not be a Jew, I should be a Christian, and this would be a better place.

 

Following a conversational detour that included an exchange on whether interracial couples in New York have a “chip on their shoulder”—a Coulter claim that Deutsch rather restrainedly dismissed as “erroneous”—he returned to the question: “We should just throw Judaism away and we should all be Christians, then.”

 

COULTER: Yeah.

DEUTSCH: Really?

COULTER: Well, it’s a lot easier. It’s kind of a fast track.

DEUTSCH: Really?

COULTER: Yeah. You have to obey.

DEUTSCH: You can’t possibly believe that.

COULTER: Yes.

DEUTSCH: You can’t possibly — you’re too educated, you can’t — you’re like my friend in —

COULTER: Do you know what Christianity is? We believe your religion, but you have to obey.

DEUTSCH: No, no, no, but I mean —

COULTER: We have the fast-track program.

DEUTSCH: Why don’t I put you with the head of Iran? I mean, come on. You can’t believe that.

COULTER: The head of Iran is not a Christian.

DEUTSCH: No, but in fact, “Let’s wipe Israel”—

COULTER: I don’t know if you’ve been paying attention.

DEUTSCH: “Let’s wipe Israel off the earth.” I mean, what, no Jews?

COULTER: No, we think — we just want Jews to be perfected, as they say.

DEUTSCH: Wow, you didn’t really say that, did you?

COULTER: Yes. That is what Christianity is. We believe the Old Testament, but ours is more like Federal Express. You have to obey laws. We know we’re all sinners —

DEUTSCH: In my old days, I would have argued — when you say something absurd like that, there’s no —

COULTER: What’s absurd?

DEUTSCH: Jews are going to be perfected. I’m going to go off and try to perfect myself —

COULTER: Well, that’s what the New Testament says.

DEUTSCH: Ann Coulter, author of If Democrats Had Any Brains, They’d Be Republicans, and if Ann Coulter had any brains, she would not say Jews need to be perfected. I’m offended by that personally. And we’ll have more Big Idea when we come back.

 

When watching the clip, a viewer can easily discern Deutsch’s anger in his facial expressions if not his words. When asked his opinion of the interaction in retrospect, he responds with a certain degree of weariness. “I don’t believe Ann Coulter’s anti-Semitic. I think the problem is that Ann Coulter is a little out of touch with reality,” he says. “And what made it so powerful, and what I think made her look so poor, was that I wasn’t fighting with her. And you saw a hate crime in front of you.”

While it may have addressed a “big idea,” the exchange was dramatically at odds with the show’s purpose. “We didn’t even exploit it after that, because I said, ‘You know what? Our show is positive,’” Deutsch recalls. “Four or five days later, it just caught fire. It was the CNN story of the day.” But he points out, and rightly, that after “going negative,” as it were, Coulter has virtually disappeared from the cultural radar.

“Interestingly enough, we haven’t heard from her since,” Deutsch says. “That really hurt her.”

Deutsch generally is almost relentlessly positive, always looking for the good spin—even, in the end, when it comes to Ann Coulter. “[Coulter] will be fine. She’s brilliant, she’s a very successful writer and she does have a lot to say,” he says. “Sometimes she obviously goes too far, but it’s an example of our culture: We create the monster. This is what we want, what we push for. She’s almost trained to go there. And then it becomes collateral damage.” And it is that collateral damage of yelling-head media that Deutsch hopes to avoid in the future: Coulter’s not coming back on his show.

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