SMITH PONDERS COULTER AND THE ‘PUBLIC GOOD’…. Yesterday, Harry Smith, anchor of CBS’s “The Early Show,” chatted with Ann Coulter about her latest book. Predictably, Coulter lashed out wildly at all the various people she hates; Smith tried to press her on her bizarre antics; and the seven-minute segment was about as informative as every other Coulter interview.

A few hours later, Smith reflected on this with the LA Times.

Later, Smith said he didn’t have any regrets about how he conducted the interview, but “I’m still not satisfied that we served any public good.”

“People sort of verbally wrestling with each other — you get a lot of heat and a lot of sweat, but I’m not sure there’s any particular satisfaction for either side,” he added.

Well, no, of course not. Giving a circus clown seven minutes of airtime, in which she’s treated as an important political analyst, is bound to leave one feeling unfulfilled.

Smith added, however, that he sees a reason for having Coulter on his program: “The thing is, there are things she says that have a real place in our ongoing political conversation in terms of issues of importance to everybody.”

Jamison Foser had the appropriate response: “OK. Name one.”

For what it’s worth, Coulter appeared, once again, on NBC’s “Today” show, and once again, Matt Lauer ignored his own standards and Coulter said a bunch of crazy things.

A year from now, Coulter will have another book, she’ll say more crazy things, and Lauer and Smith will again help Coulter promote her lunacy on national television.

Soon after, they might even ponder whether the “public good” was served.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.