The new issue of Time magazine hitting the streets today boasts a cover story on conservative flamethrowing WND columnist and author Ann Coulter – and a cover photo some fans are calling “bizarre.”

Coulter told Matt Drudge last night Time used a more flattering photo of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il.

While the story itself, written by Time’s John Cloud, is generally quite favorable, Coulter and her fans are focused on the strange cover photo that seems to distort the image of the tall, thin, blond pundit.

“Is it just me or did they photograph Ann making her head look big?” wrote one fan on an Internet bulletin board. “It seems out of proportion to the rest of her toned body. Reminds me of the O.J. picture.”

“That is the most freaky picture of Ann Coulter I’ve seen,” said another.

Cloud begins his piece by pointing out that Coulter blushed when she caught the “white-hot hatred” stare of a Manhattanite at the table adjacent to the interviewer and his subject.

“They’re terrible people, liberals,” Coulter is quoted as saying. “They believe — this can really summarize it all — these are people who believe you can deliver a baby entirely except for the head, puncture the skull, suck the brains out and pronounce that a constitutional right has just been exercised. That really says it all. You don’t want such people to like you!”

Coulter is compared with other conservatives on the scene – from Rush Limbaugh to Sean Hannity to George Will and Thomas Sowell.

“But no one on the right is so iconic, such a totem of this particular moment,” writes Cloud. “Coulter epitomizes the way politics is now discussed on the airwaves, where opinions must come violently fast and cause as much friction as possible. No one, right or left, delivers the required apothegmatic commentary on the world with as much glee or effectiveness as Coulter. It is almost impossible to watch her and not be sluiced into rage or elation, depending on your views. As a congressional staff member 10 years ago, Coulter used to help write the nation’s laws. Now she is far more powerful: she helps set the nation’s tone.”

The piece quotes the Rev. Jerry Falwell, another WND columnist, as saying: “I think Ann is a brilliant girl, and she’s got the quickest mouth in the East. Now, I probably won’t use her on Sunday morning in my church because she is capable of getting a little aggressive.”

“That’s right: Ann Coulter burns too fiercely for both the temples of the secular left – the New York Times — and of the religious right — Falwell’s Thomas Road Baptist Church. But it’s suspicious when conventional wisdom ossifies around someone so thoroughly. Why does she make so many people itch?” asks Cloud.

The Time report also says Coulter has a reputation for carelessness with facts, and if you Google the words “Ann Coulter lies,” you will drown in results.

“But I didn’t find many outright Coulter errors,” reports Cloud. “One of the most popular alleged mistakes pinging around the Web is from her appearance on Canadian TV news in January, when Coulter asserted that ‘Canada sent troops to Vietnam.’ Interviewer Bob McKeown said she was wrong. ‘Indochina?’ Coulter tried. McKeown said no. Finally, Coulter said haltingly, ‘I’ll get back to you.’ ‘Coulter never got back to us,’ McKeown triumphantly noted, ‘but for the record, like Iraq, Canada sent no troops to Vietnam.’ What he didn’t mention was that Canada did send noncombat troops to Indochina in the 1950s and again to Vietnam in 1972.”

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