I’m always fascinated when the neoconservative talking heads in the mass media (I’m talking about Hannity, Limbaugh, Coulter, Savage, Ingraham…) are confronted by their own words. It’s like watching a train wreck about to happen. How will they shake their way out of this one? What will they do?
I’ve posted a couple examples on this here blog over the years. There was the time that Tony Snow challenged the executive power grabbing of the Clinton administration (yet went right along with it when it suited Bush). There was the time when someone called up Rush on the air and asked him how he managed to dodge the draft because of an ingrown hair on his backside. And then there was this post about Republican Texas Senator, Kay Bailey Hutchinson talking about how she didn’t think it would really be a good idea to indict someone (e.g., Scooter Libby) on something as minor as a perjury charge, when only several years earlier she was calling for Bill Clinton’s head and claiming “[S]omething needs to be said that is a clear message that our rule of law is intact and the standards for perjury and obstruction of justice are not gray.”
My fondest Xmas wish was always to have Hannity confronted with his own hypocrisy by a caller. You know, like back on April 5, 1999 when Sean Hannity on FOX News said about the war in Kosovo, “No goal, no objective, not until we have those things and a compelling case is made, then I say, back out of it, because innocent people are going to die for nothing. That’s why I’m against it.”
Yet he supports military action against Iran, and he is a big supporter of the Iraq occupation.
So why do I love to see Hannity put in his place? It’s because I think he’s the most dangerous commentator on the radio today. It is easy for most people to dismiss Rush as a druggie or as a “fringe” neo-con. I mean, he’s almost a caricature of himself at this point. His hypocrisy is well known, well documented. He is a cartoon.
Hannity, on the other hand, presents like a well buttoned-down Irish Catholic conservative. The only way you’d know he’s out of his mind is if you actually do any research on your own and don’t take his hateful rhetoric and outright lies as honorable truth.
Hannity is not big on facts. Listen to his show any day and what you’ll hear is just pure fear… “You know what Hillary wants to do with this country? You know what she’ll do if she and the Moveon.org people have their way…” It’s all opinion. He is paid very well to entertain and to spin. He goes to great lengths to convince his audience that “liberals” are out to get them, that they want to do X and Y and they’re going to ruin the country, that they have wanted us to lose in Iraq since the very beginning (not true), and that they will settle for nothing but the complete dismantling of our way of life. Ugh.
He cloaks this message in the flag, and you’ll hear almost every caller ring in and tell him what a “great American” he is, even though he is doing his very best to keep us all divided. He’s dangerous because he cultivates this “normal conservative” appearance, when he is actually nothing like a true conservative. He claims he’s a Reagan conservative, but he’s not. He’s a fearmongering, Kristol-type neo-con. You can hear it every day on the radio, and it’s there for all to hear. Trouble is, he has a lot of people drinking the kool-aid.
So on Friday, November 30th, I’m driving a rental car because my car was in the shop. I don’t have my MP3 player, and I can’t get Air America all the way out on the Island at night (the NY station lowers its wattage at sundown). So I tune into 770AM (the big NY “conservative talk” station) Some crazy guy has gone into Hillary Clinton’s headquarters in Rochester, NH and has taken a bunch of people hostage. He has strapped what ended up being road flares onto his chest with duct tape and said he had a bomb. The situation was still going on when a caller got through to Sean’s show. I’ve been trying to find a transcript to get the exact wording of the conversation that ensued, but I can’t seem to find one. Perhaps I’ll pay to download it off Hannity’s site, but I suspect it will be edited out because it really seemed to rattle Hannity and it took him a while to recover.
The caller said he had been waiting forever, and Sean apologized. He said Sean really needed to tone down the rhetoric on his show. Sean argued (of course), saying that he is very careful about what he says. The caller said what would happen if, hypothetically, the hostage taker in NH turned out to be a rabid member of the “Stop Hillary Express?”
The “Stop Hillary Express” is Sean’s cute little name for the campaign to prompt people to show up at her rallyes and heckle her, dog her, make her uncomfortable, do anything they can to shake her up.
Sean said he had NEVER said anything that would prompt ANYONE to threaten Hillary or any of her campaigners, and that the caller should name ONE instance where Sean did so.
The caller said that every day Sean does this, and that he shouldn’t be surprised if one of his listeners did something like this. Sean again argued and said again to name ONE time, “and you need to be specific,” where he said anything that was inflammatory.
The caller was ready for this.
He began… “On March [I can’t remember the date he said, but it was a specific date] 2006, you and Ann Coulter were sharing the stage and you said…”
And suddenly the call was dropped.
Sean was obviously rattled.
He went on for the next five minutes about how he didn’t need to entertain these types of calls, that liberals were ruining the country, etc. etc. etc.
I was livid. Sean ALWAYS asks for a “specific example.” It’s the neo-con talking head standard response… “Name one time…” And they don’t expect people to have an answer. But this time, someone did. And what did Sean do? He DROPPED THE CALL right before the caller got a chance to repeat Sean’s own words to him. What was he going to say? What words of Sean’s could’ve been so inflammatory that he couldn’t stand to hear them back?
Truth is, he says stuff every day that he doesn’t want repeated. This is why Media Matters has been such a thorn in the side of the neo-con talking heads. No longer do their words escape out into the ether. Now they’re preserved for all time, so that everyone can see that their words change depending on the situation. Democrat in the White House? War is bad. Republican in the White House? War is good… It’s sickening, and I was looking forward to hearing what the guy had to say. But Sean would have none of it.
And when he got back from break, guess what the VERY NEXT CALL was? “Hello Sean, I’m a liberal democrat and I have to commend you for not giving that guy a platform to spout…” and the call continued. Amazing. A liberal democrat just happened to call in to tell Sean, “good job on that last caller.”
Yeah. That wasn’t a fake call, right?
Sean is a coward who is terrified to face his own words. You want a specific date to back up that statement? You got it. November 30, 2007. Cowardice on display.