By now, you’ve probably heard about the heated exchange between Fox “News” Channel host Sean Hannity and Rep. Keith Ellison (D, MN-5) on Tuesday night last. Hannity’s inner bully was on display that night, from his arrogant way of asking the congressman to repeat what he said (in an attempt to intimidate him into not repeating it), to his condescending tone of voice, and then to his talking over his guest in an effort to silence him. In case you missed it, here’s as full a clip of the segment as I can find. What’s important to note is the context in which the interview took place. You’ve probably heard all about the things Ellison said to him, but what you probably didn’t hear is why Ellison decided to say the things he did. Hannity opened the segment with a mash-up of President Obama giving the same speech in two different locations, while playing “O Fortuna” in the background. (“O Fortuna” is that scary, ominous-sounding, mood-setting music that’s very popular in movies and commercials.) Several times, he said the president was fear-mongering and even called him “President Panic” more than once. Watch it for yourself and see if you don’t agree that Ellison was right to be bothered by how he was introduced.
For at least the next three nights, Hannity invited various black conservatives on to make fun of Ellison. What was lost on Hannity and his guests was that what Ellison said about Hannity was true: Hannity is a liar. He spoke to former Congressman J.C. Watts the night after (sorry, I haven’t found a clip of the whole segment yet). The night after that, Hannity invited two people on his program to talk, primarily, and almost exclusively, about famed racist and anti-Semite Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. It was the same guilt-by-association argument often used to smear Obama during the 2008 campaign. First they set it up by bringing up a past association between Ellison and Farrakhan (since then denounced by Ellison), and then spent the rest of the segment talking about what a horrible person Louis Farrakhan is. (And he is a horrible person.)
But Hannity couldn’t let it go there. The next night he invited two more people to continue the character assassination of Congressman Ellison.
Sean Hannity is not only a bully, he’s a bullshitter. Media Matters found ten examples of outright lies Hannity told his audience, and NewsHound’s Ellen found more to add to the list. And maybe I missed something, but when I listened to the clips, I did not hear Hannity refute a single thing Ellison said. Instead, he employed the tactic of attacking the person, not what he said. Hannity lied when he said he wanted to talk about the sequester because in the times when Hannity did try to speak, he wanted to ask Ellison about things other people said. All-in-all, I believe the fact that Hannity had to spend the rest of the week attacking Ellison’s character shows how rattled and insecure he was by what the Congressman said. He could have simply ignored it and moved on, but he instead chose to do what bullies often do – bad-mouth his foe after he’s gone. And speaking of Hannity…
In the words of John Cleese:
Oozing with vanity.
Plump as a manatee.
Fox Noise insanity.
You’re a profanity,
And, just for fun, here John Cleese joins Keith Olbermann to discuss, among other things, Bill O’Reilly and Sen John McCain’s Freudian Slip of addressing a campaign crowd as “my fellow prisoners.”
ADDENDUM: It occurs to me that there may be some confusion regarding Hannity’s “I’m a registered Conservative” comeback to Ellison. Like Hannity, I live in New York State (don’t worry, I’ve never run into him), and here in New York we have a Conservative Party and a Liberal Party. Many times, the Conservative Party will nominate the same person the Republicans do, and the Liberal Party will nominate the same person the Democrats do. We also have a Working Families Party that nominates liberals and progressives, and I usually vote for the Democrat on that line if they’ve nominated the same person. Otherwise I’ll usually vote for the Democrat. I’m trying to get people elected to Congress on other parties besides the two major ones. Anyway, to prove he voted, Hannity once tweeted a picture of his ballot. Then he found out doing so was against the law. There’s a story about it here.
This is our daily open thread. Feel free to discuss Sean Hannity and bullying in general, Rep Keith Ellison and courage in general, or any other thing you wish. Just don’t hurt me.