We know what you’re thinking: Given all the raving lunatics on right-wing radio and TV, why choose a relatively moderate talk show host as Asshole of the Month? The answer is inherent in the question: The fact that Sean Hannity seems moderate only makes him that much more dangerous. After all, everyone knows that Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck are assholes. And in truth, Hannity is every bit as loony as they are.
Most recently Hannity renewed his rightwing- crazy credentials by proposing we reinvade Iraq and Kuwait as a way of dealing with rising oil prices. Here’s part of what he said: “Why isn’t Iraq paying us back with oil, and paying every American family and their soldiers that lost loved ones or have injured soldiers—and why didn’t they pay for their own liberation? For the Kuwait oil minister—how short his memory is. You know we have every right to go in there and frankly take all their oil and make them pay for the liberation.”
Tell us that’s not nuts. Haven’t we lost enough blood and treasure to those conflicts already? According to Hannity, Iraqis should be grateful that we invaded their country without cause and killed an estimated 100,000 to 1 million citizens. (Attention, Fox viewers: Iraq had nothing whatsoever to do with 9/11.) As for Kuwait, it did indeed repay us for its liberation: about $18 billion. Facts, as you can see, mean nothing to Hannity.
Here are some more examples of Hannity saying black is white:
•“It doesn’t say anywhere in the Constitution this idea of the separation of church and state.” In fact, the First Amendment states: “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” And Article V stipulates: “No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust.”•“[After 9/11, Bush and his team] made it clear that determining the causes of America’s security failures and finding and remedying its weak points would be central to their mission.” Actually, Bush opposed the creation of a special commission to probe the causes of the 9/11 attacks for more than a year, finally caving due to liberal pressure.
One of Hannity’s most outrageous claims, it would seem, involves an organization he works closely with: Freedom Alliance. Hannity insists that every penny of the donations raised at the group’s Freedom Concerts is applied to scholarships for wounded soldiers or children of soldiers killed during wartime. The Freedom Concerts’ Web site claims more than $10 million has been raised for scholarships “in the last several years.” But Melanie Sloan of CREW (Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington) says no more than $2.5 million has been donated for such scholarships.
Political commentator Debbie Schlussel (DebbieSchlussel.com) reports that for the year 2008, Freedom Alliance took in almost $9 million in revenues but allocated just over $1 million (12%) in scholarships to wounded soldiers and children of the fallen.
Want to puke over the size of the donations to an individual wounded soldier? Freedom Alliance, which was founded by retired military officer Oliver North in 1990, gave one soldier whose face was blown off and who lost an eye $1,000. Another soldier who lost both legs and his left arm in a roadside bomb incident got a massive $200. Such generosity!
Both Hannity and North (Freedom Alliance’s “honorary chairman”) have been accused of siphoning off money from the “charitable organization.” Schlussel says a Fox insider told her that when Hannity attends a concert, he demands and gets a Gulfstream 5 private jet, a fleet of Cadillac and Lincoln SUVs, as well as several suites of rooms for himself and his family at expensive hotels—all valued at approximately $200,000 per appearance. It’s said that even Ollie North is offended by Hannity’s outof- control greed.“This is the kind of deceptive marketing that the FTC [Federal Trade Commission] looks very dimly at,” Sloan is quoted as saying, according to Politico.com.
One thing is certain: Hannity has hit the big time since being plucked from an obscure radio station in Atlanta by Fox honcho Roger Ailes. The Fox show Hannity was destined to helm, you may remember, was called Hannity & Colmes. Alan Colmes, supposedly there to represent the Left, was a noodge whose true purpose was to be Hannity’s floor mat. That charade continued until 2008, when Colmes departed after 12 years, and Hannity came into his own.
Reported to be raking in more than $20 million a year, Hannity is the go-to guy for wing nuts seeking credibility and softball questions. Nutcakes Sharron Angle and Sarah Palin have made repeated appearances on his TV program. Meanwhile on radio, The Sean Hannity Show is syndicated to over 500 stations nationwide.
All of that power makes this Asshole one of the key players in the right wing’s plan to carve out a segment of America’s population and feed it propaganda instead of facts. Rather than debate the left wing—something they usually lose at— right wingers have decided to create their own separate reality with its own “facts.” In effect, they have balkanized the American people.
John Podesta, President Bill Clinton’s former chief of staff, seems to agree. Addressing a Take Back America conference, he said,“I think when you get so distant from the facts as guys like Limbaugh and Sean Hannity do, yeah, I think that tends to…corrupt the dialogue.” That was back in 2004. God knows Hannity has only gotten more partisan and more dismissive of reality since then.
If you think about it, this corruption of the political dialogue is the real evil of Sean Hannity; it’s even more offensive and ugly than his apparent stealing from the troops and their families as described above. After all, Hannity’s distortion of the truth is really an attack against exactly what makes America great. Fuck Sean Hannity!
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