(Well, at least down the street and to his hotel.) Ron Paul supporters pissed that Fox News banned Dr. Paul from appearing at their debate converge on Sean Hannity. Not sure that this actually helps Ron Paul, but it definitely makes Hannity look like a hunted man. Live by the angry mob, die by the angry mob, we always say.
SEAN HANNITY IS SUCH A DICK
Hannity is the far Right’s new attack dog, baring his pearly fangs for the camera, mauling liberal pansies for breakfast and barking out neo-con dogma with Goebbels-like aplomb. He has a certain McCarthy-esque gift for manipulating political reality through fear, accusation and thinly-veiled but never verified and always plausibly denied insinuation. And his hair is perfect. He is, like many of his ilk, a pathological Clinton hater with a bizarre fixation on homosexuals. (His best-selling book, Let Freedom Ring, even includes a graphic description of fisting.) He’s a master of the I-know-you-are-but-what-am-I style of debate, doling out nuanced political insights, such as, “They tell us that fuel-burning SUVs are bad for America, but flag-burning SOBs aren’t.”
Hannity and Colmes was taped last Thursday before a live audience at the Forrest Theatre. For some reason, the Fox publicist thought I would get a kick out of the show and print nice things. She got that half right. I have seen puppet shows with more intellectual heft–a fair comparison because Hannity and Colmes is a puppet show. It’s Fox’s version of CNN’s Crossfire, except the deck is hopelessly stacked against Colmes, the resident liberal milquetoast.
Hannity is virile and ruggedly handsome in a football team captain sort of way. Colmes, meanwhile, exudes impotence. He looks like a weasel and acts like a scared rabbit. And from where I was sitting the second row, he looked like he was wearing, swear to God, lipstick.
Colmes was the first to come out onstage. The announcer introduced him by asking the audience if they had an “Alan Colme-over.” The audience booed. Then came Hannity, whose entrance line was “Who’s been Hannitized?” Thunderous applause and cheers. The guests were Ed Rendell, who got booed and never got a word in edge-wise, and Bill Bennett, who has turned a failed tenure as drug czar under Bush the elder into a lucrative speaking-circuit career as moralistic scold.
However, Bennett was recently exposed as a big fat hypocrite when it was revealed that he has a major gambling addiction–by his own admission, six-figure losses in casinos from Atlantic City to Las Vegas. Bennett’s Bible is apparently missing the page where Jesus says, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”
At one point Hannity stood up for Limbaugh, saying, “We need more debate, not less.” But when an audience member seated onstage spoke out during a break, he was quietly escorted off the stage. (I caught up with him later. His name is Kenneth Montgomery Locke, a regular Hannity and Colmes watcher. He drove 800 miles from North Carolina after Colmes sent him tickets. He says he was told that “this is not the forum for you to speak your political ideas” before being shown the door.)
The show ended with a few softball questions from the audience, culminating with this exchange with a cute little boy who asked: “Do you think we’ll find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq?”
Colmes: “I hope we do. I want to believe the reasons we were given for going to war.”
Hannity: “We know they’re there. We will find them. Let not your heart be troubled.”
Crowd went wild. Roll credits. The Fox publicist allowed me five minutes of carefully supervised questions with Hannity at the post-taping party at the Palm. It didn’t go well.
ME: [smiling]“I have to warn you. My paper is screamingly liberal … ”
HANNITY: [glaring] “That’s your problem!”
ME: “Good one, Sean. Care to comment on the Al Franken lawsuit?”
ME: “How about the Limbaugh controversy?”
HANNITY: “I’m not going to talk about that. Rush is my friend. There should be more debate, not less. He should be on that show next Sunday defending his position.”
ME: “Why isn’t he? It seems like he’s running away.”
HANNITY: [If looks could kill ... ]
ME: “Do you favor a special prosecutor to look into who leaked the identity of the CIA agent [Valerie Plame]?”
ME: “You mean that a special prosecutor was warranted to find out if the president got a blow job from an intern but one is not necessary to find out if somebody in the White House revealed the identity of a CIA agent during a time of war, which is tantamount to treason?”
Publicist: “Okay, that’s enough. Don’t you have any questions about Philadelphia?” MORE